From the Farmer

Week 11 – 7/27/2016

Just In: Kosher Dill and Spicy Garlic Pickles from The Sweet Farm.  These are standard long-cut pickles.  We also expect pickles-on-a-stick soon.

Pickin’ Dandelions
So this is a full-on box of summer: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, squash and cukes, onions, lettuce, dandelion greens.  Wait wha?  Yes, sir, dandelion greens.  Right out of your front yard.  Nah, they are legit.  Dandelion is an edible chicory, in the same genus as endive and related to lettuce.  They are beautiful, hardy, nutritious and vital.  And they are a fantastic leafy green.  The French and the Italians are the best a making these, though there is a stellar breeder in Oregon who selects remarkable strains.

Traditionally, we’d eat dandelions as an early spring green, a bitter tonic to the storage crops of winter. They’ve been selected as a garden crop for centuries, part wild, part domesticated, with high, high levels of calcium for a green, almost as much iron as parsley, and a host of antioxidants including Vitamins A, a bunch of Bs, E, K and C.  Which is interesting because Vitamin C helps us absorb iron.  But that’s something for Drs. Weil and Mercola to guest lecture on.  Dandelions also have more protein per serving than spinach and contain all the essential amino acids.  This is good.  If you’re not sure why ask Dr. Google.

All chicories, dandelions included, can be bitter.  They’re supposed to be.  Be at peace with the bitter, embrace the bitter, and add other flavors to create a more complex dish.  Remember the Flavor Wheel?  A cooking fat like butter or olive oil will add one dimension (if you want to get a little more exotic, try coconut oil, mm).  Add spicy in the form of extra garlic or ginger or hot peppers.  A little sour in the form of lemon or lime.  Some broth will mellow things and some sweet will take the edge off.  

So cook these puppies up.  If you’re looking for a new greens recipe, try something like this: olive oil or other preferred fat (I say butter but am curious about that coconut oil), garlic or ginger, hot pepper and salt and pepper.  Cook up half the garlic over medium heat to sweat (it’ll start to get translucent but not burn).  Add the dandelion greens and their stems and maybe some stock if you want to add flavor.  Let the greens start to wilt and get tender and cook until the liquid evaporates, then add hot pepper and more garlic or ginger for a last minute.  Then take some lemon and put a little on top when you serve.  I totally just made that up but I think it might work.  

I admit I don’t like my greens too cooked myself and might try making them more like crispy kale but with all the same tastes.  One way to do this: toss in oil and any spices or fixing like the garlic and hot pepper, then bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes, turn, bake another 10-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and let them get only as crispy as you like.  Add a little lemon juice when they’re out of the oven.

Still not sure?  Add lots of flavorful fruit and make a smoothie.

Be smoothie and be great,

Mike, Deb, Al, Lex, Jennifer, Anya, James, Kay, Sonya, Julia and Kelly, Radish and Bella, Goats x 12, Camilla x 492, dinner chicks x 999 in the freezer, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, hanging at the SuperMeat factory in Silicon Wadi (seriously, check it out)

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