Splayed out on the love seat, fighting off fatigue from a day at work, I decided that I was going to make nettle soup. The two nettle plants in the perennial herb bed needed to be cut back, anyway.
I searched around for info on how to de-sting the leaves — 1-2 minutes of boiling followed by a cold water rinse was what the first recipe said — and then I got to cutting. Rubber-coated or leather gloves are a must for this kind of task, as are long sleeves.
The original recipe, which I’m now unable to locate and didn’t bookmark before the laptop battery died, called for something like a pound of nettle and a gallon (or half gallon?) of water. I asked my lady friend to prepare 8-10 cups of water while I clipped enough leaves to make a heaping mound in an 18-inch tray. With the water heated but not boiling, I clipped each leaf into the pot. The original recipe said to dunk stems and all into the water, but taking the time to clip each leaf meant I would have to deal with all of that wet, potentially prickly material later.
Once all of the leaves were cut, I added another couple of cups of water to cover everything, then turned the heat back on. As the water began to boil, I used a potato masher to stir and bruise the leaves. I did that for about 3 minutes, with another minute or two of low boiling just to be sure. Then I poured the contents of the pot through a strainer, making sure to keep the nettle water.
I rinsed the leaves (about a cup and a half in volume?) in cold water, drained them a bit, then poured them into a food processor. I ran that for about a minute until the leaves took on a fine, fluffy paste consistency. Then I added a half pound of tofu, powdered ginger, salt, paprika, garlic powder, freshly ground pepper, fennel seed, nigella seed and olive oil. Ran that mixture in the processor for about 20 seconds. I then spooned the green, oozy material into a saucepan. I poured in about three cups of the nettle water over the solid mixture, then heated the contents for no more than a couple of minutes. Added more salt. Served. Nom nom and nom. I could eat this every day.