Quinoa ‘n Yucca with Chef Bob

Quinoa ‘n Yucca with Chef Bob

Chef Bob, featured in Wild Living with Sunny: episode 1, came over to help me weave the flavors of North and South America together. It’s almost the full moon, so I took advantage of all the sap running up the plants to harvest a not-yet-flowering Yucca whipplei stalk. We cut the stalk about a foot down from the top, where it went from flexible to not-so-flexible. Picked off the unopened flower buds and peeled the stalk like a big asparagus. Mixed with some red quinoa, bought from a fair-trade coop while I was in Cuzco, Peru, it made for a divine dish. You can see the small, bright green unopened buds, along with the chunks of peeled yucca stalk in the photo above. The spikes make for good toothpicks! Here’s an example of a flowering yucca on the left, the emerging stalk with unopened flowers in the middle, and dead stalk on the right. I’m working on another videoblog with Chef Bob to create some powdered wild greens pasta with California sagebrush chicken sauce. So keep your eyes posted for that upcoming video. Quinoa ‘n Yucca 1 T olive oil 1/4 c yucca stalk, peeled & diced 1/2 c yucca unopened flower buds 1/4 c chicken stock 1 T onion, finely diced pinch salt & hot pepper powder 1/4 c quinoa Saute onions until translucent. Add yucca stalk, unopened flower buds, stock and cover, slowly simmering for 10 minutes. Boil a small pot of water, then add quinoa to boiling water. Let cook about 11 minutes, strain in fine mesh strainer. Mix with yucca and enjoy! Serves...
Wild Living with Sunny: episode 1

Wild Living with Sunny: episode 1

Sorry dial-up users…I’ve entered the world of videoblogging. This is the first, in what I hope to be a once-every-other-week show, about wild foods and sustainable lifestyle topics. This first show has all sorts of flubs; like forgetting you can’t shoot vertically (sorry Chef Bob it cuts your head off when rotated back to horizontal), not being able to stop the acid-trip-looking rotation once I got it going, crazy background noise, etc. But, that only leaves room for improvement. I’ll continue to post on the blog, but am excited to spend more time working with video. FYI, this website is best viewed using Mozilla/Firefox web browser. My good friend Chef Bob, highlighted in this video, started cooking at 7 years old. His transylvanian gypsy grandmother let him start playing around with flour and by the time he was 9 he was carrying around application materials for the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) – which he later attended. He currently calls himself a ‘Chefalebrity’, and works as a private chef in Malibu. I’m excited to work more with him on wild and local food recipes…he is definitely a man of flavors. Here is his recipe for the dish highlighted in the video. Acorn ‘n Sagebrush Chicken 3 chicken breasts, cut in 1” pieces 4 T acorn flour 1 t California sagebrush, dried 1 t hot red pepper powder 1/4 c olive oil 1 c yellow onion, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 c cleaned artichoke hearts, cut in 2” pieces 1/3 c carrots, chopped 3 c CA sagebrush chicken stock 1/2 c zinfendel, or red wine 2 t acorn...
Fried Black Sage Leaves

Fried Black Sage Leaves

Have some leftover oil from making elderflower fritters? Have a recipe that calls for fried sage leaves? Step out your backdoor and you just might find some black sage (Salvia mellifera). This is a really common plant in this area, and I like to use the tender leaves sparingly in cooking. They’re good flash fried with a healthy dose of salt sprinkled on top when done. Black sage contains anti-inflammatory compounds such as diterpenoids, aethiopinone and ursolic acid. Click here to read more info. The leaves in this photo I sprinkled on top of a beet salad marinated in...
Mariposa Lily Tubers

Mariposa Lily Tubers

The Mariposa Lily is an elegant little plant….but it’s got some substance! Found in the grasslands and coastal sage of the Santa Monica Mountains, we are at the tail end of its flowering period. Mariposa means butterfly in spanish, and there was a large swallowtail butterfly flying around as I took the photo. Pictured is the Catalina Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae). They have a delicious edible tuber that is really starchy…kind of like potato or corn. The state flower of Utah is the related Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii), raised to that status because of its importance in Mormon’s survival. During the early years in Utah, the Mormon’s were taught by native folks of its edibility, and it was eaten in great quantity. I have heard that native people in this area cut large areas of grass and then rolled it up, picking out the tubers from below. This method allowed the tubers to be thinned and actually increased productivity. The ground is incredibly dry and crumbly here now, so you must dig the plants individually. There are many endangered mariposa lilies, and I would encourage you to sow seeds for future generations before harvesting the plant. I have only gathered a few handfuls of the tubers. They can be eaten raw or cooked. I would love more information about this plant from...
California Sagebrush Roasted Chicken

California Sagebrush Roasted Chicken

This simple roasted chicken has turned into one of my favorite meals. California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) is a common plant in the chaparral, and can be used fresh or dried in this recipe. The Chumash call the plant khapshikh and say it brings back pleasant memories. It has certainly created some new ones for me. This is not an herb to consume daily, but I think its light/silver green leaves can be safely added in small amounts to the diet. California Sagebrush Roasted Chicken one whole chicken 4 T unsalted butter 1/4 c fresh California sagebrush, or 1/8 c dried 2 t salt Preheat oven to 425°. Clean chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle salt on top of bird, then butter (cut into chunks) and California sagebrush. Cook for roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes…or until thoroughly cooked. I usually take it out about every 15 minutes to...