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Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘Intaba

Stinging Nettles: Yes, You Can Eat Them

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These vivid green common nettles are easy to spot, with their two oppositional leaves.

What a difference it makes to actually forage for nettles at the start of the season, as opposed to last spring when they were starting to undesirably go to seed. Foraging with Chef Intaba by the river in Willamette Park last Saturday, I was also much more confident in identifying the green stalks and didn’t confuse them with young blackberry leaves. I also came prepared with my tough purple kitchen gloves and thick rubber boots, the better to wade into the brambles. We snapped off just the young top nettle leaves, so hopefully they will replenish themselves over the next month. The picked raw leaves, which when blanched or steamed are like a sweet, more fibrous spinach, smelled like chlorophyll-laden green pepper in my bag. And when you steam them up, you can drink the remaining detoxifying green-black tea, supposedly good for your complexion and urinary tract. It’s vegetal and slightly sweet.

A good nettle patch: the green really stands out against the backdrop of brown leaves.

With the blanched, chopped leaves, I made a quinoa and bulgur greek salad and a spanikopita-like lasagna, with feta, ricotta, chopped nettle and dill for the filling. See other nettle recipe suggestions here and on Culinate here. I hear they make a good soup, with potatoes. Deborah Madison has a recipe that looks nice. But I think I’ll only get the urge to forage for nettles about once a season. I still prefer domestically-cultivated greens, such as kale and spinach. But foraging is a lot easier, and in some ways more rewarding, than gardening. Here’s to next year, Intaba!

Master forager Chef Intaba picked bagfuls.

Written by baltimoregon

February 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Off the Wagon, with Homemade Pasta, Bread and Beer

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Homemade Pasta by Chef Intaba at Fireworks Restaurant.

Told you the gluten-free thing wouldn’t last. This weekend, I indulged in yeasty bread, Block 15 beer (including a sweet-tart, heady, Belgian-style “Cherry Quad,” with 11 percent alcohol) and homemade pasta from Chef Intaba. She had scraps from her manicotti shells she couldn’t use, which made perfect eggy and soft, makeshift lasagna sheets. Though they didn’t hold their shape or get those crispy edges, they still made an easy Swiss Chard Lasagna, perhaps my favorite vegetarian lasagna recipe. Blanching imparts the chard with a sweetness, while it still stands up more sturdy than spinach, with none of the bitter taste of other greens.

Definitely feel a bit more distress in the belly as it tries to digest wheat again. I hope avoiding gluten doesn’t make it even more painful for the body to break down once you resume consumption. You know, how vegetarians throw-up upon eating meat after years of abstention. Everything in moderation–the middle path–that’s me.

Fall apart Swiss chard lasagna: don't judge it on the looks!

Started with a Salad: Yummy Kimchi-Marinated Apples with Arugula and maple yogurt, ala David Chang.

Written by baltimoregon

January 18, 2010 at 1:28 am

Hello Challah

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dsc02338dsc02346Never expected I’d be invited to help make challah here in Corvallis, where it first appeared to be an exotic delicacy. But Chef Intaba knows I want to beef up my baking skills, so she invited me to come by the restaurant last night to help her out.

Let’s just say a six-braid challah should be left up to the pros. It was like complicated knitting. So we each did a three-braid (just like doing hair) and stuck the two together for the second loaf (on the right). Great trick, huh? I’m not sure what dough recipe Intaba used, but it had citrusy accents from orange zest. Could you add vanilla too? I like it a bit on the sweet side. Anyone have a good challah recipe to share?

Before challah braiding, I made my own Mediterranean pesto, feta, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, Kalamata pizza, which Intaba showed me how to roast in Firework’s outdoor clay oven. She also made a spectacular Viennese Jewish pear, walnut and poppy seed pastry tart, substituting Oregon pears for the apples the recipe called for.


Written by baltimoregon

March 28, 2009 at 1:37 am

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