5.24.2010

Just Another Meatless Monday #13 Foraging Fun

Hey What's For Dinner


I had the pleasure of going out foraging for nettles with my good friend Cara the other day. It all started a week or so ago at a going away party for another good friend and teacher Miss Kate. At said party Cara comment that she had found nettles, we started talking of foraging hows and whys and wheres. I was inspired! Cara was a wealth of knowledge having studied herbs back East in her life before kids. Fast forward a few days to a phone call from Cara about gardening which soon turned to nettle picking which soon turned to an afternoon date to pick nettles at a nearby park.

We picked for only about 45 minutes or so and we were definitely freaks on parade. A local school was picnicking in the park and every second grade girl HAD to know what we were doing. Several moms and teachers looked at us like we were crazy. Personally I didn't care I was foraging but I think our kids felt a bit weird because we were the only moms not sitting around macking down on Doritos and oreos and 5 dollar coffee. Or maybe they are used to us not being 'normal' and only felt weird with 100 kids jammed in to one park. Soon enough they left and we had the park to ourselves, we let our kids run off to play while we finished up foraging. We lounged around for another hour relishing the intense play our kids were involved in and the companionship we had in each other

I came home with a huge bowl full of nettle leaves. I set them to soak in cold fresh water. After 5 minutes of soaking to help loosen any river silt (we live at the confluence of two glacier valleys)I swished them and rinsed them. I repeated the cleaning procedure and then drained them thoroughly.  I wrapped them in a green produce bag and tucked them in to the fridge.

These are tricky little leaves to pick! Nettles are designed to sting you if you brush against them. The sting isn't particularly painful but it does last the rest of the day. My pinching finger tips were numbish and tingly on both hands, again not painful but more of a reminder.

Foraging tips:
  • go with someone who is experienced, in this case Cara and I were both knowledgeable
  • only pick where it is legal
  • don't pick every leaf or edible part off the plant, leave some so it can live it's life happily
  • thank the plants for their life, their efforts and for sharing
  • use what you pick, don't pick something if you are not going to eat it
  • do your homework, know what to pick when
Locavore Lunch
Fresh Organic Eggs Served on a Bed of Roasted Potatoes with a side of Nettle Crisps-oven 450˚
1 pound local organic french fingerling potatoes
2 TBSP oil, divided
2 cups nettle leaves or other local greens
8 eggs fresh from the coop, organic, co-op or share program
1 TBSP vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

wash and dry the potatoes
turn the oven on
chop the potatoes in to roughly 1 inch chunks
place in a bowl, toss with one TBSP of the oil
pour onto a baking pan, add salt and pepper if desired
roast at 450˚ for 15-20 minutes or until done, stir after 10 minutes
meanwhile blot the greens dry
place in the same bowl toss with remaining oil, place on another baking sheet
set aside until ready to roast
begin heating the water for poached eggs, fill a large pan 2/3 with water
place over high heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat until the water is simmering add the vinegar
cook eggs 4 at a time, crack each egg and slide in to the simmering water, the vinegar should help keep the whites intact
while the eggs are cooking  stir the potatoes and slide the nettles in at this time
keep an eye on the nettles and stir frequently so the get evenly crispy and crunchy
when the first 4 eggs are done remove them to a colander to drain then place on a plate and cover gently with a pan lid to keep them warm
cook the last 4 eggs the same way
check your nettles and remove when they are crispy, set aside
the potatoes should  be fine in the oven, if they get done before the eggs simply turn the oven off and keep them warm
when the last 4 eggs are done remove them to the colander to drain while assembling the first two plates
divide the potatoes between four small plates
put two eggs on top of each serving of potatoes and the nettle crisps along side the potatoes
serve immediately
enjoy eating local organic wild food
smile


Time to show and tell! I have tried a thumbnail linky this week, what do you think? Like it or love or hate it?  I linked up one of my older recipes just to give myself and everyone a visual. Take my button on the sidebar if you want and be sure to pop in and visit the other linkers.
Update-I love the thumbnail linky! It seems a bit confusing BUT just keep going and when it asks for a picture click the button that says 'from the web/my website' it will take you to a page of lots of photos from the post you just put in, simply click on the best photo and hit save!





Peace and Love-



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10 comments:

  1. This is brilliant! I love the foraging story :) The resulting recipe looks tasty too!

    ~Aubree Cherie

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  2. I loved the foraging story too! And, I had no idea you could crisp the nettles. I'll bet they're fantastic like that!

    Gah, those eggs - both the poached and those in the carton - are so pretty. I wish I lived next door to you so I could buy eggs from your happy hens, Laura! There is nothing better than a truly fresh egg!

    I'm linking up my chocolate chip zucchini cake today ... its not exactly a meal, but it contains a vegetable and includes no meat ... so I'd say that counts. ;)

    Happy Monday!

    p.s. - I love thumbnail linky too. Cool!

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  3. Like the images for the links! I will have to play with that when I get back!

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  4. I have always wondered what Nettles were...so awesome! Nice foraging :) There are Meatless Mondays all over the place...I had no idea they weren't all the "same" event...but I'd love to join in if you'd have me...

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  5. Of course Girlichef! You just have to sing "Just Another Meatless Monday" hahahhaha!! please join us we'd love to have you :)

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  6. J and I sing "Just Another Meatless Monday" every Sunday or Monday when it gets stuck in my head from linking up! ;) hehe

    I'm sharing stuffed artichokes this week. Yummy yummy. Love the nettle story and photos! Also the thumbnail linky is cool!!!

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  7. That looks delicious. I love nettles. They are starting to get too high to pick, still edible of course, but tougher and not as sweet. But I would eat this in a heartbeat. Thanks for sharing our space!

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  8. The eggs look good, how nice to bake with fresh eggs! But no thanks on the nettles. I have one large patch of the nasty little weeds and I've tried killing them for years. I found one site that says they have a lot of oxalic acid and that can lead to kidney stones.

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  9. Nettles not painful? Yikes, you're hardcore!!! I got stung the other day for the first time since childhood and I almost cried... But I love the idea of foraging (have a dandelion post queued up in my pipeline) - I may try nettles next if I have a brave moment! ;-)

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