Sunday, May 8, 2016

Inspiration on a tree

A chance encounter with an elm tree in Brooklyn helped me fill the Vietnamese summer rolls for our Dead Horse Bay walk on Saturday. The samara (the seeds inside their green-winged sheaths) have an interesting flavor that I have only been able to describe obscurely as like the smell-of-snow-on-nearby mountains.

And then there was all this winter cress in bloom.

So, at the tail end of a grey and rainy week, I had a good forage that included a pheasant back mushroom (also called hawks wing and dryad's saddle, and more properly Polyporus squamosus - very nice when very young and tender). The pine tips, far right - are fermenting right now with the dandelion flowers, destined to become pine tip fizz. I hope. If the wild yeasts are feeling cooperative. In the middle, above, is a bunch of pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)stems, which we have been eating this last week. For the picnic I rolled them - cooked, do not eat pokeweed raw - into soft slices of Wonderbread with a schmear of miso-mayonnaise.

The two little sliced cakes above belong to my new favourite recipe, courtesy of friend-neighbour Julia and her Sicilian husband Carmelo - involving two cups of extra virgin olive oil with, in this iteration, mahlab, the powdered kernels of black cherries (Prunus serotina, in this case), which adds a marzipan-y element. I have also made it with spicebush (Lindera benzoin), while the original calls for orange zest.

The next walk wild foods walk mit picnic is in Inwood Hill Park, this coming Saturday, with a midweek evening stroll in Brooklyn Bridge Park (you must book for the latter via the Conservancy website).

How was your weekend?


  1. Isn't there a similar yellow flower that's mustard?

  2. What a beautiful - and intriguing - description of the seeds!


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