Goat Cheese, Lemon and Pea Pasta, Grilled Salmon and a peak at Frog Song Farm…

I’d like to introduce you to Frog Song Farm, our summer digs, with a couple of photos I snapped last night. This humble octagonal structure was built by a man child at the age of 24, so the story goes. And it miraculously still stands roughly 30 years later. My first introduction was a description of Frog Song Farm posted on a small blue lined 3×5 index card in the spring of 1993 at the Seattle Tilth office in Good Shepherd’s park. “15 Acre Organic Farm, cabin, mature fruit trees” it read.  I was just finishing my degree at Bastyr College. After my last class, we took a six week journey traveling up the inside passage with a VW bus on a boat, then drove back down through Alaska and the Yukon. It was the moment of our return that I found myself busting to get out of the city. Three weeks later I sat on the lawn outside of a then intact octagonal structure surrounded by a small picket fence smothered with trailing roses. Ripe fruits of mid August swooned me. Laying in the grass, cocked on one elbow twirling grass blades between my fingers, I, also ripe at 25, negotiated with the owner as to how I could make this work.

I’m divulging the real sense of this place… gas cans, shredded plastic from the last wind storm dangling off a lichen drenched roof who’s structure is understood by no mortal. Once this place goes down… it goes down. Maybe by the end of the summer we’ll have some “after” pics with a few aesthetically pleasing ‘band-aids’ 🙂 Please remember we’ve only been here a week. So far it’s been pulling out the dishes and dusting.

Here is the porch, where we satisfy our thrill to grill…and if it ever warms up, where we like to entertain friends and ourselves. When we are gifted with dry mornings you’ll find us here with coffee, tea, books, newspapers and muesli

It is the inside of this cabin that grasps my heartstrings every time I entertain the idea of knocking it down to erect in it’s place a modern, insulated, draft free, rodent free, funk free structure.

I will admit to updating it ever so slightly with a new flat screen (scary cheap at costco) and oven. I’ve still been cranking the woodstove this last week, as the northwest hasn’t given over to summer just yet. Yes, those are my knees. I have the camera sitting steady on my chest with the ISO at 800 (in retrospect should have cranked it up way higher) and a terribly long shutter speed.

But you get my point (I hope)… it’s just damn cool. And I’ve had two little buddies hanging in the morning and evenings … watching me at the kitchen sink.

On to the menu…

I’m pleased to say the grill has been burned clean, fired up and we are bbq’ing our way into a so far cool (and I mean F°) summer 2012. Nothing like grilling under a light blanket of drizzle. The charm of the Pacific Northwest can be found in it’s tall pines, cedars and here specifically in the San Juan Islands, the waterways of Puget Sound meandering around over 700 islands… not so much in the weather.

I started with this Pasta hoping to get in on the Donna Hay Photo challenge at Junglefrog Cooking But after 3 attempts, we just can’t eat any more pasta, pea and goat cheese salad! Ok, maybe I’ll have one more go as I just turned a 1/2 gal of goat milk into chevre. Please refer to Junglefrog for the recipe originally out of a February Donna Hay magazine. I would beg to differ on the portions. For us, more like eight as a side and six if you really want a BIG bowl of pasta.

Here’s the recipe but head over to Junglefrog if you want to Print. You should go over there anyway because it’s a great site.

Ingredients

  • 400g penne
  • 420g frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon rind (finely grated)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 240g goat’s cheese (crumbled)
  • 50g rocket (arugula, chopped)
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper

Boil up you noodles of choice… regular semolina or one of the many gluten free varieties. The recipe called for Penne but I like the twists… And get yourself some peas! I love using pea shoots for the green and Donna Hay used Arugula.

I used fresh shelling peas, snap peas, and pea shoots all from local gardens. I used to love growing pea shoots for salad. You can even do this in a pot of the porch.

A little olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice and zest, fresh goat cheese and did I mention PEAS!

It’s a simple dish that can be made ahead of time and served at room temp or warmed up a bit…

And back to that grill action… two nights in a row we threw filets of local sockeye salmon purchased down the road from Buck Bay Shellfish Farm. With only a little olive oil, Saltworks Yakima applewood smoked salt and lemon slices this fish gleamed with taste and color.

I prefer to wrap it in foil, cook till almost done then turn off the grill to finish cooking.

My serving suggestion…

As you can see we are surviving out here in the boonies 🙂

Tschuß for now,

46 responses

  1. Hahaha… I can see why you were tired of the pasta dish after three tries although I do really love it and the addition of that gorgoue salmon is just brilliant! Love that last pic as the salmon really stands out. And wow, Frog song farm… It has got to appeal to me for the name alone right? Lol… What a gorgeous place!

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    • Thanks… it really is perfect for summer. We can’t believe this place still stands but it’s a charmer.
      The Sockeye was SO good. I always go for king because it’s thicker and fattier (and more $) but if you can keep from overcooking the Sockeye it’s a winner too.

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  2. Wendy … what a little gem to summer retreat you have .. and all the that green all over it and your neighbors are cute. The pasta looks fantastic, but so do everything you do. The pictures of the peas are stunning. It’s stunning dish and I eat pasta from time to time .. so I will put this on file, would even be able and do a leftover lonely diner … meal of this. Stunning post, Wendy.

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  3. The food looks great, as always. But that cabin is lovely. We tend to romanticize over cabins and shacks (having stayed in a few)- but can’t help it. We stayed for a time in a summer-only shack with an outdoor shower in the north fork of long island…sun, seafood, water….heaven, sigh.

    Hope your weather turns soon…

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    • Thanks! When the weather is tolerable, it’s a perfect space. I did just light a fire to take the chill off the morning… even on July 1st… funny to imagine a majority of the country living at the closest mall sucking up free A/C. We had an outhouse the first 4 years we lived here in the 90’s.
      We also just found a 1982 newspaper when we pulled that plastic off the little side roof on the greenhouse.

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  4. Hey ….. Your Dad is very happy to have some good food …. not to mention having YOU 20 yards down the road for 7 weeks. Life is good .. Wendy beeps her horn whenever she passes my cabin … it always reminds me of how thrilled I am to still be alive on Frog Song Farm … especially when she here too.

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    • Yeah… we are surviving pretty darn good. Great community and fantastic local food. This cabin keeps us warm and dry and a little more connected to nature. I love it… remind me when I’m having those tear it down thoughts!

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  5. Wendy, you are just too cool. I love the cabin…and what a great story that tells us so much about your and your joie de vivre. The recipe sounds delicious…and I am not a pea fan. : )

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    • Thanks Lora… as I’ve said, the charm and beauty of this place keeps it alive… it’s a legend around here. A lot of people and stories have passed through these round log walls…and really it’s only 30 years old.

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    • We are fortunate to be able to come be here in the summers. We rent out our main house as a vacation rental and we now stay in the cabin. It’s great because we probably wouldn’t have lived in here again otherwise, and it’s such a sweet space.

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    • Thank you miss Movita 🙂
      You and the froggies can harmonize… Although I think they are hiding out cause it’s still just a wee bit chilly. On a warm night though, those guys CRANK it out. Bet you could too.

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  6. Amazing place! So beautiful! I love the wooden beams and shape of the ceiling.
    Funnily enough, I misread “Frog song” as “Frog snog”…expected some kissathon to find a prince or something.. the reality is definitely more magical 😉 What a place to eat some delicious salmon!

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    • There has been a lot of snogging around here! Lots of half dressed farm interns in the old days 😉
      It’s great to share this old log house on the blog because sometimes we forget how cool it is when we are sweeping up rodent droppings and the woodstove takes 3 attempts to light. But it’s just part of the package of living a little closer to nature…

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  7. I have super fond memories of visiting the octagon house… oh yeah, and the pasta looks great too! I hope you’re enjoying Junuary in the NW!

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  8. Pingback: Mixed Berry Hazelnut Tarts « Chez Chloe

  9. Hi Sweetheart
    Seeing the octagon makes me homesick for Orcas! Well a little bit.. The photos of the peas are absolutely amazing. They were so real I was afraid they’d roll right out of my computer screen. Let’s get some and make that salad when you are here.. the salmon too.. maybe we can rig up a grill on the balcony.. can’t wait to see you, Chloe and Ollie. And eat that salad! Love you. Mom

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