Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hobo Burgers with Wild Greens!

My husband calls these, "Amazing!"
These burgers, while not pretty, have a fantastic flavor!  They are great for camping and cooking over a fire or on a grill.  The instructions are for the oven so they can be made anytime.  It's a versatile recipe because you can alter the ingredients to what you have on hand.  You can make your hamburgers home made or use a frozen patty which is what I did.  Any type of patty meat works.  Other wild greens can be substituted.  While dock is tart when fresh, after cooking you can not detect any tartness. The greens contribute the least flavor part of this recipe and are primarily used to add nutrition!

Hobo Burgers with Wild Greens


8 hamburgers, frozen or fresh
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 8 oz carton of sliced fresh mushrooms
24 baby carrots sliced lengthwise into fourths (like matchsticks)
1 large onion sliced thin
1 large handful of dock, center stem removed and chopped
1 handful of wood sorrel, chopped
1 handful of wild garlic/onion chives, chopped
8 tablespoons butter
garlic salt
spray non-stick oil
aluminum foil


Make 8 large sheets of aluminum foil doubled over.  Spray with non-stick spray.  Place 3-4 potato slices, 12 carrot sticks and some sliced onion. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
Place burger on top of vegetables.  Sprinkle with some dock, sorrel and chives.  Top with some mushrooms.  Add a tablespoon of butter to top.  Sprinkle again with garlic salt.

Seal the aluminum foil at the top.  Repeat until all eight are finished.
Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

Serve with ketchup!

Optional:  You can use a tablespoon of cream of something soup in each one for a creamier effect.  You can also use frozen mixed vegetables as an alternative.  For a different flavor, add Worcestershire sauce.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Garlic Mustard Pesto Pasta

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata in the Brassicaceae family, is loved by foragers and hated by environmentalists.  It is considered an egregious invasive weed.  Thus, the best way to deal with this plant in honor of both groups is to just eat it!

It is super good for you as it contains vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins. It also contains calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and copper.  It is a heart shaped thin delicate leaf with a flavor of mild mustard and a hint of garlic.  The flowers are white with four petals shaped like a cross.  If you try to dry the leaves, they become nearly transparently thin.  The best way to enjoy the plant is fresh.  Just a warning, it wilts quickly. The older it gets, the more bitter it becomes.  It is also more bitter under dry environment conditions.  It likes to grow in shady edges of woods.
vitamins A, C, E and some of the B vitamins. In addition this wild weed contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron and manganese as well as omega-3 fatty acids. - See more at:
vitamins A, C, E and some of the B vitamins. In addition this wild weed contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron and manganese as well as omega-3 fatty acids. - See more at:

Garlic Mustard Pesto Pasta


Garlic mustard season is now!
1 box of your favorite pasta
4 cups garlic mustard leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Add ingredients into food processor as listed and pulse until finely chopped.  Mixture will be stiff until olive oil is added, and then it will smooth out.

Meanwhile, boil pasta and drain.

Mix pesto into pasta a little at a time until desired consistency.  Freeze any remaining pesto for other use.  Top with additional Parmesan and serve!

Tons of garlic mustard!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crustless Ham and Spring Greens Quiche

One of the great things about quiche (egg bake for the manly) is that you can put just about anything in it.  Having an abundance of wild spring greens makes an easy quiche. We gave up on the crust for quiche a long time ago for two reasons, the unneeded extra carbs and never having crusts readily available when we needed them.  Eggs are easy, crusts are not!  Once I discovered that if you put some cheese at the bottom of the pan it makes its own crust, that was the end of store bought crusts.  This is particularly good served with green Tabasco sauce!

Crustless Ham and Spring Greens Quiche


8 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 cups cheese (8 oz)
package of diced ham (or pint of canned ham drained)
1/2 onion diced fine
1 cup of chopped spring greens (sorrel, dock, garlic chives, dandelion greens, etc.)
Herbs of choice for seasoning (I used dehydrated ground ivy)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease pie plate.  Add 1/3 of the cheese to the bottom.  Layer ham, onion and greens.

In a separate bowl, mix milk and eggs.  Pour over pie ingredients. 
Top with remaining cheese.  Sprinkle with herbs.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Turkey Dock Meatballs! Yummm!

These are fantastic!  They are different, and while you may hesitate to add the glaze as written, please do.  It is what makes it.  You will not be disappointed!  This recipe can be halved.  This feeds a family of five with leftovers which disappear quickly.

Turkey Dock Meatballs



2 cups finely chopped fresh curly dock

1 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

4 pounds ground turkey
4 eggs
1 grated onion
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons dry mustard


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, rinse and dry dock; chop fine using a food processor.  

Remove hard stems and add one leaf at a time for best chopping.  

Mix with ground turkey, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, onion, salt, pepper and sage. Form into large meatballs and place in greased pans (makes 26-30). 

Combine remaining glaze ingredients and mix well.  Dot glaze on each meatball.  Once evenly divided, use a spoon to spread over the meatballs.  

Bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot!

Canning Poke!

Last year I made Fried Poke for the first time myself.  I had it as a child at my grandmother's table but had never tried making it myself.  It was fantastic.  I could see why people went through the trouble of cooking this dubious plant.  If not cooked correctly, it has a rather cleaning effect of your digestion system.  While a little cleaning is nice, too much is well, too much. 

Poke can often be found growing in last year's stalks.
Poke has a long history with pioneers and saved many from starvation as it is one of the earliest vegetables to grow in the spring.  It also had medicinal qualities and is being researched for its cancer fighting effects.  I have found numerous references to its ability to fight rheumatism and arthritis.  There was once a small town doctor who said that if his customers ate a mess of Poke in the spring, he would treat them for free the rest of the year since Poke was, in his opinion, a preventative measure of illness.  One half cup of Poke will provide 35 calories, no cholesterol, dietary fiber 3g, and 90% of Vitamin A, 60% of Vitamin C, 8% calcium and 6% iron based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Needless to say, it is now on my list of things I like to eat.  After enjoying it last year, I wanted a way to preserve some for the rest of the year.  So much like other greens, I canned it.  Really the only difference in canning Poke in comparison to other leafy greens is that you need to boil the Poke twice before canning. Be sure and pick a lot of it as it shrinks down.  See my previous post on choosing the best Poke to pick.  Spring is the best time to pick it as it is small and tender.

Canning Poke


large bunch of Poke Greens (think enough to fill a small laundry basket at least)
pint size jars
2 large pots


Fill two large pots with water and set to boil.

Wash Poke greens thoroughly.  Remove stalks and chop into one inch strips.  Once all chopped, put into first boiling pot.  Boil for seven minutes.  Using a spoon with straining holes, move greens to second boiling pot.  Once all moved, boil for five minutes.  Strain greens and rinse with hot water.

Prepare jars.  Because they will be going into a pressure canner, they need to be clean but do not need to be sterilized.  Add greens to jars.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar.  Add hot water to 1 inch head space.  Using a knife along the inside of the jar, remove any air bubbles.  Add additional water if necessary.

Wipe rim of jars with a paper towel dampened with water and vinegar.  Add lids and rings.  Pressure can for 45 minutes at 10 lbs pressure.

To prepare greens, fry bacon and onion, and then drain liquid from jar and add.

What should you do with the leftover stalks?  Here is an old time recipe for those as well!

Pickled Poke Stalks


tender Poke stalks
2 cups vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 t salt
2 sticks cinnamon
several whole cloves


Boil Poke stalks to remove skin.  Pack into jars.

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Bring to a boil.  Pour over stalks.

Seal with lids.  Water bath 15 minutes.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Canned Pickled Field Pennycress Seed Pods and Flower Tips

Imagine my surprise when I visited one of my favorite foraging spots and discovered it covered in field pennycress which was blooming with still green seed pods.  What to do, what to do?  The seed pods are still immature, green and have a nice fresh mustard flavor.  In their present state they are a great addition to a salad.  When these are mature the seeds can
be used to season sausage or make mustard.  Unlike other mustards, these seed pods are small and round instead of long and thin. They are easy to pick.  You just run your closed hand along the stem and they come right off.  You do not even have to cut the plant. So I picked about a gallon size baggie of them.  It took about thirty minutes at most.  The field was so full I could have picked ten bags and hardly put a dent in them!

To compliment the tart mustard flavor, I chose a sweet pickle brine.  It came out quite nicely, and I would do it just the same the next time.

Canned Pickled Field Pennycress Seed Pods and Flower Tips


1 gallon bag of field pennycress seed pods and flower tips
5 cups white vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons salt
5 teaspoons celery seed
4 teaspoons mustard seed
12 half pint jars and lids


Prepare jars and lids.  Rinse field pennycress.  Add to jars, pushing down.

In a large saucepan, add vinegar, sugar, salt and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Ladle over field pennycress.  You may have to push the seed pods down as they rise.  Leave a half inch head space.  Wipe lip of jar with a paper towel and a little vinegar.  Seal with lid and band.
Waterbath at a rolling boil for 15 minutes.
Allow to age at least a week before trying. Great served with cream cheese on a bagel.

A gazillion pennycress plants...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Goosegrass (Cleavers) Soup Recipe from Britain

Cleavers, Galium aparine, are not exactly what you would immediately think of as good food.  The leaves are thin and sticky.  However, they do grow in abundance right now and are edible.  When you find a patch, it would take you less than five minutes to pick enough for this recipe.  They are particularly good for the lymphatic system as they are an anti-inflammatory and diuretic.  They are also supposed to be good for arthritis. 

When you cut them, the best description of the scent that I can use is that they smell green and fruity at the same time.  Though they are edible, they do have a texture issue which is why this recipe is excellent for their use.  I was hesitant at first to try it, but I would definitely make it again.  It is very tasty, though the color leaves something to be desired!

Goosegrass (Cleavers) Soup Recipe from Britain

  • 3 handfuls goosegrass (cleavers) leaves and young tip, chopped
  • 2 handfuls mixed wild greens (eg ground elder, ribwort plantain, dandelion, garlic mustard, comfrey, deadnettle (any of henbit deadnettle, white deadnettle and red deadnettle [or a mix] will work), clover, oxeye daisy greens, chopped
  • wild greens for seasoning (eg ground ivy, wild garlic, lady's smock, pepper dulse, Large Bittercress), chopped
  • herbs for seasoning (eg thyme, lovage, marjoram, lemon balm, mint, dill, parsley, chives, yarrow), chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • crème fraîche

Wash all the wild greens and herbs then chop coarsely. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and fry for about 4 minutes, or until tender but not colored. Scatter the flour over the top and stir to combine and form a smooth roux. Whisk in the vegetable stock until the soup base is smooth.

Add the wild greens and herbs then bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into a blender. Liquidize until smooth then return to the pan. Season with pepper, to taste and allow to heat through. Ladle into warmed soup bowls, garnish with a tablespoon of crème fraîche and serve.

Spring Salad with Wild Edibles!

I love spring!  So many great edibles are blooming.  Do you know how much this salad would cost in a restaurant?  And everything was free!  You just need to be able to recognize what is around you.

Spring Salad


Wild mustard leaves and flowers
Wild violet leaves and flowers
Field pennycress seed pods
Dandelion leaves
Curly dock leaves
Wild garlic chives


Wash. Dice when necessary.  Layer attractively.  Add dressing.  Eat!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Creeping Charlie Butternut Squash

Creeping Charlie, also known as Ground Ivy, is a strong spring herb in the mint family as well as a common weed. It goes well with a bland canvas like butternut squash.  Since butternuts are good savers and can last without degradation in a cool dark place from fall until spring, the two foods can meet, even if there were no grocery stores.  You might wonder, what does it taste like?  Imagine adding rosemary and sage to squash and you have the answer.

Creeping Charlie Butternut Squash


1 butternut squash, skinned, seeds removed and cubed
2 T olive oil
2 T diced fresh Creeping Charlie (ground ivy)
1/2 t salt


Preheat oven to 400. Spread the cubed squash out onto the sheet pan in a single layer. Toss the squash with oil, herb and salt.

Roast until the squash is tender, but not squishy, for about 30-35 minutes. Toss after 15 minutes in the oven so more sides have a chance to crisp.  The more caramelized, the better in my opinion.

After cooking

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wild Garlic Chives and Ground Ivy Drop Biscuits

These two wild herbs go really well together.  Wild garlic chives taste like the onion chives that you get at the store only a bit stronger.  Ground ivy (a.k.a. Creeping Charlie), which is in the mint family, tastes like a cross between sage and rosemary.  Currently you will find them blooming with pretty purple/blue flowers. You can eat the flowers, too.  My husband actually prefers this herb over rosemary.  The biscuits are really easy to make and have a gourmet appeal with the attractive greens interspersed.  They are tender on the inside and crusty on the outside.  They are great with soups and stews!

Wild Garlic Chives and Ground Ivy Drop Biscuits


1/4 cup chopped garlic chives
3 T chopped ground ivy leaves and flowers
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease baking sheet. Cut greens.

Mix greens and dry ingredients together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together.

Add wet to dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Run a spring release ice cream scoop under hot water for half a minute.  Shake off extra water.  Scoop dough into the ice cream scoop and release on baking sheet.  Repeat until all the dough is used.  It should make 8 - 9 large biscuits.

Bake 14 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with soup or stew.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Banana Clover Bread

This is a great, moist banana bread!  The clover flour gives it a touch more bran-like flavor but it is pleasant and not harsh like I would consider a bran muffin.  It adds more vitamins and reduces the amount of regular flour used.  This is a wonderful recipe to bake when your grocery store sells their over ripe bananas on the sale rack!

Banana Clover Bread


6 over ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup clover flour
1 1/2 t salt
2 t baking soda
sugar for topping (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease two loaf pans.

Mash bananas and add wet ingredients.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, except sugar for topping. Add dry mixture to wet and mix until blended.

Pour equally into two loaf pans.  Sprinkle the top with sugar to make a sweet crunchy crust if you prefer.

Bake for one hour or until it is done when tested with a fork.

The loaves can be frozen for future use.