Monthly Archives: November 2011

Updates… couples places not reccomended …

View fromthe Drift Inn, Yachats, Oregon

I recently traveled to Yachats, Oregon to the Celtic music Festival via 101 (my favorite highway).  There are some photos posted here of Lady Autumn’s Brightest Finery:

I fear this post is going to be about a couple of places I don’t recommend during your travels:

Gold Beach Resort. Right on the ocean, clean and convenient. Well thought of on Trip Adviser, so I tried it.  Economical at 71.00 per night (although not the best “deal” the Coast has to offer in winter rates). However, the room was cold and there were no extra blankets or pillows to be had. The outside doors did not close properly and the sliders were not secure. The refrigerator was plugged in, but did not work.  The television has some direct TV contract that randomly changed channels as the evening progressed and the Public Television feed (Oregon Public Broadcasting) was replaced by a rightist Christian channel with endless “witnessing” and political harangues.  Nor did the radio pick up anything on the FM dial (there is plenty of choices in Southern Oregon for radio, my car radio was alive with feeds).  Wanting to use the fitness center, I inquired when it was open (the doors were locked at 6PM) the registration desk worker shrugged, “I don’t know.”

The final insult was at 6AM when getting ready to leave: the shower did not work. (I took a bath…)  The arrangement is esoteric and requires some instruction (there is none in the room, you have to ask.) I pulled, shoved, twisted, and generally attempted every maneuver I could think of and nothing happened.   The water was tepid at best.

Advertised breakfast was stale “store-bought”  pastries, cold cereals, really bad coffee (a truly new level of badness) and something that resembled gravy & biscuits, but was cold and the gravy congealed (at 7:30 AM). DO NOT STAY AT THIS HOTEL.

Redfish Restaurant, Port Orford, Oregon.   On the way home, seeking food, I stopped in Port Orford.  The Redfish Restaurant was just about the only thing open. Right on the cliff side, very modern and sleek.  It has a very large bar and a menu right out of San Francisco with prices and tiny portions to match.  I ordered the cheese and fruit plate. What I got was four very small “samples” of cheese – not one an Oregonian (or even west coast) variety.  They were not “upscale” cheeses: a Wisconsin sharp, a Midwestern  muenster, and something that tasted remarkably like a fair-to-middling ordinary Jack.  The fruit was a drizzle of something syrupy with four small blueberries and several hazelnuts.  It came with four toasted slices of focaccia. The focaccia was OK, if not fresh.   Walk the cliffs, have a beer at Redfish on the lovely balcony, take some photos, but have your lunch (or, dinner) somewhere else.


Yummy Pureed Asparagus-Porcini Soup

It’s my favorite time of the culinary year: mushroom season! With the cooler weather and the autumn rains, boletus, chanterelles, matsutakis, oysters, angel wings and a host of wild delicacies are entering the shops and popping up in menus everywhere.  I will be celebrating the “impolite fungi” here over the next 6 or so weeks of mushroom season so stay tuned all you fellow fungi aficionados!

I had all these asparagus in my refrigerator that were a bit past their prime, so I got creative.  Since I am on a somewhat restricted diet just now (for health reasons) and I realized that the philosophy of the “paleolithic diet” currently making waves in the media with a little tweaking here and there – fits perfectly into what my naturopath recommended, I decided to make this a personal “chef’s challenge”.  A few experiments (the successful ones) will be shared here over the next few posts.  Here is # 1:

In a crock pot, slowly simmer a handful of dried porcini mushrooms 

Porcino D' Autunno

(or, Porcino D’ Autunno).  California Boletus edulis will do very nicely.  If you can find them, the Italian variety are Boletus Reticulates :”summer porcini” or Boletus Brisa: “Porcino Nero“.    I suspect that you can substitute any wild mushroom.  I haven’t tried other varieties, yet, so let me know about your experiments.

Add a good-sized handful of cleaned and chopped asparagus – about 3” pieces are fine.  Peel the dry ends, chop them up and add them in, too. Add minced garlic, chopped onion, and a few bits of a good goat or a fresh pecorino cheese (maybe 1/4 cup) to make it creamy.

Add enough sherry and vegetable stock to cover, but don’t let the vegetables “swim” in the broth.

For flavor I added smoked salt, 4 peppercorns (whole), 2 juniper berries, one bay leaf, and some fennel pollen. (You can use fennel seed if the pollen is unavailable).

When the asparagus has softened, cool and then use an immersion blender to puree (right in the crock) and add enough stock to make a soup. (About 2 cups.) add a few mushrooms (any variety) chopped into bite-sized pieces and let simmer until hot and tasty.  Top with a little  Pecorino Romano, drizzle with your favorite finishing oil (a little white truffle oil would not be out-of-place) and sprinkle a little paprika for color.  Serve with or without a sandwich.  This recipe is proportional, so experiment a bit withe the amounts until you like it.

Songs for the season…

A little late,  but still apropos as, according to Irish lore, the month of November was called Samhain, the period of October 31 from sunset to sunset on November 1 was called oiche shamhna.  Literally translated as the “end of summer”, all fires were extinguished and the people gathered to both taste the harvest and to honor the faery realms and the ancestors as the “doors between worlds” briefly opened.  We now refer only to October 31 by that name and/or by the more common All Hallows Eve or Halloween.  The onset of winter and the dark season was looked upon with trepidation by our ancestors.   (I have written elsewhere on this subject some what extensively, links are provided at the end of this post.)    Star, the writer of Pantheon The Pagan Blog At Patheos ( posted 13 songs for Samhain. Sometime in the middle of the night I started thinking about what my 13 choices would be.  Here they are (order subject to change without warning):

13. Loreena McKennitt – All souls night  (lyrics):

12. “Souling Song – Samhain Version” – Kristen Lawrence 

and (alternately)  Souling Song – Sting

11. Dead Can Dance Tribute – Yulunga (Spirit Dance)

10. Lisa Thiel – Samhain Song


8. Dante’s Prayer – Loreena McKennitt –

7. “Weaver, Weaver” Starhawk (can’t find a link…)

6. SJ Tucker –   Come To The Labyrinthfrom: Blessings by SJ Tucker

5. Burning Times by Charlie Murphy

4. Were-owl from Walk the Wire: literal internet singles by SJ Tucker

3. Johnny Cash – Ghost Riders In The Sky

2. Fairport Convention – Tam Lin [Live at BBC]

1. Title: Honor to the Untamed God  (Recorded on “Let it Begin, Now: the music of the Spiral Dance. I don’t know who wrote it):

On Last FM (download):

Links to previous writings on Samhain and things … a bit chilly around the edges:

My Search for the Wild Hunt  The Internet Review of Science Fiction, March, 2009

Ladies of the Darkness: Trows, Rusalki, Vampires, and White Ladies of Literature and Folklore The Internet Review of Science Fiction

Celebrating the Harvest; Editorial The Homepage VOL 3 NOV 2010 Alumni Association Newsletter • Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies

Samhain 2011 - the coming season of darkness and waiting seeds below the earth captured in a pumpkin.

Sadness and Joy Over the Events of the Past Week…

I’m feeling both excited and saddened by the events of the past week here in the East Bay. On the positive side, several thousand – perhaps as many as 100,000 — marched peacefully and purposefully to the Port of Oakland from the city’s center and shut it down for several hours.  The workers and the unions stood in solidarity and refused to cross the line. This development was exciting to see and filled my heart with hope. Hope for all of us, our children, and our future as a people.

RAW VIDEO: Chopper footage of 100,000+ Occupy Oakland Takes back Highway

Sadly, later in the evening, sometime towards dawn, “anarchists” – many from other cities – attempted to co-opt the movement with acts of violence and random destruction.   It goes without saying that these are not the actions of responsible change-makers and these “anarchists” do not represent the people of Oakland and the greater Bay Area.  As a long time activist, I have seen the wholesale co-option of grassroots movements by the extreme left  (and, also the right) and the “chaos factors” represented by these so-called “anarchists”.  It creates a negative and combative both within the movement and towards those who otherwise support the goals and ideals of the movement itself.   As was true of past actions, methods of gentle and compassionate intervention to prevent the “chaos factors” from bending the movement to its agenda and from defining the conversation in the media needs must be found and implemented at the start.

To these I give this thought:

Dead Can Dance – Don`t Fade Away