Girl Gone Wild

Welcome to the Brazen Kitchen, where greens are the new black.


Garlic Mustard and Stinging Nettle Pesto with Roasted Walnuts

Overheard at the Whole Foods parking lot: “What? You joined a CSA? That’s so great! And so 1999. I just joined a CSF.”

CSF? You know, Community Supported Foraging. And don’t say ramps. That’s so 2011. I’m talking about really wild stuff. Like that knotweed that’s threatening to take over your yard or the dandelion and purslane that you mercilessly pull out. But wait, don’t throw those out — there’s a reason nature makes them grow, especially this time of the year. These hardy plants are nutrient-dense food and have amazing cleansing effects (which is why they pop up in the spring — prime time for detoxification!)

For example, knotweed is a prime source of resveratrol (you know, your “health” excuse for drinking red wine) and according to Melissa Sokulski of Food Under Foot (from whom I get my CSF from), most resveratrol supplements are actually from knotweed extracts! Purslane is a mainstay of many world cuisines and is the plant source with the highest concentration of EPA Omega-3s. More simply, it’s the same Omega-3 found in fish. And those dandelions? It’s a bitter green that not only adds character to your salads and meals, it’s also a liver detoxifier. If you like arugula and watercress, you’ll love dandelions.

But not all wild edibles are weeds that most people want to get rid of. Some of them, like morels, are foragers’ prizes in the woods.

Local company Food Under Foot has amazing guides and descriptions of the taste of each wild edible on their website. They also hold wild edible walks throughout the city.

But the best thing about learning more about wild edibles? Just think of it. It’s 2012. If the Mayans are right, you’ll still be able to create gourmet meals post-apocalypse by harvesting in the woods. Or if you think we’re heading for dystopian Panem, you can throw a party without having to spear squirrels. I bet you can make some killer crepes with some chickweed and that tessera grain (see recipe below).

Seriously, learning about wild edibles is a great culinary frontier to explore. Get out there, forage, and throw a wild party you can invite your parents to.

I had so much fun with my first CSF share that I want to share a couple of my favorite recipes from my maiden journey into the wild.

Garlic Mustard and Stinging Nettle Pesto with Roasted Walnuts

Yield: About 1 1/2-2 cups
My motto with greens is “when in doubt, pesto.” I think its one of the best ways to prepare a newly encountered green to appreciate its full flavor. And this combination did not disappoint. I used roasted walnuts to round out and deepen the flavor even more and lemons provided a beautiful counterbalancing brightness.

2-3 cups garlic mustard leaves
1 cup packed blanched stinging nettle leaves*
3/4 cup roasted walnuts
4 cloves garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T lemon juice
zest of 1/2 a lemon (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add more oil to desired consistency (mine was more like a paste). Season with salt and pepper.

*Stinging nettles.....sting. Blanching removes the sting. Boil some water, add a little bit of salt and blanch the nettles for about 5 minutes. Wear gloves when harvesting and when dropping them into the boiling water.

Chickweed Crepes

Yield: 8 8-inch crepes
This crepe recipe is based on a great find from The Canary Files, one of my favorite blogs. It’s a very forgiving crepe batter that will work with a variety of flours. Its a great way to expand your grain quotient.

1/4 c non-dairy milk beverage
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Flour mix**
1/4 c quinoa flour
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chickpea flour
2 T millet flour

**Use the above or any combination of flours - try brown rice flour, spelt, or an all-purpose GF flour mix. I like keeping a high-protein flour such as chickpea flour or quinoa flour in the mix as it provides some heft (and of course, protein)

3/4 c arrowroot starch
1/2 t ground flax seeds
1/4 t salt
1 t coconut palm sugar or turbinado sugar
3/4 to 1 c chopped chickweed

8 oz or 1 c cool vegetable stock/water
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Your choice of filling (optional) - sauteed mushrooms, cheese, more chopped chickweed, other fresh seasonal vegetables

1.  Start by making your non-dairy "buttermilk."  Combine non-dairy milk and vinegar and allow to sit and curdle for a few minutes.

2.  Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and give them a good whisk to both aerate and evenly distribute.  Gradually add the water. He noted that "It may become difficult to stir at moments, but keep stirring and eventually you will reach a very slack, runny consistency." I didn't run into this.

3.  Add curdled milk, and once combined, drizzle in olive oil as you stir briskly.  It will be very liquid, which is precisely where it should be. Add the chopped chickweed.

4.  Cover and allow to rest for at least 1 hour.  If you need to leave it for longer, it's perfectly fine to transfer it to the refrigerator.  Allow batter to come to room temperature before cooking.

5.  After resting and allowing the flours and starches to bloom, the batter, while still slack, should be a little thicker. Don't fret if you feel like its just too runny. Have faith. If the batter has some settling, just mix again with a whisk.

7.  Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium heat and grease it lightly with oil. I used my well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

8.  Once the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter in the center of the pan. Swirl the pan to distribute the batter as thinly as possible. Its not very important to make perfect circles, in my opinion. You will roll them or fold them up anyway. And you can call it “rustic” right?

9.  About 10-15 seconds in, you'll notice large dome-like bubbles inflating underneath the crepe. (Great photos here) After about 1 minute, the edges will be sturdy and you can gently lift up one side with a spatula and either flip the crepe with your hand or with the spatula.  The cooked side should be a pale golden brown.  Allow it cook for about 20 seconds more on the other side and then transfer from pan to plate.

If you are filling the crepe, fill it right after you flip it. Then fold it in half. The crepes pictured are filled with a light sprinkling of non-dairy cheese.

Want more Brazen Kitchen? Read the Manifesto, follow @BrazenKitchen on Twitter or visit brazenkitchen.com for more recipes.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Brazen Kitchen:

Get Fresh With a Peak-of-the-Season Salad

Get Fresh With a Peak-of-the-Season Salad

It doesn’t get any better than a salad of peaches, zukes and tomatoes in a basil vinaigrette.
How to Hit a Home Run at Your Pirates Playoff Party

How to Hit a Home Run at Your Pirates Playoff Party

This loaded guacamole will be going, going, gone before the second inning. No doubt about it.
I Want My Brazen Kitchen TV!

I Want My Brazen Kitchen TV!

Brazen Kitchen: In episode one of 'The House Special,' Kate Stoltzfus invites us into her kitchen and teaches us how to make her special kale recipe.
Girl Gone Wild

Girl Gone Wild

Welcome to the Brazen Kitchen, where greens are the new black.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Where Your House Sells the Quickest in the Pittsburgh Area

Where Your House Sells the Quickest in the Pittsburgh Area

The real-estate website Zillow has ranked the region's 50 hottest housing markets. Do you live in one of them?

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Michael Vick Signing is More of the Same from Steelers

PittGirl: Michael Vick Signing is More of the Same from Steelers

She says the past decade has been a rude awakening into what "The Steeler Way" now means.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Why This East End Eatery Wins Praise for 'Sustainability'

Why This East End Eatery Wins Praise for 'Sustainability'

Dinette in East Liberty was recognized for actions that benefit the environment, its customers, employees, and the community.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PNC Park

The 5 Best Seats at PNC Park

With every remaining home game against a divisional opponent — and a pivotal three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals on deck for Sept. 28-30 — you’ll want a great view of the action.

Comments


Shiloh is the New Grandview

Shiloh is the New Grandview

With fun (if cramped) bar The Summit added to the mix, Mount Washington's Shiloh Street is the new center of attention above the city.

Comments


How to Make Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

How to Make Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

I have come up with a system that almost is foolproof for us: healthy breakfasts and packed lunches that are quick, easy and protest-free. Isn’t the latter the key?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Cross It Off Your Pittsburgh Bucket List

Cross It Off Your Pittsburgh Bucket List

Just for yinz, Romeo Delivers, Inc. creates a bucket that contains 25 must-do adventures around the ‘Burgh.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Rusted Root Headlines Rivertowne Brewing Festival

Rusted Root Headlines Rivertowne Brewing Festival

Throughout the day, access unlimited samples of Rivertowne’s beers, plus tastes of offerings from a rotating selection of notable local breweries.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Four Expert Tips for Choosing The Perfect Wedding Flowers

Four Expert Tips for Choosing The Perfect Wedding Flowers

Even the smallest details of a wedding affect what flower a couple should choose. These florists are here to help you decide.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Meet the Designer: Catherine Montague

Meet the Designer: Catherine Montague

This LEED-AP certified interior designer owns Green Design Innovation in Sewickley.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
PPG Industries Foundation Donates to Pitt

PPG Industries Foundation Donates to Pitt

The funding goes toward engineering and chemistry programs, including PPG’s fellowship positions for undergraduates and graduate students.

Comments


Thinking outside the box (score)
Steelers Offense Too Strong to Bet Against

Steelers Offense Too Strong to Bet Against

Conditions look bleak for the black-and-gold, with unfortunate injuries and suspensions ruling the pre-season. Just remind yourself: In Ben We Trust.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments

Edit Module