Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting Spicy: Flavouring Oils, and Eating Dandelions and Weeds - Margaret Ullrich

Chicken isn't the only food that could use some spicing up.

For a flavored oil in your salad dressing, blanch the leaves, let them soak in your favorite oil for two weeks and then store the oil in the refrigerator.  

Think it's hard to grow herbs?
Many herbs are very resistant to garden pests.  You don't need to treat them with weed killers.  A good thing to remember, especially if you plan to eat them.  Confine mint, chives and parsley in pots by the back door so they can be used daily.  

Thyme, oregano, mint and fennel are weeds in the Mediterranean.  
But where would Italian cuisine be without them?  

The Manitoba weed, sorrel, can be used for soup and salad.  Fast growing nasturtiums have leaves that add a peppery flavor to salads.  Pot marigolds grow quickly and have been used as a food coloring and a remedy for skin irritations.  Their golden orange flowers can also be added to salads or substituted for saffron.
Dandelions, cursed by tidy gardeners, are rich in vitamin A and also contains vitamin C, calcium and iron.  
The crown is located between the roots and the surface leaves.  After cooking they can be eaten like the heart of an artichoke.  The sweet tasting flowers can be added to pancakes when the batter is on the griddle or dipped in batter and fried for fritters.  Young leaves can also be served as a salad.  

Dandelion roots can be peeled, dried, roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute.  One teaspoon per cup is plenty.  Remember what we drank when there were high coffee prices in the 70s?  

If you overdo the dandelion coffee - you'll know because it has a laxative effect - brew a pot of tea from some raspberry leaves. 

Have dandelions?
Lucky you!!

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