Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Foraging’ Category

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A jungle of Ronde de Nice squash blossoms and their developing squashlets

Nothing is as ephemeral or as potetially banal as summer squash.  As a teenage cook, working in not-so-fine-dining restaurants on this island I cooked a lot of zucchini every summer.  I think the chef I worked for chose zucchini as our perpetual “vegetable of the day” because it was inexpensive and easy to cook.  Trucked in from California, it was sort of fresh, and by that I mean it wasn’t frozen and it wasn’t canned.  And we certainly didn’t show it a lot of love:  We would make up a mixture of sauteed red onion, canned tomato and “Italian seasoning” and saute it all up together.  Zucchini came to represent to me the thing you put on a plate because you had a space to fill, the thing that you gave to your guest because you hadn’t thought about it very hard or because you didn’t know what else to do or because  you thought it was good enough.

I hated zucchini by the time I was 18. (more…)

Read Full Post »

I have yet to find a beach on which I can forage for oysters.  I still haven’t figured that one out.  But Tyla and I are blessed, living here in Coupeville in that our local grocer carries oysters live in the shell.  At least once a week this fall our lunch has consisted of a dozen of the bivalves.  We like them simply topped with our compound butter du jour and broiled just long enough for them to plump and release their love.   (I have included a couple of our favorite recipes at the end of this post.)

Oysters are equally delicious and nutritious, but you may be unaware just how important they are to marine ecology.  They provide both a literal and a metaphorical foundation for aquatic ecosystems. (more…)

Read Full Post »

The humble Italian Prune Plum has been on Whidbey Island since the time of the first generation of settlers.  I love them for baking and preserving and they are happening right now.

The humble Italian Prune Plum has probably been on Whidbey Island for over a century. There is nothing better for baking and preserving and they are happening right now.

If I am going to eat a fresh plum, then a Santa Rosa Plum, with its super fragile, water-balloon-like flesh is my hands down favorite.   But when it comes to making jam, jelly or a plum tart, they cannot hold a candle to the much less sexy but ever more versatile Italian Prune Plum.  It just so happens that we have a bumper crop Italian Plums this year in Coupeville.  Here is what you can do with them. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Total Take

Monday September 7th, as the sun was setting and darkness descending on the Sound, I pulled up my last crab pot of the summer season.  At 8:09 p.m. the season ended in most of Puget Sound, and I have to say that I am pretty sad about it.  It was a good season for my family, with plentiful amounts of crab on the table every weekend and some extra to share with friends, too.  This piece is a retrospective on the season, detailing what I have learned and revealing some of my secrets.  It is also intended to give you a basic overview of how to crab in Puget Sound and allow you to learn from my mistakes. (more…)

Read Full Post »

The Score is even: 3 to 3... But who is keeping track?

The Score is even: 3 to 3... But who is keeping track?

My best friend Dave worked at Pike Place Fish and Pure Food at Pike Place Market for many years.  Of course that was years after we both worked together at the Captain Whidbey, when we were kids.  We both have a lot of fish in our past, Dave even more than me.

I was talking to Dave the other day and I told him that we had started catching salmon right on the beach here on Whidbey.  What were we catching, he wanted to know.  When I told him we were getting Pinks, he said with disdain, “Yeah, I don’t eat Pinks.  They aren’t very good.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

SkinAt its most basic, fishing is the belief that the next cast is going to be entirely different from all previous casts. Casting off a beach on the western side of Whidbey Island in the effort to bring home dinner requires this kind of consistent, almost delusional optimism.  It also requires a back up plan concerning dinner.  The first three times we went beach fishing, we spent an average of 3.5 hours casting and reeling.  In that time we caught a lot of “salad” and one, very small ling cod.  We only saw two salmon landed by anyone fishing around us.  But then the Humpies came, and all hell broke loose.  The bite was on. (more…)

Read Full Post »

The Yellow Transparent variety of apple, which originated in Russia, was introduced to the United States around 1870.  This is a common, old time variety here on Whidbey Island, and right now they are ripe and fallnig on the ground everywhere you look.

The Yellow Transparent variety of apple, which originated in Russia, was introduced to the United States around 1870. This is a common, old time variety here on Whidbey Island, and right now they are ripe and fallnig on the ground everywhere you look.

A friend of mine told me that when he was a kid in the 1940’s he knew the location of every fruit tree within a three mile radius of his house.  For him summer was all about which yard had the best plum tree, with limbs that had grown over the fence, draping into the alley so that he could get at the fruit.  Of course he admits that as a youth he was not at all averse to jumping a fence if he thought he could get at those plums and not get caught.  I appreciate that story because I too grew up with fruit trees, both here on Whidbey Island as well as in Northern California.  I can attest that a ripe apricot, picked right off the tree on a warm early summer day has the potential to change a child’s life forever. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »