where the wild things are. wild foods discussion and dinner.

I want to take a second to tell you all about a special event happening this weekend. Les Hook and Nova Kim  of Vermont Wild Foods will be hosting a wild foods discussion and a dinner here in NYC. The wild foods talk is Saturday the 23rd and the dinner is Sunday the 24th  after theNew Amsterdam Market.  I love these guys and they are very dear to me. If you are at all interested in wild foods you will love this discussion. It is a special day when you get to meet Les and Nova.

xx

 A few years ago we had the honor of becoming friends with Nova Kim and Les Hook of Vermont Wild Food Gatherer’s Guild. We spent a few days with them in the woods making a short film, they are both mushroom gatherers and educators hosting a series of lectures, teaching one of the first accredited wild foods courses, and hosting wild walks.  They have traveled to Slow Foods Terra Madre to lecture. They have 70’s years of wild and medicinal food gathering knowledge between the two of them. They are a fascinating duo. You can find them occasionally at The New Amsterdam Market.  They will be there this Sunday pre thanksgiving with wild mushrooms and wild jerusalem artichokes. Les and Nova will be giving a lecture on wild foods at the New Amsterdam Market Offices post market this Saturday(223 Front Street NYC) There will be a  wild foods dinner  at Jimmy’s 43 in the East Village. (43 east 7th Street)  on Sunday following the market. . Tickets for these two events are available through Brown Paper Tickets event # 509353.

From The Brown Paper Tickets site...

Les Hook and Nova Kim - A Wild Food Discussion, Presentation and a Nibble

Join Les Hook and Nova Kim, Wild Gourmet Food and the Wild Food Gatherers Guild, in a Wild Food Discussion covering plants from all around you to plants deep in the woods.  Enjoy and be amazed by the samples of wild plants currently available...including, but not limited to, wild watercress, wild leeks, wild ginger, Jerusalem Artichoke slivers (for taste and crunch).   Also, share our standby "Chicken of the Woods Rice & Quinoa" dish with recipe handout.  This is a treat to eat that just happens to also be Vegetarian and Vegan friendly.Nova and her partner Les bring a wealth of information from their seventy-plus years of  experience in wildcrafting and working with forest resources in the Northeast, South and Rocky Mountains.  As long-time gatherers, original participants at the New Amsterdam Market, and spirited educators, whether at the Smithsonian, Terra Madre, Italy, Field Trip Leaders & Presenters at the IWEMM-7 Gautemala or Vermont's various educational institutions, you are guaranteed an interesting evening. This couple has been featured in numerous books and articles including the NY Times Magazine, NY Times, New York Magazine, Village Voice, The Boston Globe, Green Living Journal and others plus being featured on NPR's Splendid Table and Weekend Edition/Saturday."A Guide to Wild Harvesting & Ethics" and the "Mushroom Identification Aid / Spore Print Card" PDF downloads are included.  There will also be another Wild Food Event featuring this couple on November 24 at Jimmy's No. 43.  For information go to http://m.bpt.me/event/509353

Below a few photos inspired by Les and Nova.

wild mushrooms 

wild mushrooms 

raw milk panna cotta with maple and black walnuts

raw milk panna cotta with maple and black walnuts

wild black walnuts

wild black walnuts

carpaccio of jerusalem artichoke

carpaccio of jerusalem artichoke

where the wild things are. hello fall.

Hello friends. It's been a while and though this is not quite going to be a proper blog post, I am getting there!

It is hard to get back into the swing of posting. The last two months have been super busy with work and travel. I am not complaining, as I do love both! As soon I got back to New York, I made a visit to The New Amsterdam Market, one of my favorite city markets. Les and Nova of the Wild Food Gatherers Guild of Vermont, were there with pounds of mushrooms in all shapes, sizes and colors. I couldn't resist. I dried some and plan on making a Chanterelle vodka and a mixed mushroom ragu with the others. Those posts will hopefully be up soon. For the moment, all I have to offer are these lovely wild mushrooms from Les and Nova and some gorgeous walnuts I picked up off the ground in France. Yes, I did smuggle the walnuts back. Bad, I know. I am hoping they will make their way into a french inspired cake very soon!

Have a lovely Wednesday!

X

where the wild things are no.19. fried milkweed blossom.

Milkweed is the new kale... just saying. 

 You might encounter milkweed on some menus this summer as it is popping up all over the place. I first heard about fried milkweed blossoms last year, through my friend Emily from Four and Twenty Blackbirds.  I immediately looked for some Upstate but was too late in the season for the young blossoms. I made a mental note to not miss them this year. I had a chance to collect some with Evan Strusinski in Southern Vermont last week. They taste a little like asparagus but with a broccoli like texture and they remind me a bit of squash blossoms or day lilies in taste. After a bit of research, I have found that the many parts of this much-maligned weed are edible. If you are interested in wild edibles you may want to pick upStalking the Wild Asparagus or Petersen's Field Guide To Wild Edibles. Research wild crafters or foragers in your area and make a point of taking a class with them. Always properly identify a plant before eating it! Milkweed in its early growth stages can be confused with Dogbane, a poisonous plant but in its later stages of growth it is easy to identify. You may know the Common Milkweed already, as the plant that attracts the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch depends solely on this plant for its survival. Farmers have never been great fans of this weed as it grows along the edges of pastures and fields and sometimes colonizes and can encroach on crops. Cows and sheep won't touch it. You will often see a field eaten clear down to stubble with the exception of a few lone milkweeds. The plant can be harmful to livestock so this is why they don't eat it. I don't think I ever knew that milkweed was edible. However, I had heard somewhere long about the sixth grade, when we were studying migration, that you could make cloth, paper or rope from the fibers of the pods and stalks but that was about the extent of my knowledge. There will be more recipes  in the near future using milkweed as this was a tasty hit at a Brooklyn party yesterday afternoon! It dissapeared in minutes. I made a batter of spelt flour and dark beer and served them with a generous squeeze of lime and juniper salt. I kind of wish I had some right now!

As a total aside... milkweed fluff was used during World War One to stuff life jackets and flight jackets and has higher insulative property than goose down! You can purchase comforters made with a mix of down and milkweed fluff from the Ogallala Down Comany in Nebraska.  The seeds of the Common Milkweed plant also happen to be full of Omega 7's.

Fried Milkweed Blossoms with Juniper Salt and Lime

1 cup spelt flour

2 eggs

1 cup of dark beer

Juniper salt 

Lime

Combine the eggs, flour and beer until a smooth batter is formed.

Clean and wash the milkweed blossoms. I left a bit of stem and some tender leaves on some as I thought it was pretty.

Blanch the blossoms quickly and throw in an ice bath. This takes away any acidity or toxicity.

Pat dry.

Dip the blossoms and leaves lightly in the batter and set on a plate to allow the extra batter to drip off.

Fry the blossoms in vegetable oil until golden. The exposed bits of leaves and stem will be a brilliant green

Drain on paper towel or brown paper bag. Squeeze with lime and garnish with sea salt. 

I crushed some juniper berries in some sea salt and used that for a spicier woodsy flavor. 

where the wild things are. nettle and ramp butter.

I have declared it nettle week in our house. So, while shooting a job at our place yesterday, I decided some nettle snacks were in order. We roasted some ramps with olive oil and sea salt and slathered some finish rye bread with some homemade nettle and ramp butter and topped it with the roasted ramps. It was the perfect afternoon treat, maybe the most perfect sandwich ever!

Recipes to follow on the weekend! (BUTTER RECIPE COMING SOON!)

 

 

Roasted Slightly Charred Ramps

 

1 bunch ramps

olive oil

sea salt

cracked black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degree.

Rinse the ramps under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.

Gently peel back the  lower outer most layer of the ramp and discard. Sometimes if the roots are on the ramps the outermost layer can be a bit transluscent and slimy. This is what you want to get rid of!

Cut the hairy root ends off the cleaned ramps and discard

Pat the ramps dry with a paper towel and lay them out on a roasting sheet. Thye can overlap one another.

Drizzle them with  extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Roast the ramps until just tender. 12-15 minutes at the most. Some of the leaves will brown and crisp a bit but don't worry! They still taste fantastic even when a bit charred!

Serve them with scrambled or poached eggs or on buttered toasts. If you feel iinclined and you pobably will; eat them straight off the baking sheet because they are just that good!

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