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shagbark hickory syrup

Shagbark Hickory Syrup: Recipe

I’m fascinated with the idea of making tree syrups, but tapping multiple maples, and boiling vast quantities of sap for hours is a little daunting. Plus, I don’t live somewhere I can tap a lot of trees. So I was thrilled to learn I could make a quicker, easier syrup by boiling the bark of the shagbark hickory tree (Carya ovata). It’s easy to harvest bark without damaging the tree, and the syrup is light, sweet, and has a distinctive smoky flavor. You will not be surprised to learn it also makes an excellent cocktail ingredient. Read more

chestnut mousse

Chestnut Mousse Recipe: So Rich, So Good

Chestnuts are wonderful, versatile things, as useful in sweet desserts (like this irresistible chestnut mousse) as they are in savory dishes. Their high starch content makes them softer and creamier than most nuts. (Fun fact: chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes!) In places where chestnuts are a native crop, they’re often used as vegetables rather than nuts. Some of the most delicious chestnuts I’ve eaten were in Greece; they were roasted with onions in a light tomato sauce. Chestnuts are the only nut that contains vitamin C, and unlike most nuts, they contain very little fat, making them a low calorie choice in the foraged nut department. Not that this recipe is low cal. I make no apologies for the cream, egg yolks, rum, and sugar. This is a wonderful dessert for a special occasion, and probably my favorite way to use chestnuts. Read more

Jerusalem artichoke fritters

Jerusalem Artichoke Fritters: Recipe

Is it a fritter? Is it a pancake? It doesn’t matter! The important thing is that the flavor is superb, and that’s what you’re here for, right? These Jerusalem artichoke fritters combine the silky texture of sunchokes with the unbeatable umami of mushroom powder to make an irresistible side dish. Bonus: it’s low on the glycemic index, and therefore a healthier carb choice for people with blood sugar issues. Read more

acorn baklava

Acorn Baklava (with a dash of Spicebush Berry)

When I was in Wisconsin last month, I taught a Forage to Table weekend with Melissa Price. We made a hortopita, and talked about other foraged foods we could make with phyllo dough. We also worked with acorns that weekend, and Sharon Hahn (thank you, Sharon Hahn!) asked if I’d ever made acorn baklava. “Why no, Sharon, I never thought of that. But that’s a helluva good idea!” I promised Sharon credit for inspiring this recipe, and boy does she deserve it. I’m not sure I ever would have thought of it myself. Read more

wild greens pie

Wild Greens Pie aka Hortopita (it’s Greek, like me!)

If you’ve ever eaten in a Greek diner, you may have eaten spanikopita, a traditional spinach pie made with flakey phyllo dough. But unless you have a yia yia (Greek grandmother) you may not have tasted hortopita: wild greens pie. Wild edibles are part of everyday life in Greece, in fact, you’ll often find wild edibles for sale at village markets. Hortopita is classic, Greek peasant food: hearty, satisfying, and suitable as a side dish or a main course.  Read more

concord grape mousse

Concord Grape Mousse Recipe

This Concord grape mousse is an excellent late-summer, early-fall dessert, capturing the full, rich flavor of ripe grapes in a light and fluffy mousse. And while it’s made with gelatin, I hesitate to call it jello, because when most of us hear the word jello, we remember bright green, jiggling molds filled with mandarin orange slices. This is definitely not that. This is a creamy, fruity, sophisticated dessert for grape lovers of all ages. Read more

lamb's quarters stems

Lamb’s Quarters Stems: Recipe

I admit, I’m a little obsessed with lamb’s quarters these days. It’s hard not to be. They’re so abundant and tasty. It’s easy to harvest enough for 10 – 12 meals in less than an hour, then blanch and freeze the leaves to use as wild spinach all year long. After processing my last batch, I was ready to throw away the stems, when I remembered reading that the tender ends of the stems could be steamed or boiled like asparagus. Since I already had them in the kitchen, I figured I’d give it a try. Lamb’s quarters stems are a whole ‘nother vegetable! Read more

apricot crumble squares

Apricot Crumble Squares: Recipe

Apricots are a common street tree in Santa Fe. Many years we don’t get fruit, because a late frost zaps the flowers before they can be pollinated. But this year we’ve had an abundance of apricots, and they’ve been ripening gradually, over a period of six weeks. So much fruit falls to the ground, unappreciated (perhaps even cursed) by the home owners who own the trees. I’m happy to do a little cleanup and glean the best of the bunch. I give you here the first of several summer apricot recipes: apricot crumble squares. This is what August in Santa Fe tastes like. Read more