The right way to bring in the new year is with a traditional meal of carp either poached, braised, boiled, broiled, grilled, smoked, fried or fricasseed.
Archive for the 'Know from where your dinner comes' Category
The takeout was a dirt ramp. We had permission but I’m not sure why. Up above there was a collection of single-wides, derelict RV’s, rusted farm implements, and a Glastron ski boat on blocks.
When there came a godawful squealing we thought the winch on the trailer had seized up. We stopped cranking and listened and the sound was coming from up the hill. Just then a man came down the ramp with wild hair and bib overalls and half of his uppers.
“How’d y’all do?”
“Bass or catfish?”
“White’uns or them regulars?”
He tugged at his asscrack and pondered that and then he went on about he and his boy and a mess of yella cats they’d caught awhile back. When the squealing started again we turned and looked up the hill, and then back at him.
“What’s all that racket?”
“Yeah. We got up on a hog.”
Bahamian chicken, landscape design element, ceviche, erosion control, take out the critter before you put one in your duffel, key west football team, gastropod mollusk, fried rubber bands, campy tourist train, erotic to some, yankees pronounce it con-chuh, souvenir, ralph wanted it, chowder, eat the worm and make your pecker stiff, authority, blow it like a horn to start your luau, simon has it, tie it to a stick and hit somebody, symbol of an island republic, protected in los roques, hear the ocean, country station on big pine key, slow like a glacier, paint one on a coconut, got piggy killed…fritters!
The Harvest Moon is on the wane, and the local flows are dropping and clearing in preparation for being put away for the winter. The low murmur of shotguns from the duck flats has replaced the steady background noise of the tourist industry, and the honking now comes from above as the first of the Southbound geese are winging in from the tundra. And after yesterday’s tilling of the bumper crop, the home fries are gonna taste particularly good this weekend.
Must be Fall.
Fly-Fishing Industry Threatened by Congress, says AFFTA chair Jim Klug. They’re shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED!
Coolness courtesy of the Library of Congress collection, the Works Projects Administration, and Lithgow Osborne, Commissioner of the New York State Conservation Department, 1933-1938.
Got this shot from the BirdDog last night; the weekend’s final tally and it’s damn impressive. I guess unlike steelhead fishing, morel picking is about numbers. A few Mason jars loaded with dried morchella tastes like sweet, reminiscent paydirt next winter when it’s time for dutch oven elk stew around a winter campfire. An old friend I wish I saw more often once described camp food as ‘not needing to be very good, just fairly hot.’ and I tend to agree, but elk and morels defy rules of convenience.
This here’s about triple the load his basket held when we last saw him Sunday morning, knife in hand, the look of mushroom bloodlust scanning those wet, southfacing slopes and thinking maybe. We said our goodbyes around 10 am. He cracked what was left of our Tallboy stash from a weird, cool party/sorta Dead show named the Goose Creek Massacre even though we were no where near any Goose Creek, and then he headed off toward another a patch of Grand Fir. I’d guess he stayed in that Fir cove for a few hours to find a stash like this. But that’s when morels and fish are the same. Like steelhead, you never leave mushrooms to find mushrooms. Never.
After twenty years of letting these rivers beat the hell out of me and taking the occasional steelhead out of them, I started to get the feeling that I had seen the most of what the territory had to offer. At least once a year I drive north to take a pulse, see if the fish are around and try to cross a particular tailout that just keeps getting deeper and faster. Upon reaching the first piece of water, I happened to notice that the fish were not only in the river, but also attempting to leap a five foot cascade of water over shale. I laid my gear down, sat down on a comfortable hunk of granite and with the old beater digital camera (the poky one with no video), attempted to make a sweet shot of a large silver fish in the air. An eddy graces the east side of this particular plunge pool and as I waited and watched I witnessed several fish deliberately swim with their heads out of the water. I could see their pectoral fins doing the doggie paddle around this swirl. And see their eyes. Looking at the falls.
I’m undecided. Are these fish freaks? Can they reason as well? The nearest nuclear facility is a hell of a long way from here. I’ve seen and fished the awesome steelhead waters of the northwest, the driftless region in Wisconsin, the Battenkill. I’ve floated the fish tank called the Green. I had best sex of my life with lady luck on the Miracle Mile. I thought I had a lot of fishing under my belt.
Not enough, I guess. Never enough.
Indian summer here. The fallen leaves are brown, but the chanterelles are still yellow. Easy picking until heavy rain and/or frost turns them to mush. Go forth and forage!
British Petroleum’s 52-page exploration plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, says repeatedly that it was, “unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities.”
And while the company conceded that a spill would impact beaches, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, it argued that “due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.”
- Approximately 75% of migrating waterfowl traversing the U.S. pass through the Gulf.
- The state bird of Louisiana, the Brown Pelican, was just taken off the Endangered Species List last year. They are in the midst of their breeding season right now on Gulf islands.
- One of the world’s largest colonies of the threatened Least tern.
- Up to 20 National Wildlife Refuges could be potentially affected by the spill, many home to species that are already threatened or endangered.
- Already hit – Breton National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest tern colony in North America, predominantly of sandwich, royal, and caspian terns. Also American oystercatcher, Brown pelican, Reddish egret and endangered Piping plover. Also an important wintering area for Magnificent frigatebird, and stopover site for Redhead and Lesser scaup.
- The Gulf of Mexico yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish annually than the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake, and New England areas combined.
- 59% of the nation’s total oyster catch.
- 73% of the nation’s shrimp harvest.
- $660 million dollar annual commercial fishery
- In Louisiana alone, recreational and commercial fishing have a total economic impact of about $4 billion, according the the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
* All stats courtesy of the EPA, National Marine Fisheries Service, The American Bird Conservancy, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries
Photo courtesy of a cool chick in the Wildlife Dept. at ADF&G
Whaddya think the big Bull on the left side is saying?
“Ah crap, Alice…there goes the Neighborhood.”
Times are tough, in case you haven’t noticed. If you aren’t raising your own chickens, canning your own vegetables, reloading ammo, and improving fortifications around your perimeter it’s doubtful you’ll make it through the year. Enter Langdon Cook; poet, forager, chef, flight surgeon and author of FAT OF THE LAND. Cook takes us on a seasonal tour of the Pacific Northwest showing us the region’s bounty. We learn from Cook that no matter how bad it gets you don’t have to starve to death – you’re never far from your next meal. Just pick it, trap it, catch it or spear it, make sure it’s not poisonous, then cook it and eat it.
From FAT OF THE LAND
Back at the house we fillet the rest of the shad. It feels good to have a cooler filled with fresh fish and know that a box of canned shad is in my future. True, it would feel even better to have a load of salmon, but we can’t complain. Beedle has recently sold his tutoring business, and though he tries to be optimistic, now that he’s in his mid-fifties it isn’t likely he can go back to his original career, teaching high school biology. The summer is often a time of rest for educators, though this summer I expect will offer more uncertainty than rest for my friend. As I back out of his driveway I ask him what he’s up to for the dry months. For a moment he looks totally serene, without a care in the world. “Driving school,” he barks at me finally. “I’ll teach the kiddies to drive. How about that!”
Whole Shad, Cooked Low & Slow, Carolina Style
Deboning shad is a chore left to sinners in fishmonger hell. The lowcountry cooks of coastal South Carolina approach shad like a hunk of pork shoulder: they do it low and slow, until the bones are mostly dissolved or rendered soft. This recipe comes from fellow forager and proprietor of the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog, Hank Shaw, who did time on both a fishing boat and a reporter’s beat in mid-Atlantic shad country.
Shad is meaty and flavorful in a way that’s surprising for fish, so serve with mashed potatoes and a solid Chardonnay. If you have a female fish and saved the roe like any true shad lover, poach the egg skeins briefly with a dash of vinegar and a pinch of salt, then fry in butter. They brown up nicely like sausages. Serve with eggs and toast for breakfast, or with mashed potatoes and onion gravy for dinner – an American version of bangers and mash.
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 large whole shad (4 pounds), scaled and gutted
3 yellow onions, cut into half-moons
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Smoked bacon to cover fish
In a pan wide enough to fit the shad, boil enough water to cover fish and add 1 tablespoon of the salt, the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the Old Bay seasoning, and a few grindings of pepper. Add shad to boil, cover, and turn off heat. Let shad steep for 20 minutes.
In an ovenproof dish that is also large enough to hold the shad, add the onions, sprinkle the rest of the salt and Old Bay seasoning over them, and then pour in enough water just to cover the bottom. Place the shad so that it rests on the onions; make sure the shad does not sit in water. Cover the pan and put it in a 200-degree oven for 4 1/2 hours. After the second hour, and then after every hour beyond that, check to see that there is still water in the pan.
After 4 1/2 hours, uncover, lay the bacon over the shad, and broil until the bacon is crispy, a few minutes. Serves 4