Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pacific Feast a Top Selling Book!

Kudos to all our hard-working independent book stores in the Pacific northwest! Thanks to you, and to our hunger for sustainable foraging, PACIFIC FEAST ranks in the top 15 Best Sellers this week!   

Kelp horn toots! Jennifer

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review by Cascadia Weekly

An excerpt from the article Wild Food - Foraging for Feasts, by Amy Kepferle:
     Focusing on 50 sustainable wild foods culled from the “long feast table” spanning from southwest Alaska to California’s Point Conception and the Cascades crest, Hahn—with the help of canny photographer Mac Smith—has collected a variety of recipes and stories that can point the way for both intrepid outdoorsmen and casual explorers to incorporate wild food into their lives.

     “Since the great Ice Age,” Hahn writes in the book’s introduction, “this 3,000-mile-long table is where Northwest Coast indigenous people traversed rain forests, clam-squirting beaches, wildflower meadows, muskegs and river estuaries to gather all the food, medicine and supplies needed to live. From alder-smoked salmon to dwarf blueberries, Dungeness crab to fern crosiers, the flavors, textures, colors and aromas of ocean and earth filled their canoes, cedar storage boxes and communal feast dishes.”

     Hahn is careful to point out, though, that just because the wild foodstuffs are out there doesn’t mean hunters and gatherers should treat them like a never-ending buffet. Whether you want to suck on syrupy sap from a bigleaf maple, munch on blades and leaves from bull whip kelp, eat the gonads of a green urchin or harvest stinging nettles in the spring, be sure you’re both correctly able to identify everything you put on your stove or in your mouth as well as following the harvesting guidelines and, well, rules of the road.
For the entire article, including both a reflective pause and a knee-slapping good time based on Amy's recent trip to Honduras, go to

Thank you Amy, for the wonderful review, and happy foraging!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Truffle-icious Use For Juniper Berries

Chocolate Juniper Truffles

Jennifer Hahn and Katy Beck

These are velvety, melt-in-your-mouth truffles with a gin-infused chocolate ganache (filling) and a crunchy juniper berry in the middle. Thankfully, they are as easy to make as they are to pop in your mouth. The main thing for quality control’s sake is to buy the best bittersweet chocolate you can find—such as Callebaut or Varhona with 50% cocoa solids. The best places to get such quality chocolate is from a chocolatier that sells bulk chocolate. You can make ganache the night before, so it can solidify in the fridge, and be ready to roll into bite-sized morsels the next day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The "Berry" with a Bite -- Common Juniper Field Notes

FIELD NOTES Common Juniper (Juniperus communis):

Common Names: Dwarf Juniper, Ground Juniper, Prostrate Juniper, Old Field Common Juniper, Horse Savin, Mountain Berry, Mountain yew, swamp bough, Aiten (Gaelic), Dena’ina of Alaska call the cones dlin’a gega “mouse’s berry” and the plant tsuni ela—“brown bear’s spruce bough.”

Description: An evergreen shrub with shape-changing versatility. It can sprawl in shoulder-high mats, salute the sun as a 50-foot-tall columnar tree, or, shrink into a lowly dwarf shrub in the arid tundra. No matter, it can live for 170 years. Bark: Reddish-brown, thin and scaly, it falls off in strips. Leaves: Needle-like at first, turning into blunt scales with age; grow in whorls of three.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The "Berry" With a Bite

    The first time I encountered common juniper (Juniperus communis),it was as a prickly bedfellow in a peat bog. I’d been bushwhacking up a stream, swatting at no see ums, when I broke into a clearing of indescribable beauty. Velvet pillows of moss and bonsai shore pine framed a pool of yellow pond lilies reflecting blue sky. Claude Monet could have painted his famous Water-Lily Pond canvases in this wilderness Eden. I lay down on the inviting moss to admire the view. A moment later I jumped upright again.

    I’d been bitten—or so I thought. I checked the impression where my back lay for a spider or centipede. Finding nothing, I pressed my palm into the culprit spot. Immediately a porcupine prickle pressed back. Tendrils of juniper boughs had worked themselves into the moist fissures under the moss from a nearby bush. Or maybe the moss overtook the juniper? Either way, I’d lain down on an invisible pincushion. Appropriately, the people of Haida Gwai called this aromatic shrub “swamp boughs” because it thrives in bogs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chuckanut Reader Featuring Jennifer Hahn

Reproduced from Chuckanut Reader, August 2010

             Foraging for mushrooms, huckleberries and wild greens helped Jennifer Hahn, lighten her backpack while hiking 1090 miles on the Pacific Crest trail. During her solo kayak trip from Alaska to Bellingham, Hahn, a Bellingham wilderness guide, writer and teacher, supplemented her pre-packaged dry grub with fresh wild foods.  Harvesting salmon, urchin, limpets, berries and sea vegetables--kept her kayak trim and manageable.
            The adventurous locavore was thrilled when Skipstone Press asked her to write a book about northwest wild food.PACIFIC FEAST: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine is Hahn’s second book. It’s a delicious blend of 65 northwest chef recipes, field notes, color photos, illustrations, and 20 essays describing foraging adventures along coastal rain forests, beaches, mountains and, even, her own back yard.
            “Today, there’s a renaissance in local-grown and wild-foraged food sweeping the country,” Hahn says. “When it comes to eating within your own foodshed, wild food is as local as it gets. It doesn’t get closer than, say, the distance of a salal berry bush to your mouth—or a clam to your bucket.”
            “This is the real thing--the unadulterated bite,” says Hahn. “Plus it offers earth-to-fork bold flavor and a nutritional powerhouse.”

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bullwhip Kelp: The Hula Dancer of the Deep (Part 2)

          Here’s a great recipe for Bullwhip Kelp Pickles. You use the stem or stipe. But please be kind to the kelp forests. In Washington you must not cut living kelp stipes, rather use the ones washed up on the beach. Look for solid, dark brown to golden stipes with no white mushy spots. Also, be sure you purchase a SEAWEED AND SHELLFISH HARVEST LICENSE IN WASHINGTON before you pick.

Horn Tootin' Kelp Pickles
Excerpted from PACIFIC FEAST (Skipstone Press, Seattle)
Copyright 2010, Jennifer Hahn, Bellingham, WA

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bullwhip Kelp: The Hula Dancer of the Deep (Part 1)

Bullwhip Kelp in Action
            We coastal folk, from Alaska to California find bull kelp endearing, inspiring, frightening, sexy, mysterious, whimsical, and mythic. Not to mention, for those who have dared invite it into their kitchens delicious, nutritious and remarkably mucous. Hands down, bull kelp has more uses than any seaweed I —know.  Here are just a few:

            Before glass and plastic bottles, the First Nations used hollow kelp stipes for storing oolican fish oil or fresh water on canoe journeys. After European traders arrived, kelp “bottles” transported molasses from ship to shore.  The hose-like bottles were cured by many methods. Every coastal group had their secrets: smoking over a fire, soaking in fresh water then drying, rubbing with whale and dogfish oil, and so on. The bell-shaped kelp bulb, cut off at top and bottom, became a handy funnel for pouring oil into a cured tube. Full kelp bottles were corked and lashed shut, coiled like rope, and lay in a cedar storage box. Some were slung over the longhouse rafters ready for quick use. A cook could reach over, uncork the kelp bottle, and dribble fish oil into waiting feast dishes like you might some expensive salad dressing. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Event: Hosted by The SeaDoc Society: Culture and Cuisine of Shoreline Edibles

About The SeaDoc Society (from The SeaDoc Society Website):

The SeaDoc Society works to ensure the health of marine ecosystems through research and education.  We focus primarily on the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest, known as the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea includes:
  • Puget Sound
  • The Northwest Straits
  • The Georgia Basin
We also have new regional initiatives focused on marine ecosystem health in California and in Baja California, including efforts to clean up derelict fishing gear. The problems in our ecosystem are well known: Pollution and habitat degradation are increasing; native populations are declining and disappearing.

The SeaDoc Society provides solutions to problems facing marine wildlife and ecosystems

NEW EVENT -- Culture and Cuisine of Shoreline Edibles

Thursday, September 2, 2010

NPR Sarah Waller interviewing Jennifer Hahn: "Kayaking In The Dark: Alone On The Inside Passage"

     In 1992, Jennifer Hahn pushed her kayak into the frigid waters of Ketchikan, Alaska. She pointed the bow south toward her home in Bellingham and started paddling. Her goal was to kayak the Inside Passage, a treacherous waterway stretching from Alaska to Puget Sound. She wanted to be one of the first women to do it alone. Jennifer tells KUOW's Sarah Waller how she turned to memories of her father when the journey stretched her physical and emotional limitations.

    Click play below or click here to listen to the interview, recorded May 8, 2010.