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Posts Tagged ‘sweet cicely’

Wild Spring Greens

Friday, April 27th, 2012

This is my favorite time of the year for gathering wild greens on the mainland. My wild salads were superb and I could gather all I needed for supporting my liver, blood, and excitement for new beginnings. It is a beautiful verdant time of the year with so many incredible foods to harvest.

It is a glorious time to be out in nature, and connect with her awakening from her winter rest. So many gifts she is offering right now for your health and enjoyment.
Here are a few wildcrafting tips my herbalist friend, Heidi Berkovitz and I put together for a Spring Wild Foods class in NC, and several recipes that include some of my favorite wild spring greens. They will support you to harvest consciously and inspire ways to enjoy the harvest.
Enjoy!!!

Wildcrafting Tips

  • Do not wildcraft from polluted areas
  • Do not harvest from chemically sprayed lawns or other contaminated areas (roadsides are debatable)
  • Positively ID plant before ingesting
  • Harvest only healthy plants
  • Wear gloves when appropriate
  • Make sure you have permission to harvest from the site you are on
  • Ask your friends and neighbors what weeds they want eradicated from their yard and garden, and go harvest till your hearts content!
  • Be conscious that you are taking from a living organism
  • Have respect for the plant and the surrounding environment
  • Ask permission
  • Leave an offering: Tobacco, strand of hair or a silent thank you
  • Make sure there are more of the same kind of plants around it.
  • Do not over harvest. Never clean out an entire patch.
  • When clipping small branches from trees always clip them just on the outside of the nodule, the same way you would prune a tree, so that it will grow more branches.
  • Pinch or cut off only a few selected leaves per plant, right at the nodules, so that more of the plant can continue to grow.
  • Leave an area as beautiful as, or better than, you found it.
  • Do not gather endangered plants. Visit United Plant Savers at www.unitedplantsavers.org
  • Get to know an area throughout the seasons. Watch those plants throughout the yearly cycle. Get to know them in every stage of their growth.
  • Take a class so someone local and knowledgeable can make your first introduction to the plant
  • Different parts of the plant offers different medicine and food at different times of the year.
  • Learn more about it with your field guide, getting familiar with it’s taste and appearance at different times of the year.
  • Some spring greens have a slightly sour taste in the spring, but turn more bitter as they get older. If you know that plant from your spring hike, and you know it is the same plant even though it has a different taste you can enjoy it with confidence and receive it’s benefits for that season.
  • Building a relationship with the plants in this way attunes you to them and makes it easy to wildcraft throughout the year.

Chickweed

Chickweed is great as an addition to green salads. Eat as much raw as possible this way combined with other spring greens such as young lamb’s quarters leaves, mint, arugula, wild chives, sweet cicely, cochani, violet leaves and flowers, field cress, young baby spinach, sheep sorrel. Lightly dressed with fresh lemon juice or light vinegar and good olive oil makes a very flavorful salad with a lot of life force energy. The younger the chickweed the more tender it will be, but it can be eaten even while flowering.

Wild Chickweed and Mint Pesto

Amounts are approximations, as it is according to personal taste.

Ingredients:
4 cups packed wild chickweed
1/4 cup wild mint
2 TBS chopped wild garlic
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Drizzle of water
Salt/white pepper to taste

Directions:
Gather chickweed that has not yet flowered. Cut with knife toward top of plants, so you get a nice clean top. Do not pull plant out by roots. Do the same with mint. Rinse in colander and spin dry in salad spinner.

Toast walnuts on sheet pan in 350 degree oven just until you can smell them. About 10 minutes.

Chop garlic. Shred parmesan. Place chickweed, mint and garlic in food processor and begin to process. Stop and add parmesan, walnuts, a little lemon juice, salt & pepper.

While processing drizzle in a little olive oil until it becomes blended. Do not over blend. Thin if needed with small amount of water. This should be done fairly quickly so as not to over process walnuts.

Chicory

Chicory and dandelion leaves are interchangeable in recipes. They have a similar bitter flavor that is excellent steamed, sautéed, or chopped and added to soups. Young chicory leaves, same as dandelion, are good raw in salads as well. Older leaves can be boiled first, discarding water.

This is a good recipe for older chicory leaves. This would also be good with wild mushrooms sauteed first with the garlic, then add blanched chicory leaves to the saute’.

Garlic Braised Chicory

Ingredients:
½ cup chopped wild garlic
4 cups chopped wild chicory leaves
½ cup vegetable broth
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Wash chicory. Cook in an 8-quart pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water), uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
Dry pot, then heat oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic stirring, until golden, about 1 minute.
Add chicory, stirring to coat. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Salt and white pepper to taste. Toss with a little olive oil.

Dandelion

Mediterranean Steamed Dandelion Leaves

Dandelion leaves can be substituted with chicory leaves, yellow dock leaves, lamb’s quarters, nettles, and wild mustard greens. This is a good general healthy way to prepare wild spring greens. If lemon is not available, a little apple cider vinegar is a good substitute.

Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
About 8 cups, roughly chopped dandelion leaves
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce, (low sodium tamari)
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
extra virgin olive oil to taste
salt and white pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a steamer with a tight fitting lid.
Roughly chop the greens.
Add dandelion greens to steamer basket and steam covered for about 3-5 minutes, until tender.
Slightly press out excess water from greens with the back of a spoon and toss with rest of ingredients.
Serves 4 as a side dish

Cooking Tip: Make sure you don’t over greens. They should still be bright green when done. Otherwise they turn a dull color, and aren’t as flavorful.

Curly Dock/Yellow Dock

Dock leaves can be tough and usually have a fair amount of oxalic acid as they age, so it is preferable to not eat them raw unless very young and tender. However, if you boil in salted water for a few minutes first, discard water, press dry, it can be cooked and used the same as the other wild green leaves such as dandelion, chicory, lamb’s quarters. It is best eaten in the early spring when the young leaves are tender. They have a slightly lemony flavor.

Poached Eggs Over Sautéed Greens

Ingredients:

4 organic free range chicken eggs
1 tsp light vinegar, (rice, apple cider, or white wine)
about 4 cups water
1 cup thinly sliced leeks, about 1 large leek, white part only
6 medium cloves garlic, sliced
4 cups chopped wild greens, such as young curly dock leaves
3 chicken or vegetable broth
salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring water and vinegar to a fast simmer in a skillet large enough to fit eggs. Do Not add salt to simmering water. Make sure there is enough water to cover eggs.
While water is coming to a simmer, sauté sliced leeks in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add garlic slices and continue to sauté stirring constantly for another minute.
Add curly dock leaves, broth, and simmer covered on medium low heat for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
When done season with salt and pepper.
Poach eggs until desired doneness. This will take about 5 minutes, or just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over. Remove from vinegar water with a slotted spoon, and place on top of greens. You may want to lay the spoon with the egg on a towel briefly after removing egg from water. This allows the towel to absorb some of the poaching water, and it won’t dilute the flavor of your greens.
Serves 4

Nettles

Nettles are best gathered before they flower and go to seed. If you clip the tops of the plant off at the center stem it will branch out with new growth and you can get more cuttings before flowering. You can harvest leaves all summer. Let it go to seed in late summer, early fall so it can complete it’s natural cycle.

Rubber gloves are an ideal way to handle nettle stems as you harvest. I cut the stem from the plant, hold it in one hand and clip the leaves over a colander with the other. Rinse leaves in the colander. You have removed most of the sting with this clipping as much of it is in the stems. However, once nettle leaves are crushed, dried or cooked all the sting is completely gone. Making nettle pesto is possible with raw leaves because chopping them in the food processor accomplishes this. So you get the nutrients of the raw leaves, which are substantial.

Nettle Pesto

Ingredients
1 cup raw almonds
1 (15- to 17-inch-long) baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
10 cloves or 1 large head garlic
1 teaspoon mineral salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
4 cups spring nettles*
3 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
Dash of water to thin if necessary
*optional 3 cups finely grated parmesan cheese (I prefer omitting this and serving on top of goat cheese)
Adjust seasoning, oil, lemon, water to taste
* Use just the leaves of nettles. They lose their sting once chopped, dried, or cooked.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. In shallow baking pan, toss together walnuts and pine nuts, then place in oven, stirring occasionally, and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Arrange baguette slices on large baking sheet and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

With food processor running, drop in whole garlic cloves. Process until finely chopped, then stop motor and add cooled nuts, nettles, arugula, lemon juice. Process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil and process until incorporated. Add a little water if needed, or more oil. Fold in grated cheese. Makes 3 1/2 cups pesto (with leftovers). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nettle, Sweet Potato Soup

Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced in ½ inch cubes
3 cups fresh chopped nettle leaves, rinsed,
salt and white pepper to taste

Directions:
Sauté ginger and onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. Add broth, and bring to a boil on high heat.
Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered for another 5 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 more minutes.
Add rest of ingredients and cook another 5 minutes. If you simmer for a longer time for extra flavor and richness, add a little more broth.
Serves 4

Cooking Tips: This soup can be made with other wild spring greens as well, such as dandelion, lamb’s quarters in late spring, yellow dock, chicory, etc. You can also add ramps, wild garlic for extra flavor. Play with this recipe, it is flexible and a great early spring cleansing soup. Also, this soup is better after it has had a chance to sit for awhile.

Violet Leaves

Violets have exceptionally delicious leaves and flowers. They are abundant early to late spring. The flowers have a mild flavor and add beautiful color to salads. The leaves are mild tasting at first and end with a little peppery taste. They are fantastic eaten raw in salads. I have not found a more suitable way to enjoy these young tender leaves and flowers.

Wild Mustard Leaves

Spring Greens and Lima Bean Soup

yield: Makes 8 servings
This light and satisfying soup highlights the earthy flavor of the greens.
Ingredients:
1 cup dried large lima beans
2 bunches mustard greens (1 1/2 pounds total), tough bottom stems removed, leaves cut into 2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Place beans in large bowl. Pour enough cold water over to cover; let soak overnight.
Drain beans; place in heavy large pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans are just tender, about 45 minutes. Add greens to pot; cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain; set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium heat. Add celery, carrots, and onion. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, and bean mixture. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Cover and let soup rest 15 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

Wild Ginger

Spring Cleaning Tonic

This is a good tonic that you can drink all through spring. Go out in nature and gather as much of the greens as possible. Not only is this a good liver tonic, but gathering wild greens out in nature gets you in touch with nature’s reflection of spring energy.

2-3 handfuls mixed herbs: stinging nettle leaves, parsley, dandelion leaves, mint, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, plantain, violet leaves
1 TBS chopped fresh wild ginger root
2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
2 TBS fresh lemon juice.
1-2 TBS honey
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until leaves are liquefied. Allow to stand for an hour or more and strain. Discard the solids and drink the refreshing liquid.

Sweet Cicely/Anise Root

Sweet Cicely is excellent added to fresh green salads. I prefer using the flavorful green leaves of the plant in the spring. The bulb can also be incorporated into dishes, but better used later in the season as the energy of the plant moves downward. The leaves have a delicate flavor so make sure other ingredients don’t overpower it.

Berries Infused with Sweet Cicely

Pick wild berries, or get them from your local farmer’s market. Spring is a good time to harvest fresh strawberries. Make an infusion with the leaves of sweet cicely by removing just the leaves from the plant, rinse thoroughly and add to water. The amount depends on the amount of berries you have picked, approximately 1/4 cup liquid to 1 1/2 cups berries.

Use plenty of leaves for flavoring. Add raw sugar, honey, or agave according to how sweet you like things, and simmer these leaves in the sweetened water for about 20 minutes.

Strain out leaves and continue to simmer until liquid has slightly thickened. Let cool to warm temperature and pour over bowl of berries and let cool.

Ramps

Both the bulb and green leaves are delicious and can be used in dishes. There is a short season in early spring before the trees leaf out. So it is good to cook with them as often as possible in place of scallions, leeks, spring onions, even garlic. Use them abundantly while they last. They are so loved that gourmet stores are carrying them now while in season.

Wild Ramp Goat Cheese Sauce

Prep and cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped ramps, (white and green parts)
4 oz Chevre goat cheese
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and white pepper to taste

Directions:
Sauté ramps in olive oil medium sauté pan for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Add stock and cheese and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Blend in blender and season with salt and pepper. Make sure you don’t fill blender more than half full. Start on low speed so sauce doesn’t erupt and burn you.

Wild Ramp Tart Over Bed of Wild Spring Salad Greens

Crust
¾ cup walnuts
¾ cup sunflower seeds
2 TBS sesame seeds
2 TBS flax seeds soaked with ¼ cup water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Tart Filling
2 cups thinly chopped ramps, (use both green tops & bulbs) for a milder taste use more tops or mix with domestic leeks
½ TBS dried thyme
4-5 eggs
¼ cup soft mild goat cheese
pinch of salt and white pepper

Wild Salad Greens

Gather wild greens such as chickweed, lambs quarters, sweet cicily, violet leaves, field cress
Baby spinach
Fresh lemon juice & olive oil to taste
Salt & cracked black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Soak flax seeds in ¼ cup water while preparing rest of ingredients, about 10 minutes.
3. Grind rest of seeds and nuts in food processor until well ground. Add flax seeds with
water and continue to grind for another 30 seconds. Press evenly into a 9 inch tart pan
and bake 15 minutes.
5. While tart shell is baking wash and chop ramps.
6, Saute’ ramps in a small amount of olive oil for about 5 minutes.
7. Remove tart shell from oven and spread cooked ramps evenly over bottom of shell.
Whisk together eggs, and a little salt and pepper. Pour over ramps and top with goat
cheese evenly over entire tart. Returrn tart to oven. Bake for another 30 minutes.
Toss salad greens with a light coating of lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.
Serve a wedge of tart on bed of salad greens.
Serves 4

Grilled Ramp Soup

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 quarts chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oi
4 bunches fresh ramps, trimmed and large leaves removed
FOR GARNISH:
4 grilled ramps
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Crust bread
Directions:
Combine the vegetable oil and the flour in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, to make a blond roux, 5 to 6 minutes. Whisk in the stock and the cream. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.

Lightly grill 6 of the ramps. Cut the remaining ramps into 1-inch pieces. Add the chopped ramps to the soup, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree the soup until smooth.

Ladle the soup into shallow bowls, garnish with the grilled ramps and the parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Makes 6 servings

Wild Mint

Wild mint plants always smell like mint and have square stems, so they are easy to identify. Use the leaves as you would with any mint. It is a good plant to dry as well for tea.

Minted Carrots with Pumpkin Seeds

Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
6 medium sized carrots peeled and cut in ½ inch pieces
½ TBS fresh chopped parsley
1 TBS fresh chopped wild mint
1 TBS coarsely chopped pumpkin seeds
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil to taste
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a steamer with a tight fitting lid.
Steam carrots in basket until slightly crunchy inside, (el dente). Depending on thickness of
the carrot pieces this takes about 7-10 minutes.
3. Chop rest of ingredients and toss with carrots when done.
Serves 6

Cooking Tip: Make sure you remove carrots from the steamer while they are still bright in color and a little crisp inside for the best flavor.

Fiddlehead Fern

In selecting fiddleheads look for a tight coil and only an inch or two of stem beyond the coil. There is a brown papery chaff that surrounds the fiddlehead on the plant. The outside of the coil should have an intricate pattern of tiny leaves arranged along the sides of the spiral. Size of the coil should be 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Larger size is acceptable as long as they are tightly coiled. Common bracken and other ferns also produce tightly coiled new growth in the Spring but none of these are suitable for eating.
If more than 2 inches of stem remains attached beyond the coiled part of the fiddlehead snap or cut it off. If any of the paper chaff remains on the fiddleheads you may rub it off by hand. Since the chaff is very light, you may want to clean off the chaff outdoors by fanning them or lightly shaking them in an open wire salad basket.
After the chaff is removed wash the fiddleheads in several changes of cold water to remove any dirt or grit. Drain the fiddleheads completely. Use them fresh, and soon after harvest.
If you must store fresh Fiddleheads keep well cooled (35 F) and tightly wrapped to prevent drying out. If you have stored them, you may wish to trim the stem again just before use since the cut end will darken in storage. They may be kept in refrigeration for about 10 days, although flavor will be best if used as soon as possible after harvest. Good fiddleheads should have a distinctly crisp texture, both raw and after brief cooking.

Marinated Fiddlehead Fern

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh fiddleheads
1/4 lb fresh wild leeks, ramps or shallots
Dried red pepper flakes – hot or mild to taste
Fresh herbs (cut fine)- basil, tarragon, thyme, and chives.
1 cup apple cider or wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
dash raw sugar, or honey and salt to taste

Directions:

Clean and rinse fiddleheads. Blanch fiddleheads in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Remove from heat, drain and rinse in cold water to cool them. Clean and cut up peppers, wild leeks and fresh herbs.
Pour vinegar over cooled fiddleheads in a non-reactive container. Add cut up peppers, wild leeks, herbs, sugar and salt. Stir to wet all ingredients. Add Olive Oil and stir again. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. Can be kept in refrigerator for awhile and will still remain crisp.

Sheep Sorrel

Sheep Sorrel Sauce

This is a quick and delicious sauce that can be put on many dishes for a zesty, herbal taste. The tangy flavor of sorrel makes this particularly versatile. Sheep Sorrel is available all year round in most areas. In the spring it is fabulous raw in salads. As it gets older throughout the year try cooking it, and adding it to cooked dishes. Try it on poached fish, steamed butternut squash, braised red cabbage, baked potato, or anything else that comes to your mind. The list is endless.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:
1 TBS lemon juice
1 clove pressed garlic
3-4 TBS chopped fresh sheep sorrel

1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 TBS olive oil
Directions:
Mix together all ingredients, whisking in olive oil a little at a time at end.

Morels

You can saute’ them, bake them, or include them in stews, soups, casseroles, but they need to be cooked for at least 15 minutes. Morels, or any wild mushroom for that matter should never be eaten raw. When hunting morels make sure you have a positive ID. The cap, honeycombed is contiguous with the stalk, so if you cut one of these mushrooms in half lengthwise it will be hollow from cap to stem with no division between the cap and stem.

Lemony Wild Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups boiling-hot water
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 lb wild morel mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 TBS chopped garlic
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Arborio rice (8 oz)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:
Pour 2/3 cup hot water over porcini in a heatproof cup and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Lift porcini out of water, squeezing excess liquid back into cup, and rinse well to remove any grit. Coarsely chop porcini. Pour soaking liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a glass measure and reserve.
Meanwhile, bring broth and remaining 2 cups hot water to a simmer. Keep at a bare simmer, covered.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté onions, garlic and morels, stirring, until browned, about 7 minutes.
Add porcini and reserved soaking liquid to skillet and boil, stirring, 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.
Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth mixture and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition become absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender but still al dente and creamy (it should be the consistency of a thick soup), 18 minutes. (There will be leftover broth.)
Stir in zest, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste. (If necessary, thin risotto with some of remaining broth.) Serve immediately.

Serves 4 (main course) or 6 to 8 (side dish).

Wild Garlic

This is similar to field garlic, but the laves are flat instead of round. Both the leaves and bulb can be used. Peel the bulb of excess dirty skin before using.

Mountain Trout with Wild Garlic Pesto

Ingredients:
2 mountain trout
2 oz butter, melted
salt, white pepper

Pesto:
1 tsp garam masala (cumin, clove, nutmeg, coriander)
3 cups chopped wild garlic
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Dash of lime juice
Dash of water
Salt & white pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots finely minced
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
12 oz lightly salted butter
Pinch of salt & white pepper

Directions:
Debone trout, remove head, and cut in half lengthwise for two fillets.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt & white pepper.
Place on sheet pan skin side down, and set aside
Preheat oven to 350
Place pesto ingredients into food processor and pulse until pesto consistency. You may need to add a little extra lemon juice or water to taste. Set aside
While trout is baking sauté shallots in a little butter.
Add white wine and reduce to half.
Whisk in rest of butter, salt and white pepper
Place baked trout onto plate, surround with butter sauce and place a spoonful of pesto on top.
Serves 2

Wild Cress

Chilled Wild Cress Soup

Ingredients:
3 cups (packed) cress, thick stems trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
6 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons minced fresh wild chives

Directions:
Blanch watercress in pot of boiling salted water 30 seconds. Drain; set aside.
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes and leeks; sauté 4 minutes. Add 6 cups broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover partially and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add watercress; simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Mix in cream. Season with salt and white pepper. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Thin with more broth, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with wild chives.

Elder Flower

Sparkling Elderflower Wine

10 bunches elder flowers (an umbel is a flower cluster all starting from the same point, literally a little umbrella)
1lemon
350 ml water
8 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
1 lemon, juice of
Directions
Rinse the elderberry flowers- they must be just in bloom.
Cut the lemon into thin slices and mix with the flowers and the remaining ingredients in a reasonably large container.
Stir.
Cover the container and leave in a warm place.
The juice can be drunk after 24 hours.
If necessary add lemon and honey to taste.
After 2-3 days the drink will begin to effervesce.
Then sieve, put into screwtop bottles and store in a dark room.
The juice will turn into sparkling wine in around 4 weeks.

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