Friday, September 19, 2014

Cooking with Matsutake

I came across this website which has excellent ideas for cooking with matsutake mushrooms: matsutake chowder, roasted matsutakes, and matsutake tempura with ponzu sauce.

A couple more traditional Japanese dishes that you will enjoy.
It is no dream...
Matsutake are growing
on the belly of the mountain
--Haiku by Shigetaka

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Fruit

Here is a great piece from the New York Times regarding urban foraging and "trespassing" on vacant lots to harvest tree fruit, berries, and wild edibles. It is my hope and dream that we can use our food resources for the collective good of society and not let them rot and go to waste. I pray that law enforcement and other positions of authority will see it the same way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cure for the Common Cold, Part One: Elderberries

Cooler temperatures are on the way and soon we will be entering the cold and flu season, As sad as this reality may be, there are a couple of wild plants that have been shown to fight flu and cold-like symptoms. The first of these is the elderberry. Elderberries contain large amounts of Vitamin A, B, antioxidants, and have more Vitamin C than oranges. WebMD reports:
"Studies have found that elderberry eases flu symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, cough, and body ache. The benefits seem to be greatest when started within 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin. One study found that elderberry could cut the duration of flu symptoms by more than 50%."

Elderberry trees and bushes can be found growing wild along country roadsides, forest edges, and abandoned fields. Elderberries are easy to identify and usually fairly easy to harvest a lot of fruit. 

Elderberry produces large, beautiful blossoms that also have many uses, including tea, wine, champagne, and can be used in cooking.
Elderberries do not ripen all at once. Here is an example of blossoms next-to green elderberries next-to almost ripe greyish-purple berries.
Fully ripe, ready to harvest elderberries. Here's a tip: Wait to harvest until after the first frost. This will bring out the natural sugars in the berry and result in an even better tasting final product.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Foraging in North Idaho

Check out pages 18-19 for my latest contribution to North Idaho Wellness Magazine. I was asked to write a short, 400 word, "how-to" or quick introduction to foraging in north Idaho. I was also asked to highlight restaurants in the area that feature foraged goods. This is what I came up with.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Spring FOREST-to-PLATE Event

Join us for an evening of culinary delight! Our second annual FOREST-to-PLATE dinner is Tuesday, May13th at 6:00. This is an exquisite, five-course gourmet meal featuring the finest wild ingredients and wild game from across the region. Local wine pairings are also included, courtesy of Townshend Cellars located in Green Bluff, WA

The dinner is being held at Orlando's on the Spokane Community College Campus. A portion of each plate sold goes to benefit the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy, a non-profit organization hosting the event.

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, join us for the dinner and receive FREE admission to one of our upcoming forays. THE NEXT FORAY IS SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, MAY 18TH (subject to change.) On the foray we will be learning how to hunt for the wild mushrooms and edibles that were featured at the dinner!

Tuesday, May 13th, 6:00
Orlando's at SCC


Last year's dinner table. 
The truffle risotto was a huge hit. Made with fresh Washington Cascade truffles. It was to die for! If you've never enjoyed truffle mushrooms, it's a must-do "bucket list" item.
Last year's main course selections were venison in a morel sauce, and a wild caught trout filet served on fried polenta with a wild mushroom ragout. It was amazing!
A wild green salad tossed in watercress Vinaigrette.
For dessert we enjoyed huckleberry shortcake.

Tuesday, May 13th, 6:00
Orlando's at SCC



  • Local wild catch trout with stream watercress and fresh morels
  • Wild mushroom and truffle mushroom risotto
  • Huckleberry Pastry in a fennel pollen and blue spruce gastrique


NEW ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a FREE drawing at the dinner for a $50 gift card from Gourmet Foragables & More!!! The event is almost sold out, register today!

Friday, April 4, 2014

If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em: Dandelions

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" is a common mantra often expressed by many foragers. In the world of wild greens and edibles, nothing epitomizes this statement more than dandelions. It seems that all methods we have tried in order to eradicate the species have failed. In this regard, it is true that the dandelion maybe one of the world's most successful plants. Instead of spraying and weeding-out these flowers in an attempt to "beat 'em", here are some important reasons why a better approach is to "join 'em"

  • Dandelions are a green and growing first aid kit. For millennium, dandelion tonics have been used to help the body’s filter, the liver, remove toxins from the bloodstream. In olden times, dandelions were prescribed for every ailment from warts to the plague. To this day, herbalists hail the dandelion as the perfect plant medicine: It is a gentle diuretic that provides nutrients and helps the digestive system function at peak efficiency. 
  • Dandelions are more nutritious than most of the vegetables in your garden.  They have more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C than tomatoes, and are a powerhouse of iron, calcium and potassium.
  • Dandelions are good for your lawn. Their wide-spreading roots loosen hard-packed soil, aerate the earth and help reduce erosion. The deep taproot pulls nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil and makes them available to other plants. Dandelions actually fertilize the grass. 
  • Excessive use of harmful herbicides can have many unintended consequences. Millions of wild birds are killed annually by the use of common lawn herbicides. House pets and young children can also become sick from these harmful chemicals. 

In other words, if you can't beat 'em, join em. Here are some great ways to take advantage of the many benefits offered by dandelions.