Foraging on Shore Front Parkway

foraging-dandelions-rockaway

I was walking back from the YMCA last week and noticed the dandelions have flowered. Time to forage in the great wilderness, or as I like to call it, the median of Shore Front Parkway. I know what you’re thinking, “Gross!! Dogs pee there!!” Whatever. I bet gophers pee on asparagus and kale in the organic farms. Either way, I still feel natural, locally grown foods are healthier for us than the pre-packaged produce in the supermarket. God knows what they spray on those greens! Besides, germs make your immune system stronger. So, grabbing some dandelions off the ground in Queens and giving them a toss in olive oil isn’t a big deal for me. And it’s free food!

Italian immigrants over 50 years ago would gather dandelion greens and use them in many of their meals. Fran Honan, A Glorified Tomato contributor, recalls her grandparents did just that. “We scavenged for food. It was either spring or fall when my grandfather would wander the streets of Brooklyn, looking for empty lots with overgrown weeds. He was looking for ‘gardunia’ and dandelions.” My father told me a similar story of his grandmother doing the same near Hell’s Kitchen during the Great Depression era. Dandelions are known as a “famine food” – easily available, nutritious and free.

dandelions

The best time to harvest the plant is now, when the sprouts are young. The larger mature leaves are tough to chew. I know this because when I tried foraging for dandelions in middle summer a few years ago, they tasted friggin’ gross. However, when they’re picked young, dandelion leaves have a bitter but pleasant taste, a stronger flavor than arugula but similar. The plant is low in calories and high in calcium and vitamins A and C. The whole plant is edible in fact, roots leaves and the flower, but it’s most common to use the leaves and garnish with the bright yellow flower.

cleaning-dandelions-leaves

dandelions-sandwich

I was hungry after the gym so I decided to make a sandwich with my freshly picked (and washed) greens. I toasted panella bread and topped it with tomato, fresh mozzarella and onion. I squeezed lemon juice over the leaves and added olive oil and a little white vinegar. For seasoning I used a shake of  salt/pepper and garlic powder. So simple! And tasty!

If you want to give dandelion greens a shot, I’ve posted three delicious recipes on the blog for you to try out! Find them here.

tagged in garden, gardening

Grams of the Week – May 2

pancakes

I’ve been indulging in pancakes lately! Jam and butter make them perfect.

lowtide-bar-rockaway-beach

A sign of summer. I was taking a walk on the boardwalk and noticed the tables at Low Tide have been freshly painted. I heard the concessions are opening May 19.

foraging-for-dandelion-leaves,-rockaway-queens

I wrote a column about foraging  for locally grown dandelions, wanna give it a shot? Here are three recipes to try!

spring garden rockaway

I spent a whole day cleaning out the front garden which for some my be a chore, but for me, it’s one of my favorite things to do. All of my perennials from last year seem to be doing really well except maybe the echinacea. I wrote about the front garden design and planting last year. Take a look!

tagged in instagram

dandelion leaves 3 ways

As a follow up to my Wave column this week, I’m posting three dandelion recipes. If you have know idea what I’m talking about, pick up a copy of the paper or you can subscribe online to read the column. In short, I wrote about foraging for locally grown dandelion leaves. I’ll have the orginal column on the blog in a few days.

If you decide to try these recipes out, I would love to hear what you think of them, and see the pictures too!

Sauteed-Dandelion-Leaves2

Sauteed-Dandelion-Leaves-1

Sautéed Dandelion Leaves over Angle Hair Pasta

Ingredients:

1 lb. angle hair pasta
1 garlic bulb, peeled and diced
1/2 olive oil (Colavita is the best)
1 cup shaved carrots
1 1/2 cup packed dandelion leaves
Salt, pepper and oregano to taste

Directions (serves 4):

  • Thoroughly wash the dandelion leaves using a colander. Remove roots and flowers. Make sure the leaves you foraged for are young/small.
  • Boil the water for the pasta. Add salt and a little oil to the water.
  • While the water is boiling, start sautéing the garlic for about 5 minutes until it gets slightly brown. Only use 1/4 cup of the oil.
  •  Add in the carrots and dandelion leaves, cook on low for 5 minutes.
  • Skim some water off the top of the pasta water, put it in your serving bowl. Strain the rest of the pasta and place into the bowl.
  • Mix in cheese and add the rest of the olive oil. Top the pasta with the vegetable garlic mixture

dandelion-leaves-with-lemon-juice

pan-seared-salmon-2

Pan Seared Lemon Salmon with Dandelion Leaves

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 medium sized pieces of salmon
1 small bulb garlic
2 cups dandelion leaves
2 lemons
4 tbsp. butter
Pepper

Directions:

  • Thoroughly wash dandelion leaves using a colander
  • Chop garlic and  sautéed in a frying pan until golden brown, remove
  • In the same pan, sautéed dandelion leaves, add lemon juice and cook for 3 min. until wilted, remove.
  • Add more butter in the pan, add a few garlic pieces and a bunch of dandelion leaves. Cook salmon on high for 5-7 minutes. Flip once so each side is crispy.
  • Plate the salmon over the leaves, add garlic. Add more lemon to the salmon and a generous amount of pepper
  • You can serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

Dandelion-Gorgonzola-Salad

Dandelion Gorgonzola Salad

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 cups dandelion leaves
Equal part red leave lettuce
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Cherry tomatoes halved

For the dressing:

1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
Juice of 2 large oranges
2 springs rosemary
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  • Thoroughly wash dandelion leaves using a colander
  • Chop red leaf lettuce
  • Half cherry tomatoes
  • Fix all ingredients on a large plate or in a bowl

Directions for the dressing:

  • In a large jar poor in the vinegar
  • Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges in the jar
  • Peel garlic, no need to chop, add to jar
  • Add the rosemary and salt and pepper
  • Very slowly whisk in the oil. It’s good to let the dressing fuse for at least one day but you can use immediately if you wanted too
  • orange-rosemary-dressing washing-dandelion-leaves

 

 

 

grams of the week – april 25

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

obamastraycatrockaway

Last Thursday I was cleaning out the backyard. We have a bunch of scrap wood and concrete bits that need to go. Obama was so adorable just hanging out with me in this planter. He’s a good cat!

maserati

I like to drive fast Italian cars when I’m on Lawng Island #Maserati

daffodils-rockaway

This week I noticed many daffodils have bloomed in Rockaway. There seems to be many more this year than last. So beautiful!