I am picking mushrooms constantly. Well, one variety, which is the only one I can identify for certain. Today I found one lonely asparagus in a field far from any gardens. Was it wild? I am not sure. I ate it right there in the middle of the field surrounded by goats and their poop. I hope I don't get sick because that sure wasn't sanitary. Stupid health department would put me in jail if they had their druthers. Anyways, it was lovely. Then there is the ocean. I have gathered seaweed and clams for these two recipes. I dug cockles and butter clams and picked sea lettuce. the people on the beach said cockles were no good, but I kept saying the French eat them and I thought they were pretty good anyways, despite the French. I prepared them in a beer batter and served them with a sort of spinach pudding, lets say, and a sauce of pureed red onions with butter, honey and vinegar. The seaweed went with mussels (I didn't forage them but they were from a local farm, Westcott Bay) Swiss chard and farm butter.
(Have I mentioned the butter here? We make it from raw cream all you have to do is beat it, pretty simple. We have a special mixer that sits on top of a gallon glass jar but one could use a hand held or stand mixer. The key is raw milk though. Unlike regular store butter this actually tastes like something. I think it cultures as it sits on the counter. It develops some really cheese-like flavors. Everyone around here spreads it like cream cheese.)
2 tbs. Apple cider vinegar
1 tbs. Honey
¼ - ½ cup Milk
2 Heritage Farm fresh eggs separated and whites beaten to stiff peaks
Sauté onion very slowly in butter so it starts to sweeten. (10 min.). Add vinegar and honey and reduce until completely absorbed by onion. Blanch spinach in boiling water until wilted (15 seconds) and put in ice water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible there should be about a cup and 1/2 . Put this mixture in a high speed blender with the part of the milk, onions and egg yolks and flour. Blend until very smooth It should be a somewhat thick consistency which can be adjusted with the milk. Fold in the egg whites and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes in a greased and floured 9" baking dish. Let cool and then cut into rectangles. Reheat to plate up.
Red Onion Puree
1/2 red onion sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
4 tbs butter
Cook the first three ingredients until the onions are tender and then puree in a high speed mixer adding the butter until very smooth. It should have a good balance between sweet and sour. It can be adjusted to your licking
For the clams
Cleaned clams taken out of the shell and separated into foot, lips and body. (To clean the clams let them sit in sea water and cornmeal overnight, open them with an oyster shucker or a butter knife. Separate it into it's major body parts. Slice the foot into along the tube to make one flat piece for frying. Slice out most of the guts from the body and rinse everything to get the last of the dirt out.)1 bottle beer
oil for frying
Mix beer into flour to make a batter about a pancake consistency. Coat clams with plain flour and then into batter and then into hot oil (350) and fry until golden. It should only take 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper assemble like my picture.
Steamed Mussels with Swiss Chard and Seaweed ButterFor the Mussels
!/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbs. Bacon fat
Saute shallot in bacon fat on high heat with cleaned mussels and vinegar; cover pot. Cook until shells open. Strain cooking liquid and take mussels out of shell.
For the butter: Collect sea lettuce from the beach. Dry in oven at 200 degrees. Blend in food processor with butter -- 4 parts butter to one part seaweed.
To assemble in restaurant fashion: Saute diced swiss chart stems in a couple teaspoons of bacon fat. Add cleaned mussels and a few tablespoons fresh cooking liquid, a bit of fresh cream, and then finish by swilling in a few pats of seaweed butter.