Spring has Stung!

Ahh…Springtime in the Northwest…Aside from asparagus and strawberries that will soon grace your plates, there are also treasures to find in the fields and forests during spring.  I’m talking about foraged delights such as morels and stinging nettles!  Stinging nettles are not only absolutely delectable, but they’re also chockfull of protein, vitamins A & C, potassium, calcium, manganese, and iron!  They taste similar to spinach for those of you poor souls who have not tried them (yet).  PLEASE wear gloves when harvesting and preparing them as they, as the name implies, sting.  Stinging nettles have little hollow barbs full of irritating chemicals that will give you a stinging burning sensation that will last for days.  (I speak from experience!)  Here is a recipe that celebrates the stinging nettle.  HAPPY SPRING!

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Stinging Nettle Fritters:  

Makes 6-8 small fritters

  • 1 1/2 cup of stinging nettles, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp – 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp lemon balm
  • 1/2 tsp lovage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Olive oil

1) In a small bowl, combine flax meal and water.  Set aside.

2)  In a medium sized bowl, mix nettles, herbs and spices, and salt.

3)  Add flax meal mixture.

4)  Mix in flour.

5)  In a skillet over medium with about 1/4″ of oil, (skillet is ready when small bit of batter bubbles when added to the hot oil) add fritters by heaping tablespoons and flatten with spatula, flipping until golden brown on each side.

6)  Cool on rack.

7)  Enjoy!

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The Seaweed’s Always Greener

For some strange reason, I began craving seafood when I became vegan, although I wasn’t really big on seafood in the first place.  (NO. It’s not because I’m vitamin and mineral deficient.)  I found seaweed quells my craving.  Down by the shore in Joisey, and I’m sure in a lot of other seaside places, “surf tacos” (fish tacos) are ubiquitous.  This is what I imagine a surf taco would taste like, without all that fish!  I know the ingredients are pretty non-seasonal, but the half-off damaged produce bin was bumpin’ at the co-op!

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Seaweed Sliders with Mango Lime Salsa:

(Makes about 10 sliders)

  • 1 12 oz package of tempeh
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, roasted
  • 1/2 cup of pistachio, finely chopped & roasted
  • 1/4 cup dulse
  • 2 Tbsp berbere (make your own here if you can’t find it, but use berbere peppers if possible)
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 2 Tbsp white miso
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind paste

1)  In a bowl, finely crumble the tempeh into small pieces (I used a potato masher).  Add water and flaxmeal until a wet mixture, that looks like something you could form burgers with, forms.

2)  Add remaining ingredients and mix very well (You don’t want any pockets of decidedly tangy or salty ingredients to remain!).

3)  Form into patties using a 1/4 cup of mixture in each patty.

4)  Place patties on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes, (flipping the sliders halfway through) in a 350 deg F oven, until each side is lightly browned.

Mango Salsa:

1 ataulfo mango, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 small Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 green onions, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp finely chopped onion

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

Juice of one lime

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Cilantro (optional), to taste

1) Chop all ingredients and combine in a small bowl.  Easy, breezy!

Truly Crunchy-Granola Type

Are you sick of spending $4 or $5 per pound of granola from your local bulk section?  Have you ever tried making your own?  It’s soo easy and you can fill it with whatever your heart (& your stomach) desires!  This granola is more like a template, so feel free to add or leave out whatever you’d like from this recipe.  This makes A LOT of granola, so you might want to make only half, but you’ll be set on breakfast for a while if you make it all at once.  Enjoy!

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Hemp Cherry Nut Granola:

  • 10 cup of oats
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 c. maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1-2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup tart cherries
  • 1/2 roughly chopped shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

1)  Mix maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, flax meal together in a small bowl set aside.

2)  In a large bowl, mix oats, salt, coconut, fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and orange zest in a small bowl.

3)  Add liquid mixture from the small bowl to the large bowl of dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.

3)  Bake in batches, spreading each batch out evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 25 minutes in a 300 deg F oven.

4)  Cool on baking sheet before transferring to containers.

5)  Enjoy and be thankful you won’t be ripped off by the granola in your local bulk section!

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Bananarama!

What happens when to Jersey gals get together on a Friday night and bake rather than go out to see the goings on of First Friday?  Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut cake!  I’ve had a lovely week of seeing a few friends amid my homework-, meeting-, interview-filled Spring “Break.”  One of the best things about seeing friends and cooking is getting out of whatever rut you’ve been in with your cooking as I did this week.  One friend showed me how to make a lime, tamari, ginger, garlic, olive oil, maple marinade.  We combined this with sweet potatoes, leeks, shallots, kale, and onions and threw it over some quinoa and ohh my goodness!  My friend Kim came over tonight and brought some ingredients and I used whatever I had. With our powers combined, we had tofu scramble, cabbage soup, sweet potato fries, and banana chocolate chip walnut cake!  I’m not sure how long it took to bake this cake as I sort of lost track, but I would say between 30-40 minutes will do.    Enjoy!

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Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake with Chocolate Icing

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 banana, mashed

3/4 cup oil

1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water

1 1/2 – 2 inch piece of vanilla bean, or 1-2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup coconut milk beverage

1/4 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips, depending on your preference

1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, depending on your preference

1)  In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.

2)  In a small bowl, add lemon juice and coconut milk beverage and mix until curdled.  Add  oil, brown sugar, vanilla bean (cut lengthwise and scrape out black grainy stuff into bowl) or vanilla extract, flax meal mixture, and mashed banana.  Mix until well-combined.

3)  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no lumps remain.

4)  Add to a greased and floured 9″ round cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (or until sharp knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean) in 350°F pre-heated oven.

Icing:

Not positive of ratios, but I think it was something like this:

1 1/2-2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 – 1 cup cocoa powder

3 Tbsp Earth Balance, softened

2 Tbsp coconut milk beverage – start with 2 Tbsp, add more if need be

1 tsp vanilla

I often forget to write things down when I make them, but I think this is about right.  I will correct this soon!