Earlier this year, I went on a hike with a group of strangers and foraged for wild foods. It was a group activity that I discovered on Meetup.com and decided to go. It was in Sylmar in this terribly difficult to find equestrian area. It’s technically a park I think, but there are a ton of people who ride horses there and every now and again there seems to be some sort of small horsing event.
The hike was led by this interesting Frenchman with a pretty long knife. He taught us how to find:
Wild Radishes & Radish Blossoms
Wild Mustard Greens & Mustard Flowers
Elderflowers & Elderberries (later in the season)
Cattails (parts of which are edible)
Hemlock (to avoid)
Willow (for aspirin/pain relief tea)
Horehound (you can make a cough drop from this)
So we walked around for a few hours picking this stuff. You have to have gloves or some kind of protection for your hands before touching stinging nettles. I never even knew they were edible, but turns out they are really delicious after they’ve been cooked. You can collect as much of anything as you want and the Frenchman, and all those willing, go sit down and prepare and eat some of this stuff after the hike. I sampled some Stinging Nettle Pesto, Nettle & Potato soup, Pickled Cattail and various other little treats. I also got a big basket full of different wild goodies.
When I got home, I had no idea what to do with them. I had seen a recipe on Veganize It…Don’t Criticize it for a pizza with mushrooms and edible flowers. I decided to do a take on that pizza and make something special. I used an herb infused dough for the crust rather than Jenn’s crust recipe, but went ahead with her San Marzano Port Wine Tomato Sauce and vegan Mascarpone recipe. I used cremini mushrooms, as I couldn’t find chanterelles or any other wild mushrooms at Whole Foods–& there wasn’t a suitable farmer’s market with a good mushroom guy for a couple of days. I topped off the pie with wild radish pods, radish blossoms and wild mustard flowers. All three have a fresh, beautiful, yet subtly spicy flavor. They are full of awesome.
Someone needs to work on their circle making abilities! For some reason I am horrible at shaping things. Sigh. What is the deal with that? Answering my own question, I guess it’s because I need to take a little more time when I do things. But when you’ve been cooking for hours because you insist on making everything from scratch, when you get to the assembly part, you have ants in your pants. You know that’s the last step before the oven and then straight into your mouth (burns aside). I just need that last bit of patience. Anyhow, I really loved this pizza. It had some amazing flavors happening and I am a huge fan of Jenn’s sauce recipe.
On a semi-related note, one of my other favorite cheese-less pizzas are these:
I would post the recipe for the Creme Fraiche (la la la, ho ho hoooo fraiche!), but who knows where on my computer that is?! If you want to do something similar, make a tofu ricotta and add garlic and fresh oregano. The crust and toppings are super easy. A little repetitive with both leeks and onions, so feel free to leave out the onion if you prefer. Tempeh bacon and radicchio love one another ( I have a risotto recipe involving those two for you all soon) and these are pretty good little pizzas.
And speaking even more on cheese-less pizzas I can’t forget this amazing lil gem from Chef Chloe. I have a Garlic-White Bean Dip recipe remarkably similar to hers, which is so, so, sooooo good. This whole pizza is soooo good! The only changes I make are using homemade whole wheat crust and my own dip recipe. Do try and get the Honeycrisp apples and don’t sub them out for another kind. Honeycrisp apples taste so good they could have only been placed here on Earth by a magical apple god.