{In the Kitchen} Foraging

Now that spring is finally here all the wild shoots, blossoms and roots are resurrecting from the winter’s freeze. Over the winter I read several intriguing posts on foraging and using stinging nettle most notably from And Here We Are: nettle mead, and this post on nettle pasta, which is the one I used, although I made 6x the recipe and froze some for future use.

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There was plenty of nettle to be found and all of it was below knee height.  My little helper boys and I picked a whole lot, wearing a shared pair of gloves, until our bag was full and one by one they accidentally touched the nettle and poor Ishi fell hands first into a patch. Sting nettle really does sting. Growing up my brothers and I always called it seven minute itch as that’s about how long it really itches for- give or take. It was time to call it quits.

When we got back I sorted through, rinsed and then blanched the nettle. It only takes about 30 seconds for the nettle to wilt, then the stinging aspect is gone. It’s important to really squeeze the nettle as not to make the pasta too wet. By the way the green water from the nettle makes a great dark green natural egg dye.

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It was really very simple to make. Just like making regular pasta and it has that same great fresh pasta taste. I’ll have to try making spinach pasta next. After kneading a bit and resting the dough I rolled it out using a vintage cast iron pasta machine my older brother gifted to me. I’ll go a tad thinner next time.

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Here it is cooked and lightly buttered. To be honest the nettle didn’t give much flavor but it does add a lot of nutrients. I’m thinking of using part of the frozen dough as lasagna noodles.

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We’ve also been enjoying the spring by foraging wild blossoms for jelly and trying woodchuck (aka groundhog) for the first time in a pot pie.

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What do you enjoy foraging?

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Macaroni with Tomato Sauce, Baked Eggs and Ricotta

Man have our new chickens been laying! Up until this past week they had been laying 8-10 eggs a day (out of the 10 chickens we have left now that a pig decided to have one as a snack). I find myself adding eggs to anything I can think of. This book: The Good Egg by Marie Simmons is solely egg recipes. I made Macaroni with Tomato Sauce, Baked Eggs and Ricotta one day a while back for lunch. It’s basically lasagna using macaroni. I made mine gluten-free by simply using gluten-free noodles. I like the brand Heartland cause they hold up and come the closest to “real” pasta. The eggs cook up with a soft yolk and creamy whites – actually quite good and adding protein.

DSCN7905And the recipe:

DSCN7899Adding the eggs. One just happened to be a double yolk. The recipe only calls for 4 eggs but this definitely serves more than 4 so you could either add a couple of eggs or perhaps someone might want the sans egg option.

DSCN7894Top with cheese and bake.

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DSCN7904This dish goes together quickly; even faster if you could use leftover pasta. I’ll definitely remember this for a last-minute dinner – especially if there are unexpected guests. The eggs really do make it a meal and it’s vegetarian. Add a salad and maybe a baguette and some wine and your set.

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