Excuses to use cast iron: dutch baby pancakes!

Some months ago a coworker mentioned their partner making them Dutch baby pancakes for a special day. I was intrigued and googled, stashing away this Alton Brown recipe. A few weeks ago I finally made it in a 9 inch pan for family breakfast (partner, kiddo, my mom and me). They were delicious but somewhat awkward to make seconds. I made up a batch, we baked it, divided into quarters and repeat. Awkward. But! I have tiny cast iron pans! They are adorable little six inch diameter pans.

So I adapted the recipe to work with the small pans! And it worked spectacularly. The only “problem” now is we only have two 6-inch cast iron and to do it right for a group needs more pans! Read inside for converted recipe!

Picture of topped Dutch baby pancake
My mom topped hers with homemade applesauce and dehydrated apple peel!

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November 2018 Ballot Guide: Voter for Clean Air

Seattle folks (and some online folks) may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from politics, especially cheerleading folks to get out and talk to voters and so forth. The reason is simple: health. I’ve had a progressive (and so far unknown) eye issue. At first it was just my left eye and I dealt with it, but I gave up driving early in the summer and gave up biking a few weeks ago as my right eye got worst. I have surgery coming up next week where maybe they figure out what it is (and repair some damage), but there are no guarantees. It’s been very hard to keep up with very many things, both due to actual physical (and variable) disability, but also the emotional and mental load of it. I eventually was able to make myself give a bunch of things up, at least for a while. It was hard.

Anyway this ballot guide is going to be relatively short and lack detail. Some other endorsement lists you might read: The Stranger’s (note I disagree with some!), The Urbanist’s, Washington Conservation Voters. We’re subscribers to the Seattle Times for their investigatie journalism, and while their endorsements this year don’t suck as much, they did make a couple really bad ones, so I refuse to link them.

So let’s get started! The most important thing on your ballot though is:

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Speed limit contradictions with the Seattle Parks trail pilot

People have been using “ebikes” on Seattle’s multi-use trails for some time.  These are primarily pedal assist ones capped at 15, 20 or 25 mph. Our household recently got an electric cargo bike with this feature. It’s great because it’s insurance that you can get where you need to go, even if a little tired or the hills are bigger than you realized on the route you picked (a critical need in a city where we have not yet put protected bike lanes on major flat and direct arterial routes).

Technically, ebikes on trails only became legal at the state level recently and so the parks department is doing a pilot (for which they want your feedback). The pilot includes a maximum 15 mph speed limit for all users, on ebikes or not. This is likely due to concern that people will blast past people on foot or slower or less confident trail users. Unfortunately that’s been happening for some time and in my experience has little to do with whether the person is on an electric bike or not.

But this pilot points out a big contradiction in how we treat speed limits: for a trail, we can just lower all speed limits for all. For a road, we won’t, at least not without studying each road and spending money.

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The period of maximum constraint is an opportunity

Seattle’s Mayor, Jenny Durkan, announced a new interim director, for the city department of transportation (SDOT), Linea Laird. Urbanist twitter was aghast at this choice to lead SDOT as Laird’s most recent project was the state highway 99 replacement: a tunnel with no downtown exits is useless for freight or transit. “Why are we choosing a car focused person to lead SDOT during the period of maximum constraint? It must be because the mayor only cares about cars!” – urbanist twitter. Alternately, the mayor may have just picked someone competent without noticing the message it sends. But I take this as a chance to remind everyone what we should be doing, even if the mayor seems uninterested. Our constraints force us to make hard choices.

Picture of truck parked in turn lane on Weslake
Mode conflicts on Westlake Ave. Why do we have street parking here? What happens if the streetcar arrives and is blocked by a slow parallel park?

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