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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.

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney

 

Blackberry Chutney

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 jalapeños, finely diced (seeds removed for a milder chutney)

1 pound fresh blackberries

â…“ cup sugar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

 

Pork Loin

 

1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless pork loin

3 tablespoons Grill Seasoning

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

 

To make the chutney, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the jalapeño and blackberries and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll serve it hot here, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and reheated for serving.  Prepare a smoker to cook at 250°F with cherry wood. Rinse the pork loin and trim off the silverskin and excess fat. Sprinkle with the Grill Seasoning, slather with the mustard, and massage it into the loin.  Place the loin in the smoker and cook for 2 hours or until the internal temperature registers 150°F on a meat thermometer. Remove from the smoker, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, slice into 1-inch chops and top each with a tablespoon of hot chutney.

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 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.

Spaghetti with Ramps + Breadcrumbs

Spaghetti with Ramps + Breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook l pound spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta (reserve 1/4 C. pasta water) and set it aside. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse 2 slices stale bread* (3 oz.) until coarse crumbs form. Chop the bulbs of 8 oz. ramps** (reserve the greens). In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat; add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl and season with salt and pepper; wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Place 1 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. salted butter in the skillet and set it over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the ramps and cook until fragrant and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet with the cooked ramps, add the reserved greens, and toss until wilted. Stir in the reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce. Serve sprinkled with the breadcrumbs. * Or use 2/3 C. panko ** Or a small bunch of scallions + 1 small garlic clove

Lemon + Egg Soup with Rice & Dandelion Greens

Lemon + Egg Soup with Rice & Dandelion Greens

Bring 8 C. (2 quarts) vegetable broth to a boil in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add 1 1/4 C. white long-grain rice and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss 1 bunch dandelion greens, stems trimmed and leaves roughly torn, with the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. olive oil, and salt and pepper until coated; set aside. When the rice is tender, whisk together 4 large eggs and ¼ C. fresh lemon juice in a small bowl. While whisking the eggs, slowly add about 1/4 C. hot broth from the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the warmed egg mixture from the bowl to the pot; stir until thickened and creamy, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with the reserved greens. or top with: sliced radicchio + shaved Pecorino Romano

Foraging for Violets – Violet Syrup and Cocktail

Foraging for Violets – Violet Syrup and Cocktail

Violet Syrup Makes 1 Pint

1 1/2 C. violet flowers, tightly packed
1 1/2 C. boiling water
2 C. white sugar

Gather the violets by pinching them off at the tops of the stems. Remove the calyxes (the green parts at the bases of the flowers) by twisting the petals free. You’re saving the petals only.

Put the violet petals into a heat-proof, small stainless steel saucepan or bowl and add boiling water. Stir to make sure the petals are completely submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. The liquid will turn a gorgeous clear blue with a slightly lavender hue.

Strain syrup through a fine sieve to remove flowers and discard them. Prepare your double boiler or simply fill a slightly larger saucepan with an inch or so of water and rest the smaller one inside it. Add sugar to violets and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved. Let syrup cool to room temperature, then transfer to glass jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Fizzy Violet Cocktail

3 oz. vodka
2 oz. violet syrup
Lots of ice
6 oz. tonic water

Mix vodka, violet syrup and several ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Notice how when you add the vodka, the syrup becomes blue greenish–don’t be alarmed! Shake vigorously for about 5 seconds. Add three ice cubes to each glass and divide tonic water between them. Pour in the vodka violet blend into both glass (back to a beautiful light purple!), and serve.

If you want to get really fancy, add a violet ice cube. Fill a regular ice cube tray half way and let the water freeze for a few hours. Add one violet flower to each ice cube, top off with water and freeze again. Perfectly adorable ice cubes!

Lemon Cod with Sorrel Salsa Verde & Minted New Potatoes

Lemon Cod with Sorrel Salsa Verde & Minted New Potatoes

4 x Fillets Cod
Sea salt & black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Good glug of olive oil

Sorrel Salsa Verde

1/2 Clove of garlic – Crushed and finely chopped
2 Anchovy fillets – Finely chopped
Small handful of sorrel – Finely chopped
Small handful of parsley leaves – Finely chopped
Large handful of basil leaves – Finely chopped
Generous sprinkle of sea salt
Generous sprinkle of black and white pepper
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
1 Small glug of red wine vinegar
Generous glug of good quality extra virgin olive oil

Start by marinating the cod fillets by evenly covering them with lemon juice, zest, seasoning and oil, cover and place in the fridge for as long as you have. Next combine all salsa verde ingredients together, ensuring you’ve chopped it all as finely as possible (you can use a blender but I prefer it to be hand cut). Make sure you try it and adjust seasoning accordingly. Cover and place in the fridge for the flavours to combine and intensify. Bring to the boil a large pan of water and add in a handful (roughly a third) of the mint leaves plus a sprinkle of salt before adding the potatoes and cooking for 7-10 minutes or until the potatoes become soft. Once the potatoes are cooked drain the water and add in the remaining mint leaves plus the seasoning, a large knob of butter and a glug of oil. Slightly mash with the back of the spoon or fork. Cover to keep warm or let cool and reheat when you’re ready to serve. Once you’ve thoroughly washed the spinach add to a pan over a medium heat along with a small amount of seasoning and cover until the leaves wilt. Drain or squeeze out the excess liquid prior to serving. For the cod fillets, place a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and allow to heat up for a minute or so then place the fillets in the pan skin side down (your marinade should be oily enough to ensure the skin doesn’t stick but if not add a small glug of oil to the skin of the fish along with an extra sprinkle of salt then place face down in the pan). Allow to cook here for around 2-3 minutes until the skin crisps. If the fillets are quite thick transfer to a baking dish and allow to cook on 190 degrees Celsius for a further 3-4 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Once cooked allow to rest under foil for 2-5 minutes before serving.
Plate up by starting with the spinach in the centre of the plate followed by the crushed minted new potatoes on top. Place the fillet of cod on the potatoes and finish by adding a generous dollop (or two) of salsa verde.

Dandelion Greens Salad with Roasted Nectarines and Warm Red Onion Vinaigrette

Dandelion Greens Salad with Roasted Nectarines and Warm Red Onion Vinaigrette

Dandelions arrive in my yard during the summer months, a little later than they appear in areas with milder climates. Their fringed yellow heads speak of warmth and sunshine and remind me that soon other wildflowers will appear, and the bees will surely follow. Though dandelions attract pollinators like bees, we dig them up to make more room for native wildflowers. I reserve the tender greens for salads while saving the soft yellow blossoms for sweet fritters.

When foraging for wild dandelion greens, take care to source them from areas you know’ to be free from pesticides, such as your own yard, and avoid dandelions growing near waterways, in public parks, or near the roadside, as they may contain chemical residue.

4 medium nectarines, pitted and quartered
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. bacon, chopped
1 small red onion, minced
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
6 C. loosely packed dandelion greens, rinsed well and trimmed of tough stems

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the nectarines in an 8-inch square baking dish and roast them for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until they release their juice and begin to caramelize around the edges. Remove them from the oven and let them cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. Line a plate with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, drop in the bacon, and fry until it crisps and renders its fat, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and let it drain on the lined plate. Stir the onion into the bacon fat and fry it over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Stir in the mustard seeds and sauté for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the vinegar to make the vinaigrette. Arrange the dandelion greens on a serving plate and place the nectarines on top. Top with the crisped bacon and dress with the warm vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Raspberry Preserves (No Pectin)

Raspberry Preserves (No Pectin)

2 & ½ lbs of fresh raspberries
3 & ¾ C. granulated sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
juice of 1 lemon

You can freeze these preserves, and they will keep in the fridge for quite awhile, but if you plan to can them, get your canner ready, as well as your jars and lids. This will make around 5 or 6 half pint jars of preserves, so submerge the washed, empty jars in the canner, and boil them for at least 10 minutes. It’s a good idea to have the lids and rings in another smaller pan of boiling water, so that they don’t get knocked around by the jars. [I will put some links after the recipe, so you can find canning supplies. Pick over the berries, and pick out any squishy, overripe berries. Wash the berries and allow to drain for a few minutes. Place all the berries, the sugar and salt in a large, heavy bottomed pot. I have an old Revere Ware stockpot that holds 5 quarts that is perfect for a batch this size. You want to allow enough room for the mixture to boil – it will foam up a bit. Mash the berries somewhat with a potato masher or large spoon, and turn on the heat. Stir as the mixture begins to come up to a boil, to help the sugar get all mixed in and dissolved. Once it is at a hard boil – which means the boil can’t be “stirred down”, back off the heat just a very little bit. You can, if you like, remove some of the seeds at this point. I put about 4 C. the mixture into a wire strainer, over a bowl, and use a ladle or big spoon to push the preserves through, while keeping the seeds in the strainer. Keep at it until you have as much of the preserves through the strainer as is possible. Discard the seeds. Put a small plate in the freezer, for testing the preserves. You need to stir the boiling mixture often, to keep it from sticking and scorching which can ruin the whole batch. [if it does stick and burn, don’t stir or scrape the burned part from the bottom – pour the preserve mixture into another pan, and just leave the burned part in the first pan – you can then cook it down the rest of the way, and then taste it to if it’s okay.] The closer it is to being done, the more you need to stir, because you are boiling away the moisture in the mixture, and it will get thicker and more liable to stick as that process goes on. After about 20 minutes, you can check with an instant read thermometer – you are looking for a temperature of around 210º to 215º . It usually takes around 25 to 30 minutes at a full boil. If your thermometer reads 210º, try the plate test: take the plate out of the freezer and test a dab of the jam – if it sets up, and seems like a good consistency then it’s done. Stir in the lemon juice, and cook another 2 minutes. One at a time, fill the jars by removing each one from the pot of boiling water, fill carefully, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Wipe the jar rim clean with a clean towel that has been dipped in the boiling water in the canner – be careful not to burn your fingers. Place the jar lid and ring on the jar, turning the ring to snug the lid down. Don’t over tighten. Place the filled jars back into the canner, and cover it. The jars should be covered by an inch of water. Bring back up to a full rolling boils, and process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave the jars in the covered canner for 5 minutes – no more or water may suction into the jars as they cool. Remove jars and allow to sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Store at normal room temperature for up to one year – refrigerate after opening.

Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower Cordial

15 heads of elderflowers
2 C. water
2 C. sugar
1 lemon

Over a large bowl, remove the elderflowers from their stems using a sharp knife or pair of scissors. Pick off any offending bits or bugs, but don’t rinse your flowers; you want to retain as much of the pollen as possible. Use the same knife to remove the peel from an organic or otherwise untreated lemon. Place the peel into the bowl with the flowers. Slice the lemon and add the rounds to the bowl, too. In another vessel, mix together sugar with boiling water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. (Depending on the kind of sugar you use, you might prefer to do this over low-heat on the stovetop so the sugar properly melts.) Pour the sugar water over the top of the bowl, cover with a towel and allow to steep for at least 24 hours. Once steeped to your satisfaction, strain the golden liquid into a clean vessel and refrigerate. The flowers will brown a bit as they steep—not to worry—just make sure that they’re well submerged. If you’re fussy about stray bits, use a bit of cheesecloth, but I found a classic sieve to do a fine job of straining the finished the syrup. Store your cordial in any clean jar with a tight seal and keep refrigerated for maximum longevity. Like other flowery syrups, elderflower cordial is delicious on everything from buttery cakes to sliced strawberries and poured into all manner of summery drinks—alcoholic or otherwise.

Leek and Lemon Thyme Tarts with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Leek and Lemon Thyme Tarts with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

1/4 lb. black trumpets
1 T Oregano
1/2 C. Chèvre
1/4 C. Shallots
1 Leek
2 T. Parsley
1 slice bacon
White wine
Lemon
2 bulb garlic, minced
2 T. thyme
2” tart shells
Juice from 3 Lemons
1 bunch chives

First pre-heat your oven to 400, then cut off dirty ends of mushrooms and wash in several changes of water, lifting the mushrooms out of the water to let the grit fall to the bottom. I’ve found it’ impossible to get these mushrooms clean without washing. Now dry sauté your mushrooms. Cook them in a pan without any oil on medium heat to get rid of all that moisture. When the water is mostly gone, and before they start to burn, take them off the heat. Chop and start cooking your bacon (add a bit of extra fat if it needs it) while you slice your shallots and leeks thin and pick your herbs. Cut mushrooms into ½ inch pieces. Now sauté your veggies, mushrooms, and herbs until soft, add wine, lemon, salt and pepper to taste then remove to mixing bowl. Mix veggies with chèvre, taste again for seasoning (this recipe wants a good amount of lemon to counter the heavy bacon and cheese). Use a tablespoon to fill tart shells on wax paper lined sheet tray, and cook for 15 minutes or until cheese and tarts begin to brown. Take out to cool, chop some chives for garnish, and you’re done!

Foraged Trumpet Mushrooms with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme

Foraged Trumpet Mushrooms with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme

4 T. clarified butter
8 large king trumpet mushrooms, sliced no thicker than 1/4 inch
2 cloves garlic, minced
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Finely ground unrefined sea salt

Melt 2 T. the clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 1 minute, then turn them over and cook the second sides for another 30 seconds, or until softened slightly and a bit brown at the edges. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving bowl. Add the remaining 2 T. butter to the pan, stir in the garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and whisk until the mixture forms a uniform sauce. Stir in the thyme leaves, pour the sauce over the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

Wild Leek Marmalade

Wild Leek Marmalade

A delicious accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats, poultry and game, this sweet/sour/savory condiment is also great with sandwiches and cheese. So who cares whether it’s called a jam, relish, marmalade or chutney – point is, it’s delicious!

wild-leek-marmalade2 lb. wild leek bulbs, fresh or thawed frozen
2 T. unsalted butter
1 cup dry sherry
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
2 tsp. mustard powder
2 T. yellow mustard seed
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Slice the wild leek bulbs crosswise into 1/4 inch long pieces. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced ramp bulbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and become a light golden brown. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the sherry and continue to cook until the sherry is reduced by half. Add the rest of the ingredients and raise the heat to medium-high. When the mixture comes to a low boil, reduce the heat slightly and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes. Reduce the heat further, if necessary, to make sure that the bottom does not burn.When the mixture has become thick and bubbly, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place the wild leek marmalade in a container with a tightly fitting lid and refrigerate for up to a month. Serve with roasted meats and poultry, on sandwiches and with cheese – anywhere you want to add the sweet/sour tangy flavor of wild leeks!

Chippewa Bannock

Chippewa Bannock

2 C. cornmeal
½ C. berries
3/4 C. water
1/4 C. oil for frying
5 tsp. oil

Blend cornmeal water and 5 tsp. oil. Add the berries. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Drop the batter by small spoonfuls into oil. Fry until golden brown and then turn, about 5 minutes per side. Drain.

Nettle Flan

Nettle Flan

Softened butter for the ramekins or flan molds
½ to 1 lb. fresh young nettle leaves (depending on how much nettle you desire, I generally use about ¾ lb.)
4 large fresh farm eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 C. chopped chives
4 fresh sage leaves
1/3 C. grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 C. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 275° F and place the rack in the center position. Butter six 8-oz. ceramic ramekins, glass custard C. or glass canning jars. Cook the nettle leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain thoroughly, rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle, then with your hands, squeeze out as much water as possible. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg together until blended. Combine the squeezed nettles, chives and sage in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the egg mixture and grated cheese and process until the mixture is extremely smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and process until thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Divide the nettle mixture among the prepared ramekins. Set the ramekins in a large baking dish so they don’t touch each other. Place the dish on the oven rack and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the centers are firm to the touch, about an hour. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the flans cool in the water for 10 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the sides of the ramekins and invert the flans onto serving plates. Serve with a light tomato sauce or a simple green salad and a little grated or shaved cheese over the top if desired.

Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

The easiest presentation for the washed and ready morels is just to slice them in half lengthwise and give them a sauté in some butter. Play around with some logical additions, such as:

•finely chopped onion, garlic, or shallots (sauté these in the pan first, then add the mushrooms)
•chopped parsley
•more butter!
•some white wine
•a touch of cream
•a bit of salt or soy sauce as desired.