Recipe : Foraged Wild Spinach and Green Bean Salad

Have you ever had the urge to venture into the woods, backyard, or highway median and eat the stuff you find growing there?

No? Just me?

Well, if there are any curious would-be foragers out there I’ve put together a quick and easy recipe featuring a really common foraged green, wild spinach, aka lambs quarter. It also features some quick pickled red onions, pickled brussels sprout leaves, charred green beans, and broccoli sprouts. This one is really pretty and light and would make a nice start to your next dinner with friends and it pairs really well with sauvignon blanc.

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> Green Beans, .25#, ends trimmed, blanched and shocked

> Red Onion, .25 EA., thinly sliced

> Brussels Sprouts, .125#, blanched and shocked, leaves removed

> Wild Spinach (lambs quarter), .5#, washed and dried in even layers

> Broccoli Sprouts, .125#, cleaned and dried

> Apple Melon, .25 EA., oblique cut

> Pistachios, 5 EA., shells removed and meat crushed

> White Vinegar, .25 C.

> Sugar, 1 T.

> Safflower, to garnish

> Sea Salt , TT

> Lime, 1 EA., juiced

> Champagne Vinegar, 1 t.

> Honey, 1 t.

> Olive Oil

> Sweet Cicely Root, .25″ piece, washed

 Wash your damn hands! Combine the white vinegar and sugar in a small pan until just about to boil. Pour the sugar-vinegar mixture over the red onions and brussels sprout leaves. Let them sit at least 20 minutes up to 3 hours. Drain the liquid and reserve the onions and brussels.

Next, char the green beans. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the green beans and let them char for a couple of minutes, tossing every minute or so. Because we blanched the beans before we aren’t really cooking them, just getting them nice and dark. Remove the beans from the pan and season them with sea salt.

To make the dressing, combine lime juice, honey, grated sweet cicely root, and champagne vinegar in a glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with kosher salt to taste. Set the dressing aside.

To plate, toss the apple melon, green beans, and pistachios together with some of the dressing. Place the wild spinach around the plate, then add the green beans, melon, and nuts. Arrange the pickled vegetables and sprouts next. Finally, garnish with the safflower. Serve right away.

* A note on some of the ingredients in this recipe, specifically the apple melon and the sweet cicely. The apple melon can be substituted for any easier to find apple.  The melon has a more mild, more-melon-like flavor.The sweet cicely is another foraged ingredient and has a flavor like really mild anise or black licorice. You can substitute anise or just exclude if that flavor isn’t your thing. The safflower is just a pretty garnish and doesn’t change the flavor at all. 

Lastly, if your really want to try the salad exactly as you see it, and you live in Columbus, Ohio, you can find all of the ingredients at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market. The sweet cicely and the wild spinach are available from our friend Kate at Foraged & Sown, a produce vendor who specializes in foraged greens, roots, and flowers found all across central Ohio. 


As always, if you make this or any other Wanderlünch recipe, let us know how you liked it in the comments section. 

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Charred Snap Pea & Date Tacos

So this recipe is intended to be a way for you to use up leftover, prepared chicken, something we never thrown away at our place. I call for leftover rotisserie chicken (yes, the kind you find dripping on those greasy spits at the grocery store.), but you can use whatever kind of chicken, light or dark meat, breasts or thighs, that you have kicking around your fridge.

These tacos are light and super fresh, and have an interesting sweet quality, owing to the sliced dates. They are quick to prepare and make a great summer lunch. The recipe below makes about 4 6″ tacos.

Ingredients

  • Leftover Rotisserie Chicken, pulled apart, 2 oz.
  • Sugar snap peas, fresh, 1/3 C.
  • Dates, pits removed, thinly sliced, 2 EA.
  • Corn Tortillas, small, 4 EA.
  • Cilantro, fresh, minced, 1/4 C.
  • Garlic, fresh, minced, 1 T.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 C.
  • Cayanne, 1 t.
  • Radish, julienne, to garnish
  • Brocolli Sprouts, to garnish *As always, if you can’t get your mits on microgreens, supstitute whatever lettuce or greens you have available, the fresher the better!
  • Lime Wedges, to garnish
  • Kosher Salt, To Taste
  • Smoked Maladon Salt, to finish
  • Vegetable or Peanut Oil, to char the beans

Wash your damn hands! Heat your charring oil in a cast iron skillet until it just begins to smoke. Add the peas in a single, even layer and let them do their thing. They should pop and smoke and blister and generally get gnarly looking. You’re charring them, meaning almost burning. Toss them around every minute or so to ensure even charring.

Once they look nice and dark, keep the pan on the stove and cut the heat. Add the chicken and the dates to the pan. We aren’t cooking here, just heating everything up. Let everything mingle in the pan until warmed through. Taste the chicken and then add salt, if it needs it.

While the chicken is heating, make the drizzle. In a glass bowl combine cilantro, garlic, olive oil and cayenne. Mix well and set aside.

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To plate, heat tortillas in the microwave for ten seconds. Add the snap pea/chicken/date mixture in an even layer on the tortilla. Next, drizzle the cilantro and garlic oil then top with broccoli sprouts and radish. Add a pinch of smoked salt and serve with a lime wedge.

As always, if you try these let me know how they turned out, what you substituted, or ways to improve the recipe!

“So what do you do now?” – A Wanderlünch F.A.Q.

So I’m back home for the next week, recuperating from the madness that was the Rolling Stones. (My first day home I slept for 14 hours straight.) I’ve just completed my first “run” and feel like I can confidently answer some of the questions I’m frequently asked about the job. So here we go…

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Farm to Bottle: “Graft” Wine Tasting Wrap-up

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Redde Hedde Farms and Wine Trends’ first annual wine-tasting-meets-hootanany Graft was by all accounts a blast. The Columbus-based wine distributor found a fruitful collaboration with Delaware’s favorite boutique farm. Live music accompanied a self-serve wine tasting and a bountiful buffet from Local Roots as well as expert small plates prepared by Two Daughter’s Kimchi (pictued above).

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The setting was a pictueresqe scene of rolling green fields paired with an azure sky topped with whipped clouds. The whites were cold and the reds tempered. The wine trends staff was available to answer any questions about a particular varietal or bottle, but generally let the wine speak for itself, something that gave the occasion the feel of a real party and not a sales pitch. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

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As it was a warm that afternoon the Fox and I stuck mainly to whites. Here are four of our favorites, a sampling of what we will be enjoying for the rest of the summer:

#1: Ponzi Pinot Gris

Producer: Ponzi Wine: Pinot Gris Vintage: 2013 Retail Price: $17.99

Will: “This was my favorite all-around wine, especially for the price. I liked its crisp, drinkable flavor and the dominant red apple taste. I think this wine would be really easy to pair with what I like to cook this time of year.” 

The Fox: “I thought this wine tasted really fresh and that it would be great for summer nights! There was something really floral about the bouquet on this bottle. The floral is balanced by notes of almond.”

Producer: Kermit Lynch Wine: Bugey Cerdon Vintage: N/V Retail Price: $24.99

Will: “This wine is a trip. 1/3 rose, 1/3 champagne, 1/3 framboise. I can’t tell if I hate this wine or if I love it. I feel like this is the ultimate pairing for a meal called “Basics at Brunch”. My sisters would fucking love this stuff”

The Fox: “I feel like this wine has a grape-juice flavor; sweet, bubbly, and light. As a bartender, I see a lot of possibility for creating great cocktails and spritzers. Use with caution though, because this stuff is seriously sweet.”

Producer: Lionel Raymond Wine: Bordeaux Vintage: 2013  Retail Price: $10.99

Will: “Isn’t bordeaux a red wine? I like this bottle, its tart and crisp. Lots of pear and apple flavor but also a body of melon tastes. I think this wine tastes like it should cost more than it does.”

The Fox: “Really drinkable. I think this wine has a slightly mineral quality that is actually pretty nice. The fruit flavor is balanced and the body is really smooth. The type of wine I could find myself drinking for an entire evening, no matter what I’m pairing it with. Well-rounded.”

Producer: Kermit Lynch Wine: Salvard Cheverny Loire Wine Vintage: 2013 Retail Price: $14.99

Will: “I love how dry this wine is. Pear and fruit notes with a backbone of something earthy. I can feel this wine on my teeth. I like a wine with plenty of tannin. Would drink again.”

The Fox: Nice and dry. This wine feels appropriate for the setting. I taste something like dirt to this as well. Good finish. Good wine.”

Packing It All In or What the hell do I bring?

I leave tomorrow and won’t be home again until September. This is my longest trip to date and I thought I’d celebrate by treating myself to some new luggage. (And in all honesty, I had a bag that I loved for travel but a cat peed on it and I didn’t think the faint but constant smell of feline piss was the best travel companion this summer.) I’m an adult now, or so I’m told, and felt like it was neigh time I had some proper, matching luggage. I want to feel like an experienced traveler. And what says worldly ramblin’ man better than pristine, never-seen-the-inside-of-a-plane matching bags?! Here is a breakdown of each bag and what I’m cammin’ in it!

The Suitcase

Probably the most important bag because it determines what you get to where while you’re away. No pics of this one because my undies are private. I will say that I’m bringing a weeks worth of all of the essentials; sox, underwear, t-shirts, and shorts. And no chef’s coats! Because we don’t have to wear ’em!

The Carry-On IMG_4285

  • Books- A Little Yellow Dogan Easy Rawlins mystery by the author of Devil in a Blue Dress, because a good noir is essential when you’re traveling. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sadaris, because I need a reminder of what good writing looks like. Back issues of Popular Science, because I can always re-read a PopSci!
  • Notebooks- Nothing makes me more prepared to leave the house than a nice moleskin notebook. These miniature books fit in your wallet and are perfect for quick note-taking. This larger journal I use for keeping track of new recipes and taking detailed notes when planning a meal.
  • Pens- You aren’t ready to cook without a sharpie. And for note-taking, the greatest pen ever created.
  • Empty Water Bottle- Save some of that hard earned cash and refill your bottle on the other side of airport security. I get mine in a bright color so I’m less likely misplace it or leave it behind.
  • Drumsticks- For the boredom. To keep those chops extra beefy try the Vic Firth Corpsmaster Ralph Hardimon snare sticks.
  • Headphones-Noise canceling headphones are essential for travel, whether you’re trying to listen to some tunes over the din of an airplane or just want some quiet for catching a quick nap. These Sol Republic studio headphones looks sharp, sound great, and won’t break the bank.
  • Phone- Make sure you know your data and roaming policy before you head out of town!
  • Various Chargers- I like to imagine those halcyon days of travel before the charger.
  • Computer- Beat-ass old Mac, perfect for the road and maintaining the blog remotely.
  • Gameboy- 3DS with a library of titles, including Super Smash Bros. and Ocarina of Time.
  • Kitchen Timer- He is shaped like a hedgehog and his name is Dermut. I let him ride shotgun in the carry-on because he always keeps it 100 and because it gets lonely out there on the road.
  • Snacks- ‘fer keepin’ up the ol’ blood sugar. Avoid becoming “hangry” at all costs.
  • Bandana- Because I’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy once or twice.  

  • Shades- Cause I’m cool like that.

The Knife Kit IMG_4281

  • Mercer Plating Kit-This kit includes all the specialty spoons pictured above, including the saucing spoon and my personal favorite, the slotted serving spoon.
  • Chef’s Knife- Wusthof 10″ Classic Cook’s Knife. Called “classic” for a reason. This knife can do pretty much anything.
  • Kitchen/Paring Knife- Wusthof 3-1/2″ paring knife. Just picked up this one at River’s Edge Cutlery especially for this trip and can’t wait to see how it handles. (I also took all of my knives to River’s Edge for sharpening prior to leaving. They do quick and reliable work at a low cost. Also, purchasing a knife earns you free sharpening for the life of that knife. I get my Shun set sharpened a few times a year.)
  • Honing Steel- Dear Mom & Dad, this is not a sharpener and does not replace your whet stone.
  • Speed Peeler- Never get caught without your peeler! This one is super dope.
  • Box Cutter- For breaking down boxes and rumbling with Jets!

The Dopp Kit IMG_4302 Just the highlights on this one:

  • Goldbond (travel size) –Because corn starch is always around.
  • Roto V’s Eyedrops- For red eyes from uh… allergies! Yeah! Allergies! (Seriously though, feels like putting an altoid in your eyeballs. In a good way.)
  • Blackbook – There is a black version of James Dean. His name is Kareem and this is the probably the best way to smell like him. (Pretty sure they don’t actually make this anymore…)
  • American Crew Forming Cream- For curly hairs!
  • CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion- Because skin care runs in my family. And because my girlfriend thinks about this kind of jazz. Has SPF 30 and leaves me silky smooth!
  • Cliff Arousal Beard Balm- Another local Columbus product, this stuff smells masculine and keeps my beard looking dapper!