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Top 5 Gourmet Wild Edibles and A Recipe for Palestine Soup

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Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

Here on Food Under Foot, we celebrate the edible and medicinal qualities of wild plants and mushrooms, be they omnipresent dandelions, invasive Japanese Knotweed or hard-to-find morel mushrooms.

Some of these plants most people classify as weeds. Said columnist Doug Larson, “A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Some of these wild plants, including those omnipresent dandelion leaves, can be found at specialty grocery stores, with quite a nice price tag on them.

What are your favorite “gourmet” wild edibles? Maybe you live in the desert and Prickly Pear Cactus is your thing. Or morels from the woodland forests in Pennsylvania. Watercress growing from a stream is a good one…or how about bright yellow chanterelles? French chefs love those!

Here you’ll find an article with my list of my top five (well, seven…I added two more at the end.) It’s an article I wrote for Good Veg Magazine.

Is your list the same as mine? Different? Please let me know.

And don’t despair…one of these edibles is in season right now…in the middle of winter! In fact, Dave and I dug up 5 pounds of them the other day and had the most delicious Palestine Soup (recipe below) for lunch today! Did I give it away? You got it: Jerusalem Artichokes!

Sunchoke Tubers

Sunchoke Tubers

Recipe: Palestine Soup

And why, you may wonder, is this soup called “Palestine Soup”? According to infoplease.com, it is a case of a blunder begetting a blunder. You and I both know that Jerusalem artichoke is actually a native American plant, and the name came from the Spanish or Italian word for Sunflower: Girasol. The word Girasol sort of sounded like the word Jerusalem, and so this soup - made of Jerusalem Artichokes, is called Palestine Soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 - 7 tubers Jersalem Artichokes, washed well, peeled half-heartedly (don’t worry about getting all the peel off), and chopped
  • water or stock to cover vegetables
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, good if not using vegetable stock)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions

onions and sunchokes

onions and sunchokes

  1. Saute onion in olive oil.
  2. Add Jerusalem artichoke and continue to saute, adding some salt, to bring out flavors.
  3. Cover with water or stock and let simmer until sunchokes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place in blender with cashews, nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper. Whizz til smooth.
  5. Reheat and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

This soup is simple and delicious!!!

Enjoy!

~ Melissa

Top 5 Gourmet Wild Edibles page in GoodVeg Magazine

Also on Food Under Foot:

Jerusalem Artichokes

Sunchoke Latkes

And please make sure you sign up for our newsletter and receive the first five ebooks in our Wild Edibles Series completely free! (Green box top right: Join The Family!)

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“Cream” of Morel Mushroom Soup

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vegan "cream" of mushroom soup

vegan "cream" of mushroom soup

January is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps not coincidentally January is also National Soup Month!!!

So let’s see what wild edibles (dried or fresh from the tundra) we can scare up for some delicious soups this month.

dried morels harvested spring, 2013

dried morels harvested spring, 2013

Vegan “Cream” of Morel Mushroom Soup

Cashews and potatoes give this vegan soup its thick creamy texture.

Ingredients

  • dried morel mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 12 oz fresh mushrooms, can be button mushrooms
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots (optional because will give soup an orange color.)
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • 6 cups water, plus more boiling water to reconstitute morels
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Pour boiling water over dried morels to reconstitute and let soak for at least 20 minutes.
  2. While morels are soaking, saute 1/2 the onion, all the garlic, celery, half the fresh mushrooms and all the carrot in 1 Tbsp olive oil with salt in the bottom of soup pan.
  3. Once onion is translucent, add 6 cups water and potatoes, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15  minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and let soup cool a bit.
  5. Put soup, morel soak water, cashews and nutritional yeast into blender and blend well.
  6. Saute soaked morels, the rest of the onions and mushrooms in olive oil with salt in a frying pan.
  7. Return blended soup to soup pot, adding sauteed onions and mushrooms.
  8. Reheat and adding pepper and more salt as necessary to taste.
  9. As you reheat soup may thicken due to the cashews, so add water and adjust seasoning if needed.

Other  wild ideas for this recipe:

  1. if you have dried maitake/hen-of-the-woods mushroom around, then leave out the button mushrooms and add a handful of dried maitake when you add the potatoes. These will get blended to make a rich mushroom-tasting broth.
  2. You can substitute dried maitake (reconstituting them the way you reconstituted morels), or use frozen mushrooms like maitake or chicken mushroom.

Enjoy!!

~ Melissa


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    Sunchoke Latkes

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    Sunchoke Latkes with Apple Sauce
    Sunchoke Latkes with Apple Sauce

    I have a new favorite wild food: Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), or Sunchokes!

    I know I say this every season, every time I get on a kick with a new wild edible. And I’m saying it again: I cannot get enough of Jerusalem Artichokes. I love their taste, I love their texture, I love them raw, I love how they cook up.

    Chanukah came (and went) early this year. Latkes (or potato pancakes) are the traditional food of the holiday, and we do have some latke recipes which incorporate wild foods on this website and in Winter Foraging Holiday Feasting, because chickweed and garlic mustard are great greens to find in the winter!

    Today I decided to make latkes without potatoes.  Though the ground was indeed frozen, we were able to break through and dig up some sunchoke tubers, a traditional native food which I used instead of potatoes.

    grated sunchoke tubers
    grated sunchoke tubers

    I grated the tubers and then grated 1/2 onion, mixed in some flour (my flour mix included black rice flour, which is why the potato pancakes came out darker than usual), an egg, salt and pepper. I sauteed the latkes in olive oil, celebrating the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights, which is why latkes are a Chanukah food!

    Latkes cooking up in olive oil to celebrate the Chanukah miracle (of the oil lasting 8 nights)
    Latkes cooking up in olive oil to celebrate the Chanukah miracle (of the oil lasting 8 nights)

    In my vitamix I whipped up some apple sauce (ingredient: apples) and there you have it: pure deliciousness.

    Sunchokes differ from potatoes in that sunchokes carbohydrate is mostly inulin, which is a blood-sugar stabilizing carbohydrate.

    So there you have it, latkes without potatoes, the way the Native Americans and pilgrims must have enjoyed their latkes on Chanukah (haha, not!)

    Ingredients

    • handful of sunchoke tubers, grated
    • 1/2 onion, grated
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 egg
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • olive oil for cooking

    Directions

    • Mix grated sunchokes, grated onions, egg, flour and salt and pepper. If using non-wheat flour like rice flour (like I did) allow a minute or two for the flour to absorb extra liquid
    • Add 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil to pan, to cover bottom. I do not deep fry my latkes.
    • Heat oil on medium until a drop of water sizzles on the surface.
    • drop pancake mix in 2 inch diameter thin circles
    • Allow to cook until bottom browns, about 6 - 8 minutes
    • Flip and cook on other side until browned, about 3 - 5 minutes
    • Remove to paper towels to absorb excess oil
    • Continue in batches, you may need to add more oil every couple batches.

    This only made 6 pancakes. If you have more tubers you can make more.

    sunchoke latkes with black rice flour

    Traditionally served with apple sauce and sour cream.

    Enjoy!

    Melissa

    3dbookcover2For more winter recipes, check out our newest book: Winter Foraging Wild Food Feasting, available now!

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    It Was Me, Not Them

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    Chanterelle Mushrooms

    Chanterelle Mushrooms

    Chanterelles.

    Those most gourmet of edible mushrooms. The bright yellow find in the woods, smelling deliciously of apricot. So good.

    So they say.

    I have never been a fan of chanterelles. But it turns out it was me, not them.

    I should have known 65 million French people couldn’t be wrong.

    It turns out I didn’t know how to prepare them. And this year - 2013 - ends up being the year of the chanterelle. At least in the woods of Western PA. A whole group of mushroom hunters couldn’t harvest enough to put a dent in what was out there.

    So I did a bit of internet research for chanterelle recipes, and I found this video. I left the butter out to keep the recipe vegan, and used fresh lemon thyme because that is what we have growing. It was the best.

    Sauteed chantereels with lemon thyme.

    Sauteed chanterelles with lemon thyme.

    Lemon Thyme and Garlic Chanterelles

    vegan, gluten-free

    adapted from this recipe on No Recipe Required

    • 2 cups Chanterelles, washed and cut into equal sized pieces
    • 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or lemon thyme
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • sea salt, pepper
    • squeeze of lemon

    Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy pan, turn heat to medium high.

    Place chanterelles in pan in single layer. Add salt and let them cook until side on pan is browned, about 8 minutes.

    Flip chanterelles and cook another 4 or 5 minutes. If pan dries out add more oil.

    Add in thyme, then add in garlic, stir.

    Turn off heat and grind in pepper and squeeze on lemon, stir again.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    You can use this as a side dish or mix into risotto once the rice is cooked and taken off the heat. Very, very good.

    Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic

    Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic

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    Blueberry Bash at Black Moshannon State Park

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    Wild Blueberries from the bog at Black Moshannon

    Wild Blueberries from the bog at Black Moshannon

    We found ourselves with an unexpectedly free weekend last week, so I checked the events page for Pennsylvania’s State parks and found that Black Moshannon was having a blueberry bash! It was described “meet at Boat Launch 3 to find some areas in the park to pick blueberries” and then later in the afternoon “discover different foods to make out of blueberries (at Environmental Learning Center.) Sounded great to us!

    Blueberry picking in the bog (ranger-led program)

    Blueberry picking in the bog (ranger-led program)Canning blueberry sauce

    The ranger led us along the bog trail, encouraging us to head into the bog to pick the blueberries. He told us where in the park to find more (along the bog) and set us on our way.

    Canning blueberry sauce

    Canning blueberry sauce

    Back at the environmental center we found three rangers (including the one who’d met us at the bog) with lots of samples of blueberry foods, including blueberry sauce for pancakes, blueberry almond crumble cake baked in the outdoor ovens, blueberry parfait, blueberry zucchini bread and blueberry ice cream pie.

    They also provided us with a booklet containing the recipes. Not the usual recipes you’ll find on Food Under Foot, but fun just the same.

    Blueberry Parfait

    Blueberry Parfait

    The recipe for Blueberry Parfait, as provided by the rangers of Black Moshannon state park:

    • 1 2/3 ounce package instant lemon pudding
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
    • 1 cup coarsly crushed gingersnap cookies
    • 2 cups fresh blueberries

    Prepare the pudding according to package directions using 1 1/2 cups whole milk. Fold in whipped cream.

    Spoon about a third of the pudding mixture equally into 6 serving glasses.

    Sprinkle lightly with half of the cookie crumbs, then half the blueberries.

    Repeat layers, ending with pudding on top.

    Blueberry almond crumble cake

    Blueberry almond crumb cake

    Recipe for Blueberry-Almond Crumb Cake, as provided by the rangers at Black Moshannon

    • 1 box Betty Crocker White or French Vanilla Cake Mix
    • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Flavoring (if using BC White Cake Mix)
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 4 Tbsp flour
    • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 4 Tbsp water
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cup blueberries

    Topping:

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
    • 6 Tbsp butter (softened)
    • 6 Tbsp flour

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 13″ x 9″ pan with baking spray and flour.

    In large bowl, combine cake mix, vanilla, sour cream, flour, oil, water and eggs. Mix well and spread in baking dish.

    Wash blueberries and place on top of cake mix.

    In bowl, mis topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over cake batter.

    Bake 33 - 38 minutes. Cool before cutting.

    Disclosure: I did not try any of the foods they had there. My daughter did and she threw a lot of it away because it was too sweet or too doughy (pancakes.) The fresh blueberries right off the bush (and then later from the container) were divine enough for me!!!

    Enjoy!

    ~ Melissa Sokulski,

    Food Under Foot

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    Vegan (and Soy-Free, Gluten-Free) Cream of Mushroom Soup with Morels and Dryads

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    vegan mushroom soup

    vegan mushroom soup

    Amazing, amazing vegan “cream” of mushroom soup…and the mushrooms are MORELS and DRYAD’S SADDLES! It doesn’t get better than this!

    yellow morels

    yellow morels

    Vegan Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

    vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

    In a pot with water, boil:

    • 3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 5 button mushrooms (optional)
    • salt
    • pepper
    • paprika

    Boil until POTATOES and CARROTS are tender. Remove from heat.

    Add CASHEWS and blend well. (We used our vitamix, but any blender should be fine.)

    In a pan with olive oil:

    saute chopped MORELS with salt.

    In another pan with olive oil:

    saute chopped DRYAD’S SADDLE with salt.

    Dryad's Saddle

    Dryad's Saddle

    (I sauteed in them in two separate pans because later in the season dryad’s can become bitter, and in case this had happened, I didn’t want to ruin the batch of morels!!! But they were just fine.)

    Return now creamy broth to pot and adjust seasonings: SALT, PEPPER, PAPRIKA  to taste.

    Add sauteed mushrooms and enjoy.

    PLEASE MAKE 100% CERTAIN OF IDENTITY OF ALL WILD MUSHROOMS USED!

    ~ Melissa

    Food Under Foot

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    Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

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    Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

    Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

    As stipulated in the 5th annual Morel Recipe Challenge, this recipe had to be baked. And what better way to bake than with muffin tins?

    These Morel Muffins came out AMAZING. I have never baked anything in muffin tins, not even muffins. We only have the tins around to sort buttons and mix paint. But after today I may actually use them for savory recipes! I’m definitely making these again!

    Dried Morels from Marx Foods

    Dried Morels from Marx Foods

    I used the wonderful dried morels sent to me by Marx Foods. To reconstitute them I simply poured boiling water over them, covered the bowl with a dish and let stand about 20 minutes. I then used that morel soak water to cook the potatoes, so make sure to save it! (You could also cook the quinoa in it…just make sure to use it, yum!) You could also use fresh morels in this recipe.

    4 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled/steamed in the morel soak water. Then mashed. Add extra water when cooking if necessary and mash the potatoes and the cook water together at the end. You will need 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes for this recipe.

    And I added garlic mustard because, well, it’s that time of year and I love using wild ingredients! But you can either omit this altogether or substitute arugula or chives. I picked some garlic mustard leaves, washed and dried them then chopped them very fine and small.

    garlic mustard
    garlic mustard

    Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

    An original gluten-free dairy-free vegetarian recipe by Melissa Sokulski for the 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge

    You will need a muffin tin for this recipe.

    • 2 oz dried morels, reconstituted as above and chopped. You could also use one cup of chopped fresh morels.
    • 1 medium onion, chopped (it will be about 1 cup chopped onions)
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter, to saute morels, onions and garlic, plus a bit more to oil muffin tins
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (see above)
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1/2 cup flour, plus a bit more to flour muffin tins (I used a mix of almond meal and buckwheat flour to keep the recipe gluten free, but you can use whatever flour you like.)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic mustard (you can also use arugula, or chives, or omit, see note above)
    • 1 Tbsp brown mustard
    • salt
    • pepper
    • nutmeg

    Tip: I made this recipe gluten-free and dairy-free so my family could eat it. However, I KNOW it would be DIVINE with your favorite cheese grated and mixed into the batter!

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Oil muffin tin with olive oil and sprinkle with flour to make it easier to remove “muffins” after cooking.
    3. Reconstitute dried morels (if using dried) by covering dried morels with boiled water. Cover bowl and let sit at least 20 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and able to cut. SAVE soak water to cook potatoes or quinoa.
    4. Boil (in morel soak water) and mash potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Boil 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water (or morel soak water) for 15 minutes until quinoa is soft and water has been absorbed.
    6. Saute chopped morels, onions, and garlic in olive oil (or butter) for at least 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Mix sauteed morel mixture with mashed potatoes, quinoa, and all other ingredients.
    8. Divide mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups.
    9. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
    10. Remove from oven and let cool at least 5 minutes to help it set and make the muffins easier to remove.

    Enjoy!!!

    Baked Morel Muffins

    Baked Morel Muffins

    Festive foraging,

    ~ Melissa Sokulski

    Stay in touch! Make sure you sign up for our free newsletter (green box in the upper right margin.) Also, visit our sister blog at Birch Center for information on acupuncture, natural wellness and more great healthy recipes.

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    The Wild Pantry: Sumac Seasoning

    Raw, Recipes
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    Tangy staghorn sumac seasoning is perfect for this Middle Eastern salad

    Tangy staghorn sumac seasoning is perfect for this Middle Eastern salad

    It’s fun dipping into the wild pantry to add zest and flavor to dishes. For this middle Eastern tabouli recipe, I dipped into the pantry not once, but twice. In addition to this tangy sumac seasoning, I stripped some dried mint leaves off a bundle I have hanging in my kitchen and crumbled those in. (Though it will be up soon, mint has not yet appeared in my neck of the woods - Western PA.)

    The fun thing about sumac is that even if you missed harvesting it last fall, it’s available all winter. As long as you can find those red bundles on the otherwise bare trees, you can harvest and use sumac, which tastes fresh and lemony and is high in vitamin C.

    Sifting Dried Staghorn Sumac

    Sifting Dried Staghorn Sumac

    Last fall I dried some sumac clusters, broke them up in the food processor, then sifted out the hard seeds through a strainer. This makes a sour seasoning that is perfect to add to dishes like fatoush, tabouli and hummus.

    Today I made raw tabouli salad (without grains), but you could easily add a cup of cooked quinoa, cracked wheat or cous cous to the salad to turn it into a more traditional tabouli. For fatoush, simply add small pieces of toasted pita into the salad.

    Raw Tabouli Salad

    • 1 tomato, chopped
    • 1 cucumber, seeds removed (and saved for smoothies or juices), chopped
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 1/2 tsp dried sumac seasoning
    • bunch of parsley leaves, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp dried mint, crumbled and added
    • 1 Tbsp (or more, to taste) onion, chopped very small
    • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tbsp)

    Middle Eastern Salad

    Raw Tabouli Salad

    Mix all ingredients and enjoy.

    Think happy thoughts….it’s March 1 and spring is sure to be upon us soon. To those of you who have access to maple trees: now is the time to tap them for their wonderful sap. Soon another wild year will be upon us!

    Festive foraging,

    ~ Melissa Sokulski

    Stay in touch! Make sure you sign up for our free newsletter (green box in the upper right margin.) Also, visit our sister blog at Birch Center for information on acupuncture, natural wellness and more great healthy recipes.

    Want to know what kitchen equipment we love? Check out our recommendations.

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