HARPERS FERRY – Creating a memorable meal is a natural when you select a range of tasty ingredients, some of them purchased at the supermarket (Swiss cheese), others raised on the farm (eggs) and then a few harvested from the great outdoors (wild greens and a dandelion garnish).
Kristen Dorsey is frequently asked for her recipe for a unique quiche made with eggs she raises on her small farm just outside Martinsburg as well as greens she picks in the wild.
Cups of wild greens unmarred by pesticides or herbicides also are the key ingredient in a sauté with bacon and pine nuts in a second recipe offered up by Dorsey, a herbalist and holistic healer who runs Divine Journeys.
The dishes are akin to the fare on the lineup at next month’s Wild Foods Weekend Retreat, a one-of-a-kind getaway in Harpers Ferry where participants will hike to find edible and medicinal greens, then see them transformed into a gourmet dinner and brunch by a local chef.
The main ingredient in Wild Weed Quiche: young dandelion leaves or other wild greens.
Wild Weed Quiche
2 packed cups, wild assorted greens (harvested from young plants prior to blooming)
1 cup spinach (roughly chopped)
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dry
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups milk
1 pie crust, baked
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
Violet and dandelion flowers for garnish
Pick a variety of wild greens from a place that has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. Choose from young dandelion greens, cleavers, chickweed, lambs quarter, mallow, young dock and the like.
Wash and roughly chop greens. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add oil and cook onion for about 10 minutes until soft and transparent. Add wild greens and spinach, cook for several minutes until wilted – you will lose a lot of volume. Add thyme (or other herb of choice) and cook another minute. Remove pan from heat.
In a bowl, beat eggs well and add milk. Spoon greens into the bottom of the pie crust. Add grated cheese on top. Pour in egg mixture. Bake in a 350-degree oven until done, about 40 minutes. Center of quiche should be just cooked.
Allow to cool until just warm. Serve with a garnish of violets and dandelion flowers.
Dorsey notes that the recipe also can be made without the cheese.
Wild & Domestic Greens Saute
1 bunch of wild dandelion greens, harvested from young plants prior to blooming
1 bunch of wild onion (slice bulb and white part of the stem; reserve stalks for soup or another use)
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 large bunch of domestic greens of choice: collards, kale, spinach, chard or beet
1 strip bacon
1 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
Harvest the wild greens from a place that has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. Wash and roughly chop all the greens.
Cook the bacon until crisp and pour off all but a spoonful of fat. Saute the wild and domestic onions in the oil over medium low heat until they start to become transparent and the edges are browning lightly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and saute another 1 to 2 minutes. Add all the greens and toss well to mix. Add 1 cup of stock, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until greens are soft, about 10 minutes for spinach, chard or other, softer greens; or 20 minutes for collards, kale or beet greens.
Stir the greens occasionally and add more stock as needed. Toast pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring often, until toasted a golden brown. Serve greens in a bowl with pine nuts on top.
For those who would prefer not to use bacon, Dorsey suggests substituting one tablespoon of cooking oil for the bacon fat needed to cook the onions. Olive oil, coconut oil or ghee all work fine, Dorsey said.
Divine Journeys is one of three local businesses working together on the May 4, 5 and 6 wild food event, happening on the grounds of For the Love of Children in Harpers Ferry. The weekend includes the hike led by Dorsey, meals and a cooking demonstration from Miriam Conroy – the chef who owns Gourmet on the Go in Harpers Ferry – plus a screening of an herb-themed film and the chance to indulge in weed beer, honey mead and herbal cordials.
The cost for the weekend varies, with a price tag of $150 for those who choose to camp out at FLOC, $190 for someone who prefers to stay in the FLOC lodge or lesser fees for those who want to just sign up for the hike or another individual event.
Details on the weekend may be found at www.divine-journeys.com or by contacting Dorsey by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (304-261-8157).