Wild leeks, aka ramps – Foraging for local food is always in season

Wild Leeks, (Allium tricoccum) also known locally as ramps, grow wild and fairly abundantly here in our Eastern Ontario woods. It’s a spring delicacy to look forward to each spring, easily harvested before the blackflies arrive, and prized for their culinary value because they’re versatile to cook with, and so very tasty!

Foraging food from the woods is a joy everyone should experience and leeks never disappoint! There are dozens of ways to cook and eat them.  From omelettes to pesto, soups, sandwiches, salads, or even pickled, and that’s just for a start, foodies are coming up with new ways to enjoy leeks all the time.

With that in mind, and after perusing through some food photos on Pinterest, I was intrigued by Hassleback potatoes enough to make them. Thought they’d be the perfect candidate for my leeks harvest, too.

I washed the harvest, chopped them up, squeezed some lemon juice on them and voila.. (see photo!). I stuffed the potatoes, which look like edible accordions, along with the baked chicken thighs, which were also stuffed with mushrooms, goat cheese and the rest of the ramps. Delicious!

If you don’t have access to leeks where you are, I am offering several tasty culinary goodies from my harvest at the store. We’ll have our own hand made, locally sourced and locally created herbal Vinegars and condiments available again this spring, while supplies last,  which offer a taste of these delightful plants.

With regards to the leek pesto I created, silly me forgot to take a photo. In any case, here’s an easy recipe (below) that anyone can do.  It is lovely drizzled all over fresh pasta or spread on some crusty baked bread. Nice as a dip or on salad, too!

The directions are similar to a basil pesto, but with a substitution of leeks. One could experiment and add both!

Ingredients:

  • Dozen leek leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (roasted)
  • (optional) 1/2 cup of fresh parsley

Combine in blender and mix to a smooth paste. Enjoy!

Happy foraging, but please note: Don’t take more than necessary from the wild. Take a few, but leave most behind. – Thank you!

Happy Earth Day to my fellow earthlings! #ED2017

Gaillardia aristata

Today is the day we celebrate our beautiful planet. Many of us participate in the health and well being of this tiny speck in the universe we call home. Be it animal, vegetable or mineral – we’re all connected!

Logic tells me that since there is only one Mother Earth, we all benefit, especially future generations if she’s respected and taken care of.

For this Earth day post I thought to offer a few suggestions, on what might seem like small things we can do in our own neck of the woods. When these good deeds are added up, we can all help save energy and help the environment.

Trout Lily

In honour of Earth Day, I happily spent some time in the garden. Was able to plant 2 types of heirloom peas, along with Russian red kale, and some other hardier heirloom veggies in our raised beds. It’s still a wee bit cool here in Haliburton County, but considering what day it is and that the sun was shining, having dirty fingernails seemed obligatory. 😉

So, really every day should be Earth Day!

  • Please don’t use pesticides or herbicides in the garden, ever!
  • Purchase products with less (or recyclable/recycled) packaging.
  • Turn lights/TV/computer off when not using them.
  • Use LED light bulbs
  • Plant flowers native to your area in the garden for pollinators and wildlife.
  • Build a composter
  • Shop locally & seasonally
  • Eat locally grown food, and grow your own!
  • Buy organic household products when you can.
  • Reduce/Reuse/Recycle
  • Feel free to add to this list..!

Happy Earth Day!

Early spring… gardening à la carte

Once the snow starts melting here in the Haliburton Highlands, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box.

If you’ll forgive me for pointing out the obvious, there’s no stopping spring, but seriously who would want to?!

Life in central Ontario Canada, (zone 4a to a Canadian & zone 3 to an American), means patiently observing (not always), and enjoying (always), other gardeners online progressions of this season.

Living vicariously might be another way of stating this!

For those of you who do live in milder climes, we’re playing catch-up here, (weather-wise), as most living in the rest of this continent, except of course those located farther north, have been experiencing growth in their plots for some time.

One of my yearly rituals, (as that’s exactly what this has become. but I’m likely not alone in this), is to inspect the garden once most of the ground is reviving from its snowy grip. Not only do I see what’s popping up, but it really offers me insight into any damage that may have occurred, not only from the force of winter itself, but any neighboring creatures who co-habitat the property.

Mostly I’m speaking of Voles, but that’s a blog post (rant) for another day!

Sharing here is two-fold – Interested like minds see what happening in this neck of the woods, and it’s a visual compendium to look back upon from year to year. I note any changes that have taken place throughout the property, and this also prompts me with ideas, (sometimes outrageous/unrealistic ones) on what I’d like to continue with/change this coming year.

Many bulbs are shooting up and the daffs are not in flower yet, but crocuses are strutting their stuff, as are the blue scilla.

I was happy to see the forsythia in flower. It didn’t seem happy last year so it was relocated it to a sunnier space. It’s currently rewarding me by way of golden blooms.

A tree partially fell down last year and as you can see, the woodpeckers were all over it! Looks a bit like a totem pole hewn by a beak. Perhaps a flowering vine of some sort will be well suited to that spot! Methinks it has ‘trellis’ written all over it.

In any case, this is yesterday’s garden tromp à la Wall Flower Studio, the garden, not the shop! Pending publishing this post, I shall be out the door for another adventure.

Was a glorious spring day here, and I’m hoping it was for you, too!