Now it grows wild in my garden


It’s called Japanese Giant Red Mustard. At least that’s what the seed packet said all those years ago when I actually bought it. From then on it has self-seeded every year since. I do save seeds as well, and sprinkle them about just to be sure.

I like to use it on sandwiches, it tastes like dijon mustard in lettuce-leaf form.

I also like to use it in egg rolls. The easiest way to prep greens such as this mustard for egg rolls is to first have a large kettle of water at a simmer. Then be sure to wash the greens well, damp dry on a large towel, then lay the leaves flat on a cutting board, slicing into half-inch ribbons. Next, carefully put the greens into the water, stir, and remove from heat. Let blanch for one minute, them remove from the water and into a bowl using tongs or whatever, just so you don’t get scalded. Pour any water from the bowl. I like to thicken with just a bit of cornstarch or tapioca starch, season with lots of ginger root, black pepper, a few pinches of sugar, and a few glugs of soy sauce. Roll up into the egg roll skins according to package instructions, and deep fry to perfection. Honey mustard or wasabi paste is a great condiment.

These are one of my favorite spring/summer treats.

You might also notice a small dark red plant next to the mustard, it called Red Orach, sometimes called Mountain Spinach; if you look very closely, you’ll see it is an exact replica of the wild Lamb’s Quarters. It too comes up year after year, and I save it’s seeds also.

Comfrey in bloom

I just loved the spiraling floresence of these comfrey flowers… every day they are a-buzz with bees, mostly bumblebees, but honeybees as well. It reminds me how important flowers are in and around the garden. They provide nectar for the bees in between the times when those things we want pollinated, such as summer squash, aren’t flowering yet. I notice some colors attract hummingbirds more than others, such as red and yellow, but the bees like ’em all.
I’m also learning to use my camera better too!

Morel Mushroom Study 2010

Hope you have been finding some too. It’s an early season here, Rosey and I found some on Easter Sunday. We found these last week.
Here is a recipe from my book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary. It is very simple to prepare, and the richeness of the dish will be mitigated when you make your next journey hunting for more morels!

Morel Mushroom Gratin
1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice mushrooms into rings. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet to medium hot, and then add 2 tablespoons butter. Add mushrooms and briefly saute, then pour into a 9-inch glass pie pan. Pour cream over the mushrooms. Toss together bread crumbs, chives, thymes, and the melted butter in a bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the mushrooms and cream, lightly pressing down to even the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

This is so-o-o-o good!

I might also add that when you’re out there looking for mushrooms, there might be other wonders of nature you might come across, flowers, mosses, lichens, various grasses… animals… insects… birds…
and those mushrooms are so-o-o-o good!