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Three Things to do with Lamb’s Quarters 5

Posted on June 05, 2010 by crankycheryl

“Why on earth,” my friend wants to know, “would you eat lamb’s quarters when there’s good fresh spinach in the garden?”

It’s a decent question.  Why do I compulsively seek out weeds to eat when we’ve got good cultivated foods right at hand?

There’s the thriftiness factor, with the undeniable appeal of free food.  And there’s a very pleasant satisfaction in finding food where others look out and see a wild patch of mess.   I love the unpredictability of what grows on its own, how I have to hunt for this thing that’s beyond my control.  Where I’m attempting to make a garden that conforms to some sense of order and productivity, these wild edibles are on their own trajectory.  It’s not up to me to protect them from pests or be obliged to extend their season of growing.  They come, they go, I find and use them or I don’t.

There’s some kind of lesson about gratitude and grace in this.

Here are some of the things that I do with them:

  • Chop and saute them with some fresh garlic and oregano, then add to ground grass-fed beef with crumbled feta for delicious Greek-flavored burgers.

  • Chop, blanch, and pack into ice cube trays for easy-portioned greens to add to soup, sautees, pasta, or whatever you like.

  • Cook up with some quartered new potatoes and eggs or tofu for a great breakfast (lunch, dinner, snack).

Also in season right now: wild grape leaves, which I’ll share a recipe for this week.

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Three Things to do with Baked Apples 2

Posted on October 01, 2009 by crankycheryl

I’m really writing this one to proselytize on behalf of the humble baked apple.  It’s so maligned, an after-thought of an apologetic little dessert.  Which was appropriately forgotten when the actual time for dessert arrived … until the next morning, when they transformed breakfast into something amazing.

This was just as well.  I can hardly imagine the caterwauling and carrying on I would have faced if I had brought a warm, wrinkly apple to the table and tried to pass it off as dessert.

And then I started using the rest of them and realized how much more they could do.  This is my favorite kind of food discovery, a simple preparation that makes a humble and affordable ingredient especially flexible.

If you don’t have a current favorite baked apple recipe, here’s a classic one to start with.  Make 8 or a dozen apples and use them up all week long, in:

  1. Oatmeal.  Just throw the whole thing in the bowl, toss the oats over it and stir/mash it up with a spoon.
  2. As a bottom for cobbler, with biscuit dough on top and the apples especially flavorful and caramelized.
  3. In quick, easy, mini apple pies.  Get miniature phyllo cups, scoop in a little bit of apple and warm at 300 for just a few minutes.  Use a melon baller to scoop a tiny bit of vanilla ice cream on top.
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Three Things to do with Nasturtiums 2

Posted on September 18, 2009 by crankycheryl

nasturtiumsI was going to delay this post until next week, but I’m all a-flutter.

I just saw on Facebook that my friend Paula is making nasturtium cordial.  Nasturtium cordial!  Doesn’t that make you get a little kooky and sort of Anne-of-Green-Gables-ish/ladies-who-sip-delicate-things-in-the-English countryside excited?

Nasturtiums are one of my all-time favorite plants.  I adore their smooth, round lily-pad leaves, their gracefully sturdy flowers, and I get all worked up about how every part is edible, from the leaves to the flowers to the seeds and (not sweet) fruit once the flowers have gone by.

If you’ve been hanging around here with me for a few months, you know that I’ve found a few uses for them recently.  Here are some links to those, and also to a couple new tricks.

I also have some cucumbers pickling in the refrigerator with nasturtiums, their leaves, and Sichuan peppercorns that I’ll report on when they’re done in a week or so.

[Update 9/24/09:  Since the flowers keep going, I will too.  I’ve started a big batch of nasturtium, plum, husk cherry and raw honey cordial, which is getting nice and purple-y dark.  And this morning stumbled on this Carrot & Nasturtium Soup recipe and had to share.  Gareth’s recipes are usually terrific and very interesting.]

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Three Things To Do With … That Jam On Your Shelf 1

Posted on September 03, 2009 by crankycheryl
From pickyourown.org.  My camera isnt back from the doctor yet.  But our plums did look a lot like these.

From pickyourown.org. My camera isn't back from the doctor yet. But our plums did look a lot like these.

My friend Meredith left this last week:

If you can come up with three more zucchini recipes, then certainly you can think of three ways to use up that jam we made last fall. (I certainly can’t!) Remember how I found the secret stash of plum trees? And no one was picking them, and I felt a civic duty to pick bags and bags of plums? And we made a tart plum-vanilla jam? Fun time, it was. But, well, that jam is still sitting on my shelf — six jars, maybe? A year has passed, and it’s time to use it up. So, I challenge you! Three recipes, please …

I accept the challenge!  And, M., I still have several jars too.  But here’s how we can use them – and how anyone could make use of any tart jam sitting on their shelf.

1. Think dessert. Get:

  • 1 box mini phyllo shells
  • 1/2 c. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 t. honey
  • 1/2 c. plum or other tart jam.
  • Fresh berries for garnish.

Toast the shells very lightly for a minute or two.  Mix together the maple syrup and mascarpone.  Spoon a small amount of jam into the bottom of each shell, and use a melon baller to place a small scoop of mascarpone over it, then top with a berry.

2.  Make a barbecue sauce. Combine:

Use it for grilling eggplant or chicken or tofu or anything you like.

3.  Put it in between layers of any sweet golden cake, and then frost with a butterscotch or caramel frosting.

What do you think? And what else do you need to use up?


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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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