"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -H.D. Thoreau

Why eat from the wild? The answer is obvious to anyone who has felt the emotional uplift from the weight of a basket brimming with morel mushrooms, the earthy-sweet scent of digging Sassafras roots, or the heavy pulsing of a fish testing the limits of your fly rod.
There are a million reasons to eat wild, to get dirty, to taste fresh food. It is here where we connect to the Earth, our Ancestral past, immediate present and hope for a healthy future...

"Nothing else can build such awareness as surely and powerfully as practicing the ancient ecological art of humankind - foraging. It is not observation of, but rather participation in the phenomena of Nature that brings us to our greatest understanding of our place in the mosaic of life."
-Samuel Thayer The Forager's Harvest

Foraging in the Tip of the Mitten!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nettle-Mushroom Quiche

Love quiche? Then try this hearty wild-crafted version made with nettles, wild mushrooms, and whole-grain crust! Recipe adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.

Flaky Pie Crust 

  • 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup barley flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of cold butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3-4 rounded tablespoons cold water
Whole wheat pastry flour is a finely ground, soft variety of wheat that yields excellent results for cookies, cakes, and the like. Here we add barley flour to lighten the crust and create a flakier texture. This recipe will make enough dough to line a 9-inch pie shell with enough left over for lattice work. (I like to use the left-over dough to make mini-pies in muffin tins!)

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into small chunks and add to flour mixture, blend in with a pastry cutter. Stop when the butter is broken into pea-sized pieces and distributed evenly throughout the flour. Beat egg yolks briefly with a fork, dribble over flour mixture and blend some more. (Reserve egg whites for the quiche.) Pour cold water over the dough and blend until it just sticks together. You may need a little more water, but don't make it too wet. The butter should still be visible as pea- and seed-sized pieces. Turn dough onto wax paper, wrap up and squeeze together to form a ball. Refrigerate several hours. (You can also blend the dough in a food processor, but be careful not to over-process!)

Roll to 1/8 inch thick on a pastry cloth (or parchment paper or wax paper) with enough barley flour to prevent sticking. Press crust into greased pie shell and prick with fork. Place in a cool oven and turn on heat, which will help prevent excessive shrinkage. Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes for a partially baked crust.

The Quiche
  • 1 flaky pie crust, partially baked
  • 3 eggs plus 2 egg whites (leftover from crust)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup cheese (Salty cheeses like Parmesan, Sharp Cheddar, or Monterey Jack work well. In this picture I used home-made vinegar cheese.)
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, dried, and sliced (I used dryad's saddle mushrooms, but you can use anything- morels, oysters, shiitakes, portabellas... whatever you have on hand!)
  • 2 cups well-packed stinging nettle tops, washed and dried (be sure to use gloves or you'll end up with a sore hand!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
While the pie crust is baking, saute the onions, mushrooms, and nettle tops in olive oil until soft. Beat the eggs and egg whites with milk, seasonings, and half of the cheese. When the crust comes out of the oven, cover it with the onion-mushroom-nettle mixture. Pour the egg-cheese mixture over it. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting. Dig in and enjoy!

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