Don’t Eat the Weeds

April 28, 2009 at 7:47 am

Rob Gardner

I told you yesterday of leftovers from Friday night’s dinner.  I also mentioned dandelions.  Notice I did not mention the dandelions with leftovers.  If you thought it was just because we finished these spring greens, you would be wrong.  If you surmised that the dandelions, despite my best efforts tasted of arsenic and old lace, well you’d be about right.   If you wonder what the hell the Local Beet is doing, tales of canning woe, soon to be published tale of local meat woe, and now dandelion woe, well I have to say to you.  You aint seen nothing left.

Like I say, I tried my best with the dandelions.  I used balsamic vinegar.  I used sugar.  I used olive oil and then more olive oil. The good stuff too, organic from Crete, the land of wild green eating.  Nothing worked.  But they did bring joy to our Shabbat table.  Laugh.  Laugh.  Laugh.  Inedible dandelions segued into “remember when Dad made lamb with applesauce–another Greek inspired goof of mine.  I grabbed something red from the freezer with the idea that I would stew the lamb in it.  Really, it came out kind of good, in a caramelized kind of way (that’s what I told them), and don’t forget the asparagus instead of green beans.  The kids found it too funny though.  Funnier still when recalled the other night.  Tony Soprano may have called Remember When the worst form of conversation.  Did he know that the fontina you would use from Roth Kase was a “shmear washed” kind, that the idea of placing  the cheese on baked pork chops created a kitchen that smelled of a lab experiment gone wrong.  Remember that, the kids asked me as I tried to convince them that scarfing down some bitter greens would make them strong.  Remember when you nearly flamed out Thanksgiving by trying to brown up the sweet potatoes?  Remember the undercooked grilled chicken (sadly there’s been more than a few of those to remember).  Remember.  Remember.  Hahahahahahha.  Hohohoho.  I am Mr. Mirth Provider to the Local Family. 

We laughed.  I can take a good ribbing.  I’m not going to stop buying local, cooking local.  I will encourage canning and local meat even as I warn of their pitfalls.  In fact, I will probably try to prepare dandelion greens again.  Whatever we lose in imperfect meals, we gain in hilarity.


One Comment

  1. calliopitsa says:

    Being of Greek decent myself, I LOVE the bitter taste of wild dandelions. The mild tasting greens you buy at the supermarket just don’t compare to the strong bitter but also surprisingly sweet taste that the wild greens give. The key is picking the entire plant, place your knife into the ground to take out the plant from its base so that leaves remain attached. Wash well (and pick out all the flower buds) place them in boiling water and cook them well. Dandelions taste surprisingly different depending how long you cook them. The flavor is mellow if you overcook them (the color of overcooked broccoli). They have more of a bite if you cook them a shorter time (the bitter taste does grow on you and you start to like them less cooked). Either way they need at least 15 minutes of boiling time. The white part near the root where the leaves meet will become sweeter as they cook. Traditionally, Greeks dress them with salt, lemon and olive oil. Some people even drink the boiling water as a type of tea. Boiled wild dandelions are the perfect side dish to broiled or fried fish. Delicious!

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