Archive for 'bluebell'

Last Night’s Wild Dinner

kitchen nightmare 450x337 Last Night’s Wild Dinner

“Honey, can you clean the kitchen? I made dinner.”

Kitchen experiments take time, a luxury I didn’t have this past month until yesterday. I forgot how good it feels to get on one of my kitchen tangents and go wild cookery crazy. Plus I had a plethora of wild plants in the fridge that needed using. So I tried a couple things, some successful, some less so. This is what we dined on last night:

Italian-style Puffball Casserole

I have to laugh when I think about how many of my successful meals are the results of mistakes, and my ongoing obstinacy in learning anything proper in the kitchen. The casserole was originally supposed to be puffball parmigiana, an idea I got from Butter that in my kitchen involves slicing and breading big puffballs (Calvatia, or oversized Lycoperdon, or both in this case) with egg and breadcrumbs, frying in oil, removing to a casserole dish, topping with tomato sauce and mozzarella and baking until the cheese melts.

But I didn’t have any eggs and I didn’t know what to use to stick the fresh breadcrumbs (made from leftover bread in the food processor, mixed with dried crumbles of the wild oregano Mondarda fistulosa) to the puffball slices. After several online searches I found “eggs, buttermilk, or other liquid” as potential breadcrumb-sticking agents. But I guess olive oil doesn’t count as a liquid because all the breadcrumbs fell off after I tossed the oil-coated and breaded slices in the cooking oil. I should have known. Read the rest of this entry

Dried wild plants experiment

mountain parsley Colorado 262x350 Dried wild plants experiment

Mountain parsley, or biscuitroot, gathered near 11,000 feet in Fairplay, Colorado last summer.

This summer, I’ll be drying more leaves.

Last season’s nettles were a no-brainer, and they disappeared from my pantry shelves fast—in the form of tea and a much-loved pumpkin nettle beer soup. But what of the other leafy greens I enjoy all summer long? Could they help to tide over a fanatical forager during the long winter months?

Inspired by Maria’s post on Lessons from the Pantry, I piled my few bottles of dried leaves on the counter last night and set to work experimenting in the hopes of determining which dried leaves merited the effort.

Here’s what I came up with:

Salted Bluebell Leaf Chips

A recent insinuation of cheesy kale chips into my life from multiple directions inspired this attempt to recreate leafy green veggie chips from a wild edible angle.

I painted the light-green, dried smooth bluebell leaves (Mertensia spp.) with a thin coat of olive oil—though a spritzer would have been ideal—then sprinkled black Hawaiian lava salt on top in the hopes of drawing out the leaves’ oceany flavor. Then I crisped them on low heat in the toaster oven—actually I crisped them at high heat and a few of them burned before I turned it down—and served to the curious fiancé. Read the rest of this entry

Wild Edible Notebook—June Release!

WEN June2012 640 226x350 Wild Edible Notebook—June Release!And just when you thought it’d never arrive… The June 2012 Wild Edible Notebook is here!

This edition centers on two plants—bluebells of the genus Mertensia followed by field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense), a plant that means much to me, though  I’d written little about it prior to this release. Gregg says it’s the best one yet, though he said that last month too.

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EDITED 10.7.13 to reflect the new download procedures.

Stir Fry on the Wild Side

wild everything stir fry 350x279 Stir Fry on the Wild Side

A delicious and attractive wild stir fry.

Yesterday I experienced the somewhat unique problem of having too many bags of wild edible plants in my refrigerator and not enough “normal” food with which to make lunch. So I improvised—and it worked out surprisingly well.

When In Doubt, Stir Fry 

My most successful stir fry in recent months, then, involved sautéing finely chopped red onions and fireweed shoots for 10 minutes in olive oil, then adding yucca petals and Mertensia leaves, sautéing for another 5 minutes, and serving with noodles.

Normally I add a sauce to my stir fries, but this time I didn’t season it at all. Yucca was the dominant flavor, followed by the onions and olive oil. The fireweed shoots made for a nice, crispy texture, and although the Mertensia leaves lost the mild oyster-like flavor they have when raw, upon cooking they turned a beautiful bright green that made the dish look fantastic.

Here are some more details on the wild ingredients:  Read the rest of this entry

Roseroot is Edible, Who Knew?

roseroot flowering 350x262 Roseroot is Edible, Who Knew?

What I believe to be roseroot, or Sedum rosea.

I first noticed roseroot on a high-country hike above Fairplay, Colorado as Gregg and I were scrambling up a rock face, off-trail as usual. The plant is distinctive and attractive—tiny, blood-red flowers atop a fleshy stalk with spirally overlapping (Peterson, 1977) succulent, white-green leaves—and so I photographed it to look up later in Plants of the Rocky Mountains, a flora identification guide we obtained recently from The Printed Page bookshop in Denver.

Plants of the Rocky Mountains by Linda Kershaw, et. al. (1998) is not specific to edible wild plants, but when I found the plant in question in the picture index followed by the entry, lo and behold, I also discovered that our local roseroot is edible. (A quick perusal of the new guide revealed that edibility information is included for many of the plants, to my very pleasant surprise. Come to find out that Linda Kershaw also authored Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies, a guide I have yet to obtain.) What luck!  Read the rest of this entry