Sam came over today for our second foraged meal of Cattail soup. Preparing it was relatively easy. The rice sat simmering away as Sam cleaned and separated the massive clump of wild onions and I started simmering the sesame seeds and carrots (Queen Anne’s Lace) in a handsome amount of olive oil. With the wild onions cleaned it was few simple chops and into the pan they went. Then Sam took over the cutting board and began slicing the cattails into bite size pieces with great finesse, as only a fencer could.
With the rice close and our Cattails, Wild Onion and Carrots simmering beautifully Sam and I could step back and enjoy the sounds and smells of the kitchen. When everything was ready we added the veggies to the rice along with 4 cups of chicken broth and let it cook for another 15 minutes.
We decided to deviate from the recipe, but only slightly, and add some Herbs de Provence. The 15 minute wait was excruciating for Sam as she had skipped lunch and was “dieing” of hunger. With the clock striking 6:30 we turned off the heat and ladled out the soup into two bowls and were happy to see we would definitely have leftovers. At the table we spooned the soup into our mouths so quickly we got burnt, oops.
Sam grabbed some bread so we could at least taste the broth without suffering the heat. Soon enough we were like Goldilocks, enjoying soup that was just right. The soup was very good and now having had Cattails twice I can confidently describe the taste. It is has a sweet yet fishy taste much like imitation crab and the ends are so soft you hardly know they are there, however the green sections have a crunch to them. The Queen Anne’s Lace is extremely comparable to store bought carrots except that they are white and not orange.
Now after two meals I am feeling even better about our experience thus far. It is so much fun walking through swamps and fields with Sam and discovering wild edibles, as well as sharing the kitchen cooking a shared meal. We can’t wait to share our next meal with you and we hope you enjoy our journey as much as do.
Posted in cooking, food, Plants, Plants, Recipes, spring
Tagged carrots, cattails, cooking, meal, soup, wild onions
Today is EARTH DAY 2011!!! Alex and I enjoyed a beautifully cloudy and chilly celebration of our mother earth cooking up our first officially foraged meal. It was so exciting watching the fruits of our labors meld into a delicious concoction. The scent of sesame and onion filled the kitchen and set our mouths a-watering.
For those who are interested in what we cooked, here is our menu below.
Wilted Dandelion Salad
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Minced Garlic
- 2 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Dandelion leaves from 6 plants approx.
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Brown the minced garlic in olive oil, add dandelion leaves, mixing thoroughly to make sure all the leaves are coated in oil, add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat once the leaves are just slightly wilted.
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp crushed Sesame Seeds
- Wild onions
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- Roast Sesame seeds in olive oil on low until you can smell their aroma, add the diced up stalk of the green onion and sautee on low for another 2 minutes. Add the onion bulbs, chopped to bitesize, and cattails (cut to about 1-inch long), sautee for approx. 3 minutes. Add a little water and cover pan, let simmer until the cattails become translucent. Add cooked rice, stir, salt & pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
- 1 egg white
- wild violets (icluding stems) washed!
- In bowl, beat egg whites with a wire whisk just until frothy. Place sugar in another bowl. Taking one violet at a time, pick it up by the stem and dip into egg whites, covering all surfaces. Gently dip into the sugar, covering the entirety of the flower. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheets and snip off the stems. Using a toothpick, open petals to original shape. sprinkle sugar on any uncoated areas. Dry in a 200 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until sugar crystallizes. Remove violets to wire rack, sprinkle again with sugar if violets appear syrupy. Cool. Store in airtight containers with wax paper between layers.
Nutrition Facts (1 Flower = 1 serving = 3 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 1g protein, trace carbohydrates, 0 fiber)
Our Meal Review
The meal as a whole was delicious! We especially enjoyed the cattails and onion, but they were a lot sweeter than we thought they would be. The flavors were subtle and pleasant, and they complimented each other extremely well. The candied violets were messy, but uber sweet and surprisingly, they tasted like a combination of berries and leafy greens (it might sound odd, but it tasted amazing!).
For all our praise and enjoyment, this is a learning experience and there are some changes we’ll make next time. For example, when adding vinegar to the dandelion salad, the rule of thumb should be LESS IS MORE! Also very important, make sure to not over-wilt the dandelion leaves. As with the aforementioned vinegar, less is also more when it comes to the amount of egg white and sugar coated on the violets. Our violets didn’t crystallize all the way through, even though we baked them for the allotted time, and proved to be a gooey mess. If you decide to use our recipe, we advise an application of non-stick spray to the wax paper prior to preparing the violets.
This meal was many things. It was fun to research, clean, prepare, cook, present, photograph, ingest, delight in and ruminate on. One thing it wasn’t? Hard, expensive, inedible (thank goodness) or gross! I honestly cannot believe all the produce that was right in our metaphorical backyard. Nor did we have to search for days to find it! The hardest thing about preparing for this meal was waiting for a day…in April…in Michigan, with good weather.
– Sam and Alex
P.S. For more photos check out our Facebook page
Posted in cooking, Environment, food, How to find, Photographs, Plants, Recipes, spring
Tagged cattails, cooking, earth day, food, recipes, violets, wild onions