Friday, May 23, 2008

How about some Stinging Nettle Pie?

My friend Brenda is always telling me how she loves to cook with Stinging Nettles. She's also a fan of Molly Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook and she told me how she made the Spinach Ricotta Pie using Stinging Nettles in place of spinach. That was one recipe I hadn't tried yet, and I've had the book for over 15 years now!
I took a look at my spinach. Not many of the seeds germinated and then I haven't had a chance to weed it.

Then I took a look at all of the wild nettles we have growing in exhuberant abundance...

and I decided, what the heck! I recruited two gloved kids wearing pants & long-sleeves to help me pick 2lbs of stinging nettles for some pie.

They did a great job and avoiding getting stung. I unfortunately did brush up against the stingers...very reminiscent of a fire ant bite.

I soaked them in some vinegar water for about 10 minutes, rinsed them, then put them into the food processor. After they've been washed they don't seem to sting, so I was acutally able to put them in the food processor with bare hands. They recipe is really easy. I didn't have the needed 16oz of ricotta so I substituted with 16oz of tofu. All I did was saute one yellow onion, then set it aside. Chopped up 1 pound of stinging nettles in the food processor, then set it aside. Beat 3 eggs in a large bowl, added 1/2cup of grated organic cheddar cheese, 16oz of mashed up tofu, a little nutmeg, a little salt, a little pepper, the chopped up nettles, and the sauteed onion, and mixed it alltogether. Oh first you have to make the pie crust...super easy. 1.5cups flour in a food processor with 6 tbls. chopped up butter, turn processor on to blend floor & butter, then while processor is running add about 4-6 tbsp of cold water until you get a dough consistency. Then I just dump the dough into a greased (I use butter) pie pan and form the crust. Then I just put the bowl of mixed nettles & stuff into the crust and bake at 375F for 45minutes.

The stinging nettles are very aromatic and the pies looked and smelled delicious when they came out of the oven.

This is their second piece of pie.

Kyle could have (would have) eaten the whole pie if I had let him, but I cut him off after 2 pieces and told him he could eat some apples if he was still hungry.
The kids and I are traveling to Winnipeg, MB with my parents today for a week. I pushed myself to get my 41 tomato plants planted and I repotted my butternut squash, muskmelons, pie pumpkins, pickling cucumbers, and Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins into larger's still too cold to transplant them outside.

Tom tilled up the garden for me and I made two 4'x24' raised beds (not framed). I need to put a ton of mulch down the walking rows, so my beds don't crumble, but that will have to wait until I get back. I used scrap wood and sticks for my tomato stakes. I did have a couple of cages.

Tom helped me move this masively heavy railroad-tie looking piece of thick lumber that our neighbor gave us. This sucker was like 10" thick and nearly 12' long. It took us 1/2 the day to move from the upper front yard to the lower back garden using a truck and a dolly (we also cleaned up a lot of junk in between).

You can see it along the left side of the above raised bed. This bed is 4'x12'. I love the railroad tie because it provides a nice place to sit when I weed.
Well I'd better get packing!

Monday, May 19, 2008

La Crosse Children's Museum

Last week the kids had a dental visit in La Crosse, so we decided to make a day of it and went to the La Crosse Children's Museum before the dentist. It's been about 3 years since our last visit to this museum. No new exhibits and there were A LOT of missing items from the old exhibits.

The play gas station/convenience store was missing over 80% of the "fun" stuff that it previously stocked.

The kids still loved it and we stayed two hours. I read my Yoga Journal and relaxed...I never get to read my mags anymore. We arrived right at opening time, so for a long time we were the only ones in the place. Kyle had fun putting on a puppet show with a pig and a cat. (Not sure who the bored kid is & Reeve is in the background)

Kyle loves to put on a show.

The dentist was easy. R&K LOVE to go to the dentist...he has video games and gives out prizes. They can barely wait the 6 months to go again. Reeve had no cavities, but Kyle had "two areas of concern." Ugh! We're going back Tuesday to "fix" those areas.

We had a good weekend. Saturday morning we spent loading up the red truck & "White Hogan" with scrap metal from around the yard & house (tin cans/aluminum cans).

The kids love to go to the metal recyclery...complete with huge magnets & a car crusher. They're not picky about what you bring in, which is a very good thing for us.

They also pay $$...this load was kind of light (despite it's looks) and brought in a cool $70.

The pear tree had beautiful blossoms, but they're already gone & I didn't get a pic...bummer. The apple trees are starting to bloom...they smell soooo gooood!

Here's a pic I took after we recently had the old & dangerous barn bldgs's going to make for an awesome sled run next winter!