20 Savory Reasons I Love Foraging My Ingredients From The Wild

I love connecting to my landscape through foraging (identifying and sustainably harvesting wild plants to use in my recipes). Here are some of my favorite savory creations utilizing my finds. You can see lots more (and find many of the recipes!) at my website.

My passion in life is sharing the wonder with others, whether that's posting my recipes, writing about the legends and lore that inspires them, or throwing parties for total strangers (who stumble upon invitations hidden in public places). I like to create experiences that could have wandered off the pages of a fairytale, set in the ever-inspiring Pacific Northwest. If you live in this region, keep your eyes peeled - you never know where I might pop up next!

You can follow my adventures on social media if you'd like!

* A note on foraging: it is very important to be 100% sure of the identification of any wild foods and to try a little at a time to make sure you don't have a poor reaction to them. Local guidebooks or in-person classes are a wonderful resource to get to know the plants that surround you. Always make sure you have permission to harvest and are doing so in a sustainable way (I never take more than 1/4 of anything, usually far less). Be aware of areas that may have been polluted or sprayed. Show respect for the environment when you gather from it!

More info: thewondersmith.com | Facebook | Instagram | patreon.com

#1 Wild Mushroom Savory Buche De Noel

Usually this cake in the shape of a log eaten at Yule is sweet and flavored with chocolate, but I decided to make a savory version instead! The filling is wild mushrooms (like morels and chanterelles) paired with wine, shallots, and goat cheese. Buckwheat cracker bark, a dusting of minced herbs, and edible mushrooms finish the presentation for a hearty winter appetizer or lunch.

#2 Nasturtium Dragon Scale Bread

Nasturtium leaves and flowers have a refreshing peppery flavor and slightly tart aftertaste, which mellows into a fantastic pesto after baking. I've made a tomato and paprika dough and filled it with that pesto for a bread that is as zesty as it is pretty.

#3 Mussels Cooked Under Pine Needles

The classic French dish "Eclade des Moules" translates wonderfully to the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you can gather everything you need for this fantastic meal along many areas of the coast here! (As long as you have a shellfish permit and observe local laws and safety directions). Freshly foraged mussels are arranged hinge-up on a wooden board, then topped with dry Ponderosa pine needles. The whole pile is set alight, just long enough to cook and steam the mussels and infuse them with a rich smoky pine flavor without drying them out. All you need to round out the meal is some good butter, bread, and wine.

#4 Green Man Picnic Pie

Based on a mythical being that pops up in folklore all over the world, this vegetarian pie is filled with a cheesy and colorful filling and colored naturally with powdered nettles!

#5 Vegan Pine Nut Cheese With Root Roses

Pine nuts lend a hearty creaminess to a soft vegan cheese. To make the presentation extra special, I formed roses out of root vegetable chips and a dusting of various spices.

#6 Purple Salad Rolls With Sumac

These vibrant salad rolls are filled with purple veggies, from roasted purple sweet potatoes to opal basil. Sumac is the secret ingredient in the sauce, giving it a pleasant tang.

#7 Seaweed And Salt - Cured Egg Yolks

These golden treasures are a concentration of rich umami, thanks to a brine made of sea salt, sugar, and seaweed. They can be grated on top of pastas and salads or sliced and eaten like a fine cheese.

#8 Springtime Salads With Wild Greens

Spring woods offer a wild proliferation of salad ingredients, from tender young greens like dandelion, miner's lettuce, chickweed, and cress to morel mushrooms, wild violets, and more!

#9 Dandelion And Walnut Sunwheel Pasta

This beautiful pasta gets its golden hue from dandelion petals, which taste wonderful with rich walnuts and a buttery sauce.

#10 Purslane Gazpacho In Flower Ice Bowls

Purslane is widely considered a weed, even though it is a wonderfully delicious and nutritious green that grows in some of the worst conditions! You can often find it in cracks in the sidewalk, vacant lots, or dried out trailbeds. (Though be sure to only harvest from a clean location, as tempting as it may be to pick it wherever you find it.) It's the perfect base for two cooling summertime chilled soups, served in bowls made of ice and wildflowers.

#11 Summertime Sun Salad

Pine nuts, calendula, and citrus give a flavorful boost to a salad made of golden beets and summer squash. I love bringing this dish to parties and potlucks since it's so cheerful.

#12 Nettle Quiche

Many people who have experienced the sting (and rash) of stinging nettles don't realize that the plants are actually quite nutritious and tasty once they've been cooked. Cooking deactivates the painful spines. Nettles have a rich, earthy flavor - unlike any other green. They are particularly tasty when folded into a tender quiche with other summer veggies. It's a brunch favorite of mine!

#13 Sunchoke And Game Shepherdess Pie

This is my dressed-up take on the classic comfort food "Shepherd's Pie" which is usually lamb or beef topped with mashed potatoes. My recipe makes use of wild game (either venison or buffalo) and roots like sunchokes and burdock. A mashed purple sweet potato topping makes for a gorgeous presentation of a hearty fall meal.

#14 Thyme And Pumpkin Fondue

Spicy thyme is a plant often associated with fairies and other worlds, and it's no wonder why - it certainly has cast a spell on me! It's particularly lovely when paired with a creamy cheese fondue and served in mini pumpkins. The sweetness of roast pumpkins tastes wonderful with the filling!

#15 Vegetarian Mushroom And Wild Rice Pumpkin

I wanted to make a beautiful vegetarian centerpiece for fall feasts, so I turned to the experts on local foods: the Native American tribes that have cultivated and harvested them for centuries. The stuffing for this pumpkin is based on several traditional recipes, featuring wild rice, wild mushrooms, and lots of fragrant herbs.

#16 Pomander And Wild Ginger Game Hens

These Asian-inspired game hens are flavored with wild ginger, which has a more floral and citrusy flavor than the ginger root most of us are used to. I stuffed each bird with a mini pomander (citrus studded with cloves) for extra fragrance and flavor, and because pomanders come with centuries of lore and mystery.

#17 Coastal Congee

My ultimate fall/winter comfort food is this chicken and rice porridge cooked slowly in a crock pot. I added wild mushrooms and seaweed to mine for extra umami flavor and topped it with mushrooms, cilantro, avocado, seaweed, green onions, lime, and a sprinkle of sesame. Delicious!

#18 Curly Dock Conversation Rolls

Curly Dock is a widespread weed, growing all over the region in grasslands and new developments. Its rust-colored seeds make a hearty flour similar in flavor and texture to buckwheat. I wanted to spice up the conversation at my dinner table, so I baked hearty gluten-free rolls with thought-provoking questions baked inside. It was so fun to see my guests hurry to unearth their questions and we all got to know each other so much better over the course of the evening.

#19 Lomatium-Baked Steelhead In Salt

Salmon and Steelhead are one of the nutritious and beautiful riches of this region, and I like to present them whole for special occasions. Baking them in a sea salt and egg white crust keeps them moist and tender. I filled mine with lomatium (a wild herb similar in flavor to parsley) and fir needles. It tasted rich and succulent, full of the flavors of the forests and meadows these fish swim through to spawn.

#20 Snow White Crepe With Smoked Trout

In the winter, I love to ice fish on still lakes covered in snow. Fresh smoked lake trout is wonderful in these perfectly white crepes with crisp winter veggies and homemade mayonnaise dressing. Even better - the crepes are made from only two ingredients and are gluten-free and vegan!


Tired since Jun 2018

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