If I wasn’t outside this weekend, I was in the kitchen.
After work on Friday, I picked raspberries from the bush that has taken over the fence behind The Northern Sun News’ office. We are lucky to have a little yard and creek behind us that is great for taking breaks when you need to get away from the glow of the computer. Those very berries were soon muddled with fresh basil from the garden, vodka, and soda water for a delicious cocktail.
I think it was the overcast skies, interspersed with fleeting moments of sunshine, that made it an ideal time to go out and pick in the bush. The bugs tend to mostly leave you alone on days like that.
We hit the jackpot with chanterelles. I surprisingly was able to remember the unmarked dirt road down the highway that leads to a lush, mossy forest where mushrooms thrive. Since hitting our one-year mark in Red Lake this July, I take great pleasure in returning to these secret spots that I’m now privy to. There are no marked trailheads or guide books to lead you to places like this, just maps drawn on napkins from generous locals, which makes them that much more special.
Charlie and I combed the forest with Daisy trailing behind us, lichen and pine needles crunching beneath our feet. Within thirty minutes our baskets were brimming with golden mushrooms. At home I kneaded dough and simmered tomatoes for a grilled mozzarella, sausage, and chanterelle pizza.
Blueberries picked near the trail to my favourite beach also found their way into pancakes smeared with butter and drizzled in maple syrup this weekend.
Another afternoon was spent on the river fishing for walleye with friends. They wadded out in their boots, casting and reeling, while Daisy and I explored. Daisy had a staring contest with a curious otter that kept popping out of the water to check us out. Eventually I decided upon a particularly comfortable rock to lean against and enjoy a beer while they caught dinner; my job would come later in the kitchen.
Once the fish were fileted, I beer battered the pieces using Charlie’s hoppy homebrew. A tangy baja crema, cilantro, and chopped cabbage were the perfect compliment to our fish tacos. It wasn’t quite the same as our favourite Mexican joints back in California, but it was pretty damn good.