Cardoons, salsify, odd greens, beans and other veggies are my specialty: If it is not likely on a typical produce counter, then it’s probably in my garden. You can get many of these odd vegetables at good farmer’s markets, and of course you can grow your own. Linked below are some sources for seeds and sets.
NOTE: I do indeed have some recipes for “regular” garden vegetables, and they are here, too.
Root Vegetable Ragu with Polenta
A hearty Italian ragout made with all kinds of root vegetables, from the unusual to the mundane. It’s a great late winter-early spring dinner when served with polenta.
Fiddleheads Stir Fry with Pork
Fresh fiddleheads stir-fried simply with slices of pork or chicken and some wild onions. Easy and great!
How to Eat Cholla Buds
Cholla is a cactus in the Southwest with flower buds that are fantastic – they taste like artichoke hearts. Here’s how to prepare them.
A subtle risotto made from cardoons, which are an ancient relative of the artichoke.
My go-to dish for cardoons. If you only learn one recipe for cardoons, this is it.
Crosnes and Peas
No these are not grubs. They are a small, crunchy tuber called crosnes — pronounced like the old woman — Chinese artichokes or betony (there’s a wild relative of this plant that grows in Florida).
Squash Soup with Bacon
Butternut or kabocha squash soup. Pretty mundate, eh? My version is made with bacon which gets pureed with everything else.
Japanese Seaweed Salad
Yes, you can make your own seaweed salad, from foraged seaweeds you can find on any North American shore. Here’s how to do it.
Pasta made with dried, powdered kelp. It has a pretty green color and a lightly briny flavor that goes well with seafood.
Call it strattu, estrattu or conserva, just don’t call it tomato paste. It’s much, much better.
Drying Tomatoes Without an Oven
Sacramento has hot, dry summers. Perfect for drying tomatoes without the need of an oven.
Meatless Spaghetti Sauce
This is my go-to tomato sauce with fish. It’s also a winner as a summertime pasta sauce.
Fennel is one of the garden’s most versatile plants. Here’s how to use every part of it.
Sorrel Soup, French Style
I grow sorrel in my garden, but it is also a common wild edible. Both kinds work well in my version of Julia Child’s classic French soup.
A traditional French sorrel sauce with cream and a little white wine — it’s perfect with fish or poultry.
Oyster! Oyster! Oyster!
This is one of my favorite dishes. Oyster mushrooms, oyster plant — salsify — and actual oysters.
Cooking Fresh Fava Beans
How to grow, harvest and process your own fresh fava beans.
The first recipe I posted to this website, back in 2007. It’s still my favorite winter soup.