I suppose it's time to get back in the saddle. A sad winter, a busy winter, not enough time in the kitchen, in the woods, in the garden.
This weekend felt close to normal after some time outdoors and a little culinary therapy. A blooming Amelanchier is a lovesome thing.
I'd heard rumors that cornelian cherries (the fruit of Cornus mas) were crazy high in pectin, but I'd never had a big enough harvest to try making a preserve. Last fall, Carleen sent me almost two cups of fruit, which I processed and froze for a rainy day. Damn if that jam didn't set solid in less time than any fruit I've ever worked with. Dark ruby red and super tart. It's a keeper.
Leda and I pulled in an excellent knotweed harvest on Monday. Once again we found that even stalks as tall as 36" had a tender 8 - 10" at the top that were easy to snap off with a satisfying pop. Plenty of stems for wine, and plenty left over for an experiment. A recipe for knotweed tapioca pudding at the 3 Forager's website served as my jumping off point, although I used small pearl tapioca instead of instant. I thought it was ok, but Michael said he'd like it better if the crunch came from a nut rather than from sliced knotweed. So I created a second variation using puréed knotweed and ginkgo nuts. The result was a smooth, green, semi-sweet pudding with small chunks of boiled ginkgo nuts. The taste was semi-sweet and entirely addictive. I won't say how many bowls we ate.
(version #2 (w/ginkgo nuts) in foreground, runner-up in the rear)
Garlic mustard, ground beef, and knotweed: a simple dish, a hearty dish, a spring dish.
In between, the last of the apples and carrots went into wine, the first harvest of wild garlic was minced and dehydrated, and I reviewed my copy-edited manuscript.
Yes, it almost felt normal.