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Archive for May, 2010

No, I didn’t lose my marbles in South America.  I acquired worms and munched on weeds at my friend Katie Ries’s MFA Thesis Show–The Urban Land Scouts. The worms will be my little kitchen scrap recyclers, breaking down my leftovers into organic matter. My prior composting involved putting scraps into a bowl and waiting until nightfall to sneak down to the green space behind my apartment to deposit my unwanted peels, coffee grounds and egg shells. But now, I shall fear the landlord no more and compost in peace.

Onto the part about eating my lawn (well, I live in an apartment so I’ve actually been borrowing lawns from others). Well, I came back from South America not exactly with money overflowing from my pockets. So, what’s a starving foodie to do about sustaining herself through the day? Forage for food! My favorite food to forage for (aka easiest to find) are dandelions.

The best part about the dandelion, besides its beautiful yellow color, is that the entire plant is edible from the roots to the petals. I don’t recommend eating them when they reach the snowball stage, they are better used for entertaining purposes at that point.

Health Benefits

– The flowers: helps purify the body and blood; aids in the treatment of hepatitis, yellow jaundice, anemia and weight loss; rich in lechitin (good for the brain and the liver)

– The greens: sodium, iron, beta-carotene, potassium, antioxidants, and vitamin A

– The roots: ontain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion

How to Use

– Flowers: dry them and use as tea, infuse into a simple syrup, deep fry (thank you Katie Ries), mix into and omelet or fritter, blend into wine or make into jelly

My way: dried leaves to make dandelion tea

– Leaves: after sauteeing or steaming these leaves can add flavor and nutrients to salads, soups, fritattas, crepes…the possibilities are limitless. The small, immature greens can be eaten raw.

My way: Soup

Forage Soup Recipe

Saute 4 green scallions with 6 ramps. Add two chopped carrots and saute in 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add dried herbs (I used oregano, time and winter savoury). Add 2 cups of dandelion greens and any other greens you have on hand. I added baby collard greens. Cover with water, salt and simmer until your kitchen smells heavenly. As a finishing touch I added spaghetti noodles. Dollop with pesto (I made cashew, spinach and arugula pesto) and voile!

– Root: Delectable roasted and ground into a coffee-like substance similar to chicory coffee. Can also be eaten raw or sauteed.

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