Category Archives: Field Notes

Foraging Chanterelle Mushrooms

Learning to live off the land through growing, cultivating and foraging for food is a process that I’ve just recently really embarked on. The knowledge that I seek in this arena will bring about healthy, sustainable and truly organic food for myself and my family. It is through learning to do this that I will have fun while finding a sense of freedom from a food chain that produces unhealthy garbage. I’m looking to be mindfully inserting myself into the cycle of food that I choose to nurture my body and spirit.

Just recently, I set about on my first ever mushroom foraging trip. Some friends of ours have been picking mushrooms for years and so we trusted them and their local knowledge about these edibles. As we arrived to the super secret spot we parked along the road, grab our wicker baskets, strapped our young toddler children to our backs and then headed off into the woods. It took us novices a bit of time to develop our ‘eyes’ to hone in on the chanterelle species. Once we did though they were like golden neon signs glowing amongst of the woodland area. Surprisingly in the two hours that we gathered we ended up with just about 12oz of quality mushrooms.

The meal I prepared with our chanterellles is from author Hank Shaw (@Hank_Shaw or honest-food.net) and his tag line of “Sexiest Soup Ever” was just all that I needed to proceed with preparation.  This was my very first time taking a stab at a Veloute and as it smelled fantastic, I think this is where I might have gone wrong. As I was so worried about over cooking and temps to high, I think I fell off at the other end of the spectrum with temps to low. The consistency of my soup was just way to thin than I expected this soup to be. The flavors were great, even though my soup was not thick enough. As a side note I had to substitute the brandy with Jack Daniel’s Honey whiskey (which was a gift and buried in my liquor cabinet.) Otherwise I followed Shaw’s recipe to a T and took my time, cherished a couple of Belgian Trippel’s  from New Belgium Brewing and just enjoyed the preparation process of new ingredients and new cooking methodologies.

This excursion into the woods just further solidified my desire to find/grow my food. I do believe that the time I spend with my food the more I pay attention to how I will prepare the meal and through all that goodness I take pride in what I’ve accomplished. Staying close to my food’s roots, taking refuge in knowing where my ingredients come from.

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Field Notes: Meat on the Table

The on-going debate about our food has the consumer struggling to make decisions about what to eat. It’s a challenge as the Big Food industry is cheaper and during these tough economic times where every penny counts, it’s hard to pay for more expensive food. It’s true in my household, the downside to all of that, which is where I personally struggle, is how it affects health. Not just in me alone, but more in a we as a society. We may be paying for cheaper food, but we are paying more for health care, medications and the like. That’s not a red or blue issue, that’s just what it is. Either way we are paying more for cheap food.

This battle against the giant is on-going and it’s all over the news, but I think many choose not to look at it, instead we find ourselves buying the crap food at the grocery store because it’s what we can afford. I feel guilty when I buy that pork shoulder for $2/lb, but that $8 shoulder can yield at least 3 meals for my family. I know that damn pig is hopped up on drugs, yet I find myself in a paradox of what I can do. I struggle.

This week’s field notes is about food and mostly meat. These are the stories that I found interesting to this topic.

Big Food fighting GMO labeling
http://grist.org/food/big-food-puts-its-back-into-fighting-gmo-labeling-in-california/

Antibiotics In Meat
http://www.motherearthnews.com/sustainable-farming/antibiotics-in-meat-zwfz1207zhun.aspx

All you need to know to eat good, grass-fed meat
http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/grass-fed-meat-zm0z12jjzkon.aspx

New Cuts of Meat Slash Prices, too
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/foodwine/2018724361_groc26cheapcuts.html

Venison vs Beef
http://www.livestrong.com/article/326549-nutritional-values-of-venison-vs-beef/

Friday Field Notes

Exciting and interesting events are taking place in and around the Pacific NW and beyond. This Field Notes will highlight a few locally as well as a more national tie in on a couple of the topics.

Wild Steelhead Found Spawning in the Elwha
Since the removal of the old dam, large wild steelhead have been tracked and visually spotted in the upper reaches of the Elwha river that is past the site of the dam.

Small Local Farming Creating a New Profit Model
An interesting article on small farming models.

The Antithesis to the idea of being a localvore
An article that presents an idea that the 10,000 mile diet is a much better solution that going local. Personally, I think he’s full of shit.

Local Seattlelite, Langdon Cook, featured on NPR

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
This is a great site, I wanted to focus on as I keep a printout of their dirty dozen list in my wallet for when I’m at the grocery store picking up my produce. More during the winter months when my farmer’s markets are not open.

Field Notes

There’s been  a lot of reporting in the news lately about our food in both in not-so-good light and in some promising rays . Over the course of the last week I’ve selected a few to pass along and share with the great collective. This is going to be a new catergory I plan to incorporate called Field Notes, where I can pass along what I believe are useful links and/or news stories to share for the common good. It could be monthly or it could be weekly, so come on back and check in on the Waxing Mind.

The meat industry and the concerns around their ‘farming’ practices are once again a topic of an NPR story. Again, it’s all around us and yet we continue, myself included, to bury our heads and then unwrap that cellophane wrapped cut from our grocery store and we still eat it. I’m making progress in moving forward with hunting and fishing my own meat, but it takes time, so my immediate issue is how to fend for it in the mean time.
Assessing Consumer concerns about the Meat Industry

The mere fact that this is even a story and this is even going on, just is so sad. That these PA minimum wage workers use the past dated food to feed their family. There is no need for a food shortage anymore.
School Cafeteria Workers

My wife and I just hit up our farmer’s market this past weekend and it was the second market this season. While we were there we picked up some kale, not really knowing what to do with it, but we also know that its a superfood packed with nutrients. In the past we’ve just sauted it with olive oil and garlic, but I wanted to try something different and then I saw this tweet. Love it when life works out that way. Now I just need to decided which way to try it.
10 ways to Prepare Kale

Even in the face of bad farming practices that are not sustainable or even that healthy. I remain optimistic about the future of farming, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has been doing work to promote progress in the food industry and currently there is the possibility for some changes that US senate is debating right now in  congress for our Farm Bill, for some additional info check out:
Food Revolution

If you are up for the change, and like me, want to support your local small farmer then I’d encourage you to take action here:
Food Farm Bill