Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Recipes: In Honor of Earth Day

Earth Day is next week, on April 22nd to be precise. In honor of that, I want to share some tasty recipes that come from Mother Earth, lots of veggies and even some edible flowers in this post!  

Also, be sure to check at the end of this post for some helpful articles on edible and not so edible items. There are a few helpful links as well, so be sure to check them all out. 

Hope you enjoy them, have a great weekend! We are in for some great weather here in the midwest, hope you are too!

~ Amanda

Dandelion Salad with Cooked Dressing

4 slices bacon, cut in small pieces
approximately 2 c. chopped new dandelion leaves
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. cream or milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1/4 c. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. flour

Toss together chopped dandelion, chopped onion and fried bacon pieces. Set aside. In skillet warm butter and cream until butter melts. Beat egg and then add salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar and flour. Blend the egg mixture into the slightly warm cream mixture. Increase heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Pour hot dressing over the greens and toss gently. Add eggs before tossing. Serve at once. Gather the dandelion leaves early in the spring before the plants flower or they will be bitter.

This is what Shirley told me. It is considered a delicacy in Europe. The long tap roots of the dandelion have a substance in them that is used as a natural laxative. The roots are also roasted and ground, then used as a coffee substitute.

Dandelion Salad Vinaigrette

This is Shirley's recipe for the dressing her grandma made.
Salad Vinaigrette
Makes approximately 2/3 cup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I love oil from Tuscany for its peppery flavor)
3 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 large peeled and smashed garlic clove
Freshly ground pepper

Put all ingredients into a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well and let steep at least an hour before use. This will keep under refrigeration for a week. Bring to room temperature before using. You may wish to add a sprig or two of fresh herbs as available. Occasionally substituting fresh squeezed lemon juice for the vinegar makes a pleasant dressing, especially in the summer.

Edible Weed Salad

3 cups mixed greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard.

1 cup mixed weeds such as:
-dandelion leaves
-chicory leaves and flowers
-chickweed leaves and flowers
-lamb's quarters leaves
-purslane stems and leaves
-shepherd's purse leaves

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl along with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and a few to many crushed garlic cloves depending upon your personal preference. Make sure you use the young, tender leaves of any weeds you will be adding to your salads and other culinary creations. Older leaves tend to turn bitter, tough, and stringy.

>>See more edible weeds here

Herbed Croutons

Day old homemade or bakery bread
Olive Oil
minced fresh herbs of your choice

For every 2-3 cups of cubed bread, drizzle olive oil over the cubes and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of minced herbs (or 1 tablespoon dried) on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees, stirring and watching often, about every 5 minutes until crispy. Use in salads and soups.

Easy Focaccia

Premade pizza crust (or try this homemade crust)
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Fresh, minced herbs

Preheat oven according to crust directions. Drizzle the crust with olive oil, sprinkle with a tablespoon of minced herbs. Rosemary also works well by itself but use sparingly! Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake. This can be used with a meal, or as a snack.

Mini Focaccia

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
Dash pepper
1/4 cup oil
1 (12-oz.) can refrigerated biscuits (in the tube)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In blender container combine basil, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and oil. Cover; blend until finely chopped, scraping down sides if necessary. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. On ungreased cookie sheets, press each biscuit into a 3-inch circle. Make several indentations with fingers in tops of biscuits. Spread about 1 teaspoon basil mixture evenly over each biscuit. Sprinkle each biscuit evenly with cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm.

Salsa Mexicana

1 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 to 4 chiles serranos, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine onion, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro in a bowl. Season with lime juice, salt and olive oil. Stir and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving. This may be made the day ahead and refrigerated.

Here are some wonderful articles that you may enjoy:

Harvesting and Storing Herbs
Safe and edible flowers

While the Earth does provide many edible plants, there are also some that aren't. Be sure to read about poisonous flowers and plants you should not ingest.

And these Spring Bug Cupcakes are just too cute to pass up!

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