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Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

 

​Two cups fresh basil

One cup rose Petals

4 peeled garlic cloves

1 cup toasted walnuts

1 cup of olive oil

1 Teaspoon rosewater

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup of freshly grated Romano Cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Combine everything in the food processor – but hold back 1/4 cup of the rose petals. Give it a few short whirs (pulses) so it has a chunky texture. Remove into a bowl. Mince your remaining rose petals finely.

Blend minced petals into your pesto. Leave a few for garnishing.

Lavender Jelly

Lavender Jelly

Lavender Jelly

Use this between layers of cake. Spread on toast, use it in frosting mix for cupcakes. Try a tsp. or two in your afternoon tea.

 

4 T. dried lavender flowers

4 T. powdered pectin

3 C. apple juice

2 T. fresh lemon juice

3 C. brown sugar

 

Tie up lavender flowers in double thickness of cheesecloth, securing with string. Combine pectin and apple juice in a saucepan and stir to dissolve the pectin. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add lemon juice and sugar, stir, then add the lavender cheesecloth bag. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove bag of lavender and discard. Strain hot jelly through cheesecloth into sterilized jars and seal (I use 2-piece jelly lids, kept hot in boiling water but some people prefer the old method of sealing with paraffin).

Fireweed Pickles

Fireweed Pickles

Fireweed Pickles

 

1 lb. fresh fireweed shoots

FOR THE BRINE:

1 T. mustard seeds

1 tsp. peppercorns

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 T. sea salt (or canning and pickling salt)

 

In a saucepan, combine all brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Then remove from heat. Rinse the fireweed shoots well. Sterilize your jars, either one quart, two pint jars, or four half-pint jars. Pack your jars tightly with the fireweed shoots and cover with the brine to 1/2 inch from top of jar. As you add the brine, you might be able to fit in more fireweed. Cover and cool in the refrigerator. Serve pickles with cheese and crackers, or salmon and cream cheese, or add to a spring omelet. Store jars in the refrigerator, and use within one month for best quality.

Purple Lemonade

Purple Lemonade

Purple Lemonade

 

12 ounces black currants

1 ¾ C. sugar

Grated zest of 2 lemons

2 quarts plus 1 cup water

1 ¼ C. freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Puree the currants in a food mill using the finest disc. If the puree has seeds, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove them. Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir together the currant puree, lemon mixture, and remaining 2 quarts of water in a large pitcher. Serve over ice. Makes about 3 quarts. For sparkling Purple Lemonade, substitute soda water for half of the second quantity of water.

Black Currant Sun Jelly

Black Currant Sun Jelly

Black Currant Sun Jelly

 

9 ounces black currants

9 ounces superfine sugar

 

Puree the currants in a food mill using the finest disc. If the puree has seeds, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove them. Stir in the sugar. Divide among 3 4-ounce jars, cover with parchment, and secure the parchment with butcher’s twine. Place the jars outside in the sun all day, or until jelled.  Makes about 1 ½ C.. Keeps for months tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce

Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce

Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce

 

1 bunch ramps (about 12)

1 T. olive oil

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1 large egg

3/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for a dredge

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 stick of butter

 

Clean the ramps and remove the roots. Finely dice the bulbs and julienne the leaves. On medium heat, sauté the diced bulbs in one T. of olive oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the julienned leaves and sauté another minute or so until soft but still green. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, 3/4 cup of flour, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg and half the sautéed ramps (about 1/4 cup). Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, form gnudis by taking a T. of the cheese mixture in floured hands, roll it into a ball, flatten it, and then dredge in flour to coat. Gently place gnudis 4 at a time in simmering water, and when they float to the top (about 3 minutes), gently remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. They will be very delicate, so handle with care and keep cooked gnudis separate. Repeat until all are cooked. Melt a stick of butter in saucepan on medium until nutty brown. Place gnudis on a plate, drizzle with brown butter and garnish with remaining sautéed ramps. Serve warm.

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Ramp Greens

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Ramp Greens

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Ramp Greens

 

8 C. Chicken Bone Broth

1 pack cheese tortellini cooked

2 links Italian Chicken Sausage sliced

1 medium carrot peeled & chopped

4+ C. Ramp Greens cleaned and chopped

 

In a medium/large pot, lightly sauté chicken sausage in a little fat until brown. Add broth, carrots, ramp greens and tortellini. Simmer to heat through. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Enjoy!

Ramp Filled Crescents

Ramp Filled Crescents

Ramp Filled Crescents

 

1 package refrigerated crescent roll dough

1 cup ramps finely chopped

2 T. Butter

2 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup gruyere cheese shredded

 

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook finely chopped ramps in butter for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add cream cheese to the skillet, stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Roll out crescent roll dough. Spread ramp cream cheese filling onto each triangle and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Then roll up. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy while warm, room temperature or chilled in the fridge. Notes: For this recipe you can use the whole ramp (bulb, stem and leaves) or all leaves. While the leaves have less flavor than the bulbs they are still totally delicious!

Dandelion Lemonade

Dandelion Lemonade

Dandelion Lemonade

 

1 C. Dandelion Blossoms

3 C. Water

2 Lemons, zest and Juice

¾ C. Sugar

 

Pull Petals off dandelion and put in a bowl with 1 C. of water overnight.  The next day, strain into a pan and add remaining ingredients.  Stir while heating until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour into a clean bottle or jar.  Refrigerate until cold, then enjoy.  (For a larger batch, use 2 quarts blossoms, 4-6 lemons, sweeten to taste, in a gallon jar.  Dandelion blossoms steeped as tea can help relieve headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomach aches and even depression.

Rhubarb and Spruce Tip Galette

Rhubarb and Spruce Tip Galette

Rhubarb and Spruce Tip Gazette

pastry for a single crust pie

4 C. (550gms) rhubarb, cut in ½ inch (1cm) pieces

2/3 cup (140gms) + 1 tsp. sugar, divided

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ cup (4 T.) chopped spruce tips (*or see variations below)

3 T. cornstarch

1 T. butter

2-3 tsp. almond milk, dairy milk, or water

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Roll out the pastry dough between two sheets of parchment paper, into a 12″ (30cm) circle. (See the bottom of this post for a good tip on how to roll between paper.) Peel off the top layer of paper and discard it. Transfer the bottom layer of parchment, with the pastry circle still attached, to a baking sheet – a pizza pan works really well for this. Set the pan with the pastry crust into the fridge to chill while you make the filling. Cut the rhubarb into ½ inch (1cm) slices. Clean the brown papery husk off the spruce tips and chop the spruce tips coarsely. Place the rhubarb and spruce tips into a bowl. Add the salt, cornstarch, and sugar. Toss to combine everything well. Scrape the mixture into a pile on top of the pastry circle in the pan. The sugar and cornstarch will settle between the rhubarb chunks. Level the rhubarb chunks into a neat circle, leaving a 2 inch (5cm) border of pastry uncovered. Very carefully fold up the pastry border, pulling up on the parchment paper to help lift the pastry. Pleat the pastry and press the folds gently down onto the rhubarb filling as you go around the circle. Dot the filling with little bits of the butter. Brush the pastry border with the milk and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Remove the galette from the oven and leave it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Leaking bits of filling are normal with galettes, and add to their rustic charm. If there’s a big puddle of liquid that has leaked out, try to scrape some of it up with a tsp. and drizzle it back onto the center of the galette. Gently slide the galette with the paper onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or let cool completely.  If letting the galette cool, remove it from the paper to the cooling rack. To do this, slide a thin metal spatula between the galette and the paper and run it all the way around the galette to make sure it isn’t sticking to the paper anywhere. Then slightly lift one side of the galette with the spatula and pull the parchment paper out from underneath, leaving the galette resting on the cooling rack. Leave it there until it is completely cool. This helps the bottom crust to stay crisp. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, if desired.

 

*Rhubarb Basil Galette: replace the spruce tips with 2 T. chopped fresh basil. Another winning combination.

 

*Plain Rhubarb Galette: replace the spruce tips with 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Simple and delicious.

Stir-fried Dandelion Greens with Duck Fat and Garlic

Stir-fried Dandelion Greens with Duck Fat and Garlic

Stir-fried Dandelion Greens with Duck Fat and Garlic

If you’ve cooked with duck fat before, you can jump into this simple recipe with gusto because you’ve experienced duck fat as the culinary gem that it is. Its unctuous and rich flavor is worth going that little bit out of your way for. Believe it or not, it’s close to olive oil on the health meter. You can buy containers of duck fat at fine grocers, or you can buy a duck, render the trimmed fat, and have a lovely duck ready to roast another night.

 

For the Duck-Fat-Roasted Garlic

1 cup rendered duck fat

12 garlic cloves, tough stem ends removed

Place the duck fat and garlic in a small heavy-bottomed sauté pan over low heat. Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer. The garlic will burn quickly, so keep an eye on it. If it cooks too much, it will taste bitter and unpleasant. Cook until the garlic is just turning light golden brown. Turn off the heat and let the garlic cool in the duck fat, about 30 minutes. The cloves will continue to brown as they sit in the fat.  Remove the garlic cloves from the duck fat. Store the garlic and duck fat separately in the refrigerator in covered containers for up to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature about 1 hour before using.

 

 

2 bunches dandelion greens (about 1 pound)

2 T. rendered duck fat

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

12 cloves duck-fat-roasted garlic (above)

Trim the tough ends from the dandelion greens and discard. Wash the greens thoroughly and drain.

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the greens into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain in a colander. When the greens are cool enough to handle, place them on a cutting board and cut into 2-inch ribbons. (young tender greens need not be blanched).  Heat the duck fat in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the greens, stirring to coat with the fat. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Pickled Spruce Tips

Pickled Spruce Tips

Pickled Spruce Tips

for each half-pint (250ml) jar:

 

6 whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 slice of fresh lemon

1 tsp. sea salt

1 heaping cup (250ml) of spruce tips

 

for the brine (enough for 1 jar):

 

¼ cup (60ml) white wine vinegar

¼ cup (60ml) filtered or distilled water

 

Into each very clean and well-rinsed half-pint (1 cup/250ml) jar, place 6 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 1 slice of lemon cut in half. and 1 tsp. salt. Hold the lemon slice and bay leaf against the side of the jar if you’d like them to show on the outside.  Clean the spruce tips of their brown husks (a bit of a sticky job) and pack them into the jars up to ½ inch (1 cm) from the tops of the jars. Pack them in quite firmly. Put the the vinegar and filtered water into a small saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour the hot brine over the spruce tips and salt until it is also ½ inch (1cm) from the top of the jar. The spruce tips will turn from bright green to olive green as the brine hits them.  Put the new snap lids for the jars into a pot of simmering water for 5 minutes to soften them. Wipe the top rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Seal the jars with the snap lids and metal screw rings until finger tight.  Lay a clean dishcloth in the bottom of a saucepan that is taller than the jars (the dishcloth keeps the jars from bouncing around in the pot once the water is boiling.) Set the jars onto the dishcloth and fill the saucepan with hot tap water up to the bottom of the metal screw rings. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the water to a full boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down a bit to keep the water boiling without boiling over. Start timing for 10 minutes. Process the jars for 10 minutes, then remove them carefully, using a pot holder or jar clamp, to a clean dishtowel laid out on the counter. Leave the jars undisturbed until they are cool. The metal lids should have sealed and suctioned down. If the lids are still bowed slightly upward, then the jars haven’t sealed and should be stored in the fridge and consumed within six months (leave them to age for one month before using). The spruce tips will all have floated to the top of the jars once cool. Give each jar a shake and they will disperse evenly again.  If sealed, the pickled spruce tips will last for several years in a cool, dark place. Leave the jars for a week before using them, so the brine has had time to fully flavor the spruce tips.

Ramps on Grits

Ramps on Grits

Ramps on Grits

 

1 cup stone ground white grits

3 C. water

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated

2 T. olive oil

8 ramps

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 T. unsalted butter

4 eggs

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

In a medium pot, bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir in the grits and pepper, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the grits are cooked, stir in the cheese and distribute among 4 bowls. Roughly chop the white parts of the ramps. Cut the leaves crosswise into 1/8″ slivers and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottom pan set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the ramp whites, salt, and pepper. Cook until the ramps begin to brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ramp leaves and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the white wine and immediately cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Remove from heat and let sit for a couple minutes to steam the ramp leaves. Distribute among the 4 bowls. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the butter, then the eggs. Let the eggs fry for about 30 seconds–just long enough to season with salt and pepper–then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and remove from heat. Let sit for 3-4 minutes. Distribute the eggs among the 4 bowls and serve.

Fritto Misto of Fiddleheads, Ramps and Asparagus with Meyer Lemon Aioli

Fritto Misto of Fiddleheads, Ramps and Asparagus with Meyer Lemon Aioli

Fritto Misto of Fiddleheads, Ramps and Asparagus with Meyer Lemon Aioli

 

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon

2 T. fresh Meyer lemon juice

4 quarts peanut or vegetable oil

3 C. unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour

1 large egg

2 C. buttermilk

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 to 2 pounds mixed fiddleheads, ramps (or green onions) and asparagus, cleaned and patted dry

 

Place the oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot and heat it to 375°F. Sift together the all-purpose and cake flours and place them in a wide bowl or on a platter. Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a large shallow bowl. While the oil is healing, prepare the vegetables, making sure that they are dry before coating. To avoid gluey fingers, use one hand for wet dipping and the other for dry. Working with a few pieces of the vegetables at a time, dip them into the buttermilk mixture, coating them well. Lift them out, letting the excess buttermilk drip off, then drop them into the flour mixture, working quickly to coat them evenly with the flour. Shake off any excess flour and lay the vegetables in a single layer on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Continue until all die vegetables are coated. When the oil is hot, carefully add the vegetables to the pot but do not overcrowd. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Give the vegetables a stir as they fry, turning any that are browning unevenly. Using a slotted spoon or flat strainer, remove the vegetables and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Hold in a warm place while frying the rest of the vegetables. Be sure to bring the oil back up to temperature before adding the next batch. Serve warm with the Meyer Lemon Aioli.   Note: Coating 20-25 minutes ahead of time makes the coating adhere better when frying.

 

Meyer Lemon Aioli

 

½ C. EVOO

½ C. Olive Oil

1 lg. Garlic Clove

1 tsp. Salt

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

Zest from Meyer Lemon

2 T. fresh Meyer Lemon Juice

 

Combine the extra virgin olive oil and the pure olive oil in a measuring cup with a spout. Place the garlic and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the garlic is finely minced and beginning to liquefy. Add the whole egg and egg yolk. Process for 30 seconds. With the machine running, slowly begin to drizzle in the oil. As the mixture thickens, the oil can be added a little more quickly. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and process briefly to mix in. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. If the aioli is too stiff, add water in ½ tsp. increments to thin.

Woodsy Wild Mushroom Soup

Woodsy Wild Mushroom Soup

Woodsy Wild Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 pounds wild mushrooms

1 ounce dried chanterelles

1 ounce dried morels

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 1/2 T. all-purpose flour

6 sprigs fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 C. chicken broth

1 cup water

1 cup heavy cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, juiced

2 T. parsley, minced

6 slices light rye bread, cut in half

Olive oil (for brushing the bread)

 

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Put the dried morels and chanterelles in hot water for five minutes until rehydrated and soft. Strain the liquid and pour it into the hot butter along with half of each type of dried mushroom.  Add the mushrooms (set aside a few attractive mushroom slices for garnish later) and the salt and turn the heat to high. Sear the mushrooms until they are golden brown, caramelized, and have a deep earthy smell. Reduce heat to low and add the onion and the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until  the juices evaporate and the onion is translucent, about five minutes. Stir the flour into mushroom mixture and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes to remove raw flour taste. Add the wine and deglaze the pan scraping up all the browned bits (this is where the intense woodsy flavor comes from). Tie the thyme sprigs into a small bundle with kitchen twine and add to mushroom mixture. Pour in the chicken stock and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour and then remove the thyme bundle. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree on high speed until the mixture is thick but you can still see small pieces of the mushroom.  Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream, season with salt and black pepper, and finish with the lemon juice.  In a 10″ skillet, heat 2 T. of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the reserved mushroom slices and sear until golden brown. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil, place them on a baking tray, and bake them at 400 degrees F. until golden and the edges are crispy. Transfer the soup to a large serving bowl (or individual bowls), top with the reserved seared mushrooms, and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately with the bread fresh from the oven.

Shrimp and Grits with Ramp Pesto

Shrimp and Grits with Ramp Pesto

Shrimp and Grits with Ramp Pesto

1 cup stone ground grits

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 T. unsalted butter

¼ cup milk

2 T. olive oil

20 medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined

¼ cup Ramp Pesto

grated parmesan

 

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 C. of water and the salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the grits and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the butter and milk and stir. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the shrimp and the pan juices to a mixing bowl. Add the ramp pesto and toss to coat. To serve, evenly divide the grits into the bottom of 4 shallow serving bowls and top with 5 shrimp each. Drizzle on any remaining pesto liquid onto each serving and top with grated parmesan.

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Sweet Woodruff is a common ground cover garden plant, and while it is native to Europe it has naturalized in many of our forests. Leaves and flowers should be harvested just before and during blooming, but they must dried or at least wilted before using to capture their flavor/aroma. The stems are bitter, so make sure you just use leaves and blossoms.

 

By baking this magical Sweet Woodruff cake we can combine our magical powers together and cast a powerful blessing to enrich us, one and all and make our hearts merry. And here’s a little prosperity spell to say over your cake, while you’re making it, while it’s baking or just before you serve it. Abracadabra!

 

Money, money come to me

In abundance three times three

May I be enriched in the best of ways

Harming none on its way

This I accept, so mote it be

Bring me money three times three!

 

1 cup & 2 tsp. of DRIED Sweet Woodruff leaves and flowers (no stems!)

4 large egg yolks

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup organic cane sugar (or whatever sugar you like)

2 tablespoons cold water

8 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 cup of wholewheat, or spelt, or all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

2 cups light cream

Powdered icing sugar for dusting

 

Three days before making your cake: Take your dried sweet woodruff and place in your cream. Stir well. Cover and allow to sit in a warm place for 24hrs. Then transfer to fridge. After two days, strain the plant material from the cream. Line a 8 X 8 inch square pan with sheets of parchment paper. Leave a generous amount sticking out from the sides. These will be your “handles” when you take the cake out of the pan. Heat Oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and water together until creamy and the sugar is dissolved. 5 to 6 minutes. Drizzle in the melted butter into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add in the flour, lemon zest, salt and two tsp. of dried woodruff (crumbled into a powder) then blend until fully combined. Add the milk or cream and mix them in gently. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Add the egg whites to the yolk mixture and flour mixture. Stir VERY gently with a large spoon just a dozen or so times, leaving large clumps of egg whites in the batter. Do not overmix! Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the edges are set, the top is a warm brown, and the center is still a wee bit wobbly. 50 to 55 minutes. Leave the cake in the pan at room temperature until completely cooled. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Best left overnight. Dust with icing sugar and serve!

Quick Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup

Quick Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup

Quick Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup

This is not true mugolio, but it only takes a few minutes to make, instead of a month. Use it to flavor ice cream, panna cotta, cheesecake, a mousse, Italian meringue, there’s plenty of possibilities. One of my favorites is the way the French serve their fresh cheese-with a little drizzle on top.

 

4 packed C. spruce tips

2 C. sugar

2 C. water

Instructions

 

Grind the spruce tips and sugar in a food processor, then mix with the water, bring to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and allow to sit overnight. The next day, strain the syrup, then return it to the pan, cooking until it takes on a light amber color and the consistency resembles warm honey. Transfer the syrup to labeled, dated container and refrigerate until needed. If the syrup becomes very thick when it’s cold, thin it with a bit of cold water until it reaches your desired consistency.

Spring Vegetable Stew

Spring Vegetable Stew

Spring Vegetable Stew

The great thing about a stew is that you don’t have to be all that exact.  I’ve given measurements as a guide, but you could easily adapt this recipe to accommodate your personal preferences.

 

6 to 7 (12 ounces) baby artichokes

10 ounces shelled fava beans (from about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds unshelled fava beans)

8 ounces snap peas, ends trimmed

8 ounces shelled peas (from fresh or frozen)

handful of fiddlehead ferns (optional)

3 ounces pancetta or guanciale, thinly sliced

2 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over the finished dish

2 medium leeks (~ 1 heaping cup), thinly sliced (or spring onions)

1 3/4 C. vegetable stock or water

1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 to 3 T. mint, chopped

zest and juice of half a lemon

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

serve with grilled bread, rubbed with a clove of garlic, sprinkle with sea salt

 

To prepare the artichokes: Fill a bowl with cold water and lemon juice (the lemon prevents oxidation and blackening).  Slice the tips of the artichokes cross-wise to remove their pointed tops.  Peel off the tough outer leaves of the artichoke until you reach the pale, tender, lighter colored leaves.  Place the artichoke in the acidulated water.  Repeat with the remaining artichokes. Blanch the vegetables: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.  Drop in the artichokes, cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise. Prepare an ice water bath.  Drop the fava beans into the simmering water, cook 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop the beans into the ice water bath.  Slide the fava from their thick outer covering. Set aside. Drop the snap peas and fresh peas, if using, (if frozen you don’t need to blanch) into the simmering water, cook for a minute or two. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into the ice water bath.  Drain and set aside. Last, drop the fiddleheads, if using, into the simmering water (you’ll want to blanch these last since they turn the water a brownish color) and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into the ice water bath.  Drain and set aside. Making the stew: In a large, high-sided pan, heat the olive oil.  When hot, add the pancetta and cook until the fat is rendered.  Add the leeks and sauté until soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the blanched artichokes and stock, and simmer 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus, season with a little salt and pepper, and simmer another 3-5 minutes.  Add the peas, fava beans, and fiddleheads, and simmer another 3-5 minutes (all vegetables should be tender, but still have a bit of a bite).  Add the lemon zest and juice and fresh herbs, and stir to combine.  Taste and re-season with salt and pepper. To serve:  Drizzle with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

Morels And Brick Cheese on Rye, With Ramp Leaf Aioli

Morels And Brick Cheese on Rye, With Ramp Leaf Aioli

Morels And Brick Cheese on Rye, With Ramp Leaf Aioli

2 slices caraway rye bread sliced 1/2 inch

Room temperature unsalted butter as needed

1.5 ounces fresh whole morel mushrooms rinsed, cleaned, and inspected for debris on the inside.

Kosher salt and pepper

1 T. Lard other animal fat, or high heat cooking oil such as grapeseed

1.5 ounces brick cheese sliced

1 tsp. chopped fresh ramp bulbs

1 recipe ramp leaf aioli follows

 

Spread each side of bread with butter. Place the bread buttered side down in the cast iron pan. Arrange the cheese slices on the bread and cook on low-medium heat, until the bread is nicely toasted and the cheese is melting. In a separate pan, heat the lard or grapeseed oil until lightly smoking, add the morels and cook over medium high heat until brown and caramelized, about 4-5 minutes. Add a tsp. of butter to the pan, then add the ramps. When the morels are totally cooked, season with salt and pepper. Allow the morels to drain on a paper towel briefly to shed excess oil if needed. Place the morels on top of the cheese on one slice of bread, top each with some of the ramps from the pan, then add a T. of the ramp leaf aioli. Place the other slice of bread on top of the slice with the morels and sauce. Press the sandwich lightly to make it stick together.

 

 

Ramp Leaf Aioli

 

1 ounce fresh wild garlic leaves about 10 large leaves

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1 cup mayonnaise preferably homemade

1 tsp. champagne vinegar

 

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the wild garlic leaves and cook for 5 seconds, until just wilted. Immediately refresh the ramp leaves in an ice bath to preserve their color. Squeeze the leaves dry in a towel, then mince finely. Puree the leaves in a highspeed blender or a food processor with the mayonnaise.  Afterwards, pass the sauce through the chinois or mesh strainer to remove any stringy leaf particles and give it a velvety texture (optional). Stir in the champagne vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve until needed.

Fritto Misto of Ramps, Asparagus, Fiddleheads with Citrus Mint Aioli

Fritto Misto of Ramps, Asparagus, Fiddleheads with Citrus Mint Aioli

Fritto Misto of Ramps, Asparagus, Fiddleheads with Citrus Mint Aioli

4 C. canola oil

2 C. all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lime

½- 1 cup ice cold club soda, diluted with 2 T. lemon juice

1 ½ to 2 pounds mixed fiddleheads, ramps (or green onions) and asparagus, cleaned and dried

Maldon salt, to season

Citrus Mint Aioli, to serve (recipe follows)

 

Place the oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot and heat it to 375ËšF. In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. Add salt and citrus zest and mix well. Slowly add in water or club soda until the consistency is like a loose pancake batter. Once the oil has come to temperature, working with a few pieces of the vegetables at a time, dip them into the batter, coating them well and letting the excess drip off, before adding to hot oil. Working in batches, place vegetables in oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with maldon salt. Hold in a warm place while frying the rest of the vegetables. Be sure to bring the oil back up to temperature before adding the next batch. Serve warm with the citrus mint aioli.

 

Citrus Mint Aioli

 

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Juice and zest of 1 lime

½ cup canola oil

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Place garlic, salt, egg and egg yolk in a blender and blend until smooth. Add mint and combine. Slowly stream in half the oil and then add citrus juice and zest and then continue to add the rest of the oil until thick and emulsified. Adjust with salt, if needed. Serve with fritto misto.

Fiddlehead & Mussel Soup

Fiddlehead & Mussel Soup

Fiddlehead & Mussel Soup

4 T. Butter

¼ C. thinly sliced Shallots

1 T. thinly Sliced Garlic

1 fresh Thyme Sprig

1 Bay Leaf

3 lb. Mussels, washed and debearded

½ C. dry White Wine

1 C. Chicken Broth

 

Place the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shallots and garlic are translucent. Add the thyme and bay leaf and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mussels, stirring to coat them evenly with the butter. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Add the white wine, turn up the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes to bum off the alcohol, then add the chicken broth. Bring the mixture back to a boil, cover the pot, and turn down the heat to low. Steam the mussels until the shells open and the flesh is plump and full, about 5 minutes. Discard any that do not open.  Drain the mussels and their cooking liquid through a colander into a large pot or bowl. You should have between 2 and 3 C. of liquid. Let the mussels cool in the colander. When the mussels are cool, remove the meat from the shells. Discard the shells and set aside the mussels in a cool place until ready to use.

 

4 T. (/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (1 large or 2 medium)

1 T. thinly sliced garlic

1 1/4 pounds ostrich fern fiddleheads, cleaned

Reserved mussels cooking liquid (above)

1 1/2 C. heavy cream

1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/3 tsp. dried

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. kosher salt

4 grinds of white pepper (1/8 tsp.)

1 T. finely minced fresh chives

 

Heat the butter in a large pot over low heat. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots and garlic are tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the fiddleheads. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the mussel cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, bring back to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 to 6 more minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and remove the fiddleheads with a slotted spoon or strainer. Set aside /4 cup fiddleheads. Place the remaining fiddleheads in a blender and add half the soup. Puree until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining soup and, starting on low, blend briefly to combine. Add the rosemary, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, salt, and white pepper and blend briefly to incorporate. Return the soup to a clean pot. Heat the soup just to a boil, whisking occasionally. Place the mussels and reserved fiddleheads in a small pot, ladle in a small amount of the soup, and place over low heat. When hot, divide the mussels and fiddleheads among 4 to 6 soup bowls and ladle in the soup. Garnish with the chives.

Ramp & Shrimp Grits

Ramp & Shrimp Grits

Ramp & Shrimp Grits

1 lb. Shrimp, shell on

¼ C. dry White Wine

1 Shallot, thinly sliced

1 ½ tsp. Salt

1 C. Quick-Cooking Grits

4 T. Butter

¼ tsp. Pepper

4 cloves Garlic, minced

2 tsp. Lemon Juice

½ C. Ramp Pesto

2 T. Crème Fraiche

2 T. fresh Chive, sliced in ½” pieces

 

Peel and devein the shrimp, saving the shells. Place the shrimp shells in a medium saucepan. Add the white wine, shallot, and 4 C. cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a bubbling simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the shells steep in the liquid for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a 4-cup measuring cup and discard the shells. Add enough cold water to make 4 C.. Place in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp. of the salt, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the grits, bring to a boil, then cover and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until creamy. Hold in a warm place while you cook the shrimp.  Place the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the shrimp, the remaining [/2 tsp. salt, and the pepper. Toss the shrimp in the butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just pink. Add the garlic and finish cooking, another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Stir the ramp pesto into the grits, then stir in the creme fraiche. Divide the grits among 4 to 6 bowls and top with the shrimp. Garnish with the chives.

Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread

Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread

Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread

1 T. Ghee or butter

2 T. Garlic Scapes or shallots

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Black Trumpet Mushrooms (cleaned)

8 ounce Cream Cheese (organic, cultured)

1 pinch Sea Salt to taste

1 pinch White Pepper to taste

 

In a skillet over medium/low heat, sauté garlic scapes in ghee until soft. Add in black trumpet mushrooms continue sautéing until mushrooms are cooked through and any liquid is evaporated. Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese (cut or scooped into roughly 1 T. sized chunks). Stirring constantly until the cream cheese is melted and mixed thoroughly. Transfer to a an air tight jar or container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to allow the flavors to come together. Remove dip from at the refrigerator roughly 30 minutes prior to serving to allow it to warm to room temperature. Serve with crackers, toasted bread or raw vegetables. Notes: Use 1 ounce dried Black Trumpets that have been reconstituted in warm water in place of the fresh.

Wild Ramp Pesto

Wild Ramp Pesto

Wild Ramp Pesto

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) ramps

½ cup walnuts (toasted in a skillet for 5 minutes until golden)

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

½ tsp. kosher salt to taste

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (or ½ cup—you kind of have to eyeball it)

Squirt of lemon juice

½ cup flat-leaf parsley (optional)

 

Wash ramps throughly and cut off the leaves of the ramps.  Chop the ramp leaves and walnuts just a bit and put them in your food processor. (Optional: add parsley.) Add most of the cheese (save a sprinkle for serving) plus salt. Pouring the olive oil in slowly, process contents until they combine and look, well … pesto-y. Taste for seasoning and add a good squirt of lemon juice. Served as a side with warm pita and bulgur with butternut squash and chard

Wheat Berry & Wild Mushroom Stew

Wheat Berry & Wild Mushroom Stew

Wheat Berry & Wild Mushroom Stew

 

2 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin

½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra for drizzling

2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried

½ tsp. table salt

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth, plus extra as needed

1½ cups wheat berries

½ cup dry Madeira or sherry, divided

6 ounces (6 cups) baby spinach

Grated Parmesan cheese

 

Microwave cremini mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, garlic, 1 T. oil, thyme, and salt in bowl, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in broth, wheat berries, and 6 T. Madeira. Cover and cook until wheat berries are tender, 8 to 10 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.  Stir in spinach, 1 handful at a time, and let sit until wilted, about 5 minutes. Adjust consistency with extra hot broth as needed. Stir in remaining 2 T. oil and remaining 2 T. Madeira and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle individual portions with extra oil and sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.

Buttery Sautéed Mushrooms with Spruce Tips and Chives

Buttery Sautéed Mushrooms with Spruce Tips and Chives

Buttery Sautéed Mushrooms with Spruce Tips and Chives

2 T. salted butter

4 C. small white button mushrooms (11oz/320gms)

¼ tsp. salt

1 T. chopped spruce tips

2 T. minced chives (or green onions)

light sprinkling of pepper

 

Wash the mushrooms under running water, then leave them to dry on a tea towel or paper towel until most of the moisture is off. Pat them lightly with the towel to speed the process. If your mushrooms are large, cut them in halves (or even quarters if really large). In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to sizzle and smell nutty, just beginning to brown slightly. Tip in the mushrooms and sprinkle them with the salt. (The salt helps draw the moisture out of the mushrooms.)  Sauté the mushrooms, stirring them often, so they brown on several sides, for 8 to 10 minutes. First, the liquid will be released from the mushrooms, but keep cooking them until this liquid is cooked away and the mushrooms start to brown. Once the liquid is evaporated you will need to stir them more often.  When the mushrooms have all turned a deep golden color on several sides, sprinkle them with the chopped spruce tips and chives. Cook them for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, give them a very light sprinkling of pepper (you don’t want to overpower their delicate flavor), and tip them into a small serving bowl, scraping all the lovely butter and sprucy, chivey bits into the bowl, too. Serves 4 as a side dish.

Foraged Mushroom Tart

Foraged Mushroom Tart

Foraged Mushroom Tart

1 ready-made pie crust

2 T. butter

1⁄2 cup minced onion

salt

freshly ground black pepper

4 C. sliced exotic mushrooms (lobster, hedgehog, oyster, black trumpets, baby shiitakes, etc.)

2 tsp. chopped garlic

2 C. heavy cream

3 large eggs

1 dash hot pepper sauce

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

4 ounces shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place crust in a 10 inch tart pan. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are wilted. Stir in the garlic and remove from the heat. Cool completely. In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream and eggs together. Season with 3/4 of a tsp. of salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Pour the mushroom mixture into the pastry shell. Sprinkle the cheese over the mushrooms. Pour the cream mixture over the cheese. Bake until the center sets and the top is golden, about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing to serve.

Wild Mushrooms and Lardo on Rye

Wild Mushrooms and Lardo on Rye

Wild Mushrooms and Lardo on Rye

1 pound (454 g) mixed wild mushrooms: porcini, chanterelle, morel, boletus, etc. (substitute with any selection of cultivated and/or wild mushrooms)

2 T. (30 ml) butter

3 T. (45 ml) olive oil, divided

1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped shallots

1 T. (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves

Salt and pepper

½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

4 toasted slices of rye bread

2 C. (480 ml) grated Fontina cheese (or substitute with mozzarella or old cheddar)

4 ounces (114 g) Italian lardo (from Valle d’Aosta, if possible), cut into thin strips

Italian parsley, chopped finely, for garnish

 

Clean mushrooms with damp cloth, trim woody ends of stems, and slice. Add butter and 1 T. (15 ml) of olive oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms, making sure the skillet is not overcrowded. Leave mushrooms to cook for 3-5 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Flip mushrooms and add shallots, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper to skillet. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, flipping once. Once moisture has evaporated, add dry white wine to skillet and reduce by at least half. Add heavy cream and continue cooking, stirring periodically. Drizzle toast with remaining olive oil. Broil 1 side of bread until golden. Flip over. Divide grated Fontina between slices of toast. Add cheese and broil again until cheese is melted and golden. Remove toast from oven and top each piece with sautéed mushrooms and paper-thin slices of lardo. Garnish with finely chopped Italian parsley.

Beans & Greens

Beans & Greens

Beans & Greens

1 pound dried cannellini or corona beans

1 to 2 T. kosher salt

4 pounds greens, preferably a mix of escarole, broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, and dandelion greens, stemmed and washed

1 cup plus 2 T. olive oil

8 cloves garlic, peeled (4 cloves thinly sliced, 4 cloves left whole)

3 oil-packed anchovy fillets

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

 

Put the dried beans in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and add cold water to cover by several inches. Soak overnight. The next day, add more water as needed to the pot so the beans are covered by several inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1½ to 2 hours. Periodically check the water level of the beans; they should be covered by several inches of water throughout the cooking. Add more boiling water to the pot as needed (I keep a water-filled teakettle on the adjacent burner, turning it on and topping off the beans as needed).  The beans are done when you pull five from the pot and all are tender—as Liza says, if you’re chewing a bean and wondering if it’s cooked enough, it’s not. When the beans are tender, remove them from the heat but do not drain. Season the cooking water with salt. The exact amount you’ll use will depend on how much cooking liquid is in the pot, so begin with a small amount and continue adding until the liquid tastes very well seasoned, just this side of salty. Let the beans cool in the cooking liquid. The beans can be made up to 2 days in advance; once cool, cover and transfer to the refrigerator.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a large ice bath nearby. Working in batches by type of greens, blanch the greens until they wilt and are tender, about 2 minutes (slightly longer for broccoli rabe). Remove from the water with tongs or a spider and transfer to the ice bath. Once cool, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. When all the greens have been cooked, grab fistfuls of greens and, working over the sink or a bowl, squeeze them to extract the maximum amount of liquid. Transfer to a cutting board. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.  In a small frying pan, heat ½ cup of the olive oil with the sliced garlic, the anchovy fillets, and ½ tsp. of the red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle but does not brown, using the back of a spoon to mash the anchovy fillets to a paste. Remove from the heat, stir in half the lemon zest, pour the mixture over the greens, and stir to coat. Return the frying pan to medium heat and add 2 T. of the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat with oil. Toast the bread crumbs, stirring, until dark golden brown and crunchy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.  In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the remaining ½ cup olive oil over medium-high heat and add the whole garlic cloves and the remaining tsp. of red pepper flakes (or less, if you prefer a milder dish). When the garlic begins to sizzle, add half of the cooked beans (but not their liquid) and fry, stirring, until the skins begin to split slightly, about 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of the cooking liquid, increase the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the liquid begins to boil and a creamy, emulsified sauce forms.  Add the remaining beans and some more cooking liquid; the beans should be quite saucy. Stir in the greens, add more bean cooking liquid as necessary to maintain their sauciness, and cook until the greens are heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining lemon zest and the lemon juice to taste. Season to taste with additional salt. Top with the bread crumbs and serve warm.

Rose Pesto

Rose Pesto

Rose Pesto

 

1 whole pot basil leaves (fresh plants sold in gourmet shops in pots)

1 fistful of fresh, crisp, pink organic rose petals

2 deciliters (1 healthy cup) parmesan, grated

1 deciliter (half a cup) pine nuts

1 garlic clove

2 T. (1 oz.) olive oil

1 T. (0.5 oz.) fresh pressed lemon juice

salt

freshly ground white pepper

Swedish Wasa Rye Bread

 

Pick the leaves off the basil plant, and mix basil and rose petals in a food mixer. Grate the parmesan cheese and add with pine nuts and garlic into the mixer. Mix. Pour the olive oil into the mixer as you mix.

Mix. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste. Mount the rose pesto on the hard bread.

Scallops with Sorrel Butter

Scallops with Sorrel Butter

Scallops with Sorrel Butter

3 T. unsalted butter

1 pound sea scallops, patted dry

Kosher salt and black pepper, as needed

1 garlic clove, minced

1 T. dry white vermouth or white wine

4 ounces sorrel (about 3 C. loosely packed), stems removed

2 T. chopped chives

 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Melt 2 T. butter in skillet. Season scallops with salt and pepper; place in pan in a single layer. Cook without moving until bottoms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not turn. Transfer scallops to a plate. Return pan to medium heat. Add garlic and cook 10 seconds. Stir in vermouth and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Stir in remaining 1 T. butter and the sorrel; season lightly with salt and pepper. Return scallops to pan, seared side up. Continue cooking until sorrel is a dark olive green and falling apart and scallops are just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle in chives and serve.

Scallops with Sorrel Cream Sauce

Scallops with Sorrel Cream Sauce

Scallops with Sorrel Cream Sauce

1 C. clam juice

2 T. minced shallot

½ C. dry white wine

8 ounce crème fraîche (at room temperature)

4 T. unsalted butter (cut into small chunks)

2 ounce fresh sorrel leaves (about 2 C. packed), washed, stemmed, and large leaves torn into two or three pieces

sea salt (to taste)

ground white pepper (to taste)

canola oil (or other high smoke point, mild flavored oil)

8 large room temperature sea scallops (about 1 pound, rinsed and thoroughly dried)

lemon wedges (as needed)

 

In a medium saucepan combine clam juice and shallots; bring to a boil and cook until reduced by 3/4, about 6 minutes. Add wine and continue to cook about 3 minutes more. Lower the heat to low and add crème fraîche. Simmer, stirring often, until thick enough to coat the spoon nicely, about 5 or 6 minutes. Pass through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pan. Discard solids in sieve. Return the sauce to low heat. Once it begins to simmer stir in the butter chunks one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the sorrel, stirring until wilted. Turn off heat and season lightly with salt and white pepper. Set aside, covered, in a warm place. Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; swirl in just enough oil to lightly coat bottom of skillet. Pat scallops very dry, season with salt, and add to skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until a well-browned crust develops on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip, season with salt, and cook until browned and barely cooked through but still pink in center, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not crowd skillet, work in batches if necessary, adding a bit more oil as needed. Spoon some warm sauce and sorrel leaves onto four warm plates. Nestle two seared scallops on top of each plate. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

Fried Eggs with Ramps and Bacon

Fried Eggs with Ramps and Bacon

Fried Eggs with Ramps and Bacon

4 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces

8 ramps, aka wild leeks, trimmed and cleaned

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

chili pepper flakes to taste

 

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy, about 8-10 minutes, and set aside reserving the grease in the pan. Add the ramps and sauté until tender and slightly golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, and set aside with the bacon. Crack the eggs in the pan and cook until the whites are set and the bottom is slightly golden brown, about 2-4 minutes. Serve the eggs with the bacon and sautéed ramps on the side and season everything with salt, pepper and chili pepper flakes to taste.

Hard Candy Lollipops with Edible Flowers

Hard Candy Lollipops with Edible Flowers

Hard Candy Lollipops with Edible Flowers

– Medium heavy bottom saucepan

– Candy thermometer

– 2″ flat round hard candy lollipop mold

– Lollipop sticks

– Nonstick cooking spray

– Pyrex 2 C. measuring cup

– Pastry brush

– Cookie sheet or marble slab

– Parchment paper

– Edible flowers to fit inside the 2″D flat candy mold

 

– 1 C. of granulated sugar

– 1/3 C. of corn syrup

– ½ C. of water

– 2 tsp. of flavoring oil if using

 

Prepare your molds by lightly spraying them with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare either a marble slab or an upside-down cookie sheet (air underneath the sheet will help the candy to cool faster), by covering with parchment paper and spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Place molds on a cookie sheet or marble slab. Combine sugar and water in a medium heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Once boiling, stop stirring as soon as the syrup starts to boil and insert a candy thermometer. Allow to boil, without stirring, until candy reaches 250°F (121°C). If you plan to add food coloring, add it at this point and allow the liquid to continue boiling.  Once the candy reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit (known as hard crack stage), remove it from heat, add flavoring of your choice and pour into the Pyrex measuring cup. Allow liquid to sit until it stops bubbling completely. This will prevent bubbles from forming in your poured lollipops. Working quickly, pour a scant amount of hard candy liquid into each mold, enough just to cover the bottom. Place an edible flower FACE DOWN on the liquid in each mold. Add a lollipop stick to each mold and continue pouring to fill each mold. If liquid becomes too thick to easily pour, simply reheat in the microwave on high for about 15 seconds and continue filling the molds. NOTE: The flower is placed face down so that the correct side of the flower will be on the front side of the completed lollipop. Allow to cool completely and remove from mold once hardened. Store Lollipops individually wrapped, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to a month.

Pickling Dandelion Roots

Pickling Dandelion Roots

Pickling Dandelion Roots

The sunny flowerheads may be long gone, but the roots that remain are loaded with nutrients and flavor. Pickled dandelion roots are a tasty addition to soups and salads in fall. And here’s another break—this recipe also uses refrigeration to pickle instead of heat.

 

generous handful dandelion roots, washed and chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons powdered ginger root

¼ C. tamari

3 ½ C. apple cider vinegar

 

Place clean roots, ginger root powder and tamari in a 1-quart mason jar. Pour the vinegar over all. Place a piece of wax paper over the mouth of the jar (this prevents rusting) and screw down the lid. Place in the refrigerator for 3 weeks before using.  Add to salads.

 

A different Version

 

3 C. white vinegar, one C. water, 2 T. of pickling salt, and a 1/2 C. sugar

 

Put it in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. At the same time that I am doing this, I am sterilizing my jars and lids by letting them sit in boiling water for 10-15 minutes (I start heating the pot of water long before this though, since my huge pot takes forever to boil!)

 

Once the jars are sterilized, and before I pack in the dandelion roots, I fill them with these spices: (sorry I’m not very exact with the measurements, I just eyeball everything.

 

a couple whole cloves of garlic, a pinch of celery seed, 6 to 8 peppercorns, a pinch of cayenne or red chile pepper flakes, a pinch of mustard seeds, and some dill (preferably fresh)

 

So in the spices go, then the roots (which you really got to pack in there!), then the pickling brine. Fill up the jars to about a 1/4 inch from the rim, give the rims a quick wipe down (spices stuck to the rim can cause the lid to not seal properly), and throw on the lids…

 

Now that all of the hard stuff is over, you’re ready to let your jars sit in boiling water for a final 20 minutes or so…. and YAY, YOU’R DONE! … (after you remove them, don’t forget to let them sit on your counter overnight to give the lids a chance to “pop”, or seal)

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

2 c. dandelion flowers (harvested from pesticide free location)

4 c. sugar

1 pkg. or 6 T. powdered pectin

2 T. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. butter

 

Rinse dandelions in a colander and remove stems by snipping them off with a pair of kitchen scissors. Place dandelions in a bowl and cover them with 4 C. of boiling water. You are essentially going to make “dandelion tea.”  After the water cools off, place the bowl of water and dandelions in the refrigerator until the next day. It was two days until I got back to mine, but it was just fine. The next day, run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pieces of dandelion. You should end up with a clear liquid. If not, try pouring it through the strainer again. Measure the tea, adding a little water if necessary to get exactly 4 C. of liquid. Pour liquid into a large stock pot. Stir in lemon juice. Sprinkle the pectin on top of the juice and use a whisk to mix it together. Stirring constantly, heat until boiling. Boil for one minute. Add the pinch of butter and return to a boil. Add the sugar to the pot all at one time (measure it and have it ready ahead of time). Stir until sugar is dissolved. Return to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove any foam with a metal spoon. Ladle the jelly into hot sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch head space, and process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and place on a towel on the kitchen counter to cool. Lids will make a pinging noise when they seal. If a jar does not seal, place it in the refrigerator and eat in the next couple of weeks. Cooled sealed jars can be stored in the pantry for several years.

Pickled Dandelion Capers

Pickled Dandelion Capers

Pickled Dandelion Capers

2 C. dandelion buds (tiny, just barely produced, no flower inside yet, pick primary bed, then under are secondaries.

2/3 C. vinegar

1/3 C. water

1 tsp. salt

Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt.  Pack the capers into mason jars, and pour the brine over the top. Cap and store in the refrigerator or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.

Wildflower Violet Popcorn

Wildflower Violet Popcorn

Wildflower Violet Popcorn

1 C. Popcorn in 1/4 C. increments

1/4 C. Butter

1/4 C. Coconut Oil

Sea Salt

Fresh edible flowers OR sugared violets or other sugared flowers

 

Gather fresh, edible flowers.  Be sure you know what you’re foraging – some wild blooms are NOT edible.  You may also use sugared violets or other sugared flowers in your violet popcorn. If using fresh flowers, gently shake off any dust or debris.  If you must rinse them, place them in a salad spinner to get them as dry as possible.  Place them on a towel or dehydrator rack to dry completely.  You may also place your blooms in the refrigerator for a bit, if you can’t use them right away.  Work quickly, though – blooms like violets will begin to curl up and fade rather quickly. Using an air popper, pop up fresh popcorn in 1/4 C. increments. OR, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your air popper.  As the popper is popping, slowly melt the butter and coconut oil on the stove top. Once the popcorn is popped, add melted fats a few T. at a time to the popcorn bowl as you sprinkle with sea salt and stir gently. Repeat this process, adding fat, salt and stirring until all the melted fats are gone. Allow to cool completely. Gently toss in fresh edible flowers or sugared violets.

 

Calendula

Cornflowers

Cosmos

Dianthus

Field Daisies

Johnny jumps-ups (violas)

Pansies

Pineapple Sage Blossoms

Red Bud blossoms

Rose Petals

Sweet William

Violets.