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Artisan Cuisine: Keep warm with French onion soup

When I owned a cafe in Brookings, the No. 1 item requested and served was French onion soup.

I started the day before slicing onions into thin rings, as thin as I could get them with my mandolin. You can get thin slices with a good knife too. Either way, be careful and take precautions not to slice your fingers.

Since I was making a lot of them I would caramelize my onions in the oven. This makes it easy to do a huge panful and you don’t have to babysit it and keep stirring it constantly.


Del Norte Triplicate file / Bryant Anderson A spawning salmon in Mill Creek thrashes in the water as one of its final acts before expring after a journey from the sea.
The “Hey Ranger” column written by employees of the Redwood National and State Parks is published monthly. Today’s column is by Park Ranger Susan Davis.

There! Right by that mossy rock, where that white stick is twitching in the current! Wait … well, I thought I saw it … maybe not.

The dark mass shifts ever so slightly, teasing with a brief flash that one doesn’t quite see; the shadow moves, then morphs into a different shape, then shifts again. And you’re still wondering in the quiet if something is really there. Suddenly the water explodes in a tumult of splashing as writhing forms tear against the current and you can see one, two, no — three —huge fish in improbably shallow water thrash their way up to the next deep sheltering pool.

House Calls: Getting the facts about heart failure

House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Trish Walker, a registered nurse with Sutter Coast Home Care. It is the first in a series addressing heat failure, also known as congestive heart failure (CHF).

Heart failure (HF) is the fastest-growing diagnosis in the world today. It affects nearly 6 million adults. There are approximately 450,000 new cases diagnosed annually, and 20 percent of those diagnosed will die within the first year, 50 percent within five years.

HF is also the most frequent cause of hospitalization in adults over 65. The numbers are staggering. There are approximately 900,000 people hospitalized with HF annually, and of those, 250,000 die.  The costs amount to roughly $40 billion annually, with emergency room costs at around $15 billion.

Reel Deal: Rain means time to fish the Smith

Don’t drop anchor when other fishermen are present on rivers

Courtesy Wild Rivers Fishing Jeff and Brandon Chambers of Sacramento hold up a pair of king salmon caught Thursday on the Smith River while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The salmon were caught on MagLip plugs with a sardine wrap. They drifted from the Outhouse to the county ramp on Fred Haight Drive.
Nobody loves the rain more than a Smith River fisherman, and dozens of anglers took to the Smith this past week to get in on some chinook salmon action with the first big rains of the season.

Even though it’s late in the Klamath River season, the bite continues with monster-sized salmon reported to be entering the system.

There’s still five more days left for catching groundfish on the ocean (Del Norte’s season closes Wednesday), but the forecast doesn’t look calm enough to take advantage — but it’s your call.

Transition to winter season

Del Norte Gardening runs monthly. Paul Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick.

As the leaves turn color and the chill returns to the air, we are reminded of the changing seasons. From our perspective it was a beautiful summer.

All in all, we at Ocean Air Farms are satisfied with the 2012 growing season. However, all good things must come to an end, leaving us an undisclosed amount of time to prepare for when the weather is not as favorable, or downright atrocious.

We usually take this time of year to transition into winter by putting our fields to rest with cover crops, by stashing everything inside that could be damaged or fly away. Last year, we were blessed with a mild fall, which provided ample time to close shop for winter.  


Del Norte People: Lance Duey: The story of a fisherman

This is another story about the traditions and culture of rural America, our home, the North Coast, Del Norte County. It’s about hardy souls who have chosen to venture out in good weather and bad to do best in what is in their heart and souls to support themselves and their families.

Most of all, it’s about Lance Duey.

My father Wes became a commercial fisherman after he retired as an iron worker and welder back in the early 1970s. I helped him build the Sea Otter, which is now set up on the southeast corner of Anchor Way. I pass by it proudly each time that I drive to Whaler Island or to eat at the Chart Room. He mainly fished for salmon during the summer and also fished for bottom fish at other times. He loved the ocean and what it provided for him.


Reel Deal: As rain fell, a chance to fish the Smith

Local anglers took advantage of the rain and fished the main stem of the Smith River while it was high enough to bust the low-flow closure. But the flashy Smith drops quickly, forcing anglers to fish below the mouth of Rowdy Creek until the next showers.

Klamath salmon can still be found in great numbers far upriver with a lengthy drive, but salmon in the lower Klamath River has slowed down greatly. Steelhead, however, are just getting started. 

Smith River

Hordes of salmon are waiting for the right time to migrate up the Smith River and spawn. And while they wait dozens of anglers from boat and bank have been fishing the area below the mouth of Rowdy Creek, which remains open during low flow closure. 


You can create an Oktoberfest all your own with homemade Bavarian-style pretzels. While I use food-grade lye in my home bakery for the color, flavor and texture, I’ve discovered that a simple substitute at home can help give your pretzels more flavor and color without lye.

What you do is take a box of baking soda and layer it an inch thick on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake it in your oven for 1 hour at 250F. Then, let cool and store in a sealed container until ready for use in the recipe.

This recipe is from my first ecookbook, “Pretzel Baker,” which is available on Amazon.com. You can freeze the pretzels once they are cooled down and they will reheat nicely in a hot oven or even a toaster. 

Reel Deal: Tourists thin, but salmon keep coming on Klamath

Klamath River fishing is better than last week, although still relatively hit or miss, but the biggest change has been an exodus of the out-of-town anglers who flocked to the lower Klamath in recent weeks.

As for other bites, the ocean has been mostly too rough for fishing, the Smith River is under a low-flow closure until rains bump the main stem above 400 cubic feet per second, and the Trinity River is very crowded with anglers while producing steelhead.

House Calls: Three things to give your unborn child


House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Laura Lyons, a nurse practitioner at the Sutter Coast Community Clinic.

I’ve been honored to have cared for women in labor for almost 20 years. Now as a women’s heath care nurse practitioner I take care of women during their pregnancy, to help bring healthy babies into this world.

It is such an exciting time, and there is so much to talk about. It is also a time to make decisions that will affect you and your baby. We talk about the many changes going on and how to care for yourself and your growing baby.

It is the time in your life to take the best possible care of yourself. It is important to eat healthy, drink several glasses of water daily, exercise and get plenty of rest. Avoid things that can hurt you and your baby like toxic fumes, smoke, alcohol and drugs.

One of my favorite discussions is about a mother’s three gifts to her newborn. The first one is love, sometimes that’s not an instant, overwhelming feeling. Don’t worry, they will grow on you.

Remember if it isn’t love at first sight there is a good chance the birth was one of the greatest, most intense workouts of your life. Not to mention the tsunami of hormonal changes. Just put that little one skin to skin between your breasts right after birth and whisper a little prayer.

The second gift is clean air. Please, please don’t let anyone smoke around your little one. They can’t protect themselves, so it’s your job to protect their fragile lungs. Take them outside to breath in our fresh ocean air.

The third gift is your milk. It is a natural resource, healthy and nutritious. Your milk is everything your newborn needs for the first six months of life. Plus breastfeeding is cheap, always ready and helps protect your baby from infections. Another big plus is breastfed babies’ poop doesn’t stink.

We are programmed to survive, and one of the most healthy ways that babies can do so is the breast crawl. The baby is placed skin to skin between the mother’s breast and they can instinctually find their mother’s milk without guidance. They will latch on and begin to nurse.

Babies have limited vision but they can see a contrast of colors, which, along with their sense of smell, touch and taste, they can use to  find their mother’s milk. The best time to do this is right after birth while they are most alert.

Just think, in the animal world they are hard-wired to do the same. Little kangaroos are called joeys and their journey after being born is an incredible one. They are blind and much undeveloped when they are born, but still they can crawl up their mommy’s belly and into a pouch to find their source of mother’s milk.

So remember there is no formula that comes close to the ingredients that are in mother’s milk.  For a newborn to find life-supporting nutrition is an instinct; this is a skill a new mother may need some advice and assistance with. Here at Sutter Coast Hospital, our labor and delivery staff is experienced, knowledgeable and supportive.

Further, a newly developed group called The Del Norte Breastfeeding Coalition has the mission of making breast-feeding being the cultural and social norm in our county.  The coalition is composed of health-care professionals, community members and public health nurses.

Email suggestions for future House Calls columns to Beth Liles at Sutter Coast Hospital, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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