Foraging in Forest Park: Japanese Knotweed, Carrot & Apple Muffins

Japanese knotweed, carrot & apple muffins Hello friends! It’s been awhile! Last weekend we went on a foraging tour in Forest Park with “Wildman” Steve Brill, a notable and notorious naturalist who leads tours in parks all over the New York City metropolitan area. We highly recommend checking out one of the tours (especially in nearby Forest Park, which we love); “Wildman” is a super-nutty and extremely knowledgeable guide, and it’s a fun and thrifty activity for all ages. On this tour, we foraged such springtime delights as field garlic, common plantain, garlic mustard, burdock root, wild carrot, mugwort, violet, honewort, sweet cicely root, black birch, devil’s walking stick, chickweed, dandelion, wood sorrel, Japanese day lilies, and our very favorite, Japanese knotweed.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed. Photo © 66 Square Feet (We forgot to take one!)

A member of the rhubarb family and visually reminiscent of asparagus, Japanese knotweed can be found in Forest Park in the spring. The firm spears are hollow, so slicing them crosswise yields “O” shapes. We’re having a late spring this year, “Wildman” said, and the ‘weed will be harvestable for another week or two (they’re best as short, young spears). We found our ‘weed at the bottom of a thorny hill, just over a wooden (I think) roadside barrier along Freedom Drive. I’m not sure of the exact coordinates but if you want to try foraging some Japanese knotweed this weekend, let me know and I’ll try to be a little more descriptive! Anyway, after an exciting day in Forest Park, we took our knotweed and other foraged goodies home and baked these delicious Japanese Knotweed, Carrot & Apple muffins (more photos & recipe below).  Continue reading

Mucenici, a Soup for Martyrs

MuceniciEvery year on March 9, Romanian and Moldovan Christians celebrate the Forty Martyrs of Sevastia, a traditional holiday that includes a feast. Figure-8shaped dough representing the human figure (i.e. the martyrs) is either baked and smeared with honey and walnuts or made as a sort of cinnamon-topped “snickerdoodle soup” called mucenici muntenesti (recipe below). Today you can pick up the latter type of mucenici dough at our beloved Parrot Coffee. The nice woman behind the counter explained the recipe: boil, add honey, nuts, cinnamon if you like. “What kind of nuts? Pistachio?” I guessed. She motioned toward an unmarked bag of nuts. “These. Wol-nut.”   Continue reading

Dill It Yourself: How to Make Gravlax

gravlax with fixins

Perfect breakfast: gravlax with fixins

Hello friends! Awhile back we told you about our favorite Ridgewood meals of 2012. Arbitrarily coming in at #6 was gravlax, aka gravad lax, aka “buried salmon.” In other words, it’s traditional Nordic salt-cured salmon that resembles lox or smoked salmon. Why is gravlax so great, you might ask?

  • It’s easy to make at home.
  • It’s economical.
  • Most importantly, you really can’t buy good-quality smoked salmon, like the kind you’d put on bagels, anywhere in Ridgewood. Sorry, Mr. Bagel! You just can’t.

With that in mind, here’s a quick tutorial on making and serving gravlax in your very own Ridgewood home:  Continue reading

The Mitt Rumney: A Winning Beverage Named for a Loser

The Mitt Rumney

“We christened the drink the Mitt Rumney, in honor of the most bitter person we could think of.”

While recently in Zürich, Switzerland, my boyfriend and I spent a lot of time in our hotel room watching Al Jazeera. We have neither cable nor even a proper television connection at home, so when we holiday we tend to enjoy the slovenliness of eating in bed while watching the telly. (Don’t even ask about how this looks when we are in places with lots of deep-fried availability.) We enjoyed Al Jazeera’s alternate take on America’s election circus. They always find the craziest rednecks to interview, and the extremity of their views makes Romney appear to be the snake he actually is. We even got to watch the third-party candidate debate, in which the third-party candidates spent a lot of time talking about legalizing weed, even when the questions were about the deficit.  Continue reading

The Food Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Hey ya’ll. We feel so lucky that Ridgewood survived Hurricane Sandy without suffering any major damage. Neighborhood folks Ridgewood Beat have tweeted details about A LOCAL DROP-OFF LOCATION FOR DONATIONS. (Oh, and HERE’S ONE MORE.)

In regard to food during the storm: is anyone else on a post-hurricane diet? Here are a few of the things we ate in the 24 hours before, during, and after Sandy:

Snickerdoodles

Monday, 4pm: Snickerdoodles

I grew up eating these cookies but haven’t had them in years. Nowadays I opt for cookies with chocolate, but I didn’t want to go back out and I had all the ‘doodle ingredients already on hand, so the decision was made. I followed this recipe for the most part, with the following modifications: Continue reading

Stuff We Like from Parrot Coffee

 

 

Hello again! Welcome to our new regular feature called “Stuff We Like from Parrot Coffee” (working on catchier name). We will periodically share several can’t-miss items from our favorite neighborhood grocery, Parrot Coffee — a modest little storefront on a sleepy stretch of Myrtle that features a dazzling array of homemade and imported goods from Europe, the Middle East, and the Balkans. Half the stuff we eat comes from here!

Our top picks from Parrot: Continue reading