Land and Sea

My locavore weekend

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I’m not a stickler for details, but once in a while I like to give myself a personal challenge, focused entirely on rules I make up myself.

This time around, I looked at the plethora of food products available in my immediate vicinity—namely, my backyard and a nearby beach—and decided I’d spend the midsummer weekend eating as many of them as I could. To anyone who’d listen, I called it my “locavore weekend.”

The edible fun started Friday morning, when my fella whipped up a breakfast featuring fried eggs from our own hens atop Avenue Bread muffins. For good measure, I suggested adding chopped chives from the garden. He did, and it was delicious.

Lunch at the office consisted of a backyard salad with lettuce, kale, arugula, fennel leaves, tiny yellow and green zucchinis, an avocado (no, I didn’t grow it), and a few of those aforementioned chives. It was big enough to be filling, and gave me the energy to get through the rest of the workday.

Dinner was a no-brainer. We’d already invited a few friends over to help cull our meat rabbit population, and I augmented the menu with another green salad, grilled zucchini, Yukon Gold potatoes that had been pulled out of the patch near the tomatoes the weekend before, and, per my boyfriend’s request, steak for the barbecue (for the record, we didn’t “grow” the steaks).

By the time the nine rabbits had been humanely dispatched in a group effort involving a few different outdoor workstations, the rest of the supper had been prepped and all that remained was to grill what needed to be grilled—including two of the hares, which I marinated with olive oil, Bragg’s, homegrown rosemary and dashes of salt and pepper.

By the time we sat down at the picnic table to eat, dusk was falling and the waxing moon, along with subdued candlelight, gave the dinner an otherworldly glow. There wasn’t a lot of talking, as everyone was too busy “oohing” and “ahhing” in between mouthfuls. To say the meal was a success would be an understatement.

Although we were up until midnight cleaning and freezing the remaining rabbits, that didn’t stop us from waking early and getting out of the house by 7:30am in order to make it to a nearby beach in time to catch low tide and the first weekend of crabbing season.

As pretty much anyone who’s ever met me knows, access to fresh seafood is one of the reasons I moved to this area in the first place. I spent my childhood summers on Lummi Island, and some of my fondest memories involve crabbing and fishing both on the beach and from our formerly trusty rowboat.

That said, Saturday’s effort wasn’t quite the bonanza I’d hoped for. Despite my keen ability to spot Dungeness hiding under seaweed, my bucket remained empty and the crab feed I’d planned for that night’s dinner party was definitely on hold.

The two crustaceans my cohort caught, however, went perfectly with an afternoon repast alongside leftovers from the night before. I melted some butter with homemade garlic scape pesto to go with the crabmeat we cracked, and a perfect Pacific Northwest lunch was enjoyed by all.

Shrimp pasta was my backup plan for dinner, and soon after lunch I peeled and marinated the shrimp—which, you guessed it, were caught in nearby waters—in lemon juice, white wine and some of the leftover pesto and butter mixture. When the time came to put it all together, I added grilled zucchini and onions from the night before, the last of the pesto, mushrooms, blue cheese and, for good measure, a few more chives. Everything was tossed with rigatoni, and most of the guests weren’t shy about taking seconds. 

We didn’t forget about dessert, which was a simple affair. Raspberries that had been picked from our patch the afternoon before were tossed on top of vanilla bean ice cream, and every bowl came back licked clean.

I was tired of cooking by the time Sunday came around, but my guy picked up the slack by whipping up an omelet for a later-than-usual brunch and, that night, making a run to Boomers to pick up a couple burgers and a blackberry milkshake—made with ice cream from Whatcom County’s own Edaleen Dairy, natch.

When all was said and done, I deemed my “locavore weekend” a rousing success. And, while I know not everyone has such easy access to rabbits, greens, root vegetables and seafood, we do live in a region where it’s pretty darn easy to get all of those things at area grocery stores, farmers markets and from local CSAs. 

In other words, if you want to have your own locavore weekend, the time is ripe. It might require a little more planning, but, trust me, it’ll be worth it.

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