It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

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Everything is blooming most recklessly in the Puget Sound; if it weren’t for the harsh cold nights we might mistake the blinding sunny and seventy degree weather for summer. After a weekend trip to the coast to fish for wild winter steelhead, I came to think of only preparing dressed down versions of traditional meals – something less flashy and doesn’t try to hard – in a good way.

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I can’t imagine a more perfect combination to come together in one dish. It goes down easy under a hot sun and just keeps getting better the more you eat. I like to serve it right from the pan; skip the utensils here.

Tequila Lime Prawns // serves 4

1 pound wild jumbo prawns (16-20 count, peeled and deveined with tails on)
1 jalepeno thinly sliced
4 stalks green onions, thinly sliced, white parts only
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Coarse sea salt

Preheat large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat dry prawns and season with coarse sea salt.

In a large bowl combine the prawns through red pepper flakes and stir to coat. Add oil to the pan along with the seasoned shrimp and sauté about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add in the tequila. Immediately place back on the heat, add the lime juice and cook for 2 more minutes until the alcohol has burned off and the shrimp have turned pink. Add in cilantro leaves and garnish with extra green onions, jalepeno and lime wedges.

“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.