Improvisational Cooking ~ Play With Your Plants!

It’s still chill and damp here on our island in the Pacific Northwest, but spring is more apparent everyday.  I can’t help but pluck off leaves of my friends in greeting!  That may sound very strange, but Dandelion, Nettles, Cleavers, and Indian Plum don’t seem to mind.

As I taste my friends in hello, the light bitterness of the young Dandelion leaf, the sharp cucumber of the Indian plum leaf, the dark, earthy mineral nature of Nettle, my mind darts to the next meal I’m to prepare.  At this time of year I go crazy-happy coming up with ways to infuse our family’s parade of meals with my spring friends.

My family is not as adventurous with plants as I am, so I go into stealth-mode when I bring in the forest greens as a spring tonic zing.  Not that I lie or try to hide the plants.  I just realize that chopping up the herbs I’ve just gathered and infusing them in half a jar of just boiled water might be the more “easy-to-digest” way (so to speak) that my family might enjoy the greens.  I’m making a chicken noodle soup tonight, but as part of the soup base I’ll be squeezing those greens in a while, to make sure as much goodness as possible goes into the infusion.  Then I’ll strain the liquid to add to my soup at the end of its cooking time.

Will my family accept this zip of green-spirit vitality in their chicken noodle soup?  My guess is yes — if I’ve intuited “just enough”.

Next time I might puree the greens and mix them in, seeing if I can take our plant adventure further.

But today I’ll play it light, and gauge the response.

Bon apetit!

How will you play with plants today?


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