Best Locavore Birthday Ever

Best birthday food ever. My birthday was Saturday, so Stanley and I went up to the North Woods of Wisconsin for a long weekend of camping. We were in Ohio at a family reunion for the beginning of the week, and we only had one night at home before leaving for our camping trip, so the packing was rather haphazard and hurried. Instead of running to the grocery store to pick up supplies, we decided to camp locavore style - bringing just a few local ingredients and gathering the rest along the way.

We brought bacon and pork steaks from The Rustic Table (our meat CSA), and eggs from the chickens. I used the handy Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas to locate a farmer's market along the way in Lodi. We were pleasantly surprised to find a good selection of produce.... we purchased green garlic, spring onions, hickory nuts, sugar snap peas, asparagus, strawberries, and to our surprise, new potatoes. I wasn't expecting to find potatoes this early, but there they were... right before we left I noticed a chocolate vendor and Stanley bought some lovely birthday chocolates.

We arrived at our campsite with just enough time to gather wood and cook dinner before dark. Stanley is responsible for this lovely scene. Pork steaks from The Rustic Table, green garlic, and spring onions cooked over the open flame.

I wrapped up some cubed potatoes and onions in foil and cooked them in the coals, the asparagus also was wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill.

Yum. No salt or seasonings needed. The pure flavors of new potato, asparagus, onions, and pork were just wonderful.

And for dessert, strawberry shish-kebabs over the grill. Grilled strawberries is one of my favorite June treats - like pie without the crust.

It rained all that night and the next morning we decided to swallow our camping pride and rent a cabin for Saturday night. After driving around we found the perfect place: Muskie Bills. It was a delightful place - the interior of the cabin had us thinking we were living in That 70's Show, but it was impeccably clean, and best of all a small aluminum boat came with our rental. You can guess what Stanley did all afternoon....

He caught a plethora of fish, including his first Muskie (catch and release), and six good sized Rock Bass. He threw the two smallest back, and kept four for dinner.

Lucky for me, Stanley is really perfecting his filleting skills. Aren't these pretty? After dealing with the unpleasantness of gutting, scaling, and filleting the fish, he headed inside to make me the best birthday dinner of my life.

Ground hickory nuts.

Bacon, sweet bacon. Better yet, bacon from the black mule foot hogs at The Rustic Table.

He rendered the fat with green garlic and spring onions.....

He dipped the fish a beaten egg, coated it with hickory nuts, and baked it in bacon grease.

The bacon was then cooked with the asparagus in a pan on the stove.

Last but not least, boiled potatoes were cooked briefly with the last of the bacon.

Wow. Again, no salt, no seasonings, no nothing except beautiful local ingredients. The fish was just amazing - it had been swimming at 3pm, and we ate it at 6pm. The flavors melded perfectly, tied together by the smoky salty bacon flavor. Happy birthday to me.

There were no leftovers, but Bernie was more than happy to lick the last of the bacon-y goodness from our plates.

For dessert we finished off these lovely Wisconsin made chocolates. Perfect. After dinner we waled Bernie down the lane, and to our delight found a bunch of wild strawberries.... a perfect end to a perfect day.

Last, but not least, I thought I'd share a picture of Sunday morning's breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes. I'm not sure why this picture turned out so steamy.... you get the gist.

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  1. happy belated birthday! sounds sublime.

  2. Hello!

    I'm writing to let you know about a recipe contest that may interest you: the Madison Area CSA Coalition is seeking recipes designed by community members like you for their “Farm-Fresh and Fast” cookbook project. They are looking for original recipes that feature fresh, local produce and are ready to serve in under 60 minutes. (i.e., things that would be good for weeknight meals). If they select your submission(s) for publication, you’ll see your name, and your culinary creation, in print!

    The link below has all the details of the contest. Please feel free to submit as many recipes as you wish, or forward the contest to anyone else who may be interested in participating.

    Danielle Pacha

    PS: If you plan to announce the contest on your blog and you'd like access to any of the contest graphics, please let me know and I'll get them to you.



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