Monday, November 7, 2011

Wild Food Feast!

Katrina and I wanted to host a special meal for our friends to let them know how much we appreciate them before we leave Victoria and move to Bellingham.  With 19 mouths to feed, it was by far the largest dinner party that I have ever thrown and I wish I could have invited more people.  We spent the better part of the day preparing food and moving furniture to the venue.  Our menu was as follows:

Homemade Apple cider.
Toasted Sea Palm (Postelsia palmaeformis) and Nori (Porphyra abbotae), Salal (Gaultheria shallon) fruit leather, Kate’s smoked Sockeye Salmon, Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) acorn bread, Hannah’s homemade bread, Andra's Grapes, and roasted Chestnuts (Castanea sp.).
Cream of White Chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus) and Cattail (Typha angustifolia) rhizome soup. 
Ryan’s English Walnut (Juglans regia), Filbert (Corylus sp.) and Cranberry (Oxycoccus oxycoccos) salad. 
Mains Dishes- 
Sam’s Wild Rice (Zizania palustris), roasted Metchosin Farm Pumpkin Squash (Cucurbita sp.), and Ashley’s Trout.
Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida) pie, Blue Elderberry (Sambucus cerulea) cheesecake.

It was really fun cooking the food and not as hard as I imagined it would be, especially because many of our wild foods are stored in a way that makes them easy to use.  We made the desserts the night before with frozen Hawthorne pulp and sweetened, canned Elderberries.  The appetizers were easy, the seaweeds and chestnuts just had to be roasted; the acorns had just finished leaching, so I just drained the water, added maple syrup, and fried for 10 minutes on one side.  The oven was hot, so instead of flipping the bread and frying the other side, I flipped it onto a baking sheet and baked it for 20 more minutes.  The soup required only slightly more work.  We had already fried and frozen the Chanterelles, so all we had to do was thaw and season, but I decided to add cattail rhizome flour, which required pounding the dried cattail rhizomes to separate the fiber from the starch.  Our friends also brought some nice dishes, which was a big help.

The wonderful thing about eating wild foods is that with each bite, we are reminded of the landscapes we harvested from and the people we harvested with.  With so many of my foraging friends at the table, it was a real communion- a sharing of Nature's bread.
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