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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.

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.

Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns

Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns

Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

4 scallions, white and light green part sliced

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese, to taste

Olive oil for the pan

 

To prep your fiddleheads, cut the touch stems off, including any brown parts. Run them under cold water in a colander, then place them in a bowl of water and swirl around. Dry them on paper towels. Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and the fiddleheads, cover, and cook for 4 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue to cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Squirt the juice of half a lemon on top. Spoon onto plates and serve with a grating of parmesan cheese over the top.

Spot Prawns with Garlic, Sorrel, and White Wine

Spot Prawns with Garlic, Sorrel, and White Wine

Spot Prawns with Garlic, Sorrel, and White Wine

Lemony sorrel brightens the flavor of spot prawns, large shrimp that can be served with the head and tail on or peeled. To remove the shell, use scissors to cut down the back to the tail tip. Like all shrimp, prawns only take a minute or two to cook, and after that can become tough. Millet provides a fluffy bed that soaks up the sauce. Start this recipe the night before serving so that the millet can soak.

 

1 C. millet, soaked in cold water for 1 to 12 hours and drained

1/2 C. almonds, coarsely chopped

7 T. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 bunch green Swiss chard, stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 bunch sorrel, trimmed

1/4 C. white wine

1/4 C. vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/4 lb. spot prawns, peeled, deveined, and thawed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 T. unsalted butter

 

In a saucepan or teakettle, bring 2 C. water to a boil. In a separate saucepan, heat the millet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is mostly dry. Stir in the almonds, 3 T. of the olive oil, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the boiling water to the millet. Decrease the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the millet rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 T. of the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to brown, then add the chard and sorrel and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, to let the liquid reduce and thicken. Season to taste with salt. Transfer the greens and cooking liquid to a large bowl. Heat the skillet over high heat and add the remaining 2 T. olive oil. Add the prawns and cook for 1 minute, undisturbed, until the bottoms turn pink. Season the prawns with salt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the greens to the prawns and cook everything together for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Taste and season. To serve, put a few heaping spoonfuls of millet on each plate, followed by the prawns. Pour the sauce over the top and season with pepper.

Stinging Nettles with Grits and an Egg

Stinging Nettles with Grits and an Egg

Stinging Nettles with Grits and an Egg

1 C. grits

4 C. water

Cheese

 

Butter

4 eggs

3 C. stinging nettle very lightly packed

olive oil

salt and pepper

 

Cook grits to package directions, mine called for 1 C. grits to be rinsed, then placed into 4 C. boiling water and simmered for 30 minutes.  I add cheese to mine; I like sharp cheese like Beecher’s Flagship, but I encourage you to find your favorite local cheddar.  Stir in a little butter and salt and pepper to your taste.  In the meantime, fry or poach four eggs.  I like mine over easy, but poached eggs would be fantastic on this.  Rinse the stinging nettle.  I used tongs to transfer mine to a salad spinner, rinsed in the basket and spun it around until dry.  Heat olive oil in a large pan, then dump nettles in.  Watch out for stingers!  If I were to cut the leaves off first, I would use gardening gloves to hold them while I removed the leaves after washing.  Heat leaves until just wilted and plate as shown.

Dandelion Greens and Goat Cheese Empanadas

Dandelion Greens and Goat Cheese Empanadas

Dandelion Greens and Goat Cheese Empanadas

1 C. whole-wheat flour

1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 C. (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 tsp. cider vinegar

1 egg, separated

Ice water

3 large bunches dandelion greens, rinsed

11/2 C. (about 1 onion) finely chopped onion

1 C. (about 1 leek) finely sliced leek

1/4 C. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. cayenne

11 oz. goat cheese

1/2 C. grated Pecorino Romano

Coarse sea salt

 

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, 1 tsp. salt and one-half tsp. black pepper to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces. In a measuring C., whisk together the vinegar and egg yolk (reserving the egg white) and add enough ice-cold water to bring the volume to one-half C.. Add the liquid to the processor in a steady stream while pulsing. Continue to pulse just until the mixture looks crumbly and damp, and the dough just adheres when pressed together. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to overnight. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the dandelion greens, in batches, for about 1 minute to bring out the color and soften slightly. Run the greens under cold water and chop coarsely. Squeeze the chopped greens in a towel to remove as much liquid as possible and set aside. In a large sauté pan, cook the onions and leeks in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 tsp. salt, the pepper flakes, one-fourth tsp. black pepper and the cayenne. Remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, dandelion greens and onion mixture. Divide the chilled empanada dough into 8 disk-shaped portions. On a floured work surface, roll out each portion of dough into an approximately 7-inch circle. Place one-third C. of the filling in the lower middle section of the circle. Whisk the reserved egg white in a small bowl and use it to brush the outer edges of the lower half of the dough. Fold the dough in half over the filling, pressing the edges and making sure there are no air pockets. Trim any rough or uneven parts and either crimp the edges with your fingers or use a fork to seal the edges. Place the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Cornmeal Pancakes with Huckleberry Syrup 

Cornmeal Pancakes with Huckleberry Syrup 

Cornmeal Pancakes with Huckleberry Syrup

 

Picking huckleberries along the trails around Mt. Hood is an Oregonian rite of passage. The tiny berries pack a big flavor punch, like wild blueberries. Simmered with honey and lavender, they transform into a thick syrup with a floral yet piney aroma that perfectly captures those late-summer hikes. It’s fantastic with these fluffy7 and light hotcakes. Don’t skimp on the butter; it makes the pancakes irresistibly moist and accentuates the corn flavor. If you can’t find huckleberries or if they are out of season, substitute fresh or frozen regular or wild blueberries.

 

3 C. huckleberries or blueberries

1/2 C. raw honey

1/2 C. dark brown sugar, densely packed

Freshly grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (about ¥» cup)

1 tsp. finely ground dried lavender buds

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

 

1 1/4 C. buttermilk

2 large whole eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 C. finely ground cornmeal

1 C. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/4 C. packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

5 T. unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil as needed

Crispy cooked bacon for serving

Make the huckleberry-lavender syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all the syrup ingredients plus V4 C. water and bring to a simmer. Cook, mashing with a spoon, until the berries are soft and the juices have begun to thicken, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass measuring cup, pressing on the solids to discharge all of the juices. Discard the solids. If the syrup seems a little thin, return to the saucepan over medium heat and simmer a few minutes more. It will also thicken as it cools. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve. Make the pancakes: In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, V4 C. brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the melted butter. Let the batter rest and thicken for up to 10 minutes while you heat the griddle. Heat the oven to 25O°F and place a baking sheet on the center rack to keep the pancakes warm until ready to serve.  Warm a griddle or skillet over medium heat, lightly coating it with oil if necessary and wiping off any excess. Working in batches, use a V4 C. measure to pour the batter for each pancake. Cook each until the bottoms are golden and the edges are beginning to look set, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until golden, about 1 minute more. Transfer the cooked pancakes to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter until all has been used. Serve hot with the warm huckleberry-lavender syrup and crispy bacon

Angelica Fig Glaze

Angelica Fig Glaze

Angelica Fig Glaze

 

1 C. water

¼ C. white wine vinegar

1/2 C. sugar

1/2 C. coarsely chopped fresh or candied angelica stems

1/2 C. coarsely chopped fresh figs

 

In a medium saucepan, bring water and vinegar to a boil. Stir in sugar, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Add angelica stems and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift and discard angelica. Stir in figs and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until figs soften. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Pohole Fern Salad

Pohole Fern Salad

Pohole Fern Salad

1 pound pohole (or fiddlehead) fern

1 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 small Maui onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

5 green onions, green parts only, chopped

1 T. fish sauce

1/4 C. soy sauce (shoyu)

3 T. rice vinegar

2 T. sesame oil

1/4 C. Sugar

 

Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with a handful of ice cubes and water and set it aside. Wash and remove any little “hairs” from the pohole fern shoots. Cut the shoots into 1 1/2-inch segments and blanch for 1 minute in a pot of boiling water. Drain the shoots into a colander and immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath. Once cooled, drain the water from the ferns and place them in a bowl with the tomatoes, Maui onions, and green onions.  In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and gently toss with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Foraged Spring

Foraged Spring

Foraged Spring

 

Large bunch dandelion greens, rinsed of dirt and rough chopped with stems

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Splash of apple cider vinegar (or vinegar based hot sauce if you prefer heat)

 

Heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering in a saucepan. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring frequently just until the garlic starts to brown.  Add the chopped dandelion greens in and toss well to coat. Pour in the vegetable broth and simmer, stirring occasionally over medium heat until the broth is almost completely absorbed.  Toss in pine nuts, lemon juice, then add the vinegar and mix to incorporate. Serve hot or warm as a side dish — or make it a meal by serving with a couple of fried eggs.

Spring Tonic Weed Pesto

Spring Tonic Weed Pesto

Spring Tonic Weed Pesto

Pesto is one of the tastier ways to consume any green plant, especially those with strong flavors. It can incorporate essentially anything green, though some leaves, and combinations of leaves, will taste better than others. It will pretty much always taste good. If not good enough, add more nuts, garlic, oil and cheese.

Our pesto will be a base of dandelion since they are literally everywhere. In today’s version I add nettles, as they are prolific right now where I live, and make a thick, aromatic pesto. But you could substitute any number of wild greens or weeds, like lambs’ quarter, watercress or chickweed, or a mixture of whatever you think will go well together. If these flavors are too strong, you could also substitute parsley or basil in place of some of the wild stuff.

 

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup almonds (or pine nuts)

½ cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese

Zest of a lemon, and 2 tablespoons of juice

4 cup chopped dandelion greens, loosely packed, spotlessly clean 5 three-inch nettle tips (or other greens)

 

Add the garlic, salt, oil, almonds, cheese, lemon juice and zest to the blender and turn them into a thin, homogenous (and delicious) solution. Carefully add the greens to the pesto, a few at a time, until they too are part of the smooth, green paste. Serve your weed pesto tossed on piping hot noodles, which will cook the garlic just a tad. I like to stir in some sautéed greens too, for an extra reminder of why we are here.

Cannellini Beans and Potatoes with Dandelion Greens and Parsley

Cannellini Beans and Potatoes with Dandelion Greens and Parsley

Cannellini Beans and Potatoes with Dandelion Greens and Parsley

1/2 cup dried cannellini beans (to make about 1 1/2 cups cooked)

1 pound young potatoes, red or white, cut into 1-inch cubes with the skins

2  cups chopped dandelion greens, in 1- to 2-inch pieces

2  cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3  garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

Edible flowers (such as calendula, comfrey, rose, violet, chive blossom, and/or lilac), for garnish (optional)

 

Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover by 8 inches. Strain the beans and combine them in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam, reduce the heat, and cover: simmer over low heat, stirring often, until the beans are tender, 45 to 75 minutes. Set aside to cool in the cooking water. Combine the potatoes, dandelion greens, parsley, garlic, oil, water, paprika, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, stirring often, for 30 minutes. Strain the beans from their cooking water and add to the pan, along with the lemon juice. Simmer, uncovered, stirring almost continually, for 5 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with paprika and edible wildflowers, if desired.

Cream of Nettle Soup with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Cream of Nettle Soup with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Cream of Nettle Soup with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium sized onion, chopped

1 – 2 pieces green garlic, chopped into rounds or 1 clove garlic, minced

2 large red or yellow potatoes, chopped into 1 – 1 1/2 inch cubes

pinch of nutmeg

freshly ground black pepper

3 cups water

4 packed cups of fresh nettle leaves and tender stems (don’t forget to wear gloves while processing!)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

salt

olive oil for garnish

 

In a medium sized soup pot, sauté the onions and green garlic in the butter over medium low heat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and season with nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper, and salt and sauté until aromatic, 1 – 2 minutes.  Add water and nettle leaves, bring to a simmer and simmer gently until the potatoes are soft, 12 – 18 minutes. While the soup is simmering, toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly brown and aromatic, about 5 – 7 minutes. When the potatoes are soft, turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender or in the food processor or blender.  (Note: please be careful processing hot liquids in the food processor or blender, only ever fill 1/3 full and use the lowest setting with a tight-fitting lid.)  Once the soup is pureed add the heavy cream.  Season to taste with salt. Reheat if needed before serving.  Serve garnished with the toasted sunflower seeds and olive oil.

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Garlic Confit

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Garlic Confit

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Garlic Confit

 

Americans love their lawns and hate weeds. In fact, Americans use upwards of 90 million pounds of pesticides on lawns yearly. Yet despite all the efforts made against them, weeds still prevail, resorting to popping up through the cracks in sidewalks if they must, along roadsides, and in garden paths. Their resiliency is part of what makes them so special — they are up for a challenge and continue to thrive despite adverse conditions. Dandelion is one such hardy weed, tenacious and determined to overcome all obstacles. And while many hate it as a pestilent lawn invasive, dandelion is beloved by children, herbalists, and bees and has been revered as a food and medicine throughout history’. In fact, European settlers purposefully introduced dandelions to the United States so that they could eat the leaves as a spring green.

12 garlic cloves (about 3 heads)

Olive oil

1/2 pound dandelion greens

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

 

Peel the garlic cloves and trim off the ends. Place the cloves in a small saucepan or cast-iron pan; the pan should be just big enough that the garlic cloves can sit flat on the bottom without overcrowding. Add enough oil to cover them by half. Turn the heat on as low as possible. As the oil heats, the garlic will begin to smell delicious and turn a warm yellow color. After 5 minutes, flip the cloves. Continue cooking, flipping the cloves every 5 minutes, until they are soft and mushy. The total cooking time is usually 20 to 30 minutes, but it depends on how low you’re able to set the heat on your stove, and the slower you cook them the better. If your stove will not go low enough and the oil gets so hot you think the garlic may bum, take it off the heat for a moment, let it cool, then return it. While the garlic is cooking, chop the dandelion greens into 2-inch pieces. When the garlic is done, transfer the cloves and the oil into a large skillet and mash them with a fork until they are broken down but still a little chunky. Turn the heat to medium-low. Once the oil is warm, add the dandelion greens, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring continuously, until the greens have wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute or two. Season to taste with salt and serve hot.

Chive Blossom Vinegar and Vinaigrette

Chive Blossom Vinegar and Vinaigrette

Chive Blossom Vinegar and Vinaigrette

1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)

Fresh chives with blossoms

For the Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chive blossom vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grainy Dijon or a honey Dijon

1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional: fresh snipped chives

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

 

Cut the blossoms off of the chive stems just below the flower head. Rinse gently and let them dry. Pack the chive blossoms loosely in a 1-pint jar, filling it about 3/4 full.  Pour the vinegar over the blossoms until the jar is very full. Put a cover on (not metal) the jar, label it with the date, and set in a cool, dark place for ten days to 2 weeks. If you don’t have plastic covers for your jars or a jar with a glass lid, use a metal screw band and screw it over a small square of wax paper or parchment paper. Strain the vinegar, discard the chive blossoms and transfer the vinegar to a clean bottle or jar.  Store the strained vinegar for up to 6 months in a dark, cool place or in the refrigerator.

 

Chive Blossom Vinaigrette

In a jar or bottle, combine 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 cup chive blossom vinegar. Add 1/2 teaspoon of a grainy or honey Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, if desired, and a dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Shake well. Store chive blossom vinaigrette for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. The vinaigrette makes about 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each.

Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

 

Foraged Oregon Grapes are transformed from tart and bitter to an unctuous curd suitable for eating from a spoon.

1 cup Oregon Grape puree

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 1/2 cups raw organic cane sugar

6 eggs

8 tablespoons butter cubed

 

To create puree, place a heaping cup of clean Oregon Grape berries into a blender or food processor and pulse a couple times until juices start to release. Do NOT over puree. Place berry puree, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Over medium heat and whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it thickens (coats back of a spoon and whisk leaves traces in curd).

Remove from heat and pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Whisk butter into hot curd until well combined. Place a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap directly on top of curd and chill until cold. Serve within one week or freeze.

Neskowin Blueberry Salmon

Neskowin Blueberry Salmon

Neskowin Blueberry Salmon

1 cup Oregon blueberries

2 Chinook salmon filets, 6-8 oz. Each

½ fresh ruby red grapefruit

½ cup crushed pineapple

2 fresh limes

fresh ground black pepper

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 small Anaheim chile

2 tablespoons butter

¾ cup brown sugar

 

Generously butter a glass baking dish and spread pineapple in the dish. Sprinkle liberally with fresh ground black pepper. Slice the chile into very thin rings and arrange over the pineapple. Squeeze the juice of two limes over the chile slices, then lay the salmon filets over the sliced chile. Peel and trim the grapefruit, and cut it into bite-size chunks and arrange those over the salmon. Top with Oregon blueberries, sprinkle with brown sugar, and season generously with chili powder. Bake at 425° till top is bubbly and salmon is opaque. Serve with rice and fresh steamed asparagus or artichokes.

Huckleberry Pancakes

Huckleberry Pancakes

PNW Huckleberry Pancakes

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup milk

4 ounces huckleberries, fresh or frozen, plus extra, for serving

Whipped butter and maple syrup, as an accompaniment

 

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Then, stir in eggs, oil, and milk until mixed. Do not beat the mixture. Pour 2 to 6 ounce ladles of batter on a lightly oiled griddle. Then, add 1 ounce of huckleberries to each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place the pancakes on a large plate. Then garnish with huckleberries, whipped butter, and hot maple syrup.

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Harvest healthy chive blossoms by snipping off the blossoms.  If you have some extra chive blossoms, don’t throw them away! Separate the blossoms into flowerets and sprinkle them over a salad or use them as a garnish.

 

2 cups chive blossoms enough to fill a pint jar

1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar or champagne, rice, or distilled white

 

Rinse the chive blossoms in water and spread them out on a clean kitchen towel to dry. In a small saucepan, warm vinegar over medium low heat to a simmer (not boiling). Turn off heat. Loosely pack chive blossoms into a clean glass pint jar. Carefully pour warm vinegar over chive blossoms leaving about a 1-inch space at the top of the jar. Cover the jar and store in a dark, cool location for 3-4 days. Once the vinegar has infused and turned a lovely shade of purple, strain out the blossoms and store vinegar in a clean glass jar or bottle. Compost the spent chive blossoms.

Pink Petals Jam

Pink Petals Jam

Pink Petals Jam

1 C. clove pink petals or rose petals

1 C. sliced, peeled fresh apricots or peaches

3/4 C. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 T. grated lemon zest

1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. crushed coriander seeds, optional

2 1/2 C. sugar

2 tsp. pure almond extract

 

In a large canning kettle or pot, arrange three 1-cup canning jars on a rack. Add water to 1 inch over the tops of the jars. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and keep the pot covered until jam is ready to fill the jars. I11 a shallow pan, pour boiling water over flat metal lids and set aside until jam is ready. In a canning kettle or Maslin pan, combine pink petals, apricots, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, and coriander if using. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the sugar, 1 C. at a time, stirring to dissolve before adding the next cup. Boil, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes or until it reaches the jelly stage (212°F) on a candy thermometer. Skim off and discard any foam, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in almond extract. Fill hot jars, one at a time, leaving a Vi-inch headspace. Run a thin non-metallic utensil around the inside of the jar to allow air to escape. Add more hot jam, if necessary, to leave the 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rim. top the jar with a flat lid, and screw on a metal ring. Return the filled jar to the hot water in the canning kettle and continue to fill jars until all are filled. Cover the C. aiming kettle and return the water to a full rolling boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes, keeping the water vigorously boiling the entire time. Turn the heat off and wait for 5 minutes before removing the canning lid and the jars to a towel or rack to cool completely. Check seals, label, and store jam in a cool place for up to 1 year.

Nettle-Sorrel Pesto

Nettle-Sorrel Pesto

Nettle-Sorrel Pesto

 

Use the pesto in soup here, or spread it on sandwiches, or combine it with pasta and a handful of toasted breadcrumbs. For a quick dip, blend 1/4 cup of it with 4 ounces softened goat cheese (or to taste), bake for 10 minutes at 35O°F in a small ovenproof dish, and serve with crusty bread.

 

1/2 pound fresh nettles

2 large garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1/2 small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

1/2 cup chopped fresh sorrel

1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

To toast pine nuts, place them on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 35O°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until brown and fragrant.

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Add the nettles directly from their bag and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Dump into a colander to drain. When the nettles are cool enough to handle, wrap them in a clean dish towel and wring out as much moisture as possible. You’ll have about 1 cup of cooked, squished nettles. Whirl the garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the nettles, breaking them up as you drop them in, and the lemon juice and sorrel, and whirl until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Add the Parmesan, pulse briefly, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice. Store any leftover pesto in a small airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nettle and Potato Soup with Lemon Ricotta

Nettle and Potato Soup with Lemon Ricotta

Nettle and Potato Soup with Lemon Ricotta

 

For the ricotta garnish:

 

1/4 cup full fat ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

 

For the soup:

 

6 to 8 ounces stinging nettles (1 large bunch)

2 tablespoons butter

3 leeks, white and green parts only, thinly sliced

1 (12-ounce) russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

4 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

In a medium bowl, whip the ricotta cheese, olive oil, and lemon zest together until fluffy, 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wear gloves and use tongs to transfer the nettles to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the nettles are wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Use sharp scissors to clip off the largest stems and discard them. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until translucent, 6 minutes. Add the nettles, potato, broth, bay leaf, and 1-1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are fall-apart tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Blend the soup with a stick blender or blend in batches with the lid slightly ajar in a blender. Strain, if desired and return the soup to the soup pot. Add the cream, and cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 minutes. Add the nutmeg and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of the ricotta mixture on top.

Green Garlic Soup

Green Garlic Soup

Green Garlic Soup

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

24 young garlic plants, white part only, halved lengthwise (about 8 ounces worth)

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 pounds (22 ounces) small red potatoes, peeled and quartered

6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, to taste

ground pepper to taste

thinly sliced garlic scapes, olive oil, and watercress, for garnish (optional)

 

Melt butter in large, heavy bottomed stock pot. Add garlic and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and remaining 1/2 cup water and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the broth, cover, and allow to bubble gently for 20 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Puree the soup in batches in a blender for 2 minutes until smooth. If a smoother texture is desired, pass the puree through a medium-fine sieve and return to saucepan. Stir in the cream and salt. Add the vinegar, 1 teaspoon at a time, tasting the soup after each addition, until it tastes good to you. Reheat the soup gently and serve in warm bowls. Grind black pepper generously over each portion and serve with slices of toasted or grilled sourdough bread.

Dandelion, Cannellini, Potatoes & Roasted Red Peppers

Dandelion, Cannellini, Potatoes & Roasted Red Peppers

Dandelion, Cannellini, Potatoes & Roasted Red Peppers

1 bunch of dandelion greens

4 medium sized potatoes, chopped into 2 inch chunks

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1-15 ounce can of cannellini beans

¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped

1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dandelion greens and boil for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and roughly chop. In the meantime, also boil potatoes for 10 minutes. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan. Sauté potatoes until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped dandelion greens and sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cannellini beans, roasted red peppers, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley and serve.

One Pot Pasta with Zucchini, Garlic Scapes, and Leeks in a White Wine Lemon Sauce

One Pot Pasta with Zucchini, Garlic Scapes, and Leeks in a White Wine Lemon Sauce

One Pot Pasta with Zucchini, Garlic Scapes, and Leeks in a White Wine Lemon Sauce

2 tsp. olive oil

2 leeks white and light green parts (see notes)

12 oz whole wheat rigatoni (see notes)

1 small bunch garlic scapes (see notes)

1 large zucchini cut into quarter moons

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. salt scant (adjust depending on how salty your broth is – mine was not salty)

pinch ground black pepper

1 tsp. lemon zest loosely packed

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 cup white wine of choice

1/2 cup plain , unsweetened almond milk

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

fresh basil

 

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks (and minced garlic if substituting for the garlic scapes). Stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the leeks are somewhat softened. Add the pasta, garlic scapes, zucchini, spices, and lemon zest. Pour the lemon juice, white wine, almond milk, and vegetable broth over the top. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Keep partially covered, and stir frequently, cooking until the pasta is done to your liking and the liquid is thickened – about 7-10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve topped with fresh basil. The sauce will thicken up a little more once cooled.

 

To use white, instead of whole wheat pasta, increase the liquid by about 1 cup (please note that I haven’t tested yet with this recipe, but a similar substitution has worked in other recipes). Other pasta shapes should also work. My opinion is that spaghetti/linguine are the best choice, since the more textured pasta shapes can get slightly gummy – they still taste great, though.

 

If you intend to use this for leftovers then I would recommend adding another small drizzle of olive oil to the cooking liquid, to help keep the pasta from sticking together when it cools.

Raw Nettle Pesto

Raw Nettle Pesto

Raw Nettle Pesto

Nettles have tiny hairs on them that contain formic acid.  While harmless, formic acid stings the skin on contact.  For this reason, it is a good idea to handle fresh nettles with gloves, unless you want to be stung…the sting, is harmless, just a bit uncomfortable.  The formic acid is neutralized when the cell wall of the plant is broken through cooking, freezing, drying or thoroughly pureeing.  This last option allows us to make delicious raw nettle pesto!

 

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

2 packed cups fresh nettle leave

2 cloves garlic (or to taste)

olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Toast sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and aromatic, about 4 – 6 minutes.  Let sunflower seeds cool slightly before combining in the food processor with the nettle leaves, garlic, a twist of freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil to get desired consistency.  Season to taste with salt.

Forager’s Soup

Forager’s Soup

Forager’s Soup

50g butter or 4T. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

150g/3oz or two medium potatoes, diced

600ml/1 pint vegetable or chicken stock

600ml/1 pint creamy full fat milk

250g/9oz well washed and chopped wild greens (plus leaves you want to use up).  Nettles tips, wild garlic, wild sorrel, rocket, nasturtium leaves, young dandelions, young ground elder leaves, spinach, watercress are all good examples

salt and pepper

Garnish – finely shredded wild garlic leaves/wild garlic flowers in season/fried bacon lardons/fried diced chorizo and oil/creme fraiche

 

Melt the butter/oil in a large pan over a gentle heat Add potato and onion and stir to coat well. Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with scrunched up baking parchment or a butter wrapper and put on pan lid. Sweat the vegetables over a low heat for 10-15 mins till soft but not colored Remove the paper lid and add stock and milk. Bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 15 mins until potatoes and onions are fully cooked Add the greens and boil uncovered for 3 mins until greens are just cooked taking care not to overdo it or soup will lose its vibrant green color

Puree the soup with/in a blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish as required and serve with crusty bread

Forager Spring Greens Soup

Forager Spring Greens Soup

Forager Spring Greens Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

6 cups vegetable broth

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 pound tender spring greens

1 bunch fresh cilantro, trimmed and roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

In a large heavy stockpot set over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, leeks, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the potato and broth to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook, covered, until the potato is falling-apart tender, about 30 minutes. Add the lemon zest, greens, and cilantro and cook until the greens turn bright and vivid, 1 to 2 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency, or transfer the soup to a blender and very carefully puree the soup in batches before returning it to a clean pot. (If using a blender, vent the lid by removing the center pour cap, place a clean kitchen towel over the lid of the blender, and hold the towel-covered lid down firmly while pureeing.) Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into wide, shallow bowls and serve immediately

Nettle and Sorrel Omelet

Nettle and Sorrel Omelet

Nettle and Sorrel Omelet

4 eggs

About 1 dessert spoon butter

½ large onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Small knob of fresh horseradish, grated

A large handful of young nettle, chopped

A small handful of sorrel, chopped

 

Heat half the butter in a small pan. Put in the onion and garlic and sweat until soft. Add the horseradish, nettles, and sorrel, stir and take off the heat. Meanwhile crack the eggs into a bowl, season and whisk very lightly with a fork. Heat the rest of the butter in an omelet pan or small frying pan and tilt it so that the butter coats all the base and sides. When it foams (before it colors) put in the eggs. With your fork, draw the egg continuously from the outside into the center, tilting and shaking the pan as you do so, so that more liquid egg takes its place. Once it starts to firm up underneath, turn the heat down, spoon the nettle and sorrel mixture on to the left-hand side of the omelet (if you are right handed) then tilt the pan and slide it on to your plate, folding the top over with your fork as you do so. The omelet should be nice and soft in the middle. Eat immediately.

Wild Mushroom and Brie Quesadilla

Wild Mushroom and Brie Quesadilla

Wild Mushroom and Brie Quesadilla

1 C. Crimini mushroom, sliced

6 oz. oyster mushroom, sliced (approx. one head)

1 small shallot, diced (approx. 2 T. cooked)

1 T. white wine

1 – 8 oz. package brie

2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

2 T. fresh sage, chopped

2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped

2 T. fresh thyme, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

8 low carb tortillas

Preheat 10″ sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and mushrooms in sauce and cook until lightly browned- about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper, shallots and prepared herbs and cook 3 minutes more. Pour wine in pan to deglaze for 2 minutes. Take mixture off heat and strain well in colander. Cool mixture. Place about 2 T. mushroom mixture in center of top half of each tortilla. Cut the cheese in eight slices. Pull slices of cheese apart with your fingers and spread equal portions over mushroom mix. Fold empty tortilla half over half with filling to form half moon shape. Pan fry quesadillas in 10″ nonstick pan with a T. of olive oil until golden brown on each side. Cut each quesadilla into three wedges and serve.