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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Eat Curry, Be Happy.

When it’s 7 degrees like it was here in Montana today, I want something spicy to warm me up.  The answer to my craving for such things was a warm sweet potato spinach curry burger with a little dollop of chili garlic mayo (Vegenaise, of course) and some more fresh spinach, with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, all atop a crispy homemade corn tortilla.  That did the trick.  These curry burgers are laced with the warm flavors of smoked paprika, curry, and fresh ginger, and have a slight sweetness from the sweet potatoes, and a little tangy from the sun dried tomatoes.  Not only will these curry burgers warm you up on a chilly winter day, they also give your body a health dose of protein from lentils, quinoa, and brown rice flour, not to mention a slew of other vitamins and minerals.  Mmm.  P.S. You might want to cut this recipe in half, as it will make about 30 burgers!

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Sweet Potato Spinach Curry Burgers

Ingredients:

2 cups lentils

1/2 cup quinoa

1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped mushrooms

3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1/2 cup unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)

1 bunch of green onions

1 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 Tbsp curry powder

1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions:

1)  Cook lentils and quinoa.  Transfer to very large bowl or pot and set aside.

2)  In a large skillet, add a bit of oil, and cook sweet potato until little browned and slightly soft.  Transfer to bowl of lentil and quinoa mixture.

3)  Add onions, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes to skillet and cook over low-medium heat until onions are transparent.  Add to bowl of lentil mixture.

4)  Chop the two cups of spinach.  Add to bowl of lentil mixture.

5)  Add the remaining ingredients to lentil mixture, making sure to add the flour gradually as to avoid lumps.

6)  When all ingredients are well combined, form patties from 1/4 cup scoops of burger mix

7)  Add patties to a well-oiled skillet and cook until browned on both sides.

8)  Enjoy!