Masset, Haida Gwaii
Queen Charlotte Islands)
BC Canada V0T 1M0
27, 2013 at now
tales from poet Susan Musgrave >> Click
from poet Susan Musgrave
May 31, 2013
Photo: Robert Fraumeni
Susan Musgrave strides into the ocean
to catch crab for dinner.
Acclaimed poet Susan
Musgrave has two new titles to add to her
CV: B&B proprietor and cookbook author.
In 2010 she took over the infamous Copper
Beech Guest House in Haida Gwaii’s
Masset. The guest house has a rich culinary
history and Musgrave is keeping the tradition
alive. Her “love story with recipes,” A Taste of
Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at
the Edge of the World, was published by
Whitecap Books in November 2015.
To whet your appetite, Musgrave has generously
shared the following excerpts.
For more on Musgrave and the Copper Beech
Guest House see “Island character” in
the Summer 2013 issue of British
Pickled Sea Asparagus
"I am giving out tastes from my wee
jar, to the chosen few I think worthy and
as we stand by the fridge with our chopsticks
and the jar, it's like a religious experience."
—Ilona Beiks, treasured guest, and
recipient of jarred Pickled Sea Asparagus,
Copper Beech House2013
2 quarts sea asparagus
3 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced long ways
(one clove for each jar)
Bay Leaves (one for each jar)
1 red pepper cut into heart-shaped pieces
(or use dried red chili peppers)
1 tbsp mixed pickling
spice (or use whole coriander seeds, whole
yellow mustard seeds)
Sprinkling of dill seed
WHAT YOU DO
Trim sea asparagus into 3-4″ lengths, then
soak in cold water for about 1 hour to remove
some of the salty taste.
In the bottom of each sterilized 1/2 pint jar
place a bay leaf, a few peppercorns, the pickling
spice (or the coriander and mustard seeds) and
a tiny sprinkle of dill seed. Add 1 red pepper
heart or 1 dried chili to each jar.
Drain sea asparagus and pack tightly into jars.
Then manouever the red pepper hearts or chili
peppers and garlic slices into the jars alongside
the glass, so they show.
Bring vinegar, sugar and 1 cup water to boil
and simmer 15 minutes. Pour hot solution over
sea asparagus, leaving 1/2” headroom.
Seal jars and process in hot water bath for 15
minutes. Makes 8 1/2 pint jars.
Next: Haida Gwaii Three Berry Pie
Gwaii Three Berry Pie
"When you die, if you get a choice between
going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose
pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's
not, mmmmmmmm, boy.”
— Jack Handy
1 1/4 cups Graham Wafer crumbs
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup melted butter
Combine Graham Wafer crumbs with slivered almonds
and melted butter. I don’t add sugar, as
most recipes suggest you do. I do add 1/2 tsp
cinnamon, but only if I’m in the mood.
Pat into pie plate and set in freezer to chill
until ready for use.
Preheat over to 400F
2 cups huckleberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional) (I think I leave
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1) Mix the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and
cinnamon and toss the berries in this mixture
until they are evenly coated. Let this
sit for 15 minutes or more. The sugar will coax
the juice from the berries and create liquid
which will dissolve the cornstarch.
2) Whilst the juice is being coaxed from the
berries, beat together the heavy cream, sugar,
eggs and pinch of salt.
3) Mix these wet ingredients into the berries.
4) Pour into chilled crumb-crust, dot with butter.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1) Combine butter, sugar and flour and sprinkle
over the top of the filling.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
Turn oven down to 350F and bake until topping
is nicely browned, another 35-40 minutes.
Next: Masset Inlet Hand-Peeled Shrimp
Inlet Hand-Peeled Shrimp
Back in the day when they had exotic dancers
at the bar of the Singing Surf Motel in Masset,
Paul Bower, a North Beach beachcomber and general
man-about-the-beach, is said to have offered
one of the strippers 50 lbs of shrimp to spend
the night with him. She turned him down; he drove
home and ate the shrimp himself.
Shrimp, when hand-peeled, have the brightest
pink colour and firmest, sweet-tasting meat.
Paul isn’t around to give us directions,
so I have had to exercise poetic license.
THE BEST PEELER
To shell shrimp, you need just your hands.
You grab the fleshy part at the front and peel