Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Week at Foraged and Found Edibles 7/31

wild fennel flowers

Foraged and Found will not be at the markets this weekend due to heat and lack of enough goods to spread the love around. Will be back soon. Enjoy the sun!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wild Weedy Purslane

Purslane is a edible weed found all over the world. It was known and used in ancient times in the Mediterranean and Middle east, though facts of its origins are still iffy- I have seen sources state origins as varied as western Asia, North Africa and even the Americas. I myself have seen this hearty green growing in Italy and Vietnam. Purslane is a classic ingredient in the Lebanese pita bread salad fattoush. In Mexico it is popular and known as verdolaga, where it is usually cooked instead of eaten raw.

I introduced purslane to my yard many years ago. Many people would question this as bad judgment. Though considered a prized cultivated green by some, it is a despised relentless weed to many others. It has taken a few years to establish itself in the weed community in my garden but this year it has definitely seeded its way to the top. One plant can produce hundreds of thousands of tiny black seeds!

I have always enjoyed purslane for its uniqueness among other everyday greens. Its beautiful succulent leaves are reminiscent of jade bushes and their slightly sour taste is a pleasant surprise. Its thick leaves stand up in vegetable salads with out wilting-- perfect when going to summer potlucks. I recently made this super simple salad for a BBQ with purlsane-- four different types of cucumbers(they grow intertwined with purslane in my garden), raw sea beans, scallions, dill, a tin of sardines and just a simple dressing of rice vinegar, lemon and olive oil.

A search on the web finds many cooks and health foodies praising this little known weed. The number one reason purslane stands out from the other greens in your fridge is its high content of omega 3 fatty acids, more than any other green vegetable. Some experts recommend eating this superfood instead of taking omega 3 supplements. Also can be used as a healing herb for such things as healing wounds and chronic cough.

If you haven't been introduced to purslane by your garden's weed community it can often be found at farmer's markets or Asian and Latino grocery stores. In Seattle, Local Roots and Alm Hill sell it at the farmer's markets this time of year. There are many varieties of purslane-- wild types are usually small leafed, cultivated have big leaves and longer stems. It is best to harvest before flowering and stems toughen.

with the soft bun, omega 3's, and mayonnaise
this sandwich is like a veggie version of a lobster roll

Heirloom Tomato, Mayo and Purslane Sandwich

Put this all together and enjoy a purely summer treat:

Bread of choice, toasted-
best on sliced sandwich style bread, though good on both wonder type bread and seedy hippy bread (or even a hamburger bun as I used in the picture)
Thick sliced heirloom tomato-
it's the beginning of tomato season around here but Billy's at the West Seattle and University markets has luscious heirlooms already
A thick slathering of mayonnaise
Sprigs of purslane
Salt and pepper
Optional- Few leaves basil or mint, pickled or raw sweet onions, or cucumber slices

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Week at Foraged and Found Edibles 6/24

I received a lovely email from a reader yesterday about finding wild trailing blackberries. Thought more people might be interested in her request....

Hello Christina,
I hope I'm not asking you to give away a trade secret but here goes. My husband and I are in our 60/70's, are natives of the PNW and have been spoiled to always have access to the wonderful trailing blackberries on property owned by the family. Every year it has been a ritual to go pick and freeze for my husbands favorite winter treat...blackberry pie. And I always make him a pie for his birthday in May. And no, using the big seed ridden things is not an option.

Last summer we were forced to sell the property and hence lost our happy berry hunting grounds. We live in South King County and just don't know where we might find a good patch. we would be happy to pick enough for even a couple of pies. I was searching the net for possible leads and ran across your blog and thought you might be able to help me out by suggesting an area to look.

Sincerely and hopeful, Nan Peterson

Hi Nan,
Wonderful to hear from someone who understands the greatness of these little berries. I can't give you specific spots but there are many areas these berries grow. The best places to look for them are clear cuts. They like to grow in disturbed areas and often take over slash piles in old clear cut areas. These are not the most picturesque places to pick them, but the most prolific. The best spots are west of I-5 in south west Washington. There are miles and miles roads in tree farms north and south of highway 12.

Another tip is these clear cuts also have other berries growing there this time of year, but not in as big of quantities- black cap rasberries, red huckleberries, and salal berries. Unfortunately, searching for new spots to pick any wild edible usually takes a lot of road time straining to look out the window for the perfect patch. But there is nothing like coming home with blue stained fingers, a sweet taste in your mouth, and a bucket of the best berries

If you are interested in just purchasing some berries Foraged and Found Edibles sells frozen trailing blackberries for a fair price. It is a great berry year so far so we should hopefully have a stock for a few months. We sell at farmer's markets in Seattle and do special orders for pick-up at the market or the warehouse. The best way to connect with the company and place an order is through the business email-

Good Luck, Christina

You can read more about trailing blackberries in my post from last week.

This weekend we will only be at the University District Market.

We will have sea beans and wild trailing blackberries.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This Week at Foraged and Found Edibles 6/17

Wild berries are here! We will have trailing blackberries and red huckleberries this weekend. Because of the hot weather this is going to be a great wild berry year.

Trailing blackberries(Rubus ursinus) are the only native wild blackberry in the northwest. They are also known as pacific dewberry and California or pacific blackberry. These special berries are small but have an intense flavor. Wonderful right off the bush but cooking does bring out their extra ordinary blackberry-ness. Blackberry lovers evangelize that these are the best ones for pies or jam.

When the sun hits red huckleberry bushes they look as if they have little round ruby gems sprouting from the branches. These bright red translucent tart berries are a nice contrast to other fruit in a compote or in a berry parfait. Or try in something savory like a green salad with shaved fennel and parmesan.

We will also have the ol' reliable sea bean this weekend too.

red huckleberry pic by

Grilled Zucchini with Red Huckleberries and Feta

This is easy and tastes even better than it sounds. Substitute red currants for huckleberries if you like.

Zucchini and other summer squashs- any shape, color and size
Olive oil
s + p
red huckleberries

Slice summer squashes 1/2 inch thick. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. If preparing in advance don't salt more than 15 or so minutes ahead of time or the squashes will leach out their water and be soggy. Grill until tender and browned. Place on a beautiful platter. Zest a lemon over the top, and sprinkle a little of the juice on too. Crumble feta and scatter about. Sprinkle on chopped mint and red huckleberries and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heaven and Earth

Sometimes it takes many reminders to appreciate what we have like our health, good friends, family. Other times one hits you in the face.

My Gramma passed away last week.
My mourning is wrapped up with new insight to really appreciate my friends and family, and take better care of my body so I can live to 88 too. The same day as my Gramma's funeral my sister Liz gave birth to her first baby. A bittersweet reminder of the beautiful comings and inevitable goings of existence on earth. The arresting truths that life is a breathe towards birth and heartbeat away from death are ringing in my ears.

One way we all appreciate life in the moment is through food, savoring flavors and the company you are with. With my Gramma's passing I have thought a lot about our family history and those traditions that included her, the constants in our lives together. I pulled out a family cookbook my sister Theresa made a few years ago, put together for my five siblings and I, filled with family recipe favorites from my grandparents and my parents. It flooded me with memories of holiday dinners and the dishes she regularly made to nourish and fill us with love. In her intro to the book Theresa states- "Growing up we were all affected by the foods we ate."

I have to share how important my Swiss grandmother Florence Knusel was to my love of food and entertaining.

She seemed to always pickling and canning something such as sweet dills, yellow cherries, or prune plum jam. Our family always had a healthy stock of jams and applesauce from her hard work. She was dutifully preserving the harvest my grandpa tilled, the boxes and boxes of prune plums from the dozens on their property, or gifts of produce from her country neighbors.

We all looked forward to the a ridiculous spread of snacks(see recipe below) she had waiting for us after the long drive from Seattle to the Knusel home in Scappoose, Oregon. It always included homemade pickles, tinned fish like smoked mussels and chex mix with hazelnuts. As we got older we were able to take advantage of the the full liquor cabinet ready for any mixed drink. She told me how, once upon a time, her and my grandpa, following an old bar book, stirred up a different mixed drink every day.

Lunch was usually a grand "supper"- Swiss macaroni (see recipe below)and broiled garlic studded steak, green beans cooked 'til soft (Swiss style, she hated crispy green beans), and always some sort of yummy dessert. Her enjoyment of sweet breads, "gristle", tripe, liver, and other such meat bits definitely rubbed off on me. She, and now I too, never let a bone go with out nibbling off the fatty chewy parts. For breakfast we often had rosti potatoes with sunny side up eggs or the best pancakes--she just used Bisquick mix but for some reason they were so good, she knew how to perfectly cook and infuse them with her love. Cooked fresh fruit in syrup always ended the breakfast meal. Sometimes it would be Swiss style berry brie-cooked fresh berries or cherries with a white sauce mixed in- like a cold creamy fruit soup.

In the last years, as she had a harder time walking, I would help her with the annual summer parties she loved to throw. There was the Swiss party of old friends and musicians that have known my family for decades. This always included festive music and singing and bratwurst. The other was the "Spanish speaking"(as my gramma said)- parishioners my uncles Frankie's churches he is a priest at. There was still bratwurst at these, in addition to piles of taquitos and salsa someone would inevitably bring.

The last time I saw Gramma I brought a container of corn chowder with seabeans and thyme to the hospital. It was still warm from the stove and after a hard meeting with her doctors about her state of health I gave her a cup. As far as I know it was the first non-hospital home-cooked food she had eaten in a long time, and it was full of salt which she was restricted from. At this point restrictions didn't matter though, and I sat next to her with my arm around her shoulders while she ate. She kept saying how good the soup was and wanted to know everything that was in it.
I said my good bye and I love yous, not knowing it was for the last time. The next afternoon she said good bye to this world for good. I feel happy to know she enjoyed her last meal, and I was able to give back to her a little of something like she gave me.

The following recipes are adapted from
Get To The Table Mable: The Choi Kids Family Recipes, by Theresa Choi

Himmel and Erde Hardaepfel

Means heaven and earth potatoes in Swiss German.

3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 apple, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 slices bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion
2 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine first four ingredients in a pot, cover with water and cook until tender. Meanwhile fry bacon slices until crisp. Remove from fat and add sliced onion and saute until light brown. Drain potato mixture, add vinegar and pepper, and mash coarsely. Transfer to serving dish and top with bacon, onions and nutmeg.
soft-cooked green beans with bacon and swiss macaroni

Gramma's Swiss Macaroni

This is a dish we ate hundreds of times at my Gramma's house. Gramma always used whatever mix of old cheese ends there was in the fridge, the more pungent the better. Because the cheese always changed, it tasted a little bit different every time. I always tried to get as many burnt onion bits possible on my serving.

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cup grated cheese- Swiss or whatever is in the fridge
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
Maggi seasoning to taste

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until very tender(almost overcooked). Drain and and while still hot layer macaroni in casserole pan with grated cheese until cheese is the last top layer.
Brown onion in butter until burnt on the edges. Add milk and Maggi, heat through and pour over macaroni. Serve immediately or hold in a warm oven until serving.

Variation: for Alper Macaroni- add cubed cooked potatoes while layering cheese and macaroni. Bake in a 350 F oven until browned. Serve with sliced cooked apples. YUM.
Gramma always browned the onions in this old enamel pan

Gramma's Appetizer Platter

Gramma always had snacks for us when we arrived at her house.
Put a selection of the following in serving trays with separate compartments:
black olives, ham and cream cheese rolls, homemade cuke or sweet onion pickles, tinned smoked fish or shellfish, cheese spread, celery or other veggies, creamy dip like clam or onion, salami, liverwurst, assortment of crackers and chips, bread or toast, and chex mix.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This Week at Foraged and Found Edibles 6/10

Another light week at the market- read my post from last week about the state of wild food affairs.

We will have SEA BEANS!!-
Really no apologies for just having sea beans- they are one of my favorite summer ingredients. Less mushrooms just means more reasons to use this interesting plant. Ah, reliable sea beans...we can always depend on you.

Dried Mushroom Sale too!
Stock up for the year on dried mushrooms-you cant get dried mushrooms any cheaper than this unless you pick them yourself!
$2 off any 2 packages
$5 of any 4 packages

Psst-If you get to the University District market early we might have small amounts of morels and chanterelles.

Because of the lack of fresh products we will not be at the WEST SEATTLE MARKET this weekend and through the month of July. We hope this is doesn't inconvenience anyone. Please come see us at the University District and Ballard Markets.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New addition to the market this weekend- CHANTERELLES

The first of the summer chanterelles are here!!!!!

The summer chanterelles grow on pacific coast under sitka spruce trees in the spray of the ocean.
They are bright orange, almost florescent. This time of year the fog helps bring them on; they tend to sprout in the drip line around the trees. Though more expensive then the fall crop, savor these special mushroom morsels for their firm flesh and small perfect appearance. These are a far cry from the big moist fall chanties. Serving idea- a warm salad of sauteed chanterelles tossed with purslane, sea beans, sweet young walla wallas, and a light mustard viniagrette.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Week at Foraged and Found Edibles 7/2

We have entered the lull between seasons- the spring crops are fading out and we eagerly await the summer ones to begin. Porcini are done with their flush for now, and trailing blackberries are ripening on the vines. Morels are waning in their summer show, though we might see a few more. And the delicate elder flowers are undergoing their transformation into healthy hearty berries. Summer chanterelles are right around the corner, waiting to saturate our cooking into the fall.

In the meantime, we have at the market this week:

SEA BEANS - Because of the lack of fresh mushrooms this is a perfect time to experiment with sea beans. Add to your Fourth of July potato salad for extra crunch and savoriness, or try in a tuna salad sandwich. Last week I made corn chowder and threw in some sea beans. Or put up some sea bean pickles using any recipe for green beans or asparagus.

Bulk wild mix for sale, and a $5 discount if buying any 4 packaged dried mushrooms.
Dried mushrooms are a wonderful item to stock in your pantry. Use in soups, stews, sauces
to add body and deep flavor.

Because of the lack of fresh products we will not be at the WEST SEATTLE MARKET this weekend and possibly through the month of July. We hope this is doesn't inconvenience anyone. Please come see us at the University District and Ballard Markets.