Real Food Fridays #3!

WELCOME!!!

We’re your co-hosts

Joyce @ It’s Your Life

Lydia @ Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen

Mary @ Back to the Basics and Mary’s Kitchen

And me… Courtney @ The Delinquent Crunchy

In case you missed “What is Real Food” here’s a recap…

Here’s a great reference from Food Myths:

Do you ever think about how far the food you eat travels? Who grew it? Who picked it?
How much in processing it’s been through before you took a bite?

Mary’s Kitchen

Real Food is:

-Supports fair farm worker wages

-GMO Free

-Little to no processing/processed ingredients

-Supports local markets/vendors and isn’t transported long distances to get to my plate

-Honors fair trade principles when I buy from other regions

-Meat
and dairy should be humanely raised and on real food themselves-Not
genetically engineered feed, drugs, hormones and antibiotics.

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The Strip District, Pittsburgh PA

Before I get too deep into this post, I’d just like to point out this has nothing to do with strippers. ‘The Strip District‘ in Pittsburgh is merely a strip of road, (hence, ‘strip’) with a bunch of cute little food shops and stores.

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, I suggest you go take a look.

Also, some of these are definitely not real food, just interesting things I came across. Some I plan to cook with and some are just funky so I bought them… Cuz I’m an impulse shopper and I love strange things.

First up is the dragon fruit. Super beautiful, interesting little fruit from Thailand. They have the texture of a kiwi and taste very sweet. It was actually quite good. They are really hard to find over here in the US, but we went in an Asian grocery and found the little bugger hiding in there.

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Next we have some squid ink pasta. Just three ingredients- Flour, eggs and squid ink. It gets its dark color from the ink. Yum!

As well as some Chinese hot peppers and Pakistani hot peppers. I love hot peppers.

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Then some yummy tea balls. These little sucker are awesome. Put em in hot water and they open up into a flower of tea and flavor. They look as beautiful as they taste. I got a few mint ones and a few butterfly flower ones. Can’t wait to enjoy some!!

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Brown rice noodles, sesame oil, a package of seaweed, the dragon fruit, a cassava, instant jellyfish and the peppers.

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The cassava. A root vegetable from South America and Africa packed with vitamin C. I won’t delve into it too much, since you’ll be seeing a post on what I make from it and I’ll tell ya more then! =)

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Jackfruit! Super huge, super cool (super expensive!) fruit from many Asian countries. I found him in the same Asian grocery we got the dragon fruit. I can’t wait to chop this (18 lb!) baby up and make things from him. Yet another blog post I will be writing…. However I will tell you that the jackfruit’s flesh is used as a vegan meat substitute. The texture is supposed to be just like chicken.

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Crappy picture, but apple juice from just one kind of apple. They had all different flavors. However, you would have had no idea of different flavors if you didn’t have a few to taste test at the same time. In that case they were noticeably different!

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Totally not healthy or real food, but a Kinder bueno, basically a Nutella kit-kat. I honestly have no idea what was in it because the whole wrapper was written in Italian! But it was nifty and yummy!

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Lastly alligator, wild boar and pheasant jerky and sticks. They were all ‘pheasantly’ delicious. (Hehe, see what I did there….)

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I love interesting food!!

I can’t wait to cook up my jackfruit and cassava and share with you!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Foraging Series: Part 2- Queen Anne’s Lace

(Side note- This was called Just Like The Cavemen Did! But I decided to change it to be more simple).

Read part 1 about Staghorn Sumac here!

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First off, don’t forget the 4 main rules for foraging-

1. Make sure wherever you harvest is at minimum 100 ft. from a road cars drive on.
2. Make sure wherever your picking is public property (don’t pick on someone’s private land unless you’ve OK-ed it with the owners!)
3. Make sure where your picking is not somewhere that gets sprayed! You do not want chemicals all over your yummy wild food.
4. Give back to the earth and do your part to help keep the environment clean and healthy. Don’t take without giving back!!

Queen Anne’s Lace (aka) Wild Carrot!

You’ve probably seen this delicate flower along side of roads or in fields and you’ve possibly even picked it! It really is a beautiful flower and very common. It’s not something you’d look at and think, ‘Hmmm, I bet that would help prevent cancer, detox my body, taste delicious, help pass kidney stones, work as a diuretic and look pretty in a bouquet!’ But it does all that, and more! It seems more like a magic plant from an enchanted forest then a weed!

So, how do you identify it?

First off, there are large, white flowers on tall, green, hairy stems. The leaves are very feathery and whispy. In the center of each flower you will generally find a small, purple flower bud. This is know as ‘Queen Anne.’ Way back when women of high class would wear large, white, lacey collars, which is where the flower got its name. Queen Anne wearing her lace collar. They generally grow by the side of the road or in large, sunny fields. Somewhere there is poor soil.

Notice Queen Anne in the center?

Notice Queen Anne in the center?

How it looks when its growing

How it looks when its growing

The one poisonous look alike to Queen Anne’s lace is poison hemlock. And it is DEADLY! So make 100% certain you are picking Wild carrots and NOT Poison Hemlock. Its smaller and bushier and it looks a little different. The flowers are similar however, so make sure you can easily identify both before you accidentally pick some.

It you want to make a detox tea and fritters, all you need are the flowers and leaves. So you can just cut the, off. If you want to make root tea, you (obviously) need the roots. I suggest harvesting the roots after a rain so the ground will be softer and it will be easier to pull them out of the ground. I just picked the entire plant and brought it all home with me since I’m using all of the parts.

Fried Flowers-

These are SO GOOD!! They are light and fluffy but satisying and very flavorful, they smell like popcorn when they’re frying. It tastes like your eating something that costs 50 bucks a plate. They are m favorite food. Plus, pollen is a super food!!

You will need-

Organic flour
Queen Anne’s Lace flowers
Eggs from pastured chickens
Sea salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Coconut oil for frying

Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and lightly whisk the eggs in another. Dip the flowers first in the eggs then into the dry mix. (I used the butt where the flower hatched to the stem as a handle to dip and put in the oil.) Place in a skillet with an inch deep of oil over high heat. (Don’t start cooking until the oil is sizzling). Fry them up flower side down, stem side up for 30 seconds to a minute, or once they become crispy and golden brown Eat while they are warm and crispy!

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Don't they look decadent and delicious!!

Don’t they look decadent and delicious!!

Yummmmmyy!!

Root Tea-

The roots are known commonly as wild carrots. When you pick them they smell just like carrots. This post would end up pages long if I delved deep into all the medicinal benefits reaped from the roots of this plant, so I will stick to a few and if you’d like to read a more detailed list, click here. There are studies showing it has anticancer activities as well as being useful in treating HIV, infertility, diabetes, Leukemia, migraines, Spina Bifida and even all the way down to treating the common cold. Its very versatile.

In order to make root tea there are a few steps.

The roots

The roots

First, wash off the roots and remove all the dirt. Chop them up as small as you can. This may prove to be more difficult then it sounds. I suggest garden shears. Get them fairly small. Wash them again and spread them evenly on a baking sheet or pan and bake in the oven for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Let them cool and add a tablespoon to a cup of boiling water. Sweeten with honey/mint or anything you prefer.

Cleaned off

Cleaned off

Leaf tea-

Leaf tea can be used as a diuretic (helps you pee), to cleanse/detox your body and to prevent kidney stones and shrink the ones already built up. However, use caution when drinking leaf tea/eating the seeds as it can do more harm then good when your pregnant. They have been used as the morning after pill of ancient times. There are really no other contraindications.

In order to make leaf tea, dry the leaves in whatever method you like best. You can use the lowest setting on a dehydrator, or go the old fashioned way and tie them upside down to dry. I like the latter because it looks pretty in your kitchen. Once they are dry just use as a tea and let the leaves steep for 20 minutes before drinking.

My leaves drying

My leaves drying

Happy picking!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

*Disclaimer- I am not a doctor or a professional. Nor do I claim to be. Use caution when picking wild plants and DO NOT pick anything unless you are 100% certain you are picking the correct plant. If you have allergies to any of the plants I feature, do not use them. If you are worried about the medicinal effects of any of the plants featured, please consult your doctor or other health professional. Do your own research before deciding what is best for you. These statements are my own and medicinal plants are not generally FDA approved.*

This post was shared on Thank Your Body Thursday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday, Tuned-in Tuesdays and Wildcrafting Wednesdays!

Cooking with Honeysuckle!!

Depending where your located, you may have noticed that the honeysuckle is in full bloom!

Around here there’s hundreds and hundreds of bushes everywhere! Just in the short 10 minute drive to my fiance’s work, there’s probably 100 bushes.

If you’ve ever sucked the sweet insides out of a flower, you know honeysuckle is delicious. And seeing so much it this year, I knew I could make something yummy out of it. So I picked lots of flowers and created some pretty good stuff!

Freshly picked honeysuckle

Freshly picked honeysuckle

Honey Suckle Simple Syrup

Simple syrup can be used to sweeten anything liquid (its especially helpful with iced beverages because honey won’t stir in easily and sugar won’t stir in at all, generally). Simple syrup is simply sugar and water. So I made some flavored syrups that you could add to iced tea, lemonade, alcoholic beverages, pretty much anything you like.

Ingredients:

3 c. water

1 c. honeysuckle blossoms

2 c. organic unbleached sugar

(I believe you can use honey, if you want, but it lasts longer made with sugar. And since its sweet you use very little at a time. It’ll take us a long time to finish ours, so I used sugar)

Start off by picking off all of the little green ends and stems from the blossoms. Then, submerge them in water in either a glass or steel container and let them in the refrigerator over night.

Soaking in the fridge

Soaking in the fridge

The next day remove the blossoms and put them into a pint size mason jar.

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Take 2.5 c. of the water you soaked the blossoms in and put it in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add in the sugar and stir occasionally until it comes to a boil. It will become clear (well yellowish because of the honeysuckle and unbleached sugar) and thicker. Pour over the blossoms and let cool to room temperature.

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Remove the blossoms and that’s it!! =)

This recipe actually makes 2 pints of simple syrup. You could either make two jars full of honeysuckle syrup, or I put one jar honeysuckle and poured the rest of freshly cut spearmint leaves to make a honeysuckle mint syrup.

Honeysuckle syrup and spearmint syrup

Honeysuckle syrup and spearmint syrup

Honeysuckle Spearmint Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. honey

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour

1 c. oats

1/4 c. honeysuckle blossoms

1 tbsp. fresh, chopped spearmint leaves

Note: I used 1/4 c. spearmint and they were overly minty, so I’m thinking 1 tbsp. would be a good amount.

Preheat your oven to 350°

Combine everything in a big bowl. Mix thoroughly and roll into balls. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies are starting to get golden brown. And your done!

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Both these recipes and super yummy, so get picking!!

Just note that if you aren’t picking flowers on your own property, make sure your not picking them somewhere that doesn’t get sprayed with pesticides. I picked mine along a trail that I know doesn’t get sprayed. Also make sure you aren’t picking them right along side a busy road, they will be covered in exhaust fumes and gross road gunk.

I also soaked all the blossoms for both recipes in the same bowl overnight and used 3 cups of water on 2 cups of honeysuckle. Not that it makes that much difference, just what I did.

Happy picking!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Shared on Natural Living Monday, Tuned in Tuesdays , Party Wave Wednesday, and Simple Meals Friday!