Monday, April 9, 2012

Stinging Nettles

Easter Sunday brought me out to the burbs to visit Jay and Jodi and the kids, and then down to the Cape to visit with my mom for a couple days. I took my usual walk around the block on arrival -- she lives on a little peninsula of land adjacent to Waquoit bay (which should be famous for its mussels), full of mushrooms in the fall and a good variety of weeds the rest of the year. Towards the end of the loop I spotted a nice nettles patch -- by eye and by smell -- so I went back to the house for my nettle gloves and another plastic bag. I decided to pay a parking ticket on the walk back to the patch, which was voice activated and kept getting interrupted by this barking dog named Bruin. It took far longer to pay the ticket with him yapping in the background then it would have if I'd just mailed the check in.

Anyhow, my mother likes to show me the latest from this pacific northwest blog called fat of the land, and there they had a recipe for nettle soup. Of course, the "fat" in fat of the land was apparent in their recipe, heavy on chicken broth and heavy cream. We made our own version of it which came out good enough for me to post the recipe.

Creamy vegan nettle soup

In a large soup pot, sauté an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, and a chopped sweet potato in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. After 10 minutes or so, add a couple pints of either veggie broth or water or some combination. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste, and lightly boil for 10 minutes . Carefully dump in a plastic bag of fresh nettles. Then add one package of silken tofu. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, then blend the whole thing. We served ours topped with a basil leaf.

This is a spring or late fall recipe. In late spring and summer, nettles are too tall and tough for eating and should be gathered instead for drying for tea. The illustration below is a mid summer depiction of stinging nettle.

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