|Quesadillas with raw garlic mustard leaves, steamed cattail shoots, and sauteed daylily greens.|
I have written about foraging before. Here, for example, just last year. But oh, if you have not availed yourself of the green green thrill of cramming bitter wild leaves into your winter-starved mouth, please try it. Even if you live in, say, New York City, where someone you know may or may not have eaten wild garlic mustard that was growing near the reservoir in Central Park. (Sorry, Ma. But urban foraging is all the rage!)
|My Mother's Day card from Birdy. Inside it says, "I can't wait to continue eating our way through the outdoors." ("Yew (oops!)" refers to a poisonous little incident we once got ourselves into. A story for another day.)|
Birdy is my partner in foraging, and it is just a heavenly way to spend a spring afternoon: consulting our guides, picking and tasting, soaking up sunshine and screaming about snakes. If a person were starting to drift towards a kind of hormonal situation of the teenaged kind, this would be the perfect hearty, companionable antidote, if you get what I'm saying. Besides that all the slap-in-the-face bitterness of the greens themselves pretty much constitutes life at its most bracing.
|Steamed garlic mustard and cattail shoots with hollandaise. I used this Foolproof 2-Minute Hollandaise recipe, and it was perfect.|
I'll recommend, again, the marvelous Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos. We had checked it out of the library for such an unconscionably long time that we finally just went ahead and bought a copy. The other book we bought after careful consideration was Edible Wild Plants by John Kallas. It contains plants only, but has very detailed descriptions and photographs of common edibles at different stages of growth. But even if all you do is go outside, yank a dandelion (you'll know it's a dandelion because there will be a dandelion flower), and chew its wildly bitter leaves, you'll still be a happier and healthier person for it.
|12 and 15. WHAT? I wrote something here about babies and how I don't have any.|
I should note, however, that the thrill seems, at least to some extent, related to the happy-survival neurochemicals your brain rewards you with for finding food: the people who foraged the plants always LOVE to eat them, while the people who are simply served the weedy meals feel decidedly MEDIOCRE about them.
|Oh, spring! Tis the season of the cigar-tube vase.|
And if this is all too much for you, buy a nice, fat bunch of nice, fat asparagus and prepare those instead. I'm still at the exclusively steamed-with-butter phase of my seasonal gorging, but in a couple weeks I'll start to diverge. Here are some recipes, some recently moved here from farflung earlier postings.
Asparagus with Brown Butter
Asparagus with Pink-Grapefruit Sauce
Asparagus Bread Pudding
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
Brown Rice Salad with Asparagus, Feta, and Lemon
Asparagus with Savory Lemon Jam
Edited to add: Asparagus with Delicious Dip
Happy spring, my darlings. xo