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March 30, 2013

Basking In Sunny Glory

By Maryanna Gabriel

"From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king." J.R.R. Tolkein

I don't tend to bask as a general rule but I can't help myself. This gloriously sunny Easter weekend has me turned into a puddle of melted butter. I can't remember my to do list all of a sudden. Here in Ganges I have a siege mentality as the ferry disgorges visitors and I yield by stocking up well in advance. The market is in full swing, the daffodils are in sunny glory, and the nettles have been up awhile. I have already tried some new recipes. Below is the Nettle Crepe recipe from my cookbook "Memento; A Coastal Recipe Treasure". Nettles are a wonderful source of iron, the tips are best, and don't forget the rubber gloves. Excuse me I must get back to shameless basking and could someone please pass the chocolate bunny?

Nettle Crepes (serves 2 - 4)

Crepes: 2 c. flour; 4 eggs, 4 1/2 c. milk; 4 tbsp. oil

Mix or blend ingredients. Carefully season the pan so crepes remove easily. The art to making crepes requires persistence and patience. This batter is for a very thin crepe (French style) and does not need to be turned and makes approximately 12 crepes.

Filling: clove garlic; 1 tsp. olive oil; 2 tbsp. butter; 1/4 chopped onion; 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms; 1 c. steamed nettles; 1 c. cottage cheese; 2 tbsp. parmesan; sour cream; paprika; chopped chives; salt and pepper. 

Wearing rubber gloves carefully gather nettles in a colander. Remove tough stems, chop and steam. Have no fear there is no sting when the nettles are cooked. In a skillet mix olive oil, butter, garlic, mushrooms and onion and cook together until tender. Add salt, pepper and then nettles. Mix. Place the filling in a bowl and add cottage cheese and grated parmesan. Place approximately 2 tbsp. of filling on each crepe and roll up. Put into a buttered casserole. Lightly spread sour cream over the crêpes with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with parmesan, chives and paprika. Bake at 350º for 10 - 15 minutes or until hot. 

March 23, 2013

More Tales Of The North

It gets in your blood, they say. The first time I was in the Yukon I was 15. When I heard about this project through my youth group in the Anglican Church, I just knew it was for me, the way one “knows” these things in ones walk through life. We were introduced to many communities and did what we could there and it was a wonderful experience. Most memorably, one of our team felt a practical joke too much to contain. We were commissioned to paint the curling rink in Carmacks and the pun being too much for her, our friend painted on the long roof in huge, roller-sized, letters, “RINKY DINKY CARMACKS.” Needless to say the church elders were not amused. We heard of a trucker who almost went off the highway where the roof was clearly visible to passersby. She had to wash it off. Years later, by chance I ran into her and smiling broadly I brought up the incident. She went dead quiet and I could tell she was pained by the memory. I was sorry to see that for the follies of youth can be forgiven. We all admired her spirit. 

March 16, 2013


Church In Moosehide
By Maryanna Gabriel

The first time I was in Dawson City I was seventeen and the place was not as geared to tourism but Diamond Tooth Gertie’s was in full swing. Incredibly, I accepted an invitation to sleep on the floor of a trapper’s log cabin and the following day was taken in a boat by a First Nations man up the Klondike River to a place called Moosehide which was a small village that had been abandoned. What was incredible was everything was intact. I was entranced. The adorable church had a buckskin alter cloth that was beautifully beaded. I think that church is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. They say at present Moosehide is maintained and is incorporated as a part of healing local tribal culture. 

March 9, 2013

The Top Of The World On My Mind

Gold Claim North Of Dawson City
Me With Our Host

By Maryanna Gabriel

With a daughter heading north this summer I have been thinking a lot about Dawson City which is a long ways north in the Yukon. I have been to this restored gold rush town twice but the last trip we went even further north to “Top Of The World” country to visit a family that was actually working a gold claim. I was intrigued. Their driveway was ten miles long. They had a big machine to placer mine in the oxbow shaped river where they had their second house (their winter house was in Dawson) and because it is daylight for almost 24 hours they took turns working the claim nonstop. She had a garden which intrigued me and we discussed what she could produce there with that midnight sun which was surprisingly considerable. We camped outside and were invited for breakfast the following morning. We slept in, were late, and I had a sinking feeling it was a bad idea. This was verified when we got to the house profuse with apologies and the family was sitting quietly and very still at the table waiting for us, the food was cold. Oooh. The meal was very quiet, and a big gun was nearby. Maybe the gold on site was an issue. We left feeling like we had experienced something truly unique. I sent her some seeds I thought she might like to thank her but I never heard anything back. 

March 2, 2013

In Like A Lion

By Maryanna Gabriel

Crocuses By Yonder Gate
I optimistically strewed a couple of lawn chairs on the porch one day this week when the rain let up and the sun came out thinking, there is hope. It seemed to redouble the moaning winds, the driving downpour and a fog of cloud descended over the land. Oh, I said. Well there is this. The skunk cabbage are showing their yellow hoods by creek beds, the rhubarb is penetrating pinkly upwards through the earth in my garden, and the crocuses are blooming by yonder gate, I retorted, so take that. I shook my head feeling quite sure of myself as I shut off a couple of heaters. Progress is being made and all of the cosy things that winter invites are on a deadline. The light is ever expanding and my spirits lift.