“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” ~Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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I keep recipe beginnings on scratch pieces of paper, old receipts and in my pocket and add ideas as they occur to me. Eventually, when I find a pause in my day, I set to work in the kitchen.

Being only the very beginnings of fall, the list of foods to cook is largely composed of things I think are really good, and not things that others would necessarily agree with:

Chocolate Guiness Cake

Apple Parsnip Soup

Fussilli Alla Crazy Bastard (It’s real good, find the recipe here)

Housemade Brioche Buns

Black Butte Porter Baby Back Ribs

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

So, in keeping with the same authentic west coast vibe that launched the success of SOBO, a destination restaurant that dishes out locally-sourced, seasonally-inspired foods in Tofino, Canada, I’m passing this killer fish taco recipe on to you before your own lists get too long.

SOBO Fish Tacos with Fruity Salsa // serves 8
adapted from The SOBO Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the end of the Canadian Road, by Lisa Aheiler

2 lb wild salmon, boneless and skinless, cut into 1″ cubes
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/2 cup avocado or olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup puréed canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
16 crispy hard taco shells
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries 
1 granny smith apple, diced
2 avocados, diced small
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
Juice of 1 lime

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for fruit salsa. Gently fold to combine. Set aside.

Season Salmon with salt. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the oil until hot. Add the onion and sauté 1 minute. Add the salmon and cook for about 3 minutes, until just cooked. Add the chipotle chilies and cook 2-3 more minutes. Remove from the heat.

Fill taco shells halfway with fish mixture, then top with salsa and shredded cabbage. Serve and Enjoy.

xo,

“Burst into birds and let the feathers fly. We have flapping wings for beating hearts and they crave the taste of sky.” ~Tyler Knott Gregson

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The imaginative abundance I have with foods from the field, rod, or gun spills over into my emotional life so much so that it’s torturous at times. Always creating intuitively, from ingredients at the peak of freshness, my hope is to continue developing recipes that one craves and can simply replicate to begin a new tradition of cooking from what the earth produces in season versus what the grocery stores push on us.

When I cook with proteins they can be a bit exotic. Very rarely are they served as the main dish, but more as an accompaniment to a variety of locally grown nuts, seeds, vegetables, and cheeses. Foods so real you can taste the regions they came from. Yearning for sweet grouse harvested from last weekends hunt and a shameless obsession for salads, organic baby greens are tossed with Oregon hazelnuts, dried cranberries, earthy beets, seasonal roast butternut squash, blue cheese and white balsamic vinaigrette for a satisfying autumnal fete.

Autumnal Salad with Wild Grouse // serves 2

8 ounces wild grouse breasts (any poultry works well)
5 cups organic salad greens
1 small butternut squash, skin removed, and diced
2 beets, cooked, skins removed, and diced
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
1/4 cup raw hazelnuts
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt
Coarse ground pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 8×8 pyrex baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange cubed butternut squash evenly among pan. Roast for 34 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Combine the vinegar and lemon juice in a small glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil and honey until fully combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the grill to hot. Lightly brush grouse with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the grouse breasts on the grill, with the thicker portion facing the hotter part of your grill (usually the back). Cook 4 minutes. Flip the grouse, keeping the thick part of the grouse toward the hot part of the flame, and cook about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

In a large bowl, toss greens, dried cranberries, cheese, butternut squash, and hazelnuts with prepared dressing. Divide among 2 plates. Top with diced beets and grilled wild grouse. Serve and Enjoy!

xo,

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ~Emerson

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Much of what I know of wild game I learned from my family. Hunting the Blue Mountain Range of Eastern Oregon since the 1950’s, my grandfather put down roots for the generations that followed. In his youth he hunted and fished and has ample stories to entertain us all. A combination of grit and tenderness, he paved the way for the rest of us to create a lifetime of memories in the outlands.

Nature’s original super foods come together in this wildly delicious salad. I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate the success of this past weekends hunt than with a simple pairing of all good things that grow wild and free in the sweet Oregon backcountry. Venison backstrap, chanterelle mushrooms and baby kale are cooked down and simply prepared with a tangy cider vinaigrette for a taste that will leave you hungering for the tonic of wildness.

Wild Mushroom, Kale, and Venison Salad // serves 4
Adapted from the Wild Chef

1 pound venison backstrap, sliced in 1 inch pieces
1 pound wild mushrooms (like chanterelles), stemmed and roughly chopped
5 cups kale, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon stone ground dijon mustard
1 teaspoon diced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and ground pepper

Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil through salt and pepper in a small mason jar and shake to emulsify. Set aside.

Season venison with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over high heat add 1 tablespoons oil and add the backstrap strips. Sear for a minute and a half each side or until prepared to desired doneness. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest.

Add remaining oil to the same pan and add the mushrooms and cook, stirring gently, about 4 minutes. Add the kale in small batches and cook down until the kale is tender. Remove from heat, arrange the kale and mushroom mixture on each plate. Top with venison, parmesan, and lightly drizzle with the dressing. Serve and enjoy!