Sunday, July 11, 2010

Keeping Clam -Day 2

There is absolutely nothing better than clams and mussels fresh from the water!
I left these in a cool place in their clean saltwater to purge overnight.

Recipe "Clams and Mussels Provencal": Saute coarsely chopped garlic and fresh green onions in olive oil. Add 1 28 oz can good quality plum tomatoes, chopped coarsely, and a handful of fresh garden herbs- I used oregano, thyme, marjoram and parsley tonight. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Srub clams and mussels, de-beard the mussels. Place in a wide, shallow pan, add a small amount of water, cover, bring to a boil , reduce heat and steam gently just until all shells have popped open. When ready to eat, gently add the shell fish and liquid to the tomato sauce. Blend and spoon sauce and tomatoes over shells. Spoon clams and mussels  into bowls, ladle tomatoes and herbs with plenty of broth over shellfish, and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juice.
Crocosmia "Lucifer"- now why in the devil do you think they call it that??? This plant is amazing. It is as tall as I am! and speaking of tall- look below. 
The sidewalls on the studio are 7 feet high! This wild digitalis looks like it's going to top that!!! Whew!  Long daylight hours from late spring to mid autumn are a benefit of living this far north. Plants grow larger here, and when 15 hours of daylight is combined with 80 degree summer temperatures, you can almost watch the plants grow. Our spring has been so cool this year, that the vegetable garden is getting a slow start. Usually we have a warm autumn, with some summer flowers contiinuting to bloom until October ..Amazing!                                                                                                                

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Keeping Clam

One of the greatest pleasures of summer is heading out to a favorite clamming beach with a daughter and a friend to engage in the primal pursuit of hunting and gathering ones own food. Nevermind that one now must carry a license for the privilege, and that forged garden trowels and plastic buckets have now replaced digging sticks with stone points and animal skin bags. The pleasure and satisfaction that come from succesfully harvesting food from the wild, and the camraderie of those engaged in that effort is surely carried in our genes.
Favorite clamming beach  Tide -3

A bucket of manilas.
The daily catch limit is 40 clams per person. Minimum size 1 1/2 inches across. We purge them overnight in saltwater, saute onions, garlic, celery and herbs in a big pot, add a cup of dry white wine, add clams and steam just until they open. Remove clams to large bowl, reduce juices in pan to about half, add a little butter or a few drops of heavy cream. Pour bubbling sauce over clams...  I love to soak up the sauce with a crusty baguette when the clams have been devoured!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priceless Treasure in Our Own back Yard

Olympic National Park covers over 600,000 acres of incredibly beautiful and diverse ecosystems. It is located at the northwestern most corner of Washington State, and it's bounderies wander between pristine wilderness beaches and lush verdant rainforests. There are trails for equestrians, wilderness backpackers, day hikers and those confined to wheelchairs.
Giant Western Red Cedar trees tower hundreds of feet into the air, some as much as 16 feet in diameter at their base. What a thrill for children to be able to see what an old growth forest looks like!

Winter storms toss giant logs like toothpicks onto pristine sand beaches.
 Life abounds in the little pools left behind at low tide.
Rock stacks are formed by the continuous action of the waves as the land erodes and is reclaimed by the sea. In many ways it is refreshing to visit a place so remote, that cell phones cut in and out and wifi service is next to impossible to find. What refreshment of the spirit occurs when one is unplugged for a few days!
Take a few days and see what this amazing gem of a park has to offer. There is a little something for everyone, and the blue skies, babbling brooks, unending beaches, clean uncrowded campgrounds and well marked trails make this park a true gem- right in my own back yard!