Along the Grapevine


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Kuku Sabzi

DSC03552.JPGThis is a dish I discovered recently in, of all places, a donut shop which I only visited because I was in need of a coffee fix. A little plastic container of something green caught my eye and I had to try it. I decided it was some kind of exotic omelette and that it contained chickpea flour. Other than that all I knew was that it was one of the best store-bought breakfasts I’d had.

When I returned a few weeks later to ask for another one, the owner explained her customers only wanted donuts, so she gave up making her ‘green patties’. She was pleased I was interested, and told me her husband is Iranian, and that this traditional sort of frittata is called kuku sabzi. So at least I had some way of finding out how it is made.

Once I read a sufficient number of recipes, I was able to come up with my own using, you guessed it, weeds from my garden.

What I learned in my research is that it is indeed a sort of omelette, heavy on the herbs and light on the eggs – just enough to hold the mixture together. It seems just about any kind of herb goes well in this dish, as do sometimes dried fruit and/or nuts. Spices also vary, but I came across one recipe that called for advieh, a Persian specialty blend which includes rose petals. The recipe I used can be found here, but do note that if you don’t have rose petals you can leave those out.

So once I mixed up some advieh, picked a lot of lambsquarters from the fields, I went about making my first sabzi.

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Kuku Sapzi

Ingredients

2 cups lambsquarters, packed

1 cup parsely, packed

3 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp chickpea flour

2 tsp advieh

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Chop the greens. Mix them well with all the other ingredients. Heat 4 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the mixture and pat it down. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium low heat for about 8 minutes. Remove the lid and broil for about two minutes, until beginning to brown on top. Serve warm or cooled. It will keep refrigerated for 3 days.

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The number of variations for this recipe could be endless, and I will definitely be making this again but with different herbs and greens, sometimes nuts or cheese and fruit. It is one of those dishes which can be adapted to any location, just about any season, and unless you have something against green, you will want to make it often.

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Linked to: Fiesta Friday #227, Lizet at Chipa by the Dozen; Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook.

Related posts: Lambsquarters,  Lambsquarters Triangles, Lambsquarters Samosas, Lambsquarters and Farro Burgers.


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Milkweed flower and lambs quarters soup

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Having just recently learned that all parts of the milkweed plant are edible at different times, I have been too late to experiment with the early spring sprouts. I did fry some young leaves in June and some fully-bloomed flowers a little later – both were good but just experiments without actual recipes.

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The flowers are beginning to wilt now, but there are still a few young plants, and the flowers before they bloom are supposedly tastier, so I came up with this very simple soup recipe.

Before going any further, I should mention that you need to make sure you can properly identify milkweed. If you have it in your garden, you probably know what to look for, but otherwise you should check with someone who does know, as there are other, not so edible plants which are similar.

Also, I am always careful to encourage milkweed as it is beneficial to monarch butterflies in particular, and many pollinators in general. I sometimes have to pull them out of my vegetable patch, and otherwise I allow myself only one or two blossoms a plant, so there is still plenty left for the butterflies. Not all the flowers turn into pods (I hope to have recipes for those soon), so the plant won’t miss a couple.Image

Other than those considerations, the soup is very easy to make, vegan (unless you choose to use milk in place of the nut milk) and contains almost all foraged plants, which means it is inexpensive and super good for you. If you are not sure about lambs quarters, refer to my previous post on these here.

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Milkweed flower and lambs quarters soup

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 cup milkweed flowers (not yet open)

1 potato, chopped

1 cup cooked or tinned chick peas

1 Tbsp each oregano and parsley

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup water or vegetable stock

6 cups lambs quarters, leaves only (the stems by mid-summer are woody)

1 cup nut milk

Method:

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil on medium heat until the onion is soft, but not browned. Add the flowers, potato and chick peas and simmer for about 10 min, until the potato is soft. Add the herbs, salt, pepper and lambs quarters, and simmer until the greens are cooked (about 2 minutes), stirring to make sure they are cooked evenly. Add the milk (I used almond) and heat through. Blend it in a food processor or blender. Serve hot.