Friday, May 27, 2011

forgive me

Sisko guards the day's wild onion harvest.

I am a bad, bad blogger. It's not the first time I've said it and it won't be the last. It's a cliche, but it's true: I've been busy. I'm sorry.

The orchid book is done. At least mostly done, except for the inevitable caption writing, sidebar adding, and general tweaking which will be accomplished over the next few months. Big relief.

Last Friday was the first photo shoot for the foraging book. Rob drove up from Southern PA and we ventured into the woods, yards, and gardens in and around Milford in search of non-traditional edibles. Mark joined in, and was, as always, invaluable.

the day's haul

Rob's photographs are art. He shot in situ, then we came back to the house and prepped and cooked, camera clicking all the way. Of course I can't share his images with you (you'll have to wait till the book comes out!), but I managed to snap a few, more pedestrian photos of my own, to give you an idea of what we found and ate.

The most exciting experiment was a new one for me: evergreen tips. Cayce sent Douglas fir from CA which I turned into sorbet. It was subtle, sweet, sophisticated, and delicious. And made me think some of our local evergreens might be equally tasty.

Spruce tips made an equally elegant sorbet, and hemlock tips produced an intriguing, infused vodka.

A handful of bamboo shoots were boiled and went into salad. Everything I've read says to boil them with rice bran to take away the bitterness, but since I don't have rice bran I boil them plain. I've never found them bitter; the taste is nutty and needs no additional spice.

Young sassafras roots are for sassafras tea. Yes, I know they've been labelled carcinogenic, but I remain unconvinced. Perhaps if I consumed my considerable weight in root bark every day for a year...

Fiddleheads saved from earlier in the season went into a a ricotta tart with some sauteed wild onions, but in the excitement, I forgot to photograph.

And the pokeweed went into a timbale. The uncooked stem in the photo below is for garnish only! Don't eat it raw.

It was a long and satisfying day. And this is only the beginning.

wild onions, dehydrated


At May 27, 2011 at 7:42 PM , Anonymous Zoe said...

hemlock infused vodka! omg! and congratulations on the wrapping up and the unwrapping of two really cool sounding projects. can't wait to see 'em.

At May 28, 2011 at 8:20 AM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

Congrats on the orchid book! Your timbale is inspiring me. I know I'll find pokeweed today, so maybe that's what I'll make.

At May 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

Congratulations on finishing the orchid book! And what excitingness of foraging you've shared - gorgeous dishes, and I can tell from the photo of the haul on the bench there's more, much more... wise to have Sisko on guard!

I still think city gardeners should have enough tastes in the garden that they can 'forage' out the back door, or on the terrace... but it's really not in the same, delicious, timbale-filled league.

At May 29, 2011 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Mark said...

Ah, a great day or harvest and prep. I am most excited to see how the vodka turns out. I'm trying hemlock tips, too, but plan to label it "Evergreen Vodka" rather than Hemlock for obvious reasons. To all: the timbale was ridiculously good - actually, it was ridunculous!


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