Friday, May 21, 2010

Dandelion Pesto... the Delicious Result

Here it is!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a recipe for making dandelion pesto, and a few days ago I got around to trying it. I can't say it has an exotic flavor or anything. With the basil in it, it still has the taste of regular pesto, however the dandelion greens do add a bit of bitterness. However, the result was definitely worthwhile, and yet another way to get excellent greens in your diet: eat gourmet and cleanse your liver too!
I enjoyed the dandelion pesto on broccoli and cauliflower florets at an al fresco lunch with a friend ~ a lovely way to spend a day in May! :)

Again, dandelion greens have all kinds of health benefits, so it's well worth your while to reap these wily weeds!

Vitamins A, B, and C
Beta Carotene

Look at this list for all the benefits of dandelions:

Want more recipes for using dandelions? Check these out:

You can use Google to find all kinds of other ways to use dandelions...

Dandelion wine
Dandelion root tea (easily found at a health food store, and a great coffee substitute!)
Dandelion salads (you can use both the leaves and the flowers)
Dandelion fritters
Dandelion omelets
Dandelion floral jam
Dandelion soup

...Use the greens any way you would use bitter greens (pizza topping?) and the flowers wherever you would use any other edible flower. I used the greens in a fresh juice (with green apples, romaine, and ginger) yesterday, and in an omelet (with spinach and chives) today.

While weeding your garden, you can put together a soup or salad at the same time! Happy weeding and eating... : )  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Foraging Fun: Fiddlehead Ferns!

Getting bored with your green vegetables? Try Fiddlehead ferns!

In early spring, when fern heads are still lifting up their shy heads after a long winter's slumber... it is the perfect time to glean! While the fronds are still tightly coiled, they can be plucked and eaten raw on a salad, sauteed with mushrooms as a side dish, cooked in a soup, or tossed with pasta. You can basically use them as you would asparagus. The flavor is definitely complemented by some good tasting butter. (the secret of the French culinary arts!) : )

If you can't find them while foraging in the woods (be sure you know for sure which ones are edible), you will often be able to find Fiddleheads at farmer's markets or even in certain upscale or specialty grocery stores. In fact, I even saw them at a Whole Foods Market a couple of weeks ago. I'd have to say though, at $19.99 per pound, it's nice to be able to harvest them from our very own yard... 

The benefits of eating Fiddleheads?
  • Something new and interesting to make mealtime exciting! : )
  • An additional way to get greens, and therefore the cleansing, detoxifying capabilities of chlorophyll, in your diet
Additional tips:
  • Fiddleheads spoil easily, so be sure to use them as soon as possible after picking or purchasing.
  • Be sure to clean them very well, and keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
  • Cut off the stem at about two inches from the coiled portion, as the stem begins to get bitter at that point.
  • Some resources recommend cooking them well to remove any possible antinutrients or possible bacteria (less likely, I would think, when very fresh).

    Have you ever tried Fiddlehead ferns? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Eggplant Bruschetta

Traditional Italian bruschetta is an appetizer that consists of small toasted bread slices, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. There are many topping variations, such as chopped vegetables, olives, tomatoes, cured meats, puree of legumes, etc.  This recipe features eggplant, standing in for the traditional bread. ...Just another way to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet! This recipe is from, and is listed under Eggplant Mini Pizzas, but to me they seem more like bruschetta. In light of that, the topping may be added after the eggplant "toasts" are crisp, rather than putting the bruschetta in the dehydrator already assembled. Nutritional yeast is a nice addition for a non-dairy (and B-vitamin-rich) bit of parmesan cheese flavor.

Eggplant Buschetta

2 Eggplants, sliced in rounds 1/4 - 1/2 in. thick
2 cup Tomatoes, Chopped/sliced
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoon Basil, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced/pressed
¼ cup Onions, chopped
2 tablespoon Oregano, dried

1.Topping: In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the Eggplant.
2.Spoon topping onto eggplant rounds, and dehydrate at 118 (or desired temp) untill eggplant becomes crispy around the edges (about 8-12 hours.) *

*I'm sure you could also bake them in the oven on the lowest temperature setting (150), if you don't mind that they are no longer "raw."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade Peppermint Patties to Celebrate Spring

The peppermint is up in our garden, and I have been using it for a number of recipes. However, I'm afraid the poor plants don't have a lot of leaves to spare just yet. So, to still enjoy that fresh burst of flavor, but without stripping the peppermint plants of all their leaves... here's a recipe (or rather, more of a how-to) for making your own peppermint patties with peppermint oil, while still avoiding chocolate and sugar! It's easy too.

The idea was inspired by the recipe on Elana's Pantry.

Peppermint Patties

For the "chocolate" coating, use equal parts of:
  • coconut oil (melted)
  • lightly roasted carob 
I used about a Tbsp of each, just to make a small batch (I believe I made only 4 patties). Mix together and set aside.

For the filling:
  • 1/4 cup (?) unsweetened coconut (processed in coffee grinder)
  • 2 Tbsp (?) raw honey (It tends to be thicker than heated honey)
  • a couple drops of peppermint oil (to taste)
Mix the filling ingredients together (I used my hands) until fully blended. The resulting paste should be thick enough to roll into small balls, and then flatten into patties. Put in freezer to make them firm. This also helps for making the coating cool on them right away. Then dip/coat in carob mixture and put in freezer on waxed paper-lined trays. They may need a second coat.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's May!

... And I haven't posted since February! Yikes! Sometimes the chronic fatigue wins over doing things I would enjoy doing... like posting here, of course!

The picture above is one I took just today, during a leisurely walk in the woods. These are bleeding hearts, from one of our flower beds. I see the daffodils are up too, plus a lot of wild flowers... and some wild edibles! It's that time of year once again... time to find some food outside!

Currently, some of the wild edibles available are wild leeks (ramps), dandelion greens (Great for those green smoothies!), violets (both leaves and flowers are great for colorful salads), fiddlehead fern heads (saute in butter or ghee), moral mushrooms (Minnesota's state mushroom!-- saute in butter or ghee)... and on a recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to try miner's lettuce... Yum!

Here's a recipe from Sergei Boutenko for
Dandelion Pesto

3:½ cup dandelion leaves and flowers
½ cup sunflower seeds
2–3 cloves garlic
¼ cup basil greens- fresh or dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend thoroughly. Add more oil or lemon juice if necessary. Serve as you would regular pesto, for example, on crackers, bread, or pasta. Decorate with dandelion flowers. Serves 3.

He has a great video on the health benefits of dandelions. They really are an amazing weed (food)!