Hearth and Board

Angel Biscuits

The rains have begun and Nathan is sick, so the weekend is all about hearth and home. That means Saturday baking and a Sunday all-day stew. All day, that is, after the cruise to the beach for a fancy breakfast and stops at Rockfish Bakery, Trillium Natural Foods and Bob’s Books.


Friday, we had one of our favorites, Dippy Food Dinner. This meal includes olives, pickles, cheese, bread, fruit, hummus (or other dippy dip), olive oil/balsamic vinegar/sea salt (“eyeball”), and most importantly, a nice, tasty bottle of bubbly wine, usually Cava, because it’s good! (And Nathan doesn’t complain, because it’s always under $15!)

Saturday, we baked Angel Biscuits and cooked up some brown rice and a salmon fillet and feasted on it over a bed of arugula. We caught up on old episodes of Luther and the week’s Daily Shows and Colbert Reports, roasted coffee and played games. We even smoked the leftover salmon… indoors! In the cast iron bean pot!


Sunday, after our adventures in town, we lit the wood cook stove and started stewing the lamb. I made the kale salad

early so the dressing had time to soak in. Rockfish’s perfect, chewy, crusty ciabatta loaf went perfectly. The whole day was infused with this amazing smell of bubbling stew.


In defense of illness, we drank bottomless pots of tea, ate delicious, healthy food, kept a cozy fire and laughed at each other’s jokes.



Kale Salad
Stem and rip up enough kale to fill your favorite salad bowl. Add 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle with dressing: olive oil, tamari sauce, maple syrup and fresh minced garlic, maybe a squeeze of lemon. Let sit until crazy delicious.

Lamb Stew
Brown lamb shank(s). Remove from pan. Cooked diced onion, celery and carrots in lamb fat. Add minced garlic. When the whole room smells of cooking garlic, add chicken broth and simmer for a few. Add shank(s), fill with water. Add 1/2 cup dried flagolet beans. Let stew for 3-4 hours. Add potatoes. Stew for another hour. Enjoy all week!

Angel Biscuits
Put a package of yeast in 1/2 cup warm water with a teaspoon of honey. Sift together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter. When it looks like cornmeal, add 1/2 cup milk to the yeast mixture and toss into flour mixture. Knead lightly, roll out about 1/3″ thick. Cut round shapes with the mouth of a drinking glass. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise for an hour. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Cool on baking rack.

Crispy Salmon
Heat a cast iron pan until very hot. Slip in salmon, skin side down. Cook until crispy. If the fillet is more than 1/2″ thick, put into oven to finish cooking. It is done when a fork inserted meets with no resistance. Do not over cook. Serve skin side up.


And on the seventh day… We drove to Las Vegas… The Delayed Seventh Mushroom

The Deer (or fawn) Mushroom, Pluteus cervinus, grows on wood and looks a little like polished wood grain.


It is edible! We haven’t tried them yet, so I’ll update when we do. It does looks just like its poisonous relative that grows from the ground, so we will only sample ones that are obviously growing on wood. On Spider Spring they are growing in clumps on an old vine maple stump.


As the name implies, deer love them. But that’s not why it’s called the Deer Mushroom. The creamy white gills have antlers! They have special cells that grow out and split. The spore print is pinkish or peachy colored, so the gills become pink with age. Deer Mushrooms are beautiful. Even if they weren’t food, I’d feel lucky to have them growing on our property.

The Storm

Holy Cow!

Last night flung itself into a rage. It cried. It wailed. It threw trees around. It surrounded the yurt and peered in the skylight. It broke the chimney and left drifts of snowy ash against the lattice.

“Are we still in Kansas, Toto?”
“Are we still in Oregon, Pixie?”
“Where is the flashlight? Where is the match and the candle?”

The road was bristled with needles and broken branches. None of the usual road kill. Skunks, deer, cats and coyotes were in deep hiding. Perhaps huddled and cuddled together, the douglas squirrels and the martins; the moths and the snakes; the elk and the wolves, waiting for the day to calm the night down. Soothe it with light and song. But the night lifted itself and blackened the sun. And day could do nothing but wait as well. Waiting for the rain to become deep hiccups and the wind, shuddering gasps.

Great lakes pool in the middle of roads. Rain splashes in all directions. Noon is as dark as midnight.