10 April, 2010

glorious sunshine and MMM! Stinging Nettles to EAT!

Yesterday was honestly the first day i've felt it was SPRING here in Ireland. It was SO beautiful. The sun was out and it was warm, the cool breezes were gentle... it was a perfect day. I grabbed my iPod and listened to some wonderful Christian tunage by Phillips, Craig, and Dean on low. The birds were good back up to the music and all in all, it did my soul some good :)
I hung laundry outside...
I planted our chilies...
I picked some debris off our strawberries and checked the progress of the new leaves on the Gooseberry bush...
I sat and let the sun warm my skin from across the field (where our garden is)...
It was seriously the best day we've had so far! I thoroughly enjoyed the Vitamin D, maybe even a little too much as i came inside last night to find that i had been sunburned. I wasn't burned badly, but i tell ya... i'm probably the first/only person in Ireland to get a sunburn yesterday despite wearing long sleeves and jeans. LOL! At least my freckles are coming out. That's one of my favorite parts of spring!
   As i walked through the field, i was reminded that we have horseradish growing wild out there. Note to self: make something involving horseradish this year! I bought a gigantic horseradish root before Easter but unfortunately it molded before i could do anything with it... and i bought it not knowing we had horseradish in the field already! Also, i've heard that horseradish is a decent treatment for a UTI... just in case you ever wanted to know. hahaha!
Anyway... earlier, as i was planting the chilies, i leaned back a little to stretch my back, and a few minutes later had an itchy and painful spot on my lower back and a hive had formed. Great. What did i touch?! oh... a Stinging NETTLE!!! AHH!!!  
Not this variety:
We used to have these in Utah pop up occasionally in our yard and believe me- they are NO FUN to step on with bare feet while playing in the sprinklers. No, i was not stabbed in the back by the above plant- but THIS ONE:
And after a brief conversation i had with my husband the other day (when we planted our berries in the above pot) about how Stinging Nettles are great in tea... i decided to take my revenge on this nasty plant. "Nettles... you will become SOUP!!!!" i cried triumphantly as i scratched the spot on my back.
You wouldn't think that such an awful pain would come from such a little plant... then i remembered that it is spring... they'll get bigger. *sigh*
But look! it looks so harmless!
As it turns out, Spring is the best time to harvest Stinging Nettles for Stinging Nettle Soup. So that's  what i did. I broke out the colander and some leather gloves, and started plucking away.
While enjoying the lovely weather, and singing along to my favorite songs, i was payed a visit by Garden Cat!
She is a sweet cat and definitely a kitty who is needy of attention. I've been told that she is owned by the neighbors at the end of the drive (not our landlords who live directly behind us and have a zoo of their own) but she's a strictly outdoor cat. She literally can't get enough attention from V and i whenever we're outside lately! It's kinda funny to know that not long after you're out in the garden, you'll definitely be greeted by Garden Cat. She purrs and mews in conversation and loves to be petted. She'll follow us back and forth through the field to the house and back to the garden. But she's also content to just watch over the activities from nearby: 
Actually, once she came to visit and demanded her daily intake of love, it was hard to pick nettles without her following my extended hand as i reached for a handful of plants! Finally i had to just ignore her for a couple minutes to fill my colander.
Done! ok. now i will pet you... 
As for the Nettles... there's definitely something to be said for the feeling of hunting down your enemy and knowing that later you're going to be eating it in glorious revenge for all the times it has hurt you... mwa hahaha
ok. yeah that was a little violent even from me. lol!
V came home from work early (yay!!) because it was Friday and we decided where our blueberry bushes were going to go, then i set to work making dinner!
Stinging Nettle Soup!!!

I had never made Stinging Nettle Soup before, and did a little research before i just dove into something and ended up with stingers in my tongue! lol! I looked over about a dozen different sites and it all boiled down to different variations of the same thing, more or less. So i decided to just wing it and see how it would go. 
First, i boiled a pot of water. Once it was boiling well, i placed all the nettles into the pot to cook for a few minutes. This would soften the little hairs on the nettles that are the cause of the "sting". 
While they bubbled away. V diced an onion for me, which i placed in about 3 Tbs of melted butter in a pan on medium heat. 
Once the Nettles had boiled for a few minutes, i drained them, rinsed them in cool water, and started picking out all the "ugly ones" and plucking off the tough parts, after which i chopped the nettles. By this time, the onions had begun to become soft and translucent, and i just dumped the nettles into the pot followed by 3½ Cups of chicken broth, and literally a handful of rice. I added the rice because i was a little concerned about how thin the soup would be... I had originally planned to leave out the rice, but it turned out i would need it after all. I brought it all to a rolling boil, then covered and let it simmer for about 25 minutes so the rice would cook.
After it was all cooked, i stuck in my immersion blender and liquefied it all! 
After i blended it, i had planned to strain it... but straining it would remove all the "pulp" which i assumed was vitamin rich and full of good nutrients, not to mention would thin out the soup more than it was already... actually it was a perfect consistency at this point... sooo 
i plopped in a dollop of sour cream (whenever i hear "dollop" in regards to sour cream, i am reminded of that commercial for Daisy Sour Cream...), sprinkled it with freshly ground black pepper, and served it up with some of our homemade Sourdough Bread!
All i can say is WOW! This soup was soooo delicious!! It is filled with vitamins A, C, D, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Yum!!! Revenge never tasted so good... ;-)


Related Posts with Thumbnails