Natural Living with Children

“Clearly, our life here isn’t about survival – at least not in the usual sense. For us, I think it’s more about living and raising our children in a way that keeps us in touch with our surroundings.” Dylan Tomine, author Closer to the Ground.

From "Closer to the Ground" by Dylan Tomine. Photo: Dylan Tomine

Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, In the Woods and at the Table by Dylan Tomine is a treasure for those who dream about natural living and raising children with an appreciation for the natural world. Tomine shares the daily and seasonal wonder he encounters as he introduces his children to the “give and take” involved in crabbing and fishing and in fact living in concert with nature and the rhythms of the seasons and life.PAT_CTTG_COVER_0803.indd

Tomine writes of the process of discovery with children, “Any student of Zen Buddhism can find valuable lessons while following a three-year old as he moves through the woods searching for mushrooms. Everything—and I mean everything—along the way is significant, interesting, and fun. The actual picking of mushrooms is almost beside the point.”

Formerly a fly-fishing guide, Tomine is now an ambassador for Patagonia, publisher of this book. He lives in Puget Sound with his family and presents this natural living family adventure with a deep commitment to teaching his children the importance of preservation and with humor as well as practicality.web-CLOSER_16_tomine_dylan

It’s a book full of treasures not the least of which are some great recipes from the woods and the sea. So we decided to ask for one of his favorite natural living recipes to share with Eco News Network readers.

“Simple cooking allows the true-and spectacular-natural flavors of fresh, wild food to shine,” Tomine writes about his approach to preparing meals.

Here it is!

Easy Chanterelle Pizza (page 185)

If you’re a purist, you might find the idea of making pizza—pizza!with these delicate mushrooms disrespectful. But bear with me. The mild ingredients bring the subtle flavor of chanterelles to the forefront, and I think even hard-core aficionados will appreciate it. The chanterelle season here in Western Washington is so long, and they are so much fun to pick, a little variety livens things up a bit.

You can make your own pizza dough from scratch, but there’s such good pre-made dough available these days, we often just buy it. Our local market sells a pretty good raw dough in one-pound balls, but you can also get it from your favorite pizza joint.

For one large pizza:

1 pound pizza dough

Flour for rolling dough

1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 red onion

1/2 pound chanterelles

3 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp minced garlic

Pre-heat oven and a ceramic pizza stone to 500 degrees. Roll, stretch and toss the dough into a thin, round shape, using plenty of flour to keep it from sticking. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper on top of a large cutting board. Grate mozzarella and parmesan, reserve. Slice red onion crosswise to create very thin rings.

Tear or slice chanterelles lengthwise into thin pieces. In a medium frying pan, melt butter and add garlic, then quickly sauté chanterelles in the pan over medium-high heat until almost cooked through. Remove from heat.

Spread mozzarella, then the sautéed chanterelles, evenly on the dough. Place a few thin rings of red onion sparingly on top. Sprinkle with parmesan. Place in oven on hot pizza stone and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Excerpted from Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, In the Woods and at the Table by Dylan Tomine. Copyright © 2015 by Patagonia®. Used by permission of Patagonia®, 

-JE Forbes

Photo credits:

Headshot: Tim Davis
Cover photo: Steve Perih
All others are from the Tomine family collection.

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