Ever so often we head west and anchor ourselves down in the State of Colorado. Last fall when settling into a weekly resident in Mancos, Colorado I scuffled through Ansley’s stash of readable material and found Edible Magazine. From there started a lengthy conversation and sharing of regional recipes. The premise of Edible Magazine is to feature a region and its local, seasonal culture. (There is not one for Western NC just yet but I am definitely keeping my eye out!) I always enjoy chatting with Ansley about food, gardening and babies! Just our thing!
There were some specific recipes that caught my eye that had been shared in the spring edition of Edible San Juan Mountains. (Mancos is located in the San Juan Mountain region of CO) Excited to share Ansley’s hubs, Barry, headed to the printer to make copies for me. For nearly six months now I have been looking for an excuse to make this drink, The Green River Martini. It is infused with Honey Lavender Simple Syrup. Seriously.
When our beach trip arose and our friends, the Wheeler’s, agreed to join us for one of the two weeks I knew I had found my excuse. We headed out to the yard and picked 4 cups of fresh lavender and set it out to dry (makes two cups). Packed the lavender and the honey and loaded it to the Outer Banks. Week one consisted of making the simple syrup and letting it marinate. It smelled exactly like it was going to taste. Floral, light, heavenly.
The martini itself is a bit complicated in flavor but over ice it mellowed out and was pleasant to sip on a warm afternoon. But the syrup has many purposes. The best I’ve experienced thus far is over vanilla bean ice cream (yes!) or dolloped in a warm cup of green rice tea. The taste of lavender is delicate and floral and purely satisfactory. A pleasant way to embrace summer.
Who says you can’t eat well on holiday?
With friends, family and birthdays upon us we have been blessed with a bounty of local goods. Enough local goods to last the remainder of the holiday and into the canner upon arrival of returning home! My brother (yea, that guy) graced our tables once again!
The corn has arrived.
As well as a bushel of fresh, local Blue Crab
It’s what’s for dinner!
For RCB’s 5th birthday (!!!!!!) we gathered around the table, cracked the crab, slurped the sweetest corn and chomped shrimp. It was fun, full of laughter, sheer enjoyment, not to mention absolutely delicious.
However, 10 of us could only eat but so much leaving us plenty of leftovers. On holiday, this is great! Lunch the next day was just as delicious and grand as the dinner. Cracked crab to make crab salad for crab rolls (mimicking lobster rolls), cut the corn and blended it with raw vegetables, ginger and jalapeno (oh. my. so. good.) for a vegetable salad. A super compliment to the crab roll.
Dinner served the shrimp its final purpose. Tossing the shrimp in some fettucini noodles with asparagus, avocado, red onion and garlic. Seasoned with sea salt, black peppercorn, and olive oil. Sprinkled with red pepper flakes and parmesan chunks. Light and satisfying, full of flavor. A nice meal to round out the rainy afternoon while sipping on a crisp white wine.
Our future consist of ferry rides, island tromping and lunch al fresco. The kids are getting their groove, sharing and playing nicely. Waves have been surfed. Sandcastles built. Epic card games played. Happy food consumed.
My Mom and Daddy have given me their full support when it comes to my canning endeavors.
Upon our arrival for a long weekend with my folks and bro I heard my Daddy say, “I need to go to the tractor supply store if you want to ride.” We piled into the four door diesel truck and headed up the road. While gathering his odds and ends he decided I needed some real canning supplies! It was premeditated on his part. No more boiling water spilling over my makeshift canner.
When we realized they were all out of canners we piled back in the truck, headed to the garden center and hardware store. They, too, said they were sold out. But when my Daddy asked about a pot for steaming oysters the guy was shocked to find a pressure cooker and canner on the shelf. The last two.
So, with canners in tow we headed to the farmers market. Green Beans, Beet Relish and a bucket of Potatoes (gifted by my brother) will hit the boiling waters this week! Stepping up the game for sure! Never used a pressure cooker before…
(Also, when I got home my Mother-in-Law had gifted my husband with a canning cookbook for Father’s Day! That’s my kind of gift! Thanks Meena!)
Thanks Daddy. Thanks Mom. Even at the age of thirty-five it is still nice to have parental support!
Remember this post a while back regarding the request for local property owners in Kill Devil Hills, NC to have the choice to maintain a max of six backyard chickens if they wanted? Here is the follow up article and current status of the votes…
Click on Photo
If you are not familiar with the area it is located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A beautiful, popular vacation destination for folks all along the eastern seaboard and beyond. It is off the beaten path. You have to make a point to get there. The vibe is mellow, the locals are loyal to their tromping ground (not in a pirate way, in a ‘we love where we live and partake in the sunshine and sand as much as possible’ way). When you are there, the sole purpose is sun, sand and waves. Nothing more, nothing less. One of our favorite places in the world.
The route that takes you to the Outer Banks is my brother’s tromping grounds. It is 95% + local farm land. Corn, Soy Beans, Cotton, Watermelon, a local, fresh produce stand in each town you drive through grounds. The shops and towns are all surrounded by fertile farmed land. Farmed by generations of North Carolinian families. Rich in farming heritage. This year, the crops are more beautiful than I have ever seen. Mother Nature has been kind to the 24/7 guardians of the land and crops.
I hope that the local residents of the OBX can find a compromise with the county officials. I hope to see more chickens carefully and artfully placed in local backyards. I hope for the community and us regular tourist that we start seeing open air markets with local farmers that are literally just down the road. More local crafts and local fresh eggs all along Highway 12. The community is asking for it. Craving it. They want better choices for their family and neighbors. How could that be too much to ask?
I didn’t get to ride out to the new farm last week to pick up our first CSA box as I was at the vet (for 18 hours) with our Viszla. So, this week my husband loaded me in the car (yep, he’s good at that) and we started heading over the ridge to the new farm. Well, new to us.
The further we rode the more my mind and body began to relax. Around each curve on the road the beauty of our community unfolded in the trees and fields. The sun gleaming through the new leaves was breathtaking. With in no time, we were there. Rural Appalachia. Miles from the highway and the fast pace of the other world. Even our cove looked busy compared to this quiet, peaceful farm. It is absolutely beautiful.
It is simple yet full of energy and new growth. The sign hardly visible. A sweet shed springing with newly picked greens and a chalk board announcing that we all get fresh cut flowers this week. The Ivy Creek runs directly behind the old, original farmhouse that the family runs the CSA out of. Bright sun, mellowing sounds of the creek and the smell of spring in full swing. I was content as a kid in a candy store.
As I stood on the bridge looking down at the creek waiting for our freshly picked veggies to be pulled out of the cooler I thought, this is how it should be for everyone. We should all be able to go to our neighbors house to pull from the garden (when invited, of course). We should all have the privilege to eat fresh, local, seasonal, organic, ingredients. I love knowing exactly where my food comes from and who is growing it! I hope for a day that local and organic are not elite. That it is something we all can choose and can all afford.
Thanks to the Ivy Creek Family Farm for letting us into your CSA family. The radishes are already eaten and the strawberries have an appointment with a treat for our daughter when she gets home!
(Photos that the family farm sent to us with the weekly newsletter)