Browsing the archives for the raw food tag.


The Wild Pantry: Sumac Seasoning

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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.

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Raw and Wild: Indian Nettle Curry

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It usually hits me mid April. But even though it was a warm spring, my unstoppable desire to “go raw” again didn’t hit me until last week. So here I am, mid May, morel season is over (thank goodness: wild mushrooms must be cooked!) and I have “gone raw.”

By raw I mean I am eating only raw fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. So lots of green smoothies, fresh juices, and yummy wild salads. But sometimes I do crave something…more. More savory and tasty than a smoothie or even a salad (though I have some delicious dressings that get me out combing my yard and neighborhood for wild delights!)

Yesterday I found a recipe in Brigitte Mars’s book, Rawsome, for Palak, which is a curried spinach dish. I substituted raw nettles for the spinach, changed a few other things and I can not even begin to convey its deliciousness.

Raw Curried Nettles with Flax Crackers

Raw Curried Nettles with Flax Crackers

Raw and Wild Recipe: Indian Nettle Curry

inspired by Palak, from Rawsome by Brigitte Mars
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 cups fresh nettles
  • 1 Tbsp chopped onion
  • salt, tumeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and puree.

I made the flax crackers as well, although those these can be purchased at food coops or health food stores (or even health food sections of regular grocery stores.) If not eating all raw, this dish would go well on rice or pasta, or even spread on sandwiches (or pizza!) Raw veggies would be excellent dipped in it.

Hope you are enjoying spring!

Love and nettle stings,

~ Melissa

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Green Smoothie with Nettles

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Yes, fresh nettles (Urtica dioica) sting. The sting I got the other day felt like a bee sting. The sting is from a chemical made by the plant, not from a pricker, so if you cook it, blend it or dry it you’re safe.

Young stinging nettles

Young stinging nettles


I gathered some nettles the other day, and put some into a delicious green smoothie (recipe below) and the rest I dried to use as tea.

In my first pot of nettle tea (delicious!) the nettle looked so good and bright green when it reconstituted, that I chopped it up and made a miso soup with it! It was sooo good. Next time I’ll have to remember to take pictures of that.

Here is the green smoothie, which is actually purple due to blueberries:

Green smoothie with nettles...it's actually purple because of the blueberries

Green smoothie with nettles...it's actually purple because of the blueberries


Green Smoothie with Nettles

    2 bananas
    1 cup frozen mangoes
    1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    handful (a careful handful…don’t get stung!) fresh nettles
    2 cups water

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

We use the vitamix for our green smoothies…if you don’t know about this blender, please check out our video about it…and you’ll also find a coupon for free shipping on this page.

Thanks, and enjoy the spring!

~ Melissa Sokulski
Food Under Foot
Birch Center for Health

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Garlic Mustard Horseradish

General Posts, Herb, Medicinal, Raw, Recipes
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Garlic Mustard Greens emerging from the ground.

Garlic Mustard Greens emerging from the ground.

Today I harvested garlic mustard for the spicy white roots to make a horseradish-like condiment.

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive plant, brought to America in the 1860’s as a culinary herb. It spreads like wildfire and often will displace native mustards and cresses. Many parks hold days where people can come volunteer to pull out garlic mustard so it doesn’t take over other native plants. This is one weed no one will mind you pulling!

Now is a great time to use garlic mustard: the leaves are tasty and not too bitter, as the weather warms the leaves get more bitter and lose their spicy garlic mustard flavor.

washing the garlic mustard in a colander

washing the garlic mustard in a colander

To make the condiment, harvest the entire plant, and wash the roots well. The roots are white and have a horseradish-like smell. They will taste spicy.

Garlic mustard roots

Garlic mustard roots

I chopped the roots:

Chopped Garlic Mustard Roots

Chopped Garlic Mustard Roots

I blended the roots in a food processor with a bit of salt, a couple teaspoons of water and about 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and blended until it looked like horseradish: (It stung my eyes! Pretty spicy…)

Blended in a food processor with a little water, salt and apple cider vinegar

Blended in a food processor with a little water, salt and apple cider vinegar

Here it is, in a jar:

Garlic Mustard "Horseradish!"

According to Chinese Medicine, the spicy or pungent taste of horseradish and garlic mustard enters the Lung meridian, and is known to clear the sinuses and help the body get rid of respiratory infections. (For more on Traditional Chinese Medicine and health, visit our sister website Birch Center for Health.)

Here in Pittsburgh, wild edibles are just emerging from the ground. Today we also found nettles! What is popping up where you live? We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!
Melissa Sokulski, acupuncturist, herbalist
Food Under Foot

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Springing out of Winter: Garlic Mustard

General Posts, Identification, Recipes
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Walking around some Pittsburgh parks today after a beautiful stretch of warm days…and we indeed see signs of spring!

We saw some garlic mustard rosettes bursting from the ground:

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant, brought to America as a culinary herb in the 1860’s. In Pittsburgh, many parks have volunteer days spent pulling this invasive herb out. By all means pull it up from your garden…but don’t be so quick to throw it in the compost! This is a delicious plant and early spring is when its flavor is at its best.

The leaves become bitter as the weather gets hot, so they are best collected in early spring and summer. Leaves can be collected either from the ground rosettes (pictured above) or from the stalk. Garlic Mustard leaves become more triangular when the plant bolts, and the leaves come up the flower stalk of this small four-petaled flower (unlike dandelion, whose leaves stay on the ground as the flower stalk is sent up).

Here's how garlic mustard looks later in the season, once it "bolts", or sends up its flower stalk.

Flowers and chopped leaves can be added to salads for a nice pungent garlic flavor.

Now is the time to collect the roots, when no flower stalks are present. These are very spicy and taste like horseradish. The root can be chopped and steeped in apple cider vinegar for a spicy condiment.

garlic mustard roots: spicy like horseradish

garlic mustard roots: spicy like horseradish

In the fall the seeds, which have a mustard flavor, can be collected and eaten.

I love to make pesto using the garlic mustard leaves:

Raw Garlic Mustard Pesto

1 1/2 cups garlic mustard leaves
1 1/2 cups spinach leaves
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon (to taste)
1 clove garlic (or more to taste)
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
salt or tamari to taste

Blend above ingredients in food processor or blender and enjoy.

Here is a copy of my article on Garlic Mustard, published last year in Natural News.

Enjoy the spring!!

Melissa Sokulski, herbalist, acupuncturist
Food Under Foot
Birch Center

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Raw Food Potluck and Wild Edible Walk Sunday

General Posts, Raw, Recipes
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If you are in the Pittsburgh area and interested in raw foods as well as wild edible plants, please join us in Schenely park this Sunday, October 4 at noon (the Steeler game is not until 8:20 pm this Sunday, so you won’t miss a thing!)

Using our feet to remove the green hull from the Black Walnut - we'll likely see Black Walnuts Sunday

Using our feet to remove the green hull from the Black Walnut - we'll likely see Black Walnuts Sunday


This event is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup Group, so if you’d like to attend (it’s a free event), please join the meetup group (there is no charge to join) and RSVP on the meetup invitation page. This way you will be contacted if there are any last minute changes (weather!), and given the full information about the whereabouts and who to contact with questions. We hope to see you there!!!

If you are new to raw foods: this is a potluck, so please bring a dish containing only raw (uncooked) fruits and veggies…a simple fruit salad is always welcome (no canned fruit, though, only fresh.) If you are feeling adventurous, check out some of the many raw recipes on sites like www.goneraw.com or the wonderful recipe page of the All Raw Directory. If you are really inspired, you may want to check out some of the raw “cook” books we recommend in the raw food section of our bookstore.

Here is a simple recipe I am preparing tonight:

Garden Fresh Tomato Salad

5 Garden Tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed (or finely chopped)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or you can use fresh thyme or oregano)

Mix all ingredients together well and serve…delicious!

Hope to see you soon!

~ Melissa

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Apple Dandelion Cookies

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Apple Dandelion Cookies

Apple Dandelion Cookies

Thanks to everyone who joined us on the Wild Edible Walk today! It was such a beautiful day, and we saw some wonderful wild edibles, such as dandelion, burdock, garlic mustard, onion grass and Japanese knotweed!

I’ll post more on that tomorrow…but for now, here is the recipe for the Raw Apple Dandelion Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups apples (about 4-5 apples)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup dandelion flower petals, plucked off the green collar
  1. In a food processor, pulse the first five ingredients until you have small pieces, but not so much that it becomes too wet and mushy.
  2. In a large bowl, mix in dandelion flower petals into the batter:

    Dandelion Apple Cookie Batter

    Dandelion Apple Cookie Batter

  3. Form into cookies and place on dehydator.
  4. Dehydrate at 105 for 8 hours.
  5. Refrigerate if you don’t eat them all right away - enjoy!

** If you haven’t received our free eBooks (the 5-Part Wild Edible Series), please sign up today on the box to the right. Part 2 is a 17-page eBook on Dandelions…full of pictures, description, uses and recipes. Please join today.

Thanks again so much!

~ Melissa

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Dandelion Flower Raw Food Cookies!

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Honey Bee on  Dandelion Flower

Dandelion Flower for Raw Food Cookies

Welcome to our Raw Food Friends from Pure Jeevan!  And Thank you Wendi, for helping them find us.

Here’s Melissa’s DANDELION FLOWER COOKIE RECIPE that’s a must have for Wild Edible Fans and Raw Foodists alike.   It is included in The Wild Edible Series, Part 2 - Dandelions.

DANDELION FLOWER COOKIES - RAW FOOD
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or raw honey
  • 1 cup dandelion petals — Pluck the yellow petals off the green collar and stem
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon rind
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • smallest pinch of sea salt

This Healthy Raw Food Cookie Recipe is included in the Wild Edible Series.  Part 2 on Dandelions includes 3 other recipes (Dandelion Flower Fritters/Pancakes, Dandelion Green Saute, and another Raw Food Entree!), a dandelion vinegar, a medicinal tincture, and everything you’ll need for Identification, Harvest, and Preparation of Dandelions.

if you don’t have a dehydrator and are not so concerned about eating raw, try cooking at a low temperature in the oven, for less time.

Blend everything except dandelion petals in food processor until smooth.


Mix in dandelion by hand, mix well.


Form into cookies on dehydrator tray.

Dehydrate at 105 for about 6 hours, flip and dehydrate another 2. Cookies will still be a bit moist.

the batter (left), before the dandelion flower petals (right) are mixed inBatter (left), Dandelion Flower Petals (right)
dandelion flowers mixed into batter

dandelion flowers mixed into batter

cookies on the dehydrator tray

cookies on the dehydrator tray

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