Try these tasty recipes using native plants and unusual vegetables.
Beet and Rhubarb Mole Sauce This sauce does not taste exactly like tomato, but works well in recipes calling for tomato – sweet, tangy and rich red. In our climate these ingredients are in season year-round! The recipe below is inspired by a Mexican mole. You may change the seasoning for other cuisines. For a Mediterranean pasta sauce, use olive oil instead of sunflower, and replace the spices with your favorite proportions of oregano, thyme and rosemary. I use whole spices and grind them myself whenever possible. Equipment: Heavy-bottomed pot, dutch oven, wok or large skillet Spice grinder Ingredients: 5 medium red beets, sliced 10 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 small ... Read more
Braised baby beets and walking onion topsets Harvest and preparation (quantities are flexible!): Walking onions: Cut 1 green topset per 1-2 eaters. Trim any brown leaf tips and peel dry outer leaves. Break apart topsets into individual bulblets. If any bulblets are larger than 1/4 inch in diameter, chop in half or dice like garlic. Beets: Thin beet patch by harvesting any beets less than 1 inch from its neighbor. You should end up with beets an inch or less than diameter. Brush off soil clinging to roots, then pre-wash in rainwater bucket if available. Separate beets from tops. Compost any wilted or translucent leaves, as well ... Read more
Popweed salad Popweed has tiny leaves. Cultivated salad plants have been bred over thousands of years to have larger leaves that are easier to harvest. However, many wild edibles are available all winter, and they are packed with flavor and nutrition! Popweed is in the mustard and cabbage family, and tastes very much like arugula. A friend of mine with Italian heritage likes to toss it with hot pasta and butter. Popweed is best uncooked, or cooked very lightly. The harvesting is the trickiest part. Picking it clean Have a clean bowl, colander or wire strainer by your side. You may be tempted to harvest the whole ... Read more
Rapini with green garlic What are Rapini? If you have any kale, collards or other Brassicaceae overwintered from last year, you may notice small clusters of flower buds that look like little broccoli florets. (In fact, they are – broccoli is a kale that has been bred for gigantic flower clusters, and to produce them in the first season rather than the second. ) These flower clusters are called raab or rapini in European cuisine, and are a real treat. They first appear in early spring, and grow faster as the weather warms. Don’t pull the plant out! Pick the rapini as they appear, daily if ... Read more
Wild Greens Dressing This tangy dressing will balance the stronger flavors of salads based on kale, chicory, and wild greens. All these measurements are approximate – vary proportions and substitute ingredients to suit your taste and what you have available. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 4 cloves of garlic, minced handful of fresh sage leaves, minced pinch salt Combine all ingredients in a 12-16 oz jar. Shake well and let stand at least one hour to meld flavors. Shake again right before serving. This dressing will keep for weeks on the counter and indefinitely in the refrigerator – though it will likely be eaten up ... Read more