“The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.”
― Jack London, The Call of the Wild

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Last fall I received the most generous gift from my father Jeff in Oregon. A box filled with fresh whitetail venison, perfectly wrapped in white butcher’s paper, which was harvested from our Eastern Oregon hunting grounds. A lover of wild game varieties of both big and small, I’m happy to use the best of what’s around to make something beautiful, worth sharing.

With Spring’s archery Turkey hunt less than a month away and an abundance of Pacific Northwest Salmon soon to be fished from our waters, my days visualizing recipes to come feel like a dream.

Mango Venison Fajitas // serves 4

Juice of 3 limes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons oil
1 tablespoon tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1 pound venison or elk, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Cooking spray
3 julienne-cut bell peppers (assorted colors)
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Corn tortillas
1 medium sized mango, sliced
1 medium avocado, sliced
Green onions, chopped for garnish
Cantina style salsa

Combine lime juice, cumin, salt, cilantro, jalepeno, oil, and tamari/soy sauce in a medium bowl, tossing well to coat. Refrigerate and let marinate up to 3 hours.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Discard marinate mixture, add meat to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add peppers and onion; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and meat; cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Warm the tortillas according to package instructions. Serve venison mixture with tortillas, mango, avocado, green onions, and cantina style salsa.


“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
~ Sarah Kay

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Photo:: Jeff Marsh | Seattle, WA

In summer 2014 I was diagnosed with impingement syndrome and labrum tears of my right hip. I spent the winter weak and in pain recovering from hip surgery. After years of being an athlete and a lover of the outdoors, I thought I would never be so enthusiastic to hear my doctor say that I could still fly fish. I still think back on how perfect the timing was, that just like spring, a stronger version of myself was about to emerge.

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This weekend we packed up our rods and a Stanley thermos of hot coffee. We didn’t go far – the beaches are all within a short drive. We have made a habit of weekly fishing trips – the car filled with tippet, reels, and an assortment of flies to share over chilled beers with plenty of beach combing.

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This spring has been good to me. Both my mind and body needed a fresh start and a strong sense of cooking for nourishment directs my life once again. After a weekend of braving gale force winds and stormy seas we found our calm amidst the oyster beds.

Asparagus, Arugula & Avocado Salad with Dungeness Crab // serves 4

1 tablespoon drained capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound green asparagus, blanched, trimmed and sliced on the bias
5 cups Arugula
1 Avocado, sliced
4 ounces Dungeness Crabmeat
2 thinly sliced scallions
parsley, to garnish

Whisk together capers, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Gradually add olive oil, whisking constantly.

Combine arugula, asparagus, avocado, and scallions in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy.

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”
~Ernest Hemingway

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Photo:: Jeff Marsh Creative | Seattle, WA

My apprehensions about taking on another recipe project were eased when friend and photographer Jeff Marsh made himself available to shoot copious amounts of food images while I stylized and cooked my way through twelve original recipes for OrganicGirl. Though Jeff is more of a sports and wedding photographer, I’ve come to believe there isn’t anything he can’t capture behind a lens. Several times throughout the shoot I caught Jeff eyeing the dishes I’d created – subtle pleasantries, nothing more, as he went back and forth adjusting the Pandora station so that we might have something worthwhile to listen to.

I danced through the kitchen, and – singing out of tune – worked through each recipe. It was raining outside. For once, it didn’t bother me, I just kept mixing, tasting, and plating, knowing what each one needed to taste just right, and circled around the granite island to the kitchen window which filled the room with light.

Completely famished from not eating, I backed away from the window, a little disoriented so that I fumbled when reaching for the counter, as quickly as I could I scrambled for any dish, snatched a fork, and ate.

Ah, this is so good! These were the words most spoken through open mouths stuffed with food. We could hardly help ourselves. With a false spring came warm weather masquerading as summer. So it seemed only appropriate to create a salad that utilized the best of fresh herbs, greens, and spring flavors reminiscent of March. And happily we ate, amidst the chaos of scattered ingredients and salad greens.

Spring Quinoa salad with Mixed Herbs, Peas, and Ricotta Salata // serves 4

2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup English peas
2 ounces Ricotta Salata cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup OrganicGirl mixed herb salad blend
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock and ½ teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 14 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool, about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and remaining salt to a boil. Blanche peas for 1 minute. Drain and immediately transfer to an ice bath to retain color and crispness.

Add peas and remaining ingredients to quinoa. Toss with oil, salt an pepper and serve at room temperature or chilled.