Monthly Archives: June 2010

>Local Foods Win!!!

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This Tuesday’s dinner had only 3 ingredients that weren’t local. See if you can guess what they are?

Stinging Nettle Pesto, Smoked Mozzerella, and Asparagus Fritatta

Ingredients:

3 Tbsps pesto (we had foraged stinging nettles, processed them, made pesto, and frozen it into ice cubes 2 months ago, so use the pesto of your choice) – foraged
1 bunch asparagus washed, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 large eggs
1/2 diced yellow onion
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/3 cup cottage cheese
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
salt and pepper
3 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp butter

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 400degrees.
2) Heat a medium oven-safe skillet of your choice over medium heat (we love cast iron). Add 1Tbsp butter and melt. Add onion and cook till translucent.
3) Add asparagus, some salt and pepper.
4) Meanwhile whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, pesto, crushed roasted garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
5) When asparages is al dente add the rest of the butter and melt.
6) Pour in the eggs and stir a few times until they just begin to set. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until bottom is set but top is not.
7) Sprinkle top with cheese. Put pan in the oven and cook for 10min.
8) Turn oven to broil and cook for 1 min until top is browned.
9) Allow to cook for 5min, then flip out of the pan and cut into wedges.

Quinoa Wood-Sorrel “Tabbouleh” Salad with Avocado, Tomato, and Scallions

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup wood sorrel leaves -foraged
3 mint leaves -foraged
3 basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
5 roasted garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 green onion minced -foraged
1 avocado cubed
1 tomato diced

Directions
1) Cook quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water and a big pinch of salt. Or follow directions on the package (way more of a pain in the rear).
2) In a mini food processor, or in a mortar and pestle blend sorrel, mint, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil.
3) When quinoa is done allow to cool to room temp.
4) In a large bowl mix quinoa, cumin, and the herb mixture. Mix in avocado, scallion, tomato. Adjust to taste
5) Allow to chill completely in fridge before serving.

Notes: This herb mixture is kind of halfway between a chimichurri sauce and a pesto. The salad is like a traditional tabbouleh and is actually gluten-free!! To make it into a meal add either a rinsed can of beans or some grilled tofu on top. It’s SO GOOD.

Wood Sorrel is an awesome herb/weed and it grows EVERYWHERE. It looks like clover (3 leaves), but as one blogger said, “It’s like clover that would make a leprechaun shit his pants!” You can tell it apart from regular clover (also edible, but boring) because the leaves are heart-shaped. Once you see it, you’ll see it everywhere. It’s got an incredible lemony-sour taste. So taste a leaf when you find it, and you’ll know right away. Like I said, real clover is boring.

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>From Text to Table

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These days I’m very into foraging. That is, the finding of plants for food rather than growing plants for food (though we’re doing that too).

These past few months I’ve been truly rediscovering the power of the internet to help you transform online resources into useful information; I’ve been using Web2.0 technologies to help me forage.

Here’s how it goes:

1) I read the blogs of other (more skilled) foragers. Many of them live in warmer climates than myself so plants ripen earlier for them than they do for me. This gives me about 2 weeks to get it together to locate a plant. I look at what they’re looking for and then I do some more research to find out what the plant looks like up close and in the distance, what it looks like during various stages of its season, any non-visual identifiers (smell, taste, etc), any poisonous lookalikes.

2) I look hard while I’m skating on the trail or driving (probably dangerous). I try to spot my chosen plant.

3) If I cant’ find my plant I post to Facebook that I’m looking for it in my area. My FB friends reply that they have this plant, or they know where one is for me to find.

4) If my FB friends describe a specific location I track it down using Google Maps and show them the Street View to let them point me on where to go.

5) P and I track plants down and forage!

6) I search online for recipes starring my foraged food. We cook, and eat!!

Here’s a good example:
I was last in Bloomington 2 summers ago (wow, that long?) and there were mullberry trees everywhere making a big ol’ mess on all the sidewalks. I didn’t like them, too sweet and cloyant without any acid but my friend Liz reminded me that, “They taste like free!”.

This year I’m hot and heavy into the foraging and one of the bloggers I like posted about how his personal dislike of mullberries was overcome by an accidental discovery of a mullberry tree before the berries got too ripe. He made mullberry sorbet and it was a beautiful color!!

I make sorbet all the freaking time, so I decided that mullberries would be found by me this year. I thought I’d seen a few trees on the trail but they seemed to have no berries. I checked on the one in Rockford… no berries. So I posted to Facebook, because mullberries are messy and annoying and someone must have seen at least one tree.

And true ‘dat I got many replies to my FB plea; people had bushes in their gardens, in their parents gardens, and one tip-off from a friend who had found mullberry bushes behind a pawn shop in his childhood. I searched for his cross-streets on GoogleMaps and then looked at the streetview, had him confirm the image, and then headed out there after work. Sure enough the single mullberry bush of his childhood has turned into multiple trees today. The berries aren’t ripe but I ran across a HUGE stand of ripe ones in a rather urban neighborhood in GR.

Then a phone call to Patrick and we met for a quickie…. a quickie forage. 20min of hot and heavy berry picking. He came over on Tues night this week and helped me make a rather purple mess in the kitchen. I added quite a lot of lemon juice to the recipe to bump up the tartness and subbed the elderflower liquor (cause I haven’t found those yet) with some homemade raspberry liquor from berries that Alison picked last summer. It’s a beautiful color.

Go Social Media Foraging Team!!!

We also discovered what I believe to be a Ranier cherry tree. I’m keeping that location secret but if you want to know where to find mullberries in GR let me know.

So far this year: Stinging Nettle Pesto, Stinging Nettle Puffy Bread (dutch baby), Pasta with Garlic Horseradish and Dandelion Leaves.

Dinner Tonight: Farm-Egg Fritatta with Michigan-Asparagus and local Smoked Mozerella, Quinoa Wood-Sorrel Tabbouleh Salad with Avocado, Scallions, and Local Tomato.


Next Forage: Purslane. Seen any? I’m sure it’s one of those plants that’s everywhere but I just never bothered to notice. Looks like this:

>Food for Thought

>This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on how to create a complete vegetarian meal.

http://www.herbivoracious.com/2010/06/how-to-plan-a-vegetarian-meal-by-answering-three-easy-questions.html

The only thing I wish he’d covered was the idea of using leftovers creatively.

For example:

Right before the All-Stars traveled to Milwaukee I decided that I wanted some kind of high protein healthy (but tasty) thing to take with me so that I’d have something to eat whenever all the meat eaters were insting on horrible fast food for lunch. Decided that high-protein savory waffles were the way to go.

I made an Indian dish that was a combo of a traditional American potato hash and this curried potato dish that I made a lot in college (but I no longer need the recipe… hahahahahahaha). I also made a big pot of Horse Gram lentils (any lentils would have worked, but I have a lot of these right now).

I made the Curried-Potato-Hash-Thing pretty dry. I ate a little of it with some leftover brown rice at the time. I made my usual waffle batter but instead of grinding up instant oats for the base I ground up about a cup of the lentils and I subbed yogurt for the liquid (cause it was Indian. Traditional).

After the waffle batter was done I stirred in the rest of the unground lentils and 7/8 of the remaining Curried-Potato-Hash-Thing. Put the leftover Curried-Potato-Hash-Thing in a tupperware for later.

Tip on Indian food: the saucy foods make excellent pizza toppings (think about it; flatbread is traditional Indian fare) and drier foods make excellent quesadilla or burrito fillings. The cheese adds a little of the lost moisture.

So today I had the remaining Hash Thing in a soft taco shell for lunch along w/ a mango that was on it’s way out.

I’m trying to figure out a way to chart the use of leftovers:
Samosa Waffles