Sunday, May 24, 2009

More for the Compost Heap

When push comes to shove, I'm an imprecise cook. Inventive, experienced... even inspired, at times. But give me an exact procedure such as those common to pastry-making, and I sink to the bottom of the class.

So it was not a surprise when my stinging nettle soup failed. One is supposed to wear gloves to destem and chop the nettles before cooking. That sounded like a recipe for a kitchen full of little nettle-y bits to me. Instead, I dumped them whole into the soup, theorizing that I could strip the leaves from the stems after they cooked, avoiding the stingyness altogether. That didn't turn out to be a valid theory.

Well, I don't get too fussed about Cooking Gone Wrong. If I didn't experiment, I wouldn't keep learning. Instead I started musing about how to use nettles successfully without chopping OR destemming. And by Jove, I think I've got it. Tomorrow I'm making a stewed chicken with nettles and garlic chives in the crockpot. It's an easy recipe that makes both the chicken and a fabulous stock in one fell swoop.

I'll report back soon. Cross your fingers for me.

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