Wild Food Lab is a collaboration between Transitional Gastronomy and Urban Outdoor Skills.
We forage what's available seasonally and then both research and test how each ingredient was used in the past, as well as experiment and create new methods and means of utilizing these wild ingredients.
The result is wild cuisine that's interpreted for today's palate with a modern culinary perspective.
Preserved lemon rinds, yucca shoots preserved erberry wine syrup and yucca blossom jam.
Fragrant, perfumy lemon balm from the garden..101 uses.
My loveable other half, master food preserver and goofball with yucca shoots in elderberry wine syrup.
Young yucca shoot before harvesting.
The beautiful yucca blossoms. Hint of floral and not bitter if you harvest them early.
Harvested yucca shoot.
How to use the yucca shoot.
Gorgeous yucca blossom jam colored with beet juice, very traditional. Made by Pascal Baudar.
Flaky hot from the oven, but I had to eat a piece. Creamy center - lovely with the vanilla and lemon balm.
Light dessert, not too sweet. Suprise chunks of yucca shoot preserved in elderberry wine syrup inside.
Dive in there! Here it is with some candied orange rind and yucca blossom jam.
Greek-inspired galaktoboureko filled with a lemon balm semolina custard and yucca preserves.
Wild passion fruit season is upon us!
I cooked passtion fruit skins in a simple syrup at soft thread temp for 45 min until translucent..then dried in dehydrator.
Wild passionfruits...the big flavor is in the seeds, but you can coax it our of the skins, too.
Beautiful mix of red, golden and black wild currants.
Pascal has his own methods of preserving them.
Preserving the wild currants.
Wild currant jam...sometimes there's nothing better on toast, but I love it as an ingredient.
Mini-tarts filled with coconut milk/chia seed custard, wild currant preserves and coconut and kiwi salad.
Chocolate tuile filled with coconut cream, wild currant coulis with kiwis.
Assembling dessert for our sunset foraging diners.
Awesome B-day group of diners.
23 - 23
The Sweeter Side of Wild: Dessert Stories
I will admit that if on a deserted island I would not choose dessert. Fact. However, lately I've been coming back around and realizing all the possibilities our local, wild forages have for the sweeter side of wild. Plus, I'm not a classically trained pastry chef, so I definitely want to learn from this new curiosity, too.
A new friend who's a forager and chef in Greece inspired me with all of his beautiful, hand stretched phyllo creations. I wish I could do that, but I'm not quite there yet. Thank goodness there's a great middle eastern market that has fresh phyllo near us.
I'm fascinated with Greek pastry because it borders on savory with the cheeses they use in them and because they are so natural and not too sweet. I also am sitting on a ton of Pascal's preserved yucca products including yucca shoots preserved in an Elderberry wine syrup (yes, yes...it's unreal and incredible, he's amazing) as well as some yucca blossom preserves, colored with beet juice that he made using traditional middle eastern methods. AND, we have some garden lemon balm that's begging to be used in an unusual way. I love lemon balm because, although it's in the mint family, it's much more subtle and very perfumely at the back of the palate. It just rounds out sweet dishes with a little mystery. So here's what I did...
Greek-inspired galaktoboureko filled with a lemon balm semolina custard and yucca preserved in Elderberry wine syrup. Yucca blossom jam and candied orange rinds on top.
Before you say "this sounds Greek to me," the recipe is pretty easy. The real kudos go to the Master Food Preserver of the household, Pascal Baudar. Without his preserves, brews and wines, I couldn't make half the things I do. Check out his site, UrbanOutdoorSkills.com here. He teaches modern and old world preservation techniques. But, back to the recipe - again, easy peasy.
Galatobureko with semolina custard
3 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
A little less than 3/4 cup fine semolina flour
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon balm
1 vanilla pod, split
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
Beat the eggs and sugar together until frothy and the sugar granules are dissolved. Set aside in a bowl.
In a saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla pod and lemon balm until just scalding and then whisk in the semolina over medium heat until it thoroughly combined and starts to thicken very slightly. Very similar to making a polenta, really.
Temper the hot milk/semolina mixture into the eggs/sugar a little at time (you don't want scrambled eggs). Return the mixture to the pot and stir over low heat until it thickens considerably (think pancake batter). After it thickens, add the butter and lemon juice and mix mix mix. Remove the vanilla pod. Then LET IT COOL. IMPORTANT.
On a silpat, roll out each sheet of phyllo (work quickly and cover any unused phyllo with a wet paper towel or clean,damp dishtowel). Brush butter between each layer and build until you have 10 layers (it has to hold the custard). Much like a jelly roll, fill/spoon the mixture at the bottom1/8 of your sheet, stud with the perserved yucca shoots and roll. You are then going to curl the roll into a coil on the silpat, brush the top with butter and then bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes or until golden brown (I love saying that!).
While it was hot, I brushed some of the elderberry wine syrup over the coil, sprinkled some candied orange rinds (would have used lemon if I had them) and gave it a dollop of yucca blossom jam.
The semolina custard is firm yet creamy at the same time and not too sweet. It's an almost spongey texture that's lovely with the crispy, flaky dough and it just soaks up any lovely preserves you may have on hand.
Enjoy with your favorite preserves...and oh...don't forget the lemon balm. It really did add something - another dimention of flavor beyond just, well...vanilla.
I included some pics of other sweet wild things that will hopefully inspire your inner pastry chef. Feel free to share your recipes with wild foods...I'm eternally inspired by all the creative foragers and chefs online!