Friday, July 3, 2009

Utagawa Hiroshige and the hanging foragers

Last weekend's adventure was babysitting, in order of increasing age, Callie, Sam, Jaime, and Bella. We had lots of fun and burned lots of calories. I tried out my idea of teaching kids foraging by letting them come up with their own names for plants. Sheep sorrel got renamed sour fish. It's sour, and tastes like a fish. This is a much better name than sheep sorrel. I just want to make the foraging literature even more confusing (like, if every plant had as many English names as the Shad bush does).

We came across some Indian Cucumbers on our West Hanover hike. This is a great hike a mile from their house, and so far I've gotten them on it twice, even though both times, around 2/3 in, the complaints start; are we almost done,... all that. They love it though.

Not sure if I should have, but I've started bella on her own blog. Her entries are short and simple, I could learn from that. Check it out:

The main thanks goes to Corina and my mother: they did all the hard work, including one unmentionable task early on, thanks to Sam+fruit. Hated to tell him the next day "no fruit" - who wants to say that to anyone (well, except if you are starting your own locavore movement and you are in New England in January), but, it was prudent. Enough said.

The rock tripe that sarah and I found on top of Red Mountain was delicious. In a strange mixing of worlds and art and foraging, I stumbled across (ok, there was some hunting) a beautiful Japanese print of people foraging for rock tripe, with a serious rigging. I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. It's by the same guy who did the big one in Sarah's dining room that I'm always gawking over. I prepared the tripe by boiling it for about 20 minutes, after a 2 hour soak in two water changes with some baking soda -- rock tripe eats rocks so you have to tame the acids. Then I added it to pasta with garlic and local asparagus.

Thanks to Kingsolver's book, I feel guilty buying avocados now since they are not local. Soon, I'll be eating only lambs quarters and wood sorrel, two weeds outside my door.

Foraging news:
* Brought some juneberries into chef Barry at The Hungry Mother the other day. he ate 'em right up, no questions asked, and then asked for them to use in a dessert that night. Then I told him on email that milkweed will be offering a crunchy edible part soon, and he is game to try it. Will try to get some recipes for the book with this collaboration. Chef Barry was voted one of the top 10 new chefs in America by Food and Wine.
* Lamb's quarters a current favorite, lady's thumb ok. Both out lots now. With all the rain we've had, mushrooms are out too. I don't really know what I'm seeing though. I grabbed what I hoped was a boletus bicolor the other day, but back at the office for an ID, I discovered it probably was not, it wasn't red enough.

* Cattail has been a challenge for me - for all the hype it gets in foraging books, I haven't really loved it yet. But I'm coming around. The young familiar cattail spike part is good like mini-corn-on-the-cob. Here I shaved it off after boiling for a few, and used it as a pizza topping along with sour fish, daisy leaves, and a tiny bit of early purslane.

* My oatmeal these days involves juneberries and knotweed compote. (I realize when you start a sentence with "My oatmeal these days.." people might fall asleep.)

Yoga at the gallery stands to pick up. Four new teachers coming soon, stay tuned. Also, the gallery now has it's own blog, The Scene, thanks to Intern Melissa.

More pics from the babysitting, recent foraging.

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