These recipes by Michele L. Bechtell accompany her story in the March/April issue of Lakelife. These easily found weeds are edible and nutritious.
WILD GREENS RAVIOLI
2 ½ oz. wild greens (chickweed, henbit leaves and flowers, wild violet leaves)
1 oz. wild garlic greens or chives
3 tbs. unsalted butter
Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
2 oz. ricotta cheese
2 oz. Parmesan
18 egg roll wrappers
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
SAUTE greens in 1 tbs. butter for 2 minutes until bright green and tender.
PROCESS greens, salt and pepper in blender.
COMBINE greens, ricotta, and Parmesan in large bowl.
ARRANGE 9 wrappers on work surface. Spoon four mounds of filling in a grid pattern on each wrapper. Trace a circle around each mound with a finger dipped in water. Top each of 9 wrappers with a second wrapper. Press to seal. Cut 36 ravioli.
BOIL a large pot of salted water. Add oil. Simmer ravioli 5 to 8 minutes al dente. Drain.
DRIZZLE with melted butter, Parmesan, and garnish of fresh greens or violet blossoms.
4 cups young Henbit shoots
3 tbs. butter
1 tsp. curry powder
2 whole cloves
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbs. flour
¾ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
SIMMER henbit covered in water for 10 minutes.
SAUTE butter, curry powder, cloves, cinnamon for 1 minute in separate medium soup pot.
WHISK in flour and simmer one additional minute. Add ½ cup boiling henbit water, whisking to smooth.
DRAIN henbit. Fold greens and sour cream into sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
WILD GREENS PESTO
3 cups chickweed, violet leaves, or henbit, chopped fine,
½ cup nuts- pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, or cashews
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs. lemon juice or zest of one lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan
PROCESS all ingredients in blender.
DRIZZLE in more olive oil to taste.
SERVE or freeze within 3 days.
NASTURIUM HOT SAUCE
1 cup packed nasturtium blooms harvested before noon
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tiny chili pepper, split
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 sterilized jars
STUFF flowers in jar.
ADD minced garlic, chili pepper halves, and vinegar. Shake to distribute.
STORE in cool dark place for one week. Shake each day.
STRAIN into second jar. Will keep for 6 months.
To serve: Use as any other hot sauce.
Use on biscuits, as sandwich spread, or on fish, chicken, or vegetables.
½ cup packed nasturtium petals
1 pinch salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
MASH flower petals with salt to form a paste.
COMBINE butter and mashed petals to combine.
WRAP in plastic, roll into log.
CHILL at least 30 minutes. Can be frozen.
VIOLET or DANDELION JELLY
Violet jelly features a lovely floral essence. Dandelion jelly features a delicate honey flavor.
2 cups fresh violet blossoms (lightly packed, de-stemmed) or dandelion blossoms ( stems removed and all green parts)
4 cups boiling water
4 cups white sugar
2 tbs. clear lemon juice for dandelions, ¼ c for violets
1 pkg. powdered pectin
PLACE blossoms in a heat-proof, non-reactive container such as stainless steel or glass.
POUR boiling water over petals. Cover and store at room temperature for 24 hours.
STRAIN nectar into saucepan. Add lemon juice.
ADD pectin and bring to boil.
STIR in sugar and return to boil for 2 minutes.
REMOVE from flame, stir and skim.
PROCESS in canning jars as usual.
Note: If your water is hard, use distilled water.
Option: Skip the pectin and lemon juice and make simple syrup to flavor sparkling water, vodka or gin or freeze to make sorbet or granita.