Roots1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.21.16 Bitters/Sweets

How about we start with the sweet and move on to the bitter? Nothing would please me more than being able to send every one of you who commented a bag of my caramels, but I just can't swing it this year. (The postage alone is prohibitive!) But I do have three bags and they are going out to randomly selected Diane, Teresa and Jack. (I will email you separately to get your snail mail addresses.) Thank you to all for sharing your beautiful traditions and thoughts on celebrating at this time of year. I am very moved by how thoughtful and graceful you are and feel lucky that I am part of this ad hoc community.

 

And now, for the bitter. Or, actually, bitters—a new project of mine. I gathered a number of roots late this fall and decided to make a few different varieties of bitters. (If you'd like to learn more about how I got into foraging, here is I piece I wrote for a recent issue of Edible.) My witchy work is still in progress...


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Tagged — foraging
Barn 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife (except this one by bette blau)

11.1.16 Legends of the Fall

 

We saw leaves go to glory,

Then almost migratory

Go part way down the lane,

And then to end the story

Get beaten down and pasted

In one wild day of rain.

 

So wrote Robert Frost, in his poem "November." And to be sure, we've had those days here. On the heels of a killing frost last week came a smattering of snow that turned into icy rain before ushering in warmer days. A little green still clings on in the garden, as you can see above. I just harvested lots of mint and sage, both of which are drying now and will be used in my big batch of garden tea: lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, anise hyssop, scented geranium, lavender, sage, chamomile, calendula and rose petals.

 

Dear friends and supporters, if you have not yet heard, I have relinquished my role in Fish &  Bicycle. The official language is this: 

 

Laura Silverman is leaving Fish & Bicycle to pursue other projects. She is proud to have helped create the vision and fully endorses Juliette Hermant as she brings this much-needed Catskills venture to life.

 

It's all true and yet says nothing of my heartache. I fear disappointing you, but I trust you to extend your kindness and compassion when I need it most. I hope whatever other projects I pursue allow me to do the things I love and share them with you.


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Tagged — foraging
Drupes1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

8.3.15 Cool-Ade

There's a very particular satisfaction to be had from eating wild things. The connection to nature, the bold (if largely misguided) sense of self-sufficiency and the discovery of new flavors all add up to a deeply enriching experience. If you've never ventured into the fields and forests in search of a delicious morsel—wild blackberries! fiddleheads! oyster mushrooms!—you're missing something very primal. Fear can hold us back, but stop for a moment to ponder that. We come from nature and it is only there that we are truly in our element. Let knowledge dispel ingorance and find your way back to the wilderness. I will lure you off the beaten path with a couple of easily identified wild treats.


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Tagged — foraging
Bolete 790 xxx
iPhotos by gluttonforlife

7.28.15 Mycelium Is Better Than Yours

When the weather is rainy and the woods become damp and funky, I hear the siren song of the mushrooms. They beseech me to venture deep into the understory on a thrilling quest full of promise. A good day means they are everywhere, in so many guises—popping up alongside the path, jutting out from tree trunks, spreading on the underside of rotting logs. They are red and brown and purple and neon yellow. I've always been a good spotter, known for my eagle eye, but I chock it up to a very simple technique: I seek out anomalies in the landscape. I soften or almost blur my vision, allowing my eye to catch upon whatever sticks out as different in the vast sameness. Along this journey, I absorb the deep stillness of the trees; hear the melancholy song of the wood lark; follow old trails and trace new ones; and feel a rich peace settle over me, a profound sense of contentment to be out in the natural world, where beauty knows no bounds.


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Tagged — foraging
Cookies1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

6.24.14 Freshly Minted

As soon as you can start eating out of your own garden, do. That connection between your hands and the earth—quite literally the fruits of your labor—is immensely satisfying. If all you can have is a couple of potted tomato plants on your fire escape, or a window box full or herbs, that is already plenty. I heard some chef talking recently about how one of the most important things he learned from Thomas Keller was to snip herbs from the garden right before adding them to a dish. They carry a special freshness and intensity of flavor. Right now I can step outside and have chervil, basil, chives, tarragon, rosemary, summer savory, cilantro, Vietnamese cilantro, parsley, dill, lovage, shiso, lemon balm, lemon verbena and several kinds of mint at my fingertips. That sounds like bragging, doesn't it? And what does any of it have to do with chocolate cookies?
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Tagged — foraging
Fawn 790 xxx
photo by george billard (others by gluttonforlife)

5.30.14 May Hot Links (& a Creature Feature)

We drove over the Delaware River to Pennsylvania last weekend for a wild foods dinner at a friend's house (read all about it here) and on a pre-dinner stroll through the lush forest came upon this newborn fawn in all its vulnerable perfection. This incomparable moment of woodland beauty brought tears to my eyes. The mother, scared off by our approach, had run away, leaving this tiny creature curled up under some ferns to await her return. We kept our distance, but G tiptoed just close enough to get this sweet portrait.

Despite mainly cool temperatures, spring has finally arrived upstate and we are surrounded by the tender green of new life at long last. My tree peony has bloomed and the irises are about to pop. The hummingbirds have returned to the feeder and the yard is full of catbirds, whose glorious song never ceases to amaze. (Listen to an example, below.) A bear touched its nose to the screen on the window behind our bed where a birdfeeder hangs, instantly rousing us from sleep. We found our first morel, our first ramp and our first fiddleheads ever! Nature is suddenly full of food. 

Scroll down to see some photos from my Instagram feed (follow along @LauraSilverman) that capture the recent state of my world, and keep going to discover the latest links I've been saving for you.
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Tagged — foraging
Soup 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

5.7.14 Wild Green Yonder

If food is fuel, don't you want to be powered by something that looks this amazingly alive and vibrant? Are you willing to go further afield to nourish yourselves in all the extraordinary ways you deserve? Foraging is one practice that brings you so much more than food. It's a wonderful way to get outside, connect to nature and discover the abundance that is available to all of us. One of the very first wild plants to emerge in spring, and one of the most commonly found in meadows, parks and fields, is the nettle. It's a little dangerous, as anyone who has ever tried to pick it without gloves on knows. But, like most prickly characters, with a little understanding and the proper care, it reveals its better qualities. Before you know it, nettles become putty in your capable hands.
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Tagged — foraging
Field garlic1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.23.14 Further Afield (& April Hot Links)

Driving home last night on dark, rain-slicked country roads, we saw the ultimate confirmation that spring is here. Every year, on a wet, foggy night in April, there is a frog exodus. I'm not quite sure where they are going—from one part of the woods to another? from the pond to the marsh?—but they inevitably cross our road en masse (and, sadly, not all of them make it). Now we will hear them getting down to business in the damp nether regions of the forest, and soon we will see the jellied masses of their eggs in the vernal pools, brooks and streams. In the garden there are other signs of spring: the first tentative pink sprouts of my peonies; delicate green leaves and buds on the lilac bushes; my beloved lovage unfurling; a few tender leaves of sorrel. And further afield there are some wild edibles to be found if you're ready, willing and able.
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Tagged — foraging
Unsheathed 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.23.14 Armed & Dangerous (& January Hot Links)

I know you're probably expecting more posts about the Oaxaca trip, and I promise those are forthcoming, but my re-entry has been a little wobbly so I'm trusting you'll bear with me. Yesterday was my birthday and the evening before I hosted a "suprise" dinner party that was the final celebration of G turning 50 earlier this month. I use the quotation marks because evidently I am not as sneaky and clever as I thought. Anyway, it was a fantastic multi-course meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar that culminated with beautifully tender and crisply lacquered rotisserie ducks presented with Bibb lettuce, scallion pancakes and all the trimmings. (Incidentally, if you live in New York, the "large format" dinners that Momofuku offers are a great value and a marvelous way to dine with a big group.)

My own birthday celebration was a bit quieter, though I was inundated with love and good wishes (especially on Facebook - one great reason to join) and I was treated to a delicious lunch at the new Gotham West Market. More on that later, as well as details on my favorite present, featured above, and an assortment of links for you to explore and enjoy.
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Tagged — foraging
Leaves 790 xxx
iphotos by gluttonforlife

9.30.13 Into the Woods (& a GiveAway!)

Fall has arrived, right on schedule. The nights are crisp and clear, making for excellent sleeping weather. We like the windows open and the duvet pulled up around our ears. The days feature those intensely blue high-pressure skies, a perfect showcase for the brilliant hues of the turning leaves. The woods beckon, still fresh and mossy, with pockets of green and the promise of mushrooms. I want nothing more than to be outside right now...unless I am curled up in front of the fire, feet toasty and a good book open in my lap, a cocktail close at hand. The pantry is stocked, the freezer is full and I am holding fast to these last days before the weather turns.
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Tagged — foraging
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