Dandelion Jelly


Has it been a month already? Time to post!

All kidding aside, the spring weather has been pretty balmy and our world rapidly grew green again and dandelions dotting most of the nooks between each blade of grass it could find. Luckily, with most of my lawn converted to garden, there isn’t much space for them to grow. Besides, snapping up each golden specimen has been a relaxing hobby of mine for years, so they don’t stand much of a chance with me. My new neighbour to the south however, near blinded us with his yellow lawn and my family and I soon found our neighbourly side, down on our hands and knees. While pulling the dandelions from their roots, we shared stories, a glass of rosé and generally got better acquainted. It was quite a sight.
Our conversation turned to curiosity as our bucket bulged with weeds.

We’d each seen little old ladies with their protuberent bags, walking along dandelion dotted roadsides and parkettes. What do they do with all that weed?

Dandelions are good for you, I know that. Vitamin and potassium rich, the whole plant can be used. I’ve made salads myself.
I have the tea and heard the roots can provide a locavore their coffee fix. Plus, I know that wine can virtually be made from anything. But it wasn’t until I recently received my newsletter for this week from one of the city’s farmer’s markets did I read of one of the vendors selling, you guessed it, dandelion jelly this week.

Now, I wouldn’t be the so-called foodie I claim to be if I didn’t look a little deeper. Of course I was intrigued, as were others. There were the B&B’s and a few homestead posts, but it wasn’t until I’d come across the recent article in the New York Times, that I’d realized foraging is cool!

It’s easy and fun to make. The colour is like lemon drops and sunshine, which is a pretty nice thing to say about dandelions, I think. It tastes a bit floral and honey-esque. Certainly not what a I thought a bitter weed would taste like, spread over my morning toast.

DANDELION JELLY

2 1/2 Cups Dandelion Petals, packed
3 Cups Water
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
2 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Pouch Liquid Pectin

Find a trustworthy lawn, free of pesticides and doggies, or raid your neighbour’s like I did, and behead about 4 cups of dandelions.
Separate the petals from the green bud or “receptacle” and collect the petals in a measuring cup, pressing down gently until you have 2 1/2 cups.
Transfer the petals to a saucepan, add the lemon zest and cover with boiling water. Bring it to a rolling simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the water in well infused and coloured.
Strain the liquid from the petals, pressing down if necessary, into a measuring cup and compost the petals when you’re done. There should be about 2 1/2 cups of liquid, if not add water to top it up.
Return the infused liquid to a saucepan, add the lemon juice, about an overflowing tablespoon, and the sugar, bringing everything to a hard boil.
Finally, add the pectin letting it return to a boil for two or so minutes, while you set up your jars, then remove it from the heat.
Pour the hot jelly into steralized jars with 1/4″ headspace. Screw on lids and process in a near boiling simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
This recipe will make four 125ml jars of jelly.
Enough to share with the neighbours you stole dandelions from.

Not Your Aunt’s Creamy Potato Salad


The bounty cometh, it is summer after all. Not only is it the season for all things grown fresh it’s also BBQ, picnic, firework celebrations and stay up late season.

With company on it’s way, I wanted a classic tasty side to go with all things grilled and what summer meal would be complete without a potato salad? I’ve made a potato salad with a vinaigrette before but this time I was more craving the old fashioned creamy style only lighter.

I like potato salad when it’s still barely warm, but this can easily be cooled and packed perfectly for a picnic.

CREAMY POTATO SALAD WITH AVOCADO

1 1/2 Lbs New Potatoes, scrubbed
1 Large Ripe Avocado
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Mixed Chopped Herbs, Try dill&chives, cilantro&scapes or parsley&tarragon – or mix and match them all together.

Steam the potatoes until they are just fork tender but al dente.
Cool until the potatoes can be handled, then quarter.
Peel and dice the avocado and combine with the potatoes and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Stir in the herbs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss well to coat everything and to break down some of the softened avocado.

Serves 4-6

Tabbouleh


I’m not quite sure what it is with grains and rice that, at least whenever I make them, there is always a scoop left over.
This scoop, of course, is too big to toss and just big enough not to waste it.

Recently I’ve been revisiting quinoa. I love it! Soft but chewy, a little nutty and it’s so hypnotizing to look at once it cooked with it’s little, spiral fronds. With all this increase in quinoa around here, I have had a few little spoonfuls left over. Up until now I’ve been making great hot dishes from my quinoa, so when I needed a quick refresh, I had a craving for tabbouleh salad. Tabbouleh is a Mediterranean salad typically made with bulgar, parsley and a hint of mint but I had a bit of fennel so why not use up what you’ve got?

Light, fresh and delicious, I think I may just stay on this quinoa kick.

TABBOULEH

4 – 5 Romaine Lettuce Leaves
1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, about 1 cup stemmed and finely chopped
4 Scallions
2 Tablespoons Mint Leaves
3 Tablespoons Fennel Fronds
1 Cup Quinoa, Cooked and cooled
1 Cup Tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1/2 Cup Cucumber, diced

DRESSING

1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Pinch of Salt

Whisk the dressing together and set aside.
Wash, seed and dice the tomatoes into 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces.
Chop the cucumber into a 1/4″ dice.
Chop the lettuce in the bowl of a food processor.
Follow with the scallions and parsley, finishing with the mint and fennel; chop well – everything should end up a uniform size.
Transfer the greens into a large bowl.
Add the quinoa, tomato and cucumber, tossing well to combine.
Pour over the whisked dressing, mixing to coat.
Chill prior to serving.