Foodie Friday: Wild Edibles

6242436853_b0784c9dbd_bThe age of convenience has removed our society from many things once essential to our survival. Possibly the most important of which being the ability to forage and gather our own food. Acorns, for example, are most likely not a part of the average person’s diet in the 21st century. We are definitely experiencing a food revolution right now and what ten years ago was considered lawn clippings, now goes for a pretty penny in your local organic food market. This means there are healthy, delicious local edibles available in most areas, even if you are in the city or too busy to forage.

Adventurous chefs around the planet have been singing the praises of these types of ingredients for quite sometime. You might see ramps, fiddle head ferns, dandelion greens, and definitely wild mushrooms on the menu in almost any fine dining restaurant you can find. This is great for folks that can afford to dine in these establishments, but what about cooking with them at home? Shouldn’t we all be able to work with these ingredients without being intimidated? The answer is yes, yes we should. This week’s Foodie Friday will focus on some wild edibles used today and how to approach them.

Before you can start turning your foraged treasures into culinary masterpieces, you should take some time to get familiar with your area. Foraging is a skill that is gained through lots of careful practice and study. It should be taken very seriously and practiced under professional guidance and supervision. There are classes in most regions that will allow you to get some practice and learn which edibles are safe and which might be poisonous. This is definitely not a step you should skip if you do decide to pick your own wild edibles. If you aren’t able to go out and learn, or simply aren’t interested in that part of the process try your local farmers market or organic producer store.
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Foodie Friday: Gravlax

The Slow Food movement has had a huge impact on what we include on our plates in the last several years. Slow foodies prefer locally-made specialty items lovingly grown, raised or made by families that love their craft and respect their ingredients.

While it’s easy to pop into the local super market and grab some packaged goods, slice them and throw them on a tray for your guests, it is far more satisfying to hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs of your guests as they sample your homemade slow cured delicacies. Creating your own specialty foods may take more work and time, but the difference will amaze you.

Along with making your own cured meats and fish there are a number of other great homemade specialty items that are easy to make and sure to impress. This week I am sharing a recipe for curing Gravlax, an item that many of you may love to eat but are intimidated to try making yourself. I am here to assure you that it’s not that hard and the results may surprise you. With a caring spirit and a little patience you can be serving this succulent delicacy at your next brunch. Enjoy!
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Foodie Friday: Blackberry Cobbler

I grew up in the redwood forest of northern California. As a child I would spend countless hours running around and playing in the woods. In the summertime there was always a bounty of wild blackberries that I could pick. First thing in the morning I would wash out a milk jug and head out to collect as many blackberries as I could. After a long day of berry picking I would return home sweaty, scraped up, and stained purple. Never-the-less I was carrying my full gallon of blackberries.

Every kid that I knew had a different preference for how they consumed their harvest, and my favorite was my Mother’s Cobbler. Though she never actually used a recipe for her blackberry cobbler, I have, over the years, come up with my own version. This recipe is as always a suggested guideline. If you feel like adding a splash of grand marnier or using different berries, it’s up to you. Enjoy!
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