Sunday, May 17, 2009

a wild feast

Mark and I spent Saturday foraging for an evening feast. Such riches we found!

The first harvest was pokeweed. Plants in full sun had lots of red in the stems; in the shade the stems were green and more tender. Since there was so much, we could be picky and harvested only the choicest plants.


As we moved along the pokeweed path we found tons of wild onions. We were amazed at how easily they pulled up; the smell was wonderful and pungent.

Wild onion is much easier to clean than field garlic. Next time I'll dehydrate, then pulverize them, to make my own onion powder.

We found a little milkweed (milkweed season is just beginning), some asparagus (it's the end of asparagus season), and lemony dock leaves. Then we left the sunny fields and headed for the woods.

I had hoped to find stinging nettles but alas we did not...instead we found wood nettles a-plenty! Sam Thayer describes wood nettles as even more delicious and just as sting-y as stinging nettles, so I was pretty excited.

(Can you see the stingers?)

After a quick picnic in the cemetery we headed home to cook. And remove ticks. Mark had two and I had three. A small price to pay for a day of exhilirating foraging and the feast that followed:

1) pokeweed soup
2) steamed asparagus w/olive oil, s & p
3) nettle gnocchi w/mushroom and wild onion sauce. I harvested the mushrooms from my front lawn last summer and froze them.

4) mini meat loaves of local beef with chopped lemony dock leaves and wild onions
5) roasted milkweed with olive oil, s & p

6) blackberry crumble w/vanilla ice cream; I picked and canned the blackberries last August
7) homemade pear wine from 2007...it was a good year

That's what I call a Happy Meal, although I confess that the more I ate, the less I photographed. Please forgive me...I was otherwise engaged.

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9 Comments:

At May 18, 2009 at 3:19 AM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

Sounds like a fabulous feast! Wish I could have been there. I did a bit of foraging yesterday as well: the red clover I blogged about, nettles, mint, some dandelion in the shade that hadn't bloomed yet. That wild onion haul you got is impressive!

 
At May 18, 2009 at 7:05 AM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

It was glorious and we thought of you.

 
At May 18, 2009 at 12:29 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

I love the Jack-in-the-pulpits - I never thought of them as a cut flower (greedy as I am for those red berries to brighten my late season)... Let me know how long they last! The Solomon's Seal cut stems stayed beautiful in a vase for weeks.

 
At May 18, 2009 at 6:17 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

I love the flowers, too. Wish I had better flower arranging skills, but even just plopped in a glass they're gorgeous. I'll be back there Thursday night and I"ll let you know how they look.

 
At May 21, 2009 at 12:14 PM , Anonymous Mark Hardy said...

You did the day and the meal great justice! It was fun and quite delicious. I look forward to many more days in the wild in the coming months. Here's another great reason to protect and nurture wild lands.

The leftover poke made a great omelet and I found the gently- boiled nettle greens absolutely delicious with a bit of butter!

 
At May 29, 2009 at 3:48 PM , Blogger Sophia from Kitchen Caravan said...

Ellen! This was so painful to read! The menu sounds fantastic, and I can imagine that there is "here" in every bite. I would love your recipe for nettle gnocchi. I found some stinging nettles at the USQ GM last week, and knew that I wanted to do something similar, but was not quite ready for them.

 
At May 31, 2009 at 9:00 PM , Blogger Bonbon Oiseau said...

wow! good work! i am completely inspired.

 
At May 31, 2009 at 9:59 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Oh Sophia, I didn't mean to cause you pain! And I'll definitely send you the nettle pasta recipe as soon as I get out to PA next weekend.

And thanks for the compliment, Bonbon. Your jewelry is mighty inspiring, too!

 
At September 9, 2009 at 9:12 PM , Blogger Marie said...

Heavens, I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that you have another blog...I'm dying here. I am a forager a heart. What a wonderful post.

 

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