Hearth and Board

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Angel Biscuits
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Heavenly

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.

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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!

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

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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.

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Recipes

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.

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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.

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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.

Oysters and Sparkling Wine say Goodbye to Summer

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Oysters on the grill

It’s hard to believe I start back to school this week. Our traditional Surf Camp at Beverly Beach is always the last nail in Summer’s coffin. We hang at Otter Rock, cook over a fire, they surf, I drive down to Green Salmon Coffee in Yachats, we try not to talk about work, and we always have our oyster/crab feast.

I love oysters steamed in their shells over hot coals. They pop open when they’re done, so the oyster eater simply loosens it from the shell, squeezes lemon over it, adds cocktail sauce and/or hot sauce and slurps it all down.

We grilled corn and asparagus, too and melted garlic butter for the crab. We enjoyed gorgeous Hendrick’s martinis while we cooked, but when the oysters popped, so did the cava: Cristalino Brut Nature Vintage (my favorite). What a perfect night; what good friends; what a fitting farewell to a busy, healing, happy summer.