Weston and Cousin Nora (visiting from NYC) exploring the eel grass flats on a minus-3.2 last week. Lots to look at when the water gets this low–moon snails, sea stars, shore crabs, pricklebacks and squirting clams. More importantly…MUD! And lots of it. We didn’t do any harvesting this day, just poked around and checked it all out. Kids and minus tides are made for each other. Tons of fun.
Pork ribs, for example. I know it’s a bit off topic for this blog, but I can’t help myself. I have a real weakness for ribs prepared just about any way–slow smoked ribs, grilled, boiled-then-barbecued, steamed Chinese style with black bean sauce and ginger, etc–but these are my favorites.
Mostly, I want to taste the pork itself, and I like to chew a bit rather than have them falling off the bone. So I use a really simple rub of brown sugar, garlic salt, Lawry’s salt and a little cayenne to taste. Rub it in the night before or early the day of, and store in the fridge. Then it’s low heat in the propane barbecue (2 of 3 burners on low) or about 25 briquettes to a side in the Weber kettle with a pan of water in the middle and a tray of whatever kind of wood chips you like. In the Weber, you can soak your wood chips and toss them on top of the charcoal from time to time, or make a foil pouch.
I like to cook at temperature where it’s producing plenty of smoke and I can still touch the outside of the barbecue without burning my hand. Probably about 225 to 250 degrees, but that’s just a guess. Anyway, two to two-and-a-half hours later, this is what they look like. And now I’m getting hungry just thinking about ribs. Time for dinner!
You know that feeling when you see a picture of yourself and you look really awesome and cool? Neither do I. Man, what a cheeseball. Anyway…
This coming Thursday, June 27th, I will be reading from and talking about Closer to the Ground aboard the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry. More specifically, the 3:50pm Bainbridge-to-Seattle and the 4:40pm Seattle-to-Bainbridge boats. The event is part of Kitsap Regional Library’s “Ferry Tales” program, and I can’t think of a better venue for a book about foraging, fishing, cooking and eating from Puget Sound than literally on…Puget Sound.
So, if you happen to be in the area and feel up for a little boat ride, jump on the ferry and check it out. Or, if you’re commuting anyway, well, I guess I got you where I want you. Sweet. Either way, I look forward to meeting and talking with you in person. Hope you can make it.
Just home from an awesome-but-too-short visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. And actually, there are a lot more than two words to describe it. We had lots of fun beach time, family reunion, great fishing and hanging out with our “extended family” of Captains Brian Horsley and Sarah Gardner, and FOOD!
Brian and Sarah provided the raw materials for a huge feast Stacy and I cooked for her family reunion, including melt-in-your-mouth deer back strap (The part that when someone gives it to you, it means they really love you–Thanks Sarah…we feel the love.), deer burgers, blackened cobia and a huge, fresh yellowfin tuna loin, which I lightly marinated in soy and brown sugar, rolled in sesame seeds and seared rare on a blazing-hot grill, then sliced and served with a soy, wasabi, sriracha (chili paste) lemon dipping sauce. Kind of a North Carolina surf and turf. So good.
But back to the fried flounder. This might sound a little Agent Cooper-ish, but if you ever find yourself on the Outer Banks, the Black Pelican in Kitty Hawk’s has a fried flounder dinner that’s to die for. One of my top five favorite things to eat in the world. And really, when you go to the South, you have to eat as the Southerners do, which is fried. They fry stuff here better than anywhere in the world. And this flounder is light, extremely crispy on the outside, with firm, flavorful flesh. Better yet, they leave the skin on the fillet, which adds flavor and crisp texture. I waited two years for this meal, and it did not disappoint. And, in the week we were there, I squeezed in three of these dinners. Yes!
If you want grilled, steamed, stir-fried, baked, roasted or broiled…eat in Seattle, New York, or anywhere else. In the South, don’t mess around…go fried.
And when you visit the Outer Banks, between fried flounder meals, I highly recommend a fishing trip with Brian and Sarah. They fish out of Oregon Inlet, and nobody knows the inshore fisheries there like they do. Albacore, sharks, monster cobia, speckled trout, red drum, spanish mackerel, bluefish…they have it wired. And I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend time on the water with, either. For more info, click HERE.
Great trip, great friends, family, food and hours of chasing the kids around in the warm waves. Awesome.
And now…back to reality. Lots of farm and desk work to catch up on, kid activities, and king season approaches…Summer has arrived.
Skyla and Weston, I am sorry the natural world you are growing up in is not as good as the one I had. I’m sorry that my generation used more than we put back, that we consumed without thinking, that we voted with our ballots and checkbooks to support large-scale resource extraction to devastating effect. That we somehow turned the oil companies—even as they poisoned our water, soil and air—into the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. That we drove too much and walked too little. That we packaged everything in plastic, sprayed chemicals on our yards, cut down your forests, built fish farms and hatcheries, and covered the land with shopping malls.
I would like to say we did the best we could, but we didn’t. Science warned us about the dangers of global warming, fracking, open-pit mining, fish farms, coal burning, and yet, we didn’t listen. For a lot of us, myself included, we spent years not knowing or thinking about the collective impact our small, daily decisions might have on the planet. But now we know. And I think more of us are listening. We are tearing down dams, giving up our lawn chemicals, supporting organic farms, recycling and trying to pay attention to what we buy and eat.
Skyla and Weston, I am so happy that you love to be outside and proud of the skills you are learning. That you can paddle a kayak, work on the farm, catch salmon and find chanterelles in the woods. Doing these things with you is more fun than I ever imagined. So here’s my Father’s Day wish: I hope that someday, you can tell your own children that their grandparents really did do the best they could, and that your generation took it from there and made the world better. And if it’s not too much to ask, I hope that I might be there with you then, so we can enjoy this better world you’ve made, together.