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!

FOREST-TO-PLATE DINNER
Tuesday, May 13th, 6:00
Orlando's at SCC

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

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.

FOREST-TO-PLATE DINNER
Tuesday, May 13th, 6:00
Orlando's at SCC

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

SNEAK PEEK AT THE MENU!!!

  • 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

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

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.





Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Favorite Mushroom Movie

Below is a link where you can view the documentary entitled Know Your Mushrooms. This movie is a must-view for all wild mushroom enthusiasts. I like to watch it every Spring as a source of inspiration for the upcoming season. It's a great documentary that focuses on mushroom culture, mushroom gypsies, and a morel gold mine that you probably don't know about.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Morels of 2014--The Season has begun!

Grey morels from outside the Atlanta area. Georgia and Tennessee are known to produce the first morels of the season. It will still be at least another month before we have morels in the Inland Northwest. Southern Oregon/Northern California spots should begin fruiting anytime now as well.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

FRESH WILD GREENS: Coming Soon to a Yard Near You!

As winter continues to drag on into late February, rest assured that RELIEF IS COMING! Granted it will be coming in the form of "intrusive" garden weeds, but take note: some of these "weeds" are among the MOST HEALTHY items growing anywhere, including your own veggie beds. Here's just one of these powerful wild herbs.


CHICKWEED
 
Chickweed grows in a sprawling, matted fashion. It has a weak stem and each side of the stem is graced by a single line of hairs. These hairs rotate 90 degrees each time that the hairs meet a pair of leaves along the stem. The delicate white flower at the top is also unique. The plant can grow in almost any well-drained soil area, including: roadside, in grass yards, veggie and flower beds, and vacant lots. The plant is all edible and the taste resembles a cross between spinach and kale. One of the greatest health benefits of this weed is blood purification, to improve kidney and liver health. The plant is also used topically to treat a number of common skin irritations, like rashes and eczema. 

Here is a picture of a small amount of chickweed that I harvested out of my veggie beds last year on March 20th. Eat the plant raw, use it as the sole ingredient in a small salad, or add it to your regular green salad for a wild boost. Or, try making an invigorating Chickweed Pesto.