Archive for March, 2008

Spring greens: wild onion tangle.


You know your lawn is full of wild onions.

Go pull some.

(Make sure they’re wild onions, not something else that grows from a bulb. Hint: wild onions smell strongly of onion.)

Clean them up. (Tedious, but worth it.)

You also might want to shorten them. They do tend to tangle up.

Saute them with butter and salt.

So tasty.

(We had ours with spiced barley and goat chops.)

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Spring greens: peppergrass.

peppercress.JPGWild greens, anyone?

Early spring is the time to switch from sweet roots and spices to bittersharp new shoots and leaves. Time for cool air and new light after warm dark hibernation.

Peppergrass is one of my favorite spring greens. It’s also called “pepper cress” and “poor man’s pepper,” and it’s sprouting up all over my yard right now.

Young peppergrass leaves can be used anywhere you might use watercress. I like them mixed in scrambled eggs with a few wild onions. The flowers are tasty too (I saw one little plant blooming already) and the seeds can be sprinkled on food as a sharp, mustardy seasoning (“poor man’s pepper”).

UPDATE: I originally posted that this peppergrass was a Lepidium species. AnneTanne and Tammy pointed out that it looks a lot like Cardamine hirsuta. Now that I look at it, I’m convinced it’s a Cardamine, but I’m not sure which one (cresses are notoriously hard to identify). Calling it Lepidium was just lazy and spaced-out on my part — I do have a lot of Lepidiums in my yard, and I call them peppergrass too. So I had peppergrass = Lepidium in my head, and I didn’t bother to look it up. Live and learn.

(I grew up calling all peppery little cresses “peppergrass.” Perhaps I should teach myself some new common names to alleviate the species confusion? Alright. Cardamines are “bittercress” and Lepidiums are “peppercress.” Maybe I’ll try that. In any case, they’re all tasty in salad.)

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Spring aphrodisiac: nettles.

No, I’m not suggesting you swat your sweetie with a stinging nettle switch. (Though no doubt some of you might enjoy that.) I’m suggesting that nettle is an often-overlooked aphrodisiac plant, as tincture, brew or just plain food.

See, I pretty much missed last month’s aphrodisiac blog party (unless you count my last flax post), so I thought I’d do a combination February/March blog party post. And it’s perfect, because March’s theme is stinging nettle and, really, nettle is one of the best aphrodisiacs out there.

So you’re scratching your head now. “None of my books say it’s an aphrodisiac. And how could something so prickly…”

Well, that’s exactly it. Nettle keeps you separate.

Separate, you say? What in the world is she talking about? Isn’t an aphrodisiac all about, um, togetherness?

Well, see, for an aphrodisiac to work, you have to want to get together. Which means you have to start out separate.

Think of those couples that do everything together. They can hardly turn around without consulting each other. People start to think of them as one person. No surprise, then, that these people often lose interest in each other on a physical level.

Nettle helps you remember where you begin and where you end. (You already know this if you’ve ever come across a nettle patch where you didn’t expect it.)

Nettle is incredibly strengthening and revitalizing — perfect for spring. It’s the best thing I know for that late-winter-blob feeling. (Think of maple sap rising — nettle gets the sap rising in your body!)

We don’t quite have nettles coming up where I live yet, but if you have some where you are, I’d suggest picking them young and sauteeing them with butter and garlic (or ramps if you can get them). So rich and so tasty.

A bit of zing for spring!

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