For a story on Greek phyllo pies in the March/April 2012 issue of the magazine, our writer forages for wild greens called horta. What indigenous foods have you discovered while traveling? And how do you recreate the experience once home again?
Posted on Dec 13, 2011
In Oaxaca recently, we discovered an herb called hierba santa. They wrap it around cheese and grill it, they put it in tlayudas and quesadillas. It's delicious, and we'd never had it before. When we came home we promptly ordered seeds, and are hoping that the San Francisco climate will be kind to them.
Posted Dec 13, 2011Add a comment
I just looked hierba santa up--sounds like a lovely flavor that might go well with sweet foods as well as with savory foods. Hope it grows for you!
Posted on Dec 22, 2011
After years of traveling through the Mediterranean region I developed an envy of the wild foods that cover the mountainsides. The scents of wild herbs that I inhaled while walking through the meadows and mountains on Crete are an indelible memory of my time there. But I have discovered plenty of 'horta' practically in my own back yard in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the spring and summer, I gather dandelion, Guter Heinrich (a wild spinach), burning nettles, bishop's weed, and numerous other greens for my German version of horta. I use these herbs in soups, frittatas, or pasta dishes. I also gather elder flowers, a cultivated plant that has naturalized throughout Europe and North America. I dip the flower clusters in pancake batter, fry them until brown and crisp, and serve them with butter and jam for a meatless dinner. Or, I make a simple syrup and steep the blossoms for several days and then bottle it for use throughout the year. And how do I use it? To make a popular aperitif, the Hugo, which combines elder flower syrup with Prosecco!
Posted Dec 20, 2011Add a comment
Hi, Derk. When I was in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil, I ate an acaraje sandwich just about every day. There are stands all over the city (and two were outside my hotel) with Bahian women selling these fabulous concoctions. Black-eyed peas are smashed and then fried in palm oil and stuffed with vatapa, a spicy shrimp paste, tiny shrimp and a salad of lettuce and tomatoes. I've not dared to try and make it at home - I'd prefer to wait until I go back!
Posted Dec 19, 2011Add a comment
I WWOOF'd for a month in Apulia, Italy on an organic olive farm during the months of the olive harvest. Hard, tedious work that was absolutely magical! Learned a ton about the old Italian varieties, some of the trees on the farm were more than 500 years old.
I returned to N. California and led several olive workshops--how to harvest, cure olives and press oil. There is a grove of olive trees in the foothills outside of Los Altos that had been planted by Spanish missionaries from Santa Clara--we harvested those ancient trees for a community olive pressing (sponsored by a Sonoma-county commercial olive mill). Friends & I picked 500 pounds of olives to make 20 quarts of our own olive oil.
Ah, there is something about the aroma & feel of olive trees, perhaps a very old genetic memory. Had there been no olives, could there ever have been a Western Civilization?
Posted Jan 08, 2012Add a comment