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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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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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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

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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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.

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

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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.

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

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Starting to Think About A Wild Thanksgiving

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Delicata Squash with Wild Mushroom Stuffing (vegan, gluten-free)

Delicata Squash with Wild Mushroom Stuffing (vegan, gluten-free)

Wait, is Thanksgiving next week…already?!? How exciting!
We can get all sorts of wild edibles on our Thanksgiving table, from mushroom to plant…but in our case we are going to let the wild turkeys roam (we are vegetarian foragers!)
So lets have a vegan gluten-free wild Thanksgiving!

I’ve been seeing lots of prime edibles:

  • Burdock root
  • Burdock leaf stalk
  • Dandelion leaves and root
  • Sassafras and Spicebush twigs and root
  • acorns
  • black walnuts
  • hickory nut
  • garlic mustard
  • dead nettles
  • nettles
  • creeping charlie/ground ivy
  • hen of the woods
  • blewit mushrooms
  • abortive entaloma (mushroom)
  • bears tooth or lion’s mane

…so many possibilities!!!

And what about Vegan Gluten-Free Entrees and sides for the Thanksgiving table?

Try stuffed squash, like the delicata squash above with a wild mushroom stuffing with acorn flour biscuits, burdock leaf stalks in gravy and white bean and nettle soup. For a dessert drink: dandelion root coffee pumpkin latte.

Recipe for Wild Mushroom Stuffed Squash100_4766

  • Delicata (or your favorite stuffing squash: butternut, acorn) - cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out AND SAVED FOR ROASTING!
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, chopped (I used hen of the woods)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup seeds (I used sunflower seeds and pepitas which are shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • Optional: 2 cups chopped greens such as nettles, deadnettles, dandelion greens or spinach
  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
  • 1 Tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

To Prepare Squash and Roast Seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
  3. Clean seeds and place on baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and salts and mix thoroughly.
  4. Rub oil on the cut side of the squash and place face down onto cooking tray.
  5. Place Squash and seeds in oven.
  6. After 15 minutes remove seeds and mix again so they cook evenly. Replace in oven and cook 10 to 15 minutes more until done.
  7. Check squash: depending on size/thickness it should take about 40 to 60 minutes to cook. It’s done when it is soft when the top is pressed.
  8. Remove from oven, flip right side up and allow to cool.

To Make Stuffing:

  1. In pan on stove, saute wild mushrooms in olive oil for at least 15 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat.
  2. Saute onion in olive oil with sea salt until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, mushrooms, celery and spices and saute at least 5 minutes more.
  4. If using greens, add them now and saute until wilted.
  5. Add seeds and saute another couple minutes.
  6. Add cooked rice and tamari and mix while heating through.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Fill Squash with stuffing and serve.

I’ll continue planning our Thanksgiving table and keep you updated.

I made a recipe for White Bean Nettle Soup which I will share with you soon as well.

What other things can you think of for the wild table?

Please add your comments below.

Enjoy the fall!!

~ Melissa

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Hot-To-Trot “Chicken” Wings (vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free)

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Chicken mushroom

Chicken mushroom

Chicken wings were a big part of my teenage years. Even though Syracuse, New York is not Buffalo, my friends and I saw our fair share of hot chicken wings in the 80’s.

I even worked at a fast food chicken joint in the 80’s and learned the secret hot sauce recipe:

  • Hot: 3 parts Tabasco to 1 part butter*
  • Medium: equal parts Tabasco and butter
  • Mild: 1 part Tabasco to 3 parts butter

*now of course Earth Balance or another vegan butter replacement can be substituted to make it vegan

But all that was long lost since going vegetarian in 1987. And though I did not miss the stringy veiny chicken wings, that sauce….oh, that sauce.

Then I started finding vegetarian “chicken” wings made from seitan (wheat gluten) and I was so happy! They were delicious and all I could hope for. Except for the wheat. Since being gluten-free I’ve had to give up those and THOSE I dearly miss.

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier, but suddenly this was the year that I thought to use chicken mushroom and try to make those wings. Maybe because I never actually made wings or seitan “wings” myself before (aside from lowering wings into the fryer at the fast food place, then tossing them in a bucket to shake on the sauce. I’ve never deep fried anything in my own home.)

“You can use chicken mushroom in any recipe that calls for chicken,” I’ve seen written and heard said.

And so….

Hot "chicken wings, made with chicken mushroom

Hot "chicken" wings, made with chicken mushroom

Wonderful! Heavenly! Spicy nirvana!

I simply sliced and sauteed the chicken mushroom in olive oil (adding salt), then melted some butter (you can use a vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance) and mixed in an equal amount of hot sauce (alas, we had no Tobasco at home so I used Frank’s hot sauce), and tossed the mushrooms in the hot sauce at the end of cooking.

This is definitely a keeper.

~ Melissa

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