Saturday, October 27, 2007

The beaches are open for clam digs!

The Department of Fish and Wildlife opened up the Twin Harbors beaches for clam diggers this weekend, and between it being the first dig of the season and the AMAZING weather we're having, there has been an unending stream of people into Westport and Grayland to catch these tasty guys.

Here are some pictures from yesterday evening's clam dig. It was so much fun, this one lady even ventured out with her walker, which I just can't imagine my grandmother ever doing.

I've only been clamming a few times, I never really enjoyed it because I found it so hard to find the "clam show". But last night, the clam were showing very strongly, and I took a few pictures for those of you who are still learning to find them:

There are so many clams that the people who went out on Thursday said they were "necking", which sounds kind of dirty, but just means they were sticking their necks out of the sand yelling "pick me!" like Meredith Grey on a bad Grey's Anatomy episode. I think this might have something to do with the fact that its the first clam dig of the season (the plentifulness, not the neediness).

So grab your lantern, boots, and shovel, and come on down to the beach!

Mushroom Season

It's mushroom season in the NW and if you have been paying attention to the Seattle Times over the past few weeks, you've seen all the mushroom festivals and mushroom stuff going on all over the Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula. Last weekend was the Lake Quinault's mushroom festival, which I missed, but looked like a lot of fun.

Here in Westport, the Westport Light State Park, off of Ocean Avenue is a great spot for mushroomers (mushroom hunters?) and on sunny, cloudy, and rainy days alike you'll see the parking spaces along Ocean Avenue full of people in their rain gear headed out to find that special fungi.

We are novice mushroom hunters... okay, not really. But I love to find one close enough to the path that I can see them. This particular one is about 9" around, and almost expected a smurf to jump out and wave hello. I won't pretend to know what its called or if its edible, but it was a treat to find.

The weather is supposed to be great for the next week or so, so come on down to the beach and check it out!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cranberry Harvest Festival - Recap

It turned out to be a beautiful weekend, with sunny weather in the 60's and the Grayland Cranberry Harvest Festival was a total blast. I was a little disappointed with a 3rd place finish in the cookies and bars category of the cranberry cookoff, but it gives me something to strive for next year :) My dear pal Tim also won third place in the drinks category, for his famous "Manberry", which is a funny name for his Cranberry Manhattan. He put a lot more effort into his entry, reducing the actual berries down to syrup, and then using sugared burbon soaked berries as a beautiful garnish. I'll post the recipe later (if he'll share).

Seriously though, I was shocked with the numbers of people that come out for it, especially the amount of people waiting to take a Cranberry Harvest tour. We weren't feeling up to it with the baby, he's far to antsy these days to settle down on a bus, but we did drive around in our car and watch harvest at several different farms.

Definitely put it on your calendar (October 11/12, 2008) for next year!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Grayland Cranberry Festival!

This weekend brings the Cranberry Coast Chamber of Commerce Annual Cranberry Festival to the Grayland Community Hall. September and October is harvest time in Cranberry Country, and it is a sight to behold. The bright red bogs and the farmers wading through the fruit... I never even knew it existed until last fall.

This weekend is supposed to be 61-62 degrees and partly cloudy (which means partly sunny), so its perfect weather to come down for the festival, which includes a parade at dusk on Saturday evening and a "bog jog" 10k, 5k and 3k on Sunday morning.

You can find more info about it at the Chambers website:
I will be passing the bog jog since I've not done much running in the past 2 years since getting pregnant, but I will be entering my cranberry oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies into the Cranberry Cook-off. You can try them if you come to the Bite of the Bog - they're worth the drive. Here's my recipe, sans my secret ingredient if you want to try them at home:

Oatmeal White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk and the vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour in to the sugar mixture until just incorporated.

Stir in the oats and white chocolate chips and cranberries

Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, placing about 1 1/2 inches apart so they have room to spread.

Bake at 350F for 10-13 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and light golden at the center.
Cool on baking sheet for at least 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen.