I spent this past weekend in Portland with Brittany- mostly drinking good things, taking silly pictures of ourselves, and geeking out over Michael Pollan, who we got to see speak on Saturday night! Once home yesterday I made a quick batch of amaranth cereal and spent most of my evening on the couch with chubby Luna. Pretty darn perfect. Also- what do you think of the new layout!? My good friend Ellie designed the header for me, and I am over the moon in love with it.
Hi loves! It's "Ask the Intern" week on Questionland- which means that there's a whole section of questions targeted just at me! I'm focusing on all things homemade and wild and would love it if any of my readers stopped on by to pester me. While Questionland is Seattle based- you definitely don't need to live in Seattle to use it. Come check out Wild and Homemade Q&A!
In an attempt to cut down even further on processed foods- I’ve been experimenting with making my own cereals. This recipe is hands-down my favorite, and while popping amaranth can be messy- it’s also freakishly fun. Amaranth is a grain similar to quinoa that is easiest to find in bulk bins at nicer grocery stores. I buy mine at the Town & Country Markets in Seattle.
8 tbsp amaranth
1/2 cup raw walnuts (or nut of choice)
1/2 cup dried fruit (my favorites are cranberries and candied ginger)
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
To pop the amaranth:
Heat a large pot (the higher the sides the better) over medium-high heat. Toss in two tablespoons of amaranth (any more at a time and you’ll burn most of it) and stir constantly until most of the grains are popped. It’s better to leave some grains un-popped rather than burning the rest. Dump popped amaranth into a medium sized bowl, and continue this process until all amaranth has been popped.
Unpopped vs. popped
Once all amaranth is popped- add nuts, dried fruit, salt, and maple syrup to your bowl and mix until combined. If you find your amaranth clumping with the syrup- just get in there with your hands and break things up. Cooking should be messy! Store in a glass jar or other sealed container, and serve just as you would with any other cereal. I’m happiest eating mine with milk.
I went trail running for the first time today at Discovery Park- this crazy amazing series of trails and beaches somehow located right smack in the middle of Seattle. My run was a nice and slow four miles- mostly slow because I kept stopping to take pictures and look at plants. It ended up being really great, and aside from an ankle full of nettles to show for myself- I found several nice little patches of fiddleheads! I've been lusting after this variety since I moved to Seattle. We used to pick them right outside our house on Douglas Island and saute them up in butter. The varieties found at the farmers markets here in Seattle just don't do it for me the same way.
As with any new or unfamiliar wild edibles- take lots of pictures of both the full plant still in the ground, as well as the portion that you intend to eat. Be sure to very positively identify it before eating. Many wild edibles (including fiddleheads) must be cooked thoroughly before eating. As they say when cleaning out your refrigerator- "when in doubt- throw it out!"
"An intimate guide to the food at our feet, Pacific Feast shares expert advice on how to identify the good eats, harvest responsibly, and create delicious meals." - Pacific Feast
Far more than just a field guide or collection of recipes- this book includes a section of full-color photographs, recipes from chefs including Christina Choi (!) and Tom Douglas, harvesting calendars and beautiful introductions to each species covering area history and the Authors personal experiences.
Recipes range from Sea Urchin Gazpacho to Maple Blossom Fritters to a Spotted Owl (Nettle Martini), and Jennifer perfectly explains how and where to harvest your goods. Her experiences have taken her from California to Alaska and British Columbia and she doesn't seem to overlook a single worthwhile edible.
Among the stack of books that makes up my current reading list- this is the only one that bounces around my living room and kitchen constantly. I find myself reading through recipes at random on an almost nightly basis. My copy was a gift from a dear friend- and I'm thrilled to be able to offer a copy to one of my dear readers! Read on for details!
There are four (!) ways for you to enter to win your very own copy:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite wild food is. If you don't have one- just tell me what's on your mind.
The contest will run for one week- ending April 13th at 9 PM Washington time. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted soon after. Please be sure to include a way to contact you in each of your entries. Good luck and happy foraging!
For the month of April- Brittany is donating 5% of all sales to the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad in Ketchikan, Alaska. In Brittany's words: "They are a volunteer-based organization in my hometown who provide search and rescue services, most recently for a friend who went out snowboarding and never came back. :o( They did the best they could and I'm happy to be donating to them this month because we need services like this in our community. Thank you for your support!"