Friday, May 20, 2011

May menu at Blue Eyed Marys

The excellent Snug Cove eatery has its best menu ever on this month (sorry Carol!) We ate there last week and I had the asparagus etc crepe and the buffalo steak. Unbelievably good stuff.

Go. Tonight

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Violet-Green Swallows

In the sun today, a real taste of the spring that we have been missing, the violet-green swallows are swooping around eating the freshly hatched insects that have taken the wing in the warm afternoon.  They are nesting nearby, although I can't see where, perhaps even on tope of our dormers on our house.  Regardless, these birds are one of the indicators of deep spring.  Once the Swainson's thrushes show up, we'll know that the natural world's summer has begun.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BowFeast in a box meal number two

This week in the BowFEAST box we got a couple of kilos of asparagus, some chives, rosemary, sage, incredible parsely (what exactly IS it?) and rhubarb.  the rosemary and asparagus were crying out for eating, so here's what I made:
Roasted Asparagus quesadilla with asiago cheese and spinach
1 pound local asparagus, ends trimmed
4Tbs fresh local rosemary
4Tbs olive oil
salt to taste
4 oz shaved asiago cheese
 cup of fresh baby spinach, cleaned
1/2 cup of local chive and hazelnut pesto (see last week's recipe)
4 8" whole wheat tortillas.
1. Roast the asparagus with the olive oil, rosemary and salt for 10 minutes at 400 F, or until the tips are browned and the stalks are soft.
2. Spread a quarter of the pesto on half of a tortilla.
3. Lay a quarter of the asparagus, the cheese and the spinach on top of the pesto on each tortilla.
4. Fold the tortillas in half and bake for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pesto is bubbling.
Serve and eat immediately.
That was an incredible dinner actually.  The trick with ultra-fresh local produce is to cook it as little as possible.  If this whole dinner take you more than 30 minutes, you're doing it wrong!  All the produce we are eating is available at the Ruddy Potato as well, so get some and get cookin'!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rain and fog

Rain and fog nina is holding on and keeping everything cool.  Leaves are slowly uncurling and it isn't cold or windy out, but there has been only rare glimpses of the spring.  This has been a season of flow in the woods, gurgling, bubbly water falling off the mountainsides, running in rivulets everywhere between roots and muscular ferns and shoots.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Garden tour

Sweet tour of the garden courtesy of my iPhone camera.

First BowFeast in a Box meal

This year we signed up as one of ten families piloting a community shared agriculture initiative here on Bowen Island.  Tonight our first box arrived with asparagus, chives, rhubarb, rosemary and tender baby salad greens.  Here's what I made.


Rotini with roasted asparagus, fiddleheads and chive pesto

Prepared the asparagus by drizzling with olive oil and placing under the broiler for ten minutes, then tossing with salt and pepper.  Fiddleheads were picked yesterday, washed and thrown in with the pasta to cook in the pasta pot.  The chive pesto followed this made up recipe:

Two cups of chopped Bowen chives

two garlic cloves

a quarter cup of chopped Fraser Valley hazelnuts

three quarters of a cup of olive oil

a quarter cup parmesan cheese

Throw it all in the blender and hit it for a minute.

For salad we had the Ruddy Garden tender baby greens tossed with a vineagrette I made using yet more of the local stuff:

A quarter cup white wine vineager

Three quarters of a cup of olive oil

1 Tbs mustard

1Tbs honey

Sea salt and pepper

3 Tbs Bowen chives

1 tsp Bowen rosemary

Same deal.  Chuck it in the blender and hit "play."

Eaten gratefully out of a bowl crafted on Bowen by Catherine Epps with juice out of a Vonigo mug made by Sue Ritchie.  


Friday, May 6, 2011

Otter eating a crab

The other day I went out on the water with my friend Dave.  We headed over to Vancouver in his boat, doing a little fishing and watching dolphins around Point Atkinson in English Bay.  While I was waiting for him to arrive I watched this river otter eating a big Dungeness crab at the Union Steamship marina.  The otter is eating next to a fresh water stream, and it keeps stopping to take big gulps of water, before ripping another leg of the still living crab.

This is the food chain in action.  The otter had two long cuts in his back to that looked like it had run into something higher up the food chain.   Incredible to watch from five meters away.

Some reason why I'm voting for a Park

Responding to some calls elsewhere for clarity and certainty on the future of life on Bowen Island with a National Park, I wrote: in things like this there is only so much certainty anyone can give you. Who knows what will happen in 30 years on Bowen, park or no Park? There are lots of unknowns because communities are complex beasts. They exhibit all kinds of emergent properties and you can't simply engineer them into simple cause and effect relationships. Creating a national park on Bowen is a huge game changer. We can guess at how those changes will go, but we can never be sure. The future itself is hugely uncertain. All I know is that I feel up to the task of moving forward into the long term future of this community with a National Park (literally) in my backyard. It feels right that we could have all of that green space slowly and irrevocably transition to old growth forest, that we can establish small and historical community uses of the meadow and the village park lands and that we could share this island in a low impact way. I imagine too that my property value will increase due to both scarcity and desirability and I imagine that we will then need to find ways to use the park's benefits to fund affordable housing for real. I imagine small business development and sustainability and a walking island, with trails that cross the Park and traverse the rights of way. I imagine a significant presence for the Squamish Nation here so we can all understand the real deep history and cultural ecology of this place. 

I can't tell you that these are facts, concrete proposals or certainties - but these are things I'm willing to work towards. I can see how elements of a park proposal give me starting places to pursue these ideas, and I can see that it is up to us to make those happen. So if we vote yes, much of what I have written will require the active participation of loads of Bowen Islanders to make it all work and to take advantage of the opportunity. Our engagement begins now and continues for all time, should we choose it.

Damp rain and fiddleheads

Lady ferns muscle up out of the ground.  It's amazing picking and eating these fiddleheads.  You can feel the power in them.  Unlike the sword ferns, the lady fern dies back every winter so it's always a mystery where they will come up again.  But in the spring, during April, the ground starts heaving in little mounds and the croziers force their way through the rain compacted topsoil and unfurl their fronds.

Here's some more information on lady ferns, and a recipe.  I've been eating them with pasta, risotto or on a curry plate for a couple of weeks now.