Cool Stuff – Wild Foods
“Elderflower Fritters”

I love eating wild foods which you can probably tell by now. Also, fried dough is delicious. So is amaretto. I had read about elderflower fritters in the process of making elderflower syrup and I just had to know more. Edible earthy tasting flowers, amaretto flavored batter, powdered sugar… let’s go! It begins with flour, lemon zest, 2 eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, almond milk, amaretto, and a whole bunch of elderflowers. […]

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“Homemade Elderflower Syrup”

The elderflowers are blooming. This is good on many levels. For one, flowers are just a prelude to berries. And berries are just a prelude to jelly. And elderflower jelly is something that my grandmother made as a child with her mother. I’m going to make some and bring it to Grandma Pellegrini. Now that the weather is warmer, Grandma P. can go outdoors. I paid her a visit and […]

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“Dandelion Wine”

I could show you this fully finished step-by-step recipe a few months from now, [scroll down, I’ve added the finished steps!] but what good would that be if you had to wait many months for dandelions to come back around? So instead, I’m going to give you the recipe and show you the step-by-step up to where I have it, so you can get picking in the fields and follow […]

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“Wild Garlic Soup”

Quick! Take to the front yard. Or the back yard if you prefer. It’s wild garlic season, and in another month it will be much too hard to pull up. They look vaguely like a bunch of chives, though decidedly more hearty. There’s something woody looking about them at the base. They will smell faintly like garlic if you get your nose very close. Pull them up, at least a […]

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“Morels in Marsala”

The morel is my favorite mushroom. I think it is its richness and wonderful hearty texture that I like so much. The morel forces you to really chew it. They have a honeycomb type construction. And hollow stems. I spent many an hour trimming the stems and cleaning off the hard bits in my restaurant days. But I’ll never forget those morel and Marsala stew smells wafting through the kitchen […]

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“Tuna Preserved in Oil”

In some parts of the country, the summer albacore run is in its prime. But even where tuna isn’t plentiful, this preserving technique is a must have. It falls somewhere between fresh and canned tuna, the Italians called it “conservata,” the old tradition of preserving protein in olive oil. It is usually imported from Spain or Italy and sells for as much as $50 a pound, which is especially unnecessary […]

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“Daylilies”

When I was a line cook at a restaurant in the Hudson Valley long ago, I used to pick daylilies right before dinner service. It was my favorite thing to do. Not because I’m a girl and I like picking flowers…but because it was an escape from the brutal kitchen. An excuse to leave and experience a few minutes of fresh air and quiet woods. I especially liked running out […]

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“Hot Smoked Trout & Pickled Onions”

When I was a child growing up in the Hudson Valley, I used to sit on a rock by the side of our creek, push a fat worm onto a hook, and catch my trout. Then I would fry it in a skillet and eat it for breakfast. It was a normal pattern in my eight year life that seemed as natural as breathing, or throwing skipping rocks. Then, as […]

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“Clam Chowder”

Also known as… “how to cook a clam.” Word on the street is that my clam digging pictures are freaking you out. I’m sorry to give you the heebie jeebies. But they taste good, I promise. Besides, don’t you want to know what to do if someone drops you on an island somewhere and tells you to fend for yourself? Here is what I did with the horseneck clams from my […]

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“Sweet Woodruff Wine”

I’m in New York this week, which was perhaps serendipitous since it’s May Day, and with it, came a lesson in sweet woodruff from Grandma Pellegrini. Sweet woodruff, is also known as Master of the Woods. It is a perennial, with small white flowers that bloom in May and June and star-like leaves in circles of six or eight. On May 1st, the Germans use Sweet Woodruff to make May […]

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