The 2nd Annual Shot, Caught, Foraged and Handmade potluck is now history. It was notable for culinary variety, of course. But also for more subtle reasons.
Expanding the invitation list to include cooks, gardeners and mushroom hunters resulted in a beautiful menu and fascinating conversations. Strangers became acquaintances, neighbors became friends.
Whether they should or not, anglers and hunters pride themselves on their cooking skills. But wielders of trowels and spatulas, kneaders of dough and chasers of chanterelles add dimension and color to a table and a party.
While the tools of our harvest differed, our motives were similar. We took pride in our work, the skills we acquired to accomplish our task. Practitioners of the myriad arts that stock a table amiably shared stories of pursuit and capture, no matter if the morels weren’t as fleet as the elk. In the telling, we discovered that we are all, fundamentally, locavores.
The buffet groaned under a natural bounty: Alaskan halibut and elk sliders, wild mushroom soup, elk meatballs and garden lasagna (are you salivating yet?). Paper plates bent under mounds of smoked chukar, farm-raised deviled eggs, home baked chocolate-chocolate chip cookies and taco salad with local venison, grilled corn salad (Corn? In this climate?).
(One bottle of von der Linden Brewing Company’s Puppy Pale Ale went home with a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan but don’t tell anybody – it’s a limited edition bottling.)
A hearty stew requires a careful mix of meat and vegetables, spices and seasonings. So does a good party.
Home-made Limoncello, with lemon zest from Delene & Ponce's backyard
Yum. This was the start of a new tradition here at the home place. Our first annual “Shot & Caught” potluck feast celebrated 25 years in Bend, Ore. but also our friends and the mutual appreciation we have for all things outdoors. The menu was varied, reflecting our friends’ diverse passions. The company was convivial and while many were strangers to each other on arrival, they became friends by the time the last platter was rinsed for the drive home.
Among the many hand-crafted, wild-harvested dishes, some notables: olive oil harvested and pressed by my veterinarian and his wife in Italy; home-baked bread with yeast “harvested” just east of here; wild mushroom soup with ingredients found on the forest floor just west; pheasant in many permutations and the first taste of venison for many in Gary’s burger bites.
I’m reminded of a fundamental fact: before it became fashionable and the darling of the cable-TV networks, hunter-gatherers were the original locavores. Our feast reinforced the critical link between environment, food, and the stewards of both – you, me, and our friends who venture out.
This gathering was ostensibly to celebrate our arrival in town as we both began new careers. But it was so much more, and if you’ve never done something like this … DO. You will be astounded at what emerges from the dirty dishes and empty glasses. And let me know how it goes. Enjoy the feast – drooling encouraged:
Wild mushroom soup!
Venison burger bites, fruit salad with local berries, pistachios from far away
Even the salad was delectable
Pheasant wrapped cheese ... thanks Connie & Dan
The groaning board ... actually, our kitchen counter just before the serious eating began