Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking the gloves off!

After I put them on, of course!!
This morning, I geared up and headed out to harvest:
 I had to wear gloves because I was cooking with fire!
Stinging Nettles to be precise!   I was making a batch of crackers so would have the pasta roller out and knew that I wanted to make pasta.  When I was out to let out the chickens I noticed that the nettles were about 6-7 inches high already.  Mmmm... nettle pasta!
I harvested my bowl of nettles (sorry, I didn't measure) they were then blanched and cooled.  I squeezed the excess water out to them and popped them into the fridge until I was ready to make pasta later in the afternoon.  I did save all the water used to blanch them and what was squeezed out, let it cool and used it to water plants.  I figure it must have some nutrients in it!
Later, it was pasta time!  I put the cooked nettles in the blender with an egg and gave it a whirl.  Then added it into my pasta dough.
 The basic recipe:
2 1/4 cups flour (I completely forgot that I had gotten semolina flour last weekend- duh!)
approximately 1/2 cup cooked nettles, blended with one egg until smooth
2 additional eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Put the wet ingredients into a well in the dry ingredients and slowly mix the dry into the wet with a fork.  As it gets firmer, use your hands.  Knead it until it becomes smooth and silky, adding additional flour as necessary.
Cover it (either wrap in plastic or cover with an oiled bowl) for 20 minutes. Then cut into pieces, roll thin and cut into noodles.
 I dry mine on an old flour sack towel draped over a wooden clothes rack.
At this point, you can either dry them completely for storage, dry them partially for freezing or cook them fresh.  Mine dried for about an hour before dinner:
 Mmm, nettle pasta with tomato sauce!  These were really good.  Everyone liked them so I hope to make some more of these and maybe some with lambs quarters in a few weeks.  I'm seeing all kinds of colors of pasta coming up.  Beets, spinach, tomato. maybe some more lemon pepper... and I still want to order some squid ink from somewhere.  J17 and I searched local stores this weekend but no one locally carries it.  We LOVE our black pasta!

And now, other things of the day.  First- I lied....  I did not work on that baby quilt.  Yeah, I'm bad.  But since I didn't go to the baby shower I figure I don't have a deadline.  If it had been raining, as was forecast, I probably would have worked on it.  But, today was another glorious, mostly sunny day near 80F again.  I couldn't bring myself to sit in that basement room without windows!
But I got a lot done in addition to crackers and pasta.  I got the old canes cut out of the raspberries, cleared off the herb/flower bed in the garden, cleared off the mint bed and pruned some dead tips off the roses.
And I took a few photos:
 This little ground squirrel posed for me.  I was able to get quite a few shots before he got bored and left.
And- look at this green grass!!
I'm sorry, but the grass isn't supposed to be this green- it is still officially Winter- at least until tomorrow.
 And my bush cherries are blooming!  The first year they have bloomed. I do hope some bees show up soon. There are so few flowers about that I fear the neighboring bees haven't ventured far afield yet.
And the daffodils are blooming.  I know you probably can't see it well, but on the top right petal of that front flower is a lovely little lacewing. I do hope she finds some food and lays lots of eggs :-)

V and I even had a "Date Lunch" today!   We had some errands to run so we had lunch at the Bluebird Cafe.  Lovely! I also repotted my little cabbage and kale seedlings. If they were a bit bigger, I'd harden them off and set them out- but they've only got 2 leaves on them so I'll let them be for a while. I did get my broccoli started but I wonder if I should have just direct sowed it in the garden, LOL!
That was my Monday off. The rain finally arrived around 7pm.  We had a thunderstorm with ferocious winds but now it has tapered off to just rain.  I do hope we get a decent amount.  We have had so little snow that we really need the moisture.  It's not good when there are already cracks in the ground in March.

I wish you all a lovely week.


  1. Love the idea of nettle & excellent nutrition!

    1. And it was tasty! I didn't tell the boys what it was until they had eaten it. Of course, I didn't ever tell them that it was nutritious!

  2. I was just wondering how to make pinch pasta earlier I know:) Thanks very much.....everything looks delicious oo.

  3. Oops, should read " spinach" not "pinch"....sorry.

    1. This flavored/colored pasta is something new for me but I'm having fun with it! I think you can use the basic recipe and substitute whatever veggie you want for the nettles/spinach. I even saw a recipe that used broccoli.

  4. I have to say I never heard of Nettle noodles. But they looked really good! I love homemade noodles!! I'ma pasta lover from waaaay back!! yum! Enjoyed all your photos!! It's to be in the low 80's here allll week!! hot dog!! ...debbie

    1. They're essentially the same thing as spinach noodles but since nettles are super-nutritious they are really good for you.

  5. I love to make nettle pesto - and I dry them so I can toss a handlful in soups. They are so good for you! What a lovely view - all that grass. Ours is coming and I just cannot wait for all that green!!! I wonder if your ground squirrel is what we refer to as chipmunks in these parts? Mine have been putting on the Hoover in my bird feeders. Sometimes their cheeks are so full they can barely lift their heads off the ground.

    1. Yes, ground squirrels and chipmunks are the same thing. In fact, we usually call them chipmumks although I believe they are officially "7 lined ground squirrels"- or are these the 13 lined... I've never counted.

  6. Sounded like a perfect spring time day at your house. Your grass is way ahead of ours in green-ness but hubby was just commenting that this could be one very long season of lawn mowing (not his favorite job) is this crazy warm weather continues!

    We planted nettles one year in one of our raised garden beds but soon noticed they were popping up EVERYWHERE even though I always cut them before they went to seed. Tenacious little buggers. I finally gave up and took them out of the bed, but it must have been about three years before they stopped poking more little shoots up through the soil. But I do know they are super-nutritious and I can still find a few growing in the grass down by that bed.

    1. I've been trying to eradicate the nettles from the main garden since we moved here but they always keep coming back. Currently I've got them confined to one corner but I still need to work on getting them out of the raspberries. Those are dangerous enough without the added hazard of nettles!
      And yes- mowing. Now that we've had rain it is inevitable this week. sigh...


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