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
It’s clean out the freezer time here in Santa Fe! Gotta make room before I can store all the new greens I hope to be harvesting over the next few months. Last night I pulled out two vacuum sealed packets of blanched greens (nettles and garlic mustard) and threw together this spring greens gratin. It was a huge hit, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again as I dig deeper into the freezer, using up all sorts of greens to make room for this year’s harvest. Read more
What kind of spring greens grow in your neighborhood and what can you do with them once you’ve got them back to your kitchen? Mild greens are often eaten raw, while bitter greens are usually served cooked. Before you start using your spring greens, it’s a good idea to know how to make the most of your harvest. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the most common (and tastiest) wild spring greens. Coming soon to a field or forest near you. Read more
I love living in Santa Fe, really I do. But one of my favorite wild greens, miner’s lettuce, doesn’t grow wild here. Native to the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada, it blankets hillsides there in early spring, when cool temperatures and moist growing conditions encourage lush, juicy growth. Whenever possible, I arrange to visit a friend in the Bay Area in March or April, so I can get my fill of this succulent, tasty green. I’ve even been known to hike with a small bottle of salad dressing so I can enjoy a picnic of miner’s lettuce on the spot. Read more
Next time you’re at the farmers’ market or in the produce section, look around for purslane. (In Spanish markets, you may find it labelled verdolagas.) This is the very same purslane that grows in between the vegetable rows in your garden, and between the pavement cracks in your driveway. The only difference is that store bought purslane has been washed, trimmed, and comes with a hefty price tag. Native to India and the Middle East, it’s appreciated as a food plant around the world. Yet here, most people pull it up as a weed. I’d like to change that. Read more
Poor, misunderstood garlic mustard.
There are multiple web pages devoted to the eradication of this plant (botanical name = Alliaria petiolata). But despite the fact that it’s an aggressive, invasive weed that crowds out many beloved natives, I can’t bring myself to be upset when I come across a patch of it in the woods. Because although it’s a thug in the landscape, it’s very tasty in the kitchen.
The Stinging Nettle Plant
Before I ever saw a nettle, I felt its sting. I was walking through a grassy field with sandals on, and felt a sharp sting I thought might be a yellow jacket or red ant. When I looked down, I saw an unobtrusive plant, whose stems were covered with slim, innocent looking hairs. Read more
Spring is here (even though we’re expecting snow in Santa Fe this weekend!).
Lots of wild greens are at their best right now, and it’s important to know what to do with them. This recipe is versatile and can be used with lots of different foraged greens. You’ll be using it for months to come. Read more
Chorispora tenella is commonly called musk mustard, blue mustard, purple mustard, and cross flower (after the cross formed by its four, pale purple petals). I like the name musk mustard, because the foliage has an earthy, musky flavor, Read more