Breakfast this morning was a fast plate of scrambled eggs and a grapefruit, because I was eager to get outside and do some weeding. I am not typically this excited about weeding, mind you, but yesterday my mom clued me in to the fact that dandelion buds are not only edible, but tasty. I am fully on the dandelion greens bandwagon and every spring I gather some from the extremely lush crop growing in our yard, but I did not know that the little buds were tasty. So, I had to try this out myself. To do this you want to gather the unopened buds that are right at the base of the plant, practically flush with the ground. I took a bowl out into the back yard and worked my way through the long row of irises, pulling weeds and plunking dandelion buds into my bowl. By the time I made it all the way down the fence row I had a pretty good number to work with. I also picked baby spinach and lettuce out of the greenhouse, and a nice bunch of fresh tarragon.
Mom told me that doing a quick blanch of the dandelion buds removes any bitterness, and my mom knows what she is talking about. I did a quick blanch of the little buds and then drained them really well:
Aren’t they cute?
And then I fried them in some ghee to remove any excess moisture (and because: fried in ghee=awesome).
I snacked on a few right out of the pan and they had no trace of bitter flavor, just a mildly grassy, floral flavor. Very tasty. I sprinkled them all over my lunch salad of fresh spinach, strawberries, and boiled egg, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some orange-infused vinegar. It was one of the best salads I have ever had, seriously. THANKS MOM!
This might be a way to convince your kids that weeding is fun. Maybe not.
I really dislike monolith, grass-only lawns (this makes us less popular with certain neighbors, yes). In addition to the fact that you can pick some great salads right out of your lawn if you leave it a little more natural, the bees will love you for it. And the bees need all the help they can get right now. If you decide to try a dandelion bud salad just make sure you gather the buds from an area that is not by a road or anyplace that has been chemically treated. If I get really ambitious I want to try to gather enough to pickle them, like capers.
That big bunch of early tarragon that I picked went into the dinner menu. I tossed it in the blender with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and a little salt and turned it into a pesto. I then made sweet potato “pasta” by using a vegetable peeler to shave a small sweet potato into thin strips. I cooked those in a little water and ghee for about five minutes (don’t overcook or they will fall apart). I tossed some scallops in a skillet with the pesto and cooked them up, then topped the “noodles” with the mix. I know I have been waxing rhapsodic about a lot today, but seriously, this was just one of the best things, ever (and yes, we do eat a lot of scallops–I love them).
The downside to this lovely day of cooking and playing in the yard is that I didn’t get all of my work done, so tomorrow the bar is going to be a bit lower, menu wise. Last night we were discussing our progress with the challenge and we both felt that it had not been that hard at all. Having said that, I have gone from cooking 75% of our meals from scratch to about 99%, and clearly this is the biggest obstacle to doing this long term: time. If you live with a personal chef (Harrison does…) it’s much easier.
Thanks for reading,