Side Dishes

Side Dishes

Garlic Mustard: An Early Spring Arrival

My mentor, Gary Lincoff, professional botanist and author of the Audubon Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, cautioned his students not to be a ”plant snob.”

Garlic mustard is invasive, choking out native plants. But it is edible.

I will never get tired of saying that what I like best about foraging is that so many edible plants grow in abundance without any help from me.

I grew up on a farm. Planting, weeding, watering and harvesting are hard work. Foraging is fun.

Garlic mustard is one of the ten featured plants in my e-book, Joyful Foraging: Learn How to Feast on the Food Growing All Around You. Take a close look at the heart shaped leaves with scalloped edges and deep veins.

These are tastiest before the weather warms up. Once the white flowers appear, the leaves become bitter
While you're in the field, look for field garlic pictured on the right, also featured in my e-book.

Meanwhile enjoy this recipe for garlic mustard with sesame oil:

SHOPPING LIST:

Foraged items:
1. Garlic mustard greens
2. Field garlic, if you find it

Purchased items:
1. Sesame oil
2. Onion - if you don't find field garlic

IN THE FIELD:
Gather enough greens to fill a paper lunch bag
If you find field garlic, gather it to use instead of an onion

IN THE KITCHEN:
1. Rinse greens to remove any dirt and blot dry
2. Coarsely chop leaves
3. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add chopped greens
4. Boil for 10 minutes or until the water is bright green
5. Remove from heat, drain leaves and discard water
6. Chop field garlic or onion
7. Sauté until golden
8. Stir in cooked garlic mustard greens

Remove from heat, plate and serve

garlic mustard sesame oil 003.JPG

Side Dishes

Dandelion Croquettes: A Hot and Crispy Side Dish

 Dandelion Croquettes are a crispy substitute to starchy side dishes

 Dandelion Croquettes are a crispy substitute to starchy side dishes

When I was growing up, the sight of sunny yellow dandelion blossoms decorating a lawn or pasture was a sure sign that winter and mud season were over. Spring, with all its promise of longer, warmer days and new growth, had officially arrived. Dandelion blossoms, when separated from the milky stems, can be enjoyed fresh, sprinkled over a green salad. Blossoms can be also be added to a number of recipes. I like to sprinkle petals in pancake batter. If you are skilled at making tempura, dip entire blossom in tempura batter. Here's my recipe for dandelion croquettes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

1 cup dandelion flowers - pinch the flower at the bottom, roll it & shake off the petals
1/2 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch fresh ground pepper
1 oz milk
oil for pan frying
Mix all ingredients
Add enough milk to make a stiff batter
Heat coconut oil or olive oil in a cast iron pan
Spoon golf-ball size amount of batter into the oil
Press into a flat shape for more even cooking                                                                                    Let  croquettes cook 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown
Flip croquettes and brown on the other side                                                                                                Remove from pan and drain
Serve on a bed of ramp leaves or other greens.                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                   Shopping List:
Foraged items

1 cup dandelion blossoms separated from stem
12-15 ramp leaves
Pantry Items:
1/2 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch fresh ground pepper
1 oz milk
oil
large lettuce leaves if you don't have access to ramps
 

Timeline:                                                                                                                                          
1-2 Hours Before:
Gather dandelion blossoms
Only gather ramp leaves in season
30 Minutes Before:
Remove petals and separate dandelion petals
Mix ingredients to form batter
10 Minutes Before:
Heat cooking oil
Spoon batter into oil and press to flatten
Turn and cook the other side
Drain on paper towel
Arrange on bed of greens
Serve