Sunday, August 18, 2013

Freediving for Abalone Southeast Asian Sandwiches

"Bro, I made Abalone Southeast Asian sandwiches"-me
"Did you forage the soy sauce?"-my brother
"Then I am not impressed!"- my brother

We woke to a typical north coast summer morning; cold weather and such heavy fog it actually began to sprinkle down on us.

We made our way to the ocean and tried mooching for salmon again. After a few hours with no bites we switched gears.

The visibility was poor, but we managed 3 abalone each (daily limits).


Good foragers play by the our abalone were tagged as soon as we hit the shore.

Another benefit to finding abalone rich coves are the abundant water-worn shell fragments you can find in the surf zone.

Once back home we pried the abs from their beautifully iridescent shells, and began the process of cleaning and pounding the meat. Pearls are pretty rare, but we found a couple of them this day.

Waste not, want not. Abalone guts and trimmings make the best rock fish bait. It was frozen for later use.

The meat was set aside, wrapped in an old T-shirt and beaten mercilessly with a club. Abalone is very tough so it requires a thorough pounding. Some folks only pound it once it is filleted, but our family tradition is to give them a solid beating while whole, and then a secondary pounding with a meat mallet afterwards. This ensures butter-tender meat.

I gathered some carrots from the garden, matched them with a daikon radish and pickled them using some of my buddy Alex's delicious homemade Gravensein apple cider vinegar.

I churned a little fresh butter for the bread (as I hate mayonnaise with a passion).

And placed the pounded abalone fillets in a teriyaki marinade which used some garlic from my brother and his girlfriend's garden.

While these items soaked up the spices I played around with some of the shell fragments.

Keep in mind Abalone dust is a lung irritant, so if you plan on working with it, wear a mask, work in a well ventilated area, and keep the shell wet.

A few apple wood skewers held the meat over an apple wood flame...

And in no time flat we were enjoying the best Southeast Asian sandwiches I have ever had!

Well...I have to go now, the hops and walnuts need harvesting.

Keep the old ways alive!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Peach Cobbler

Got out for a quick peach foray the other day.

Made off with a bounty.

Late in the evening we whipped up a nice peach cobbler ...

and feasted like royalty on our foraged bounty!

'Tis the season for fruit, so get out there and gather!
Keep the old ways alive!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hobo Lunch: BLT and Freshly Foraged Fruit Salad

"On the road again. I just can't wait to be on the road again..." Willie Nelson
Inspired by my buddy Nicholas and his mountain man brunch (image below), I decided to set out to the country hill on my board for a little hobo lunch. 
It was really nice to get back out to the country hills again. Some of the roads that had been smooth as silk in my younger years had now become cracked, patched and full of ruts. Yet, I still found some great and memorable rides. 

I had to stop and admire the flora and fauna along the way. Regardless of the immensely painful rash it inflicts, there is something beautiful about the fiery colors of poison oak.


At the crest of my favorite hill I took a little break in the shade of an apple tree that had often fed us as kids.

And took in the view of orchards as far as the eye can see...


I met some friends along the way, both domestic...

And wild.

This place sure has character.

I stopped off and gathered some well seasoned scrub oak wood.
And got a blaze going in my hobo stove on a sand bar next to a little creek.

With some flour, salt, and water I whipped up some flat bread, and then grilled up some bacon...

This was the perfect location for a hobo lunch...

Wildcrafted dandelion greens and fresh tomatoes from my friend's garden completed my BLT. The foraged peach, pear, apple, blackberry fruit salad complemented it quite well. And my newly fashioned apple wood plate and locust wood fork finally got some use.

It took me four hours total to complete an adventure that spanned three miles (and at times 40mph on my board), an amazing feast in a prime location, and plenty of sighs of pure contentment.
Even if you can just get out for a half day...there is an adventure around every bend just waiting for you to embrace it! Let's turn off the T.V. and start living seasonally. And always strive to keep the old ways alive!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gravenstein Hard Apple Cider: Local, Organic, Delicious!

"An apple a day, keeps the doctor away!"

Well the first of the Gravenstein apples were ready to harvest the day after our first Brew North club meeting. Jesse, my Dad, and I made our way to one of our favorite trees with a bucket and high expectations.

This year the apples were abundant and healthy.

The Gravenstein is an heirloom varietal that put our little town on the map in the early 20th century. Growing up on an apple orchard I can tell you that there are apples...and then there are APPLES! Grav's are truly magnificent apples! You will not see them on the shelves of big-time chain supermarkets however. This old variety has a season as short as its shelf life. These little gems must be eaten fresh, pressed into juice, fermented into hard cider, turned into pies, or all of the above. 

Step 1) Climb tree

Step 2) shake the tree so the ripe apples fall

Step 3) wash the apples, and go bobbing if you please

Step 4) press the juice


We pressed for a few hours enjoying our harvest.

Then it was time for another project  

Jesse is an acupuncturist with a background as an herbalist. He recently founded his new business 5 by 5 Tonics based on this interest in herbal tinctures. As a result of raving responses from a growing community that values the old ways (in this case, how drinks used to be made without all the food coloring, mass produced artificial flavoring, and other junk) his concoctions such as aromatic bitters, citrus bitters, and tonic syrup have hardly been able to stay on the shelves. And so, one average day Jesse was hit by a lightning bolt of pure genius! Local, heirloom, organic, Gravenstein apple bitters! 

This will be a limited release product and the sole focus of it is to highlight this historical and unique  California crop in a creative and tasty way. Check Jesse's work out at

In order to pull this off, he needed apple skins immediately off of the fruit, before they had a chance to oxidize (turn brown). Luckily, an old country contraption we have relied on for year, came in handy. Our apple peeler/corer/slicer made short work of the apples and left Jesse with an abundance of skins to infuse into pure alcohol to form the base of this craft bitters.

It also left us with a whole lot of prepared apples for pie filling...

Which my Mom mixed up with cinnamon and sugar to produce a family specialty!

The apple skins were already infusing their delectable flavors and Jesse's project was a huge success! We Brew North (ers) pitched some yeast in another car boy and had 5 gallons of heirloom hard apple cider fermenting by the evening.

Keep the old ways alive!