Category Archives: Foraging

maple flower spring rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls


New buds glow like still flames upon a candelabra.

Slender golden limbs balancing the light of spring.


How to Make Wild Spring Rolls


Acer macrophyllum, the Bigleaf Maple, sends out playful flower bunches before the giant leaves begin to unfold. The dangling inflorescences engender a closer look. Some racemes bloom with male flowers first and then females, while others surprise with the reverse. These female first inflorescences result in “drop off males” after the spicy pollen is spent and graceful samaras begin to twirl in the wind. According to botanist David Wagner, they are sweetest.


How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls


We trekked along the McKenzie River with Wolf Rock in view, plucking tender flower bunches as we hiked. Along nearly every street in Eugene, these trees were also in bloom, heralding the season.

I like when all of the flowers have just barely opened so the complexity of slightly bitter green and floral sweet shine through. However, they do become less supple and enjoyable as they begin to fruit after pollination, so “younger is better” is a good rule of thumb.

I’ve mostly heard of wildfoods folks tossing these into stir-fries and scrambles, which I love, but eating them fresh is such a treat when they’re just right.


How to Make Wild Spring Rolls


How to Make Wild Spring Rolls


How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls



This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a medley of herbs, fruits, and veggies. You really can use anything that you like, anything growing in your garden, or any fresh wild edible that doesn’t require cooking. How pretty would a combination of dandelion greens, oxalis leaves, salmonberry flowers, and violets be all wrapped up in rice paper translucence?


Here’s what’s in mine:

bigleaf maple flowers
fresh mint leaves
fresh basil leaves
fresh cilantro leaves
mesclun greens
sesame tofu
daikon radish
green onions
fresh ginger
spicy peanut sauce and organic sriracha
rice spring roll wrappers



Start by prepping and neatly organizing all of your filling ingredients. Fill a bowl with warm water – you’re looking for around body temperature, since anything hotter can cause your rice paper to soften and break down too fast. Have a slightly moist cutting board or moist non-terry towel on top of the board ready next to the bowl. Gently place a single sheet of rice paper into the water for about 1 minute, feeling for the perfect texture. It will become impossibly pliable, almost like wet chiffon. The trick is to carefully remove it from the water before it gets to the point where it will just fall apart in your hands.

Allow the soaked rice paper to drip a bit and then rest it on the cutting board. If you want to show off an ingredient, like a flower or whole leaf, place those down first about a third of the way from the perimeter. Build the other ingredients on top, being mindful not to over or under fill. This might take a few tries. Once all of your elements are arranged, fold and roll as tight as possible, much like a burrito. The sticky paper will fuse together and seal your spring roll.

Slice in half and serve with dipping sauces on the side. Enjoy!

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

How to Make Wild Spring Rolls

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silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

Soggy earth invites me to sink down into damp duff. A sharp chill on the air heightens senses that have been softened by summer’s comforting warmth. Flame colored domes pop into view, contrasting with the green mosses waving their fringe from every angle. The mushrooms are singing their autumnal siren song.

I hiked with my favorite mushroom hunter lady to a special place where we often marvel at glittering falls, nerd-out about plants, harvest medicinal roots, and pick mushrooms. On this trip, she found two impressive lobster mushrooms for us to take home.  Lobsters (Hypomyces lactifluorum) are actually a different species of mushroom that is parasitized by another fungal being! Freaky, right? Don’t worry…”the bible” says that they’re good to eat on the West Coast. If you live here and don’t own a copy of Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora, and you have any interest at all in learning about wild mushrooms, you should order one here.

Another sweet and generous friend has been gathering whole treasure chests of chanterelles to share. She picks them from a nice patch growing in the woods by her farm. All of these early fall blessings call for some fancy (but you can do it) soup.

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

This is going to be good…

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

Adaped from Hank Shaw’s Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe.

step 1 – veloute

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour

step 2 – mushroom purée

  • 1 pound fresh wild mushrooms (any combination of chanterelle + lobster)
  • 2 chopped cipollini onions
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron (you can find a good deal on it here)
  • 1/4 cup white wine

step 3 – thicken and spice

step 4 – garnish

  • minced chives
  • crème fraîche (optional)

1. To make a veloute (use ingredients in step 1), heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer and in another pot melt 2 tbsp butter until it foams up, but doesn’t brown. Whisk in the flour and stir for a few minutes over medium heat without letting it burn. Next, whisk that hot chicken stock into the roux (flour butter mixture) and let this simmer gently for about 25 minutes. Stir often.

2. Now you want to make the mushroom purée (step 2). Finely chop the mushrooms, cipollinis, and garlic. Add to the pan and saute the veggies/shrooms over medium heat with a good pinch of salt. Cook while tossing with a wooden spoon. Liquid from the mushrooms will bubble out and evaporate, concentrating the flavor. Continue until the cipollinis are translucent and the mushrooms are tender and pan-dried. Add butter and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Crush the saffron (optional) and thyme into the cognac and pour over the mushroom base. Turn the heat up to high and toss until the cognac is nearly evaporated. Splash white wine over the stuck bits to deglaze the hot pan. Scrape into a food processor and purée until smooth.

3. Whisk the mushroom purée into the veloute and gently simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait for the soup to stop bubbling. Slowly drizzle in the cream while whisking. Add the cinnamon, salt, and fresh pepper to taste.

4. Serve hot with a sprinkling of minced chives and an optional drizzle of crème fraîche on top.


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homemade huckleberry booze

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey


Pushing through a dense web of bendy limbs, the sweetly perfumed stench of valerian fills my brain, making me dreamy as leaves crunch under my feet. With softly angled knees, I scan the bushes at eye-level for clustering orbs: cerulean, oxblood, indigo. Fingertips and smiling lips stained. My skin prickles at the thought of cougars stalking where trees meet the meadow and jealous bears watching me pluck their irresistible treats. I hope they don’t mind my visit. This is my favorite hike of the summer, and I’m not deterred…so far.

My basket becomes heavy with precious gems as rain soaks the ground. I will cherish this berry bounty all autumn and winter long. My little joys of summer.


Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

This year I decided to preserve my most favorite native fruit by making several preparations. (Don’t worry, I ate myself silly while harvesting too.) I briefly considered separating each Vaccinium species to test flavor nuances, but they each offer uniquely sweet, sour, and savory elements that make the combination really nice. Some are even kind of oniony! These recipes can also be made with plain old cultivated blueberries, or any other berry you’re going to really miss when the weather turns cold.


huckleberry honey cordial

This is my very first fruit cordial! I used the fruit spirits master recipe in the brand new and damn fantastic book Foraging and Feasting. I’ve read that fruit cordials age well as the alcohol mellows, but the authors of this book recommend drinking within a year. I am going to let this baby age for at least 3 months before trying, but I am curious to see how it holds up – if it lasts through the winter. 

1 cup huckleberries, mashed

4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

good vodka (gin or brandy)

Mash your huckleberries in a glass quart jar and then add the honey. Pour vodka over the fruit until filled to the top of the jar. Shake well! Allow to extract for a month in a cool, dark cabinet. Strain out the berries, making sure to mash out any remaining juice. Age for another month or two if you can wait. Serve in cocktails, mixed with champagne, or over ice.


huckleberry maple shrub

Thoughts of blueberry pancakes swimming in syrup came to mind as I was making this shrub. So, at the very last-minute, I grabbed my jug and poured that liquid heaven into my precious bubbling berries. This is the “hot method” for making shrubs, but you could also use the cold method found here and just add the maple syrup when you add the vinegar.

1 cup huckleberries

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

3/4 cup champagne vinegar

Heat 1 cup of water and the sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and gently simmer for 3 minutes. Add the berries and maple syrup, mashing them well with a fork, and simmer together on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar and shake well. Allow to infuse and mellow for 5 days before straining.


drunken huckleberries

You can soak berries (or other fruits for that matter) in vodka for a week and then use the infusion to make tasty cocktails. The berries become little boozy nuggets as they plump with alcohol while also imparting sweetness and flavor. I love to add a few soaked fruits as a garnish to each glass as a nice nibbling treat. I infused 1 pint of vodka with 1/2 cup of huckleberries.


berry kamikaze cocktail 

1 1/2 oz berry infused vodka (drunken huckleberries above)

1 oz Cointreau (triple sec)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 oz simple syrup (optional)

1 spoonful of berries as garnish

Shake all ingredients together with fresh ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float the berries on top to garnish.

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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how to make cocktail drinking vinegars: blackcap raspberry shrub + two cocktails

blackcap raspberry shrub by Salt+Fat+Whiskey


Some people call me Huckleberry Hound. When fruiting season pops in the mountains, you’ll find me scanning the thick forest understory with berry eyes on. I love huckleberries, but truth be told, I’m easily wooed by any and every berry I’ve ever tasted, and those dazzling gems of the Rubus genus never fail to charm me.

A love of wild berries has inspired some local farms here in Eugene to grow untamed species and offer them up at the market. Like seeing an old friend, I was excited to spot one of my favorite berries a few weeks back, glistening darkly from the farm stand. Rubus leucodermis or Blackcap Raspberry is a native perennial that can be found growing erect and armed in fields, canyons, wooded hills, and lower mountains across the West, from Montana to Washington and south through California. You can identify a Blackcap pretty easily in fruit once you’ve tried them, and also by looking at the underside of the leaves for a light grayish to white tomentose or frosted appearance, which is in stark contrast to the vibrant, crinkly green leaf tops. You might also come across a “primocane” which is a new shoot of the bramble with a glaucous or silvery color to the branch.


Blackcaps boast a heavy earthiness that adds an almost perfumed complexity to the subtle sweetness of the fruit’s sugar. The experience is very different from common raspberries, offering more of the deep wine-like flavors found in almost-too-ripe blackberries. Blackcaps are also quite seedy and require some serious flossing and toothpicks after a gorge out session, so I decided to brainstorm some other appropriate uses for these beauties.

Several years back while tripping around Portland, Steven and I wandered into a super cool at the time, but now closed craft cocktail bar serving all sorts of fancy drinks in fancy glasses with fancy shaped ice. I ditched the classics and ordered something unfamiliar and perplexing. Booze with fruited vinegar. This was at the beginning of what would soon become a meteoric rise in popularity of something called a shrub or drinking vinegar, and with good reason.

People have been imbibing these sour syrups since at least colonial times in the US and around the world for centuries. Evolving from a medicinal preparation of herbal infused vinegar, today we enjoy them mixed with bubbly soda water or swirled into cocktails for a tart bite. You can use just about any combination of fruit, herbs, and vinegar to create a shrub, as well as experiment with sweeteners like white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, or honey. I like to taste each component first to figure out the different notes I want to highlight. Sometimes a bold vinegar like balsamic will round out the depth of black cherries, while a champagne vinegar can brighten more delicately flavored fruits and herbs.

 blackcap raspberry shrub by Salt+Fat+Whiskey


blackcap raspberry drinking vinegar 

There are several ways to make a shrub, but I like the cold process for blackcaps. I promise to cover the hot method in a future post! You can use this as a basic guide for any fruit you want to play with, keeping a ratio of 1:1:1.

1 cup blackcap raspberries

1 cup organic white sugar

1 cup organic champagne vinegar

Using a glass bowl or jar, mash the berries with the sugar and stir until well incorporated. You want to break the fruit membranes as much as possible and press out the juice until the sugar becomes totally saturated. Cover and allow the mashed fruit and the sugar to do their thing in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, shaking the jar when you think about it. The sugar will help further breakdown the fruit and draw out the liquidy goodness. Once a few days have gone by, pour the mixture through a mesh strainer to catch the seeds and press the fruit pulp to release all of the remaining juice you can get into the jar. Compost the seeds and pressed pulp. Now add the vinegar to your fruit juice and sugar solution and stir well to be sure the sugar dissolves. Allow to meld and mellow in the refrigerator for another week, shaking every day. No need to refrigerate after that unless you want to, since the shrub will be shelf stable.


blackcap raspberry shrub cocktail by Salt+Fat+Whiskey


fizzy blackcap cocktail #1

2 oz dark rum

3/4 oz blackcap raspberry shrub

1/2 oz dry sherry (we used Jerez Cortado Hidalgo 20 Anos)

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp caster fine sugar 

dash of Angostura bitters

ginger brew

Chill a tall glass in the freezer. Fill a shaker with ice, add the first 6 ingredients, and then shake. Remove the glass from the freezer and fill with fresh ice. Strain contents of shaker into the glass filled with ice and top with ginger brew. Enjoy!


fizzy blackcap cocktail #2

1 oz white rum or Cachaça

1 oz dark rum

1 oz blackcap raspberry shrub

1/2 oz ruby port

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

dash of Angostura bitters

ginger brew

Chill a tall glass in the freezer. Fill a shaker with ice, add the first 6 ingredients, and then shake. Remove the glass from the freezer and fill with fresh ice. Strain contents of shaker into the glass filled with ice and top with ginger brew. Enjoy!


More shrub recipes:

Peach and Golden Balsamic Shrub

Huckleberry Maple Shrub


fizzy blackcap cocktail by Salt+Fat+Whiskey


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perfect hash browns with garlic scapes

perfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskeyperfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

I have a serious weakness for fried potatoes.

A big greasy bag of chips, a plate of crispy pommes frites, a dish of allioli slathered patatas bravas, or a pile of golden pan-smashers are my culinary kryptonite. They take possession of my will like no other treat can. If there’s an open bag in the house, that crunchy, salty deliciousness becomes my all-consuming obsession. I told you this was serious!

Since they obviously can’t be trusted, easily snackable potato products have been banned from my home. This is the only reasonable solution for someone with a problem like mine. However, I’m occasionally seduced by the mountains of rainbow skinned beauties at the market. My mind starts racing with fried potato fantasies when I see them. I toss a few in my basket. Hey, if I’m going to (over)indulge, at least I’ve got to work for it, right?

I don’t play around when it comes to my favorite fried potato of all – the hash brown. Give me the shredded style of course, never diced. Why do so many breakfast joints in Eugene serve squishy home fries covered in a glop of gravy? I have absolutely zero tolerance for soggy, mushy, or limp, but sadly this is what you’ll find around here. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

When I want real hash browns, I make them myself…

perfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

My hash browns are crunchy and golden on the outside with just the right amount of moisture once you break through the crust. If you make them my way, you will soon put an end to those sad, slightly charred mushed potato cake thingies that haunt past breakfast memories. Here is my method…

perfect hash browns

1 4-5 inch potato for every 2 servings (the best to use are low in moisture and high starch like russets, stored at room temperature)
fine sea salt
organic extra virgin olive oil
garlic scapes*

Line a colander with a dish towel and place it in the sink. Shred your potatoes into a bowl. Salt them generously and mix well using your hands to begin the liquid leaching process. You want about 1/2 tsp of salt for every medium potato. Dump the salted shredded potato into the colander and lay another dish towel on top. Using your body weight, push down to squeeze out the liquid. Allow to sit for about an hour, pushing and squeezing occasionally. You might need to switch out the towels halfway through. The drier your potatoes turn out the better! Slice the garlic scapes into 1/4 to 1/3 inch rounds. (*Generally, I’m a hash brown purest and don’t add other flavors, but these pretty garlic scapes inspired me. Feel free to leave them out!) In a cast iron pan, heat about 1/2 inch of oil over med-high heat. Put the potatoes into a bowl and mix in the garlic scapes.

Once the oil is hot, take a handful of shredded potato and form gently into a patty. Slide the patty into the oil and press down with a spatula to even out the thickness. Allow to fry for about 3 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 3 minutes and flip again. You want a nice golden brown color on both sides. Once that happens, remove your patties from the oil and drain them on a plate of 100% recycled paper towels. (Sorry, PSA of the day!) Before frying your next batch, be sure to scoop out all of the little potato nuggets remaining in the oil or they will burn and ruin your next patties. Depending on your stove, you might also need to adjust the heat down just a touch and then bring it back up once the next batch is good and going. That will help you avoid burning right away. After you’ve fried every bit of shredded potato, give them a little shake of salt and then there’s just one thing left to do…

perfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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raw walnut nettle pesto

walnut nettle pesto by Salt Fat Whiskey

With a seemingly ferocious nature, Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) hasn’t quite caught on around the country as the gourmet wild wonder it truly is. Here in the Northwest, it’s a beloved harbinger of spring, arriving on market shelves and restaurant menus each April in many delicious incarnations.

My kitchen is no exception. As soon as the plants are ready, I carefully clip the tender tops (no more than 6 inches from the top or roughly the first 2 sets of leaves) into my basket to make infused vinegar, frittatas, biscuits, curries, pizza, smoothies, soups, and of course, nettle pesto with a twist. When harvested this way, the nettles will continue to leaf out and provide food for many months, so expect more nettle recipes to come!


Such a vibrant glowing green. And look at those spiked trichomes. Delicate, yet absolutely effective. Go ahead…touch it!

Brave herbie people (aka crazies like me) will often pick a leaf bare-handed, fold it just so, and munch on it straight raw. The exquisite nutrient power hits immediately as I savor the mild flavor which is bright grassy and slightly nutty. But, really, it’s totally unnecessary to risk stung lips to enjoy nettles. The spines surrender their power quickly when exposed to either heat or pressure, making cooking or processing good options.

Most nettle pesto recipes out there call for blanching the fresh nettle leaves first. I like to make mine with raw leaves instead, since the food processor will take care of those stingers. This way, you get the maximum nutritive value of the raw greens.

I also like to use sweet and fatty local walnuts from Grateful Harvest Farm, mixed with some deep green organic pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts from the store. Most pine nuts you buy these days are imported from China –  and that’s a long way to travel just to make some pesto. Most any oily nut will work well here.

I dream of collecting Piñon Pine nuts from the Southwest someday for this recipe. Oh, the decadence! My friend Heron gifted me a jar full of them last year and they were the most delicious, sweet, buttery treasures. Truly little nuggets of perfection. Until I can get my own, I’m sticking with these…




walnut nettle pesto

4 cups nettle leaves

1 cup basil leaves

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup organic virgin olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated

5 cloves garlic

1.5 tsp pink salt

Wearing gloves, snip the tender nettle tops into a paper bag. Remove the leaves from the stems and rinse well in cool water. Blend the first four ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated.

The consistency should look something like this…


Spread generously on toasted baguette, pizza, sandwiches, use to grill meat, whisk in scrambles, add to vinaigrette, garnish soups, mix in mashed potatoes, toss with roasted vegetables, eat by the spoonful, and definitely make some pesto pasta. Any leftover pesto will freeze nicely for an easy future meal.

This batch was used to make some super tasty pesto chicken and sun-dried tomato fettuccine…



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sweet + sour pickled dandelion buds


Pop, pop…pop, pop, pop…pop!

My garden is gradually turning sunny yellow with every blossom. Our winter was so mild and spring so unexpectedly warm that I have definitely…uh…kinda fallen behind on weeding. Just a little. The plants seem to be well aware of this fact and have taken advantage of my delayed gardening instinct. At least inspiration is creeping in!

I first heard about pickling dandelion buds from the wonderful Rosalee de la Foret. After playing with her recipe, I discovered something really special. Something you are going to want to make too. Like, right now.


sweet + sour pickled dandelions

1.5 cups of tightly closed, freshly harvested dandelion buds

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger root

1 tsp organic yellow mustard seed

1 organic bay leaf

1/3 cup local honey

organic tamari or shoyu sauce

organic apple cider vinegar

Gather dandelion buds emerging from the base of a basal rosette or that are shooting up further along the flowering stalk, but have not bloomed. You want to look closely and be sure that the flowers haven’t yet opened. They should be vibrant green and tightly closed, otherwise you will end up with a jar full of limp, floaty flowers trying to go to seed – and you can’t take that to a party! If you compare multiple plants, you will easily recognize the difference. Pluck each bud from its stem. Take a look at the first two pictures above and pull off the leafy whorl of bracts just below the bud. If you don’t feel like going through this step, it will be okay, but you won’t ever bare the cool mark of dandelion latex staining your fingertips. Just fyi.

Dump the dandelion buds into a pint jar. Add the garlic, ginger, mustard seed, and honey. Pour the shoyu or tamari until the jar is 1/3 full. Fill the remainder with apple cider vinegar and top with a bay leaf. Shake, shake, shake. Allow to pickle for one week in the refrigerator. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat.

These are ridiculously delicious alone, on a cheese plate, in stir fry, salads, omelettes, sandwiches, on pizza, and in tacos too.


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bitter greens grilled cheese & a cocktail


Tiny beaded rosettes of weedy bittercress (Cardamine oligosperma) appear first thing each spring alongside mighty toothed dandelion greens. Within days, the untended garden pops alive with yellow and white flowers.

Bittercress quickly bolts with slender siliques reaching toward the sun, ready to shoot.

My fingertips gently tickle the tops and I hear the seeds burst forth and fly through the air like little rockets.

I pull them from the ground and think of lunch…


 I cut the roots and wash the dirt from the greens.

Bitter weeds on grilled cheese?

Oh, yes.

A few dandelion flowerheads too?

Why not?


I use the most sour sourdough, sharpest cheddar, and freshest butter possible.

Crack black peppercorns over the cheese and then layer on the greens.

Grill and flip over medium-high heat.

Grill and flip until crisped and golden.




And…a little something bubbly to cleanse the palate between each buttery, cheesy, salty bite:




Champagne Cocktail

Drop 1 sugar cube in the bottom of a flute

Two drops of Angostura bitters

1/2 oz cognac

Top with bubbly

The sugar cube will slowly dissolve and dazzle with long-lasting effervescence.

Cheers to spring!



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wild klickitat morels


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