Mint Lassi Master Recipe

Mint Lassi Master Recipe

Makes 16 oz

Enjoy a traditional East Indian drink that is refreshing, cooling, tart, and slightly salty. It’s also full of hydrating electrolytes. On hot summer days when I work in the gardens and sweat profusely, nothing feels more replenishing.

Read More

OSTRICH FERN = FIDDLEHEADS

OSTRICH FERN = FIDDLEHEADS Here I hold the dry and spent fertile frond of the ostrich fern, the delectable fiddlehead we gather in early spring. Scientifically named Matteuccia struthiopteris, this native American perennial sprouts two kinds of fronds, the non-edible spore producing one I hold here, and the luxurious (though sterile and now gone) green one that can reach five feet in height, and whose new spring growth produces the fiddleheads we gather. 

Read More

Callaloo = Amaranth = ΒΛΗΤΑ

Callaloo = Amaranth: Just passed a store in Astoria Queens, NY where callaloo was for sale among other fresh produce. Love seeing wild greens as part of the food offerings in urban settings.

Read More

Mayonnaise Master Recipe & All Its Herbal Variations

I find it extremely satisfying to blend up my own mayonnaise and I especially love to include the seasonal flavors of the field. Today's version is made with 3 tablespoons of wild bergamot leaves and 3 field garlic bulbets that have just emerged, making it even more delicious! I use whole eggs in this batch resulting in a lighter, thinner mayo. I am excited to share my master recipe here with you and hope that it will unleash your mayo-making talent. Please let me know how your mayonnaise turns out in the comments. 

Read More

Elderberry Syrup: An Immune Booster

Elderberry Syrup Master Recipe Makes about 20 oz

Flavorful and sweet, elderberry syrup can be added to smoothies, herbal teas, mixed drinks, and fermented sodas, or diluted into hot water or cold sparkling water. For a visually appealing and tasty treat, drizzle this dark magenta syrup onto yogurt, ice cream, custard or cheesecake. It also tastes great spread on pancakes and waffles, or used as cookie fillings. 

Elderberry syrup can also be taken straight by the tablespoonful for nutritional and therapeutic support. Elderberries are rich in iron and bioflavonoids, and are an immune system tonic. They are helpful in preventing infections such as colds and flus; however, if already infected, they help us move through the illness.

To help with proper identification and harvest, please see our illustration below.

 Elderberry identification page from our Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Book link:  http://bit.ly/1Auh44Q

Elderberry identification page from our Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Book link: http://bit.ly/1Auh44Q

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fully ripe elderberries, stems removed (weighs about 23 oz). When fresh elderberries are not available, I use frozen ones.

  • 1½ cups maple syrup or honey (I prefer maple syrup as I usually don’t cook honey.)

Optional ingredients:

  • Add one or a combination of the following freshly ground, dried spices: 1 teaspoon aniseed, ¼ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, or 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 lime, zest and juice

  Elderberries and maple syrup simmering on the stove.

Elderberries and maple syrup simmering on the stove.

  1. Mix elderberry, sweetener and optional ingredients in a nonreactive 2–3 quart pot, cover, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove lid from pot and gently simmer mixture for 5 more minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and purée mixture with a hand-held immersion blender or food processor.

  4. If you would like the syrup to be smooth and seed-free (which I recommended), strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.

  5. Use right away. Or, to store, pour hot syrup into very clean glass jars, cap with tight fitting lids, label, leave out at room temperature to cool, then store in the refrigerator where they should keep for at least three months. For longer storage, freeze the syrup or seal in a hot-water bath.

  Elderberry syrup in jars.

Elderberry syrup in jars.

Recipe excerpt from our Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by (me) Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Book link: http://bit.ly/1Auh44Q


 


American Persimmon & Whiskey Infused Morello Cherry Enrobed in Bittersweet Chocolate

A visual journey — playing with unusual fruit and chocolate to create tasty treats for the holidays. 

American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) — a native American winter fruit, picked today on Dec. 10th in the Mid-Hudson Valley of NY. Right now they taste like gooey carmel meets Barhi date in the house of apricot.

On the plate with the American persimmons are Morellos, a black sour cherry we picked in July. We put the cherries up in whiskey and maple syrup. The liquid is poured off and sipped as a cordial and the cherries are eaten straight or coated in chocolate. 

Here is one of the jars we put up back in July.  (The photo was taken today.) The cherries are steeping (also referred to as macerating) in the liquid and left at room temperature. No heating or canning used here, just time. When making this, the ratio of cherries, to sweetener, to liquor can vary depending on ones taste buds. However one rule needs to be followed: the concoction needs to contains at least 20% alcohol when finished, also referred to as 40 proof. This amount of alcohol preserves the mixture. You can have a higher alcohol content if you like, but not lower, or funky things can happen.

I use organic bittersweet chocolate dollops with a 67% cacoa content that I buy at my Natural Foods Coop in bulk. I gently warm the chocolate in a double boiler, just enough to melt it. Caution: don't over heat the chocolate; proceed slowly and gently.

Tim is holding the persimmon by its calyx and dipping it into the chocolate.

 American persimmon enrobed in chocolate.

American persimmon enrobed in chocolate.

Once dipped, the fruit is cooled by placing it in the refrigerator, freezer or the chilly outdoors until the chocolate hardens. 

 The platter contains American persimmons and whiskey infused Morello cherries enrobed in bittersweet chocolate.

The platter contains American persimmons and whiskey infused Morello cherries enrobed in bittersweet chocolate.

Time to go to the potluck with our platter of unusual fruits dressed in chocolate. Note: make sure to warn folks about the seeds!

Fruit Mousse Pie

Fruit Mousse Pies are wonderful to serve during the holiday season. Very refreshing and perky, they balance the richness of a typical Thanksgiving meal. The recipe I share with you below comes from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook.

 Berry picking in late July — blackberries and red & purple raspberries. Most of these berries were made into a Fruit Coulis and then frozen. From the Fruit Coulis I then make Fruit Mousse Pie, among other tasty things. The pie you see below was made this past Friday from red raspberries I picked in July. 

Berry picking in late July — blackberries and red & purple raspberries. Most of these berries were made into a Fruit Coulis and then frozen. From the Fruit Coulis I then make Fruit Mousse Pie, among other tasty things. The pie you see below was made this past Friday from red raspberries I picked in July. 

Can you tell the difference between a blackberry and a black raspberry (see our images below)? Both are tasty and edible, so no toxic worries, yet it is still fun to know which plant you are harvesting/eating. 

 From the book   Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook   by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

  From the book    Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook    by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Here I am holding the Raspberry Mousse Pie after it has set in the refrigerator for a few hours. Now it's ready for slicing. This version has elderberries which I froze in September and sprinkled on top. The crust is a raw pressed crust made from hazelnuts and dried apricots. 

 Raspberry Mousse Pie with Elderberries sprinkled on top — recipe from the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Raspberry Mousse Pie with Elderberries sprinkled on top — recipe from the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Sweet offerings: Raspberry Mousse Pie sprinkled with elderberries, homemade maple-sweetened whipped cream (from organically fed, grazed cows), house-made bittersweet organic chocolate covered black sour Morello cherries (whiskey infused), and American persimmons just picked from our tree = the dessert menu from this past Friday's dinner.

dessertEvan's2.jpeg
  From the book     Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook     by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender  .

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Fall Bitters: Make your own for the holidays — Promotes Digestion & Liver Health

Bitters speak to these upcoming days of feasting. They help us digest our food, especially when eating large quantities of rich fare. Bitters also tone and support liver function which makes many things work well in our lives (the liver is responsible for over 500 metabolic functions). As a flavor enhancer, drops are often added to mixed drinks. When poured into an attractive glass bottle featuring a homemade label, these make great gifts. Why not create your own? I am excited to share my Therapeutic Spirits Master Recipe and Variations that will empower you to do so. Many of the weedy wild plants that are bitter and/ or aromatic can be used for making this therapeutic elixir. At this time of year the roots are particularly potent and great for making bitters. Think: roots of dandelion, yellow dock, burdock, and sweet cicely. Happy bitter-making!

 From the Beverage Chapter of   Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook   by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the Beverage Chapter of Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

  One of the Burdock pages from    Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook    by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

One of the Burdock pages from Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

The best time to dig burdock root is when it is in basal rosette stage, as illustrated above. 

 A student making bitters (aka digestive tonic) during summer herb class.

A student making bitters (aka digestive tonic) during summer herb class.

Field Garlic Returns

After resting during the hottest, driest months of the year, field garlic (aka Allium vineale) returns with full vigor. Closely related to chives and scallions, this perennial of the Amaryllidaceae family can be used similarly, offering a strong, pungent, spicy, aromatic onion flavor. Originally from Europe, it now grows prolifically in many parts of the world, especially here in the Northeastern US. Often referred to as onion grass: it looks like grass; flourishes in lawns; and tastes oniony. Also look for field garlic in fields, gardens, and open woods.

Why not include field garlic in your food for a little free, wild flavor! Mince it up and add it to salad, soup, frittata, scones, wild green pesto, baked fish and so much more. BTW, it's probably growing right outside your doorstep. For clues on how to identify it properly, please refer to the image here from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook.

  From the book   Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook   by Dina Falconi, illustrated by Wendy Hollender

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi, illustrated by Wendy Hollender

 Field garlic photo taken today. 

Field garlic photo taken today. 

This photo of field garlic shows how much it looks like a clump of grass. Not so helpful in distinguishing it from other plant species. The strongest clue is it's aroma = onion! Again, please refer to the clues on our plant page above for help with accurate identification.

Dandelion: A Constant Companion

Wondering which wild edible to eat right now? = Dandelion. She seems to always be available, offering superior nourishment throughout the growing season. In this mid-fall moment, I like to gather her leaves and add them to salads, adding just enough; too much and the salad becomes too bitter. I also make sure to mince the leaves up, dispersing them well into the milder-tasting greens. This perennial of the Asteraceae, originally from Eurasia, is one of our most common weeds that boasts profound nutrient density: high in beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium and iron. The bitterness, while often not enjoyable to many palates, is quite healthful as a digestive aid and liver tonic. Remember when we support our digestion and our liver — many, many, good things happen. 

To help with identification, harvest and use please, look below at the Dandelion Plant Map from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

 From the book   Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and wild Food Cookbook   by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Wildness Captured & Preserved in Sea Salt: Old School Bouillon

Wondering what to do with all those aromatic culinary herbs — wild or cultivated? Here's an ancient salting technique — a simple way to capture and preserve wild plants as they pass through the landscape. By mixing strongly flavored plants with each other, and also with milder ones, we can create intriguing taste combinations. Add a tablespoon or two of this savory condiment — think of it as a bouillon substitute — to flavor sauces, stews, soups, beans, and more. This recipe is an excerpt from the Relishes, Spreads, and Condiments chapter from my book Foraging & Feasting.

 From the book Foraging & Feasting by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Chickweed: A Weedy Super Food

Hooray, CHICKWEED (Stellaria media), a weedy super food — free, abundant, and available — is back in full swing. This lovely little friend is so nutritious: high in Vit. C, beta carotene, iron, calcium, etc. She is mild and tasty. Perfect for salad, in wild green pesto, lightly steamed, or added to soup during the last few minutes of cooking. She likes moist rich soil and will grown in full sun to part shade. Look for her in gardens, lawns, meadows, woodland edges, and waste places. The image of chickweed below is a "plant map"  from our book from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Hopefully it will help you to identify chickweed accurately throughout the growing season. Good luck! 

 From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

Fruit Coulis

Fruit coulis pack serious flavor and nutrients. This is my favorite way to process berries and small fruits as they whirl through the landscape. The Fruit Coulis Master Recipe below is from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. May it bring tasty nourishment into your life. 

Sheep Sorrel: Lovely sourness returns in full swing

In these early fall days, I like to gather the vibrant shimmering leaves of sheep sorrel. The rain and cooler weather makes them large and plump; perfect for adding to salad. This sour, slightly sweet, and refreshing plant is the diminutive relative of garden sorrel or French sorrel. All of them belong to the Rumex genus of the Polygonaceae family. Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), a weedy perennial found in many parts of the world, boasts a good amount of vitamin C with refrigerant (cooling) and astringent qualities. Look for it in fields, gardens, lawns, disturbed ground, forest edges..... it's common and prolific. Use in: wild green pesto, dip, wild green goddess dressing, soup (think shav or shtshav), beverage; topping for fish or meat loaf. For more information and to help identify the plant, see the plant map below from Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender. 

 From   Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook    by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

From Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.