Tag Archives: foraging

recipe goodness :: wild pokeweed and field garlic breakfast tart

Wild Pokeweed and Field Garlic Breakfast Tart

Wild Pokeweed and Field Garlic Breakfast Tart

After my foraging tour with Leda Meredith through Prospect Park, I came home with a bag full of wild treasures and the conviction that I could turn these “weeds” into something mmmm-inducing. I’ve never trampled through a field before and then thought the greens below my feet would make for a tasty meal {not a common thought for a New Yorker}. But I’ve come a long way after a mere two hours with Leda — and am now emboldened to cook with ingredients found a few feet from a park bench. For those of you who don’t plan to take up foraging anytime soon, or don’t have access to a forage-friendly plot of land, I’ve included suggested recipe substitutions to these wild cousins. And let me just say, this recipe exceeded my wildest expectations — it’s a start-your-morning-right winner.

Field Garlic, Pokeweed Leaves and Shoots

Field Garlic, Pokeweed Leaves and Shoots

Wild Pokeweed and Field Garlic Breakfast Tart
Serves 6-8 | Crust recipe from Tamar Adler’s Everlasting Meal

Rustic Olive Oil Tart Crust:
2  1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup+ cold water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Tart Filling:
6 farmers’ market large eggs
6-8 pokeweed shoots, chopped {use asparagus as a substitution}
Small handful of garlic shoots, chopped {chives as a substitution}
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
6 oz greek yogurt or labne

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dough together and separate into two separate balls of dough. Add a little extra cold water at a time if the dough is crumbling and not coming together.
  2. Form each half into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge or freezer to chill while you prepare the greens, about 30-45 minutes.
  3. Rinse all your wild greens thoroughly and remove any dry ends or pieces. Roughly chop the pokeweed stalk and leaves into 1-2 inch pieces. {Note: Pokeweed is best enjoyed early Spring when the plant is a single shoot. Avoid eating with the pokeweed branches out and turns dark magenta as it will become toxic at this stage}.
  4. Finely chop the garlic shoots.
  5. Heat a generous pour of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat cook all the greens until wilted and tender. Remove from the heat and squeeze with lemon, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. Roll one of the discs on a floured surface to fit the shape of your pan {save the other for another time}. I used a rectangular tart pan, but a pie dish will work too. Press the crust into all the corners of the dish you select so the bottom is completely covered in dough. I had to borrow some more dough from the second disc, so do what you gotta do to make it work for you. You can keep the remaining dough in the freezer for a future midweek tart.
  7. Pierce the dough all over with a fork, then lay a piece of foil loosely over the dough. Place pie weights, dry beans or a smaller glass baking dish on the dough to keep it from rising. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. While the dough is baking beat all your eggs in a bowl with half of the yogurt and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Remove the par-baked tart from the oven. Remove the weights and foil and spread the greens across the dough. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the tart and dollop the remaining yogurt evenly spaced on top of all the ingredients.
  10. Bake 20 minutes or until egg is set and firm to the touch.
  11. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt, slice, serve and thank me later!
Delightful Rustic Olive Oil Tart Crust from Tamar Adler

Delightful Rustic Olive Oil Tart Crust from Tamar Adler

The Simplest Ingredients, Make the Happiest Meals

The Simplest Ingredients, Make the Happiest Meals

Other Eggs-ellent Breakfast Winners:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
How to Cook the Perfect Poached Egg {with Ramp Butter!} 


Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Do This!: Foraging for Food is F’ing Fun {in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with Leda}

Leda Meredith's Foraging Tour in Prospect ParkNo, no, I’m not going to start living off the grid and shorning sheep to make my own clothes. But I did learn a very valuable lesson that foraging for wild edibles is not only fun and fairly easy once you know how to ID certain plants, but it also saves you the $12 /lb price that you would otherwise pay at the farmers’ market for these prolific wilds.  After a lovely two hour foraging SideTour with enthnobotonist and locavore expert, Leda Meredith, I came away with some great knowledge and edible treasures that I plan to do something spectacular with this week. Pokeweed and Field Garlic Tart anyone?

Interested in digging for edible gold?

Sign-up for Leda’s next Foraging Tour Here

So, first things first, some rules to abide by when foraging in public spaces like Central Park or Prospect Park:

  • There is no law against foraging, but there are laws against damaging park property, so don’t start cutting down trees and foraging for park benches.
  • There are laws against walking with gardening tools — keep your shovel at home!
  • You’re not supposed to take things out of the park. That said, there are numerous invasive, prolific plants that the park hires people to weed out, many of which are edible. This is where you come in. A new meaning to “will work for food.”
  • Forage a good 50 feet away from walking paths to avoid the “dog” path and undesired fertilizer.
  • The NYC public parks can’t afford to spray pesticides or any other chemicals, so it’s one of the safest green areas to forage. Steer clear of where they do scatter rat poison, however — these areas will be clearly marked.

So, what did we find?

Wild Violets

Leda Shows Off How to ID Wild Violets

Wild Violets

  • ID: heart-shaped leaves with teeth on edges. Purple flower.
  • Edible: Leaf and flower. Roots are toxic.
  • Medicinal: Good for respiratory issues.
  • How to Eat: Mix in a fresh salad or candy the flowers. Dry for tea.

Burdock aka Gobo Root (forgot to Snap a shot)

  • ID: Big fuzzy leaves with ruffled skirt edges. Harvest root of a first year plant before it flowers
  • Edible: Roots and immature flower stalks (use like Italian cardoons)
  • Medicinal: Good for skin issues and liver cleansing
  • How to Eat: Saute like kale
Bishop's Elder

Bishop's Elder

Bishops Elder 

  • ID: 3 parted leaves. Extremely invasive ground cover. In the celery family, so has a hairless stem that has a curve like a celery stalk and smells like celery when you smell the stem.
  • Edible: Fresh or dry stem and leaf.
  • How to Eat: Great for soup stocks.
Sassafras Leaf Trio

Sassafras Leaf Trio

Sassafras Tree

  • ID: 3 different leaf shapes on each stem: oval, mitten, three-prong “fork.” Leaf smells like root beer when you rip the leaves.
  • Edible: Root and leaves
  • How to Eat: Boil the root and use sweetener and seltzer water to make root beer.  Leaves can be used to make file powder for gumbo. Or just scratch and sniff the root beer scented goodness for kicks.
Red Bud Tree

Red Bud Tree

Red Bud Tree

  • ID: Buds grow out of the bark. Darker red/pink than a cherry blossom.
  • Edible: Flowers
  • How to Eat: In the bean family so tastes slightly like a bean. Serve in salads, add to ice cream or cookies.
Juneberry Tree

Juneberry Tree {will be a May-Berry this year!}

Juneberry Tree {no berries yet!}

  • ID: Smooth gray bark, 5 pointed berry that looks like a blueberry when the fruit blooms. Smooth oval leaf with teath.
  • Edible:  Berry
  • How to Eat: Just as you would a blueberry.
Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard 

  • ID: Serrated heart-shaped leaf. Grows tall. Small stems grow outward that become seed pods.
  • Edible: Leaf, root and stem/seeds
  • How to Eat: Leaves taste like broccoli rabe and can be prepared as such. Root tastes like horseradish. Stick like flower stems will become seed capsules and can be used as mustard seed.

Mugwort (forgot to Snap a shot)

  • ID: Serious invasive. White fuzzy stem, deeply divided pointed leaf, silvery-white underside of the leaf, spicy taste.
  • Edible: Leaves and stem
  • Medicinal: Muscle relaxer, will make you break a sweat if you need to cleanse, use as a bath or as a tea, good for stress and unblocks just about everything. Will also make you have vivid dreams if you put under you pillow!
  • How to Eat: Best for seasoning to add a little spice.



  • ID: Extremely prolific, but only in-season for 3 weeks. Will come back in the same spot each year, so once you find your hunting ground, you can easily go back.
  • Edible: Whole thing — leaves and stem. But once it gets bigger and branches out and the stem becomes dark magenta it becomes toxic and you don’t want to eat it any longer. Best when it is only one stalk.
  • How to Eat: It’s like asparagus! Have to double boil it first — blanch in one pot, drain and then blanch in a second pot of boiling water. Saute it, grilled it, roast it, you name it!
Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Greens {which will be bitter now that they have flowered!}

Dandelion Greens 

  • ID: Serrated leaf, yellow flower, low to the ground.
  • Edible: Early Spring the leaves are best before they flower — then they get bitter. The roots and flowers are also edible and apparently very tasty.
  • Medicinal: The root will release a milky sap that are good for warts.
  • How to Eat: Good in a salad or lightly sauteed. Flower can be used to make wine! Recipe here
Lamb's Quarters

Lamb's Quarters

Lambs Quarters 

  • ID: White dusty powder on the leaves.
  • Edible: Leaves and stems.
  • How to Eat: Rinse well and saute. Off the charts nutritious compared to spinach!
Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Field Garlic 

  • ID: Looks like chives, hollow stem, smells like garlic
  • Edible: Whole thing — bulb to stem.
  • How to Eat: Just like a chive — anything you want a mild garlic flavor added to.
Samora Elm

Samora Elm

Siberian Elm Samaras 

  • ID: Small seed in a green translucent leaf.
  • Edible: Whole seed/leaf when tender enough to pierce the seed with a fingernail.
  • How to Eat: On a salad, in a muffin or just as a field snack.
Spice Bush

Spice Bush

Spice Bush 

  • ID: Smells spicy when break the leaf. Oval leaf with a lopsided point at the end. Tastes like all spice.
  • Edible: Leaf
  • How to Eat: Great for iced tea. infuse or make sun tea. Don’t boil or will get bitter flavor.
Other Wild Things

Other Wild Things

Other Wild Things 

  • ID: Shirtless Man Hanging Upside Down in a Tree

The Booty — Violets, Red Bud, Pokeweed, Field Garlic…stayed tuned for a MUST MAKE TART recipe coming later this week. Olive Oil Crust, Greek Yogurt Dollops and Wild Goodies…

Wild Edible Booty

Wild Edible Booty

Note: Although these pictures and notes can serve as introductions to wild edibles, I have not provided extensive ID characteristics in the descriptions for someone unfamiliar with the plants to safely identify them. If you’re interested in venturing out to forage, I recommend doing online research or signing up for an introductory tour with Leda before chomping on random weeds.

More Leda and Brooklyn Coolness:
Do This!: Learn Lacto-Fermentation {Kimchi! Chutney!} with Leda Meredith
Do This!: Brooklyn’s Depressingly Awesome Industry City Distillery Creates Handcrafted Vodka
NYC Best: Brooklyn’s Frej Should Be Your New Dining Kinfolk


Filed under Do This!, NYC Best

Do This!: Learn to Forage in Prospect Park for Edible and Medicinal Plants with Expert Leda Meredith


If you missed Leda’s Fermentation SideTour, you can still get in on learning more about eating locally — very locally. Wild edible plants are all around, growing right at your feet — in our city parks, as the “weeds” in community gardens and backyards, even in abandoned parking lots. You just need to know where to look. At Prospect Park, Leda will show you how to safely spot ramps (a wild onion), mulberries, sassafras, gobo root, and many more natural delights. Discover the tastes and aromas of these wild, seasonal ingredients. Learn how to sustainably harvest and then deliciously prepare them! You will certainly leave with a new appreciation of urban foraging, the ultimate local food.

Leda writes the “Foraging Brooklyn” column for James Beard nominated nonabrooklyn.com and is the Food Preservation Guide for About.com. She is an award-winning instructor, teaching edible and medicinal plant classes at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Leda leads wild edible plant and mushroom tours throughout the Northeast. 

Passionate about the sustainable food movement, Leda is your guide to translating a mostly local, organic diet into something doable and fun.

Friday, April 20, 2012 | 10:00am – 12:00pm
Saturday, May 26, 2012 | 10:00am – 12:00pm

Book Now

Leda Meredith has definitely been livin’ la vida locavore. As a certified ethnobotanist and author, she is a recognized expert in the local-food movement. It’s a lifestyle that continues to gain traction, as the nutritional and environmental benefits become clearer all the time. More and more people are skipping the supermarket and heading to a farmers’ market, or picking and growing their own food. So spend some time under the sun and join Leda for a foraging tour in the park.

Leave a comment

Filed under Do This!, NYC Best