Greek Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium berlandieri) Pesto

So as to not disappoint you, my readers, let me say right up front – this post is not about juicy roasted lamb legs drizzled with earthy pesto sauce, though that sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

This post is about a weed.

That’s right, a common plant found all over the world, that many people pull out of their gardens and dump in the trash.

IMG_0893

If they only knew what they were missing out on! Lamb’s Quarters (scientifically known as Chenopodium berlandieri and also called goosefoot, fat-hen, bacon weed, pigweed and many other unappetizing names) is from the same genus as quinoa and beats spinach as a source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. It also contains B1, B2 and oxalic acid (Source: Lambsquarters: Prince of Wild Greens The leaves are tender, like spinach, and mild, but it doesn’t leave that chalky feeling in your mouth like spinach does. However, underneath the leaves it looks rather like it’s dusted with vitamin C powder.

IMG_0895

Mom has a lot of this green growing in and around her garden and gathered a bunch of it for me. It’s easy to use because you can replace it with spinach in anything from smoothies and salads to creamed dishes and sauces.

I decided on a pesto to go with last night’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad.

Greek Lamb’s Quarters Pesto

  • 6 c. loosely packed lamb’s quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz. Parmesan, grated or sliced
  • 1 oz. feta cheese (My favorite? Double Cream Mykono’s Feta made by Central Valley Creamery)
  • 1/4 -1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 fresh sprigs Greek oregano and 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stems

IMG_0892

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Lamb’s quarters is drier than basil so you may need more olive oil if you like a finer consistency.

IMG_0909

There’s some great information to glean from the internet about Lamb’s Quarters. I found this video by Eat The Weeds that would be helpful if you want to find your own greens. I had to bookmark his site as it looks like it will be a very helpful reference on gathering wild edibles.

 IMG_0911

Enjoy your pesto on pita bread (or Sourdough) with cream cheese, or toss it into warm, buttery pasta. Oh, and it’d also be amazing as a sauce to drizzle over a roasted leg of lamb! ;)

Blackberry Scones with Cinnamon Basil

It’s hot summer time here in the South and what says it better than one of those familiar green cartons filled with juicy, freshly picked blackberries from the farm down the road!

I knew what I wanted to make with these berries months ago when I planted a cinnamon basil plant in my garden.

When I found this at a local greenhouse the smell and flavor absolutely blew me away! Yes, there was a hint of cinnamon and the predominant taste of basil, but there’s also a tang of something else…spearmint? I haven’t pinned it down yet. This I have to say though – it ROCKS Blackberry Scones.

I wanted a moist and buttery scone base, reminiscent of the ones my friends make for their coffee shop in Post Falls, Idaho. I think I nailed it the first time. Whew! :D You see, my sister Sage is THE scone maker in our family, so I was rather worried that mine would flop…at least the first time around. You just don’t mess with someone else’s forte, right?

Blackberry and Cinnamon Basil Scones

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. sea salt

1/4 t. baking soda

1 1/4 c. cold butter (EDIT July 2013: I’ve had a couple comments recently about this being too much butter, but it’s been so long since I’ve made the recipe that I don’t remember what I did, or if it was a typo. I intent to make them again as soon as my cinnamon basil gets big enough and I will adjust the recipe if needed. Until then, please use your discretion on whether to put 1/4 c. or 1 and 1/4 c. into your scones. :)

1/2 c. greek yogurt

1/2 c. cream or half and half

2 t. lemon zest

2-3 T. fresh cinnamon basil

1 1/2 c. fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the flours, sugar, powder, soda and salt.

Thinly shred cinnamon basil with a sharp knife.

Add the basil and lemon zest to the dry ingredients.

Stir to combine and cut in butter.

Don’t worry about a fine crumble, larger bits of butter are just fine.

Add rinsed blackberries…

Stir to coat, then combine cream and yogurt and pour over mixture. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon until it’s barely sticking together. Turn out on a well floured bread board and carefully, so as not to squish the berries too much, knead into a ball. Press into a 1 inch thick, round disk.

Cut into ten pieces and place on a floured baking sheet or stone, leaving space for expansion.

Brush with cream and sprinkle with course sugar before placing in a hot oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. If in doubt, it’s better to pull them out of the oven sooner rather than later because they will keep cooking a bit on the counter.

Definitely pull a hot one off and savor it one bite at a time.

Featuring another glass plate from Tera’s collection. :D Love it!

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and fresh blackberries for dessert…

Or with coffee and cream for tea time…

Or just keep eating them right off the pan for a snack.