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:

Simple Recipe: Sweet-Potato Gnocchi

Simple Recipe: Sweet-Potato Gnocchi

This last plate of winter contains only five ingredients — and serves as the perfect way to say “adios” to the cold.
Introducing the Best Salad Dressing Ever

Introducing the Best Salad Dressing Ever

Brazen Kitchen: Hyperbole? Hype? Just wait until you try this dressing with a mesclun salad.
Quick and Rustic Peach Tart

Quick and Rustic Peach Tart

Brazen Kitchen shows you how to highlight this season’s Pennsylvania peaches (better than Georgia's!)
The House Special: Caldo Verde with Gisele Fetterman

The House Special: Caldo Verde with Gisele Fetterman

We go inside the kitchen of the ‘First Lady of Braddock’ to learn how to make a classic Portuguese soup.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

The month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

PyroFest will also include live music, food, a Kids Zone and more.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

DeShantz owns three other Pittsburgh restaurants and is about to open a fourth.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

The in-house tavern at the Riverhounds' home stadium is now welcoming guests during weekdays. But is it worth a dedicated stop?

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pens-Sharks Cup Final Lacks Mystery But Not Intrigue

Pens-Sharks Cup Final Lacks Mystery But Not Intrigue

Game 1 turned out to be as revealing, potentially, as it was riveting, for the Sharks and for the Pens.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

An electrician by trade, designer Thomas Verscharen creates custom lighting out of repurposed pieces.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The X-Men Would've Done Better in Wonderland

The X-Men Would've Done Better in Wonderland

Reviews of "X-Men: Apocalypse," "Alice Through the Looking Glass," "A Bigger Splash" and "Love and Friendship."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Get with the (Wedding) Program

Get with the (Wedding) Program

Have you ever considered making programs for your wedding guests? If not, think again and get creative.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

Spread out across the city for these upcoming events, including a “Tiny House” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center displayed by the FIY Network.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Duquesne University to Host Small Business Networking Event

Duquesne University to Host Small Business Networking Event

The event will connect hundreds of small business managers and owners and provide useful information to help them take their enterprises to the next level.

Comments

Edit Module