31 May 2013

Dandelion Pesto

The Food Under Your Feet.

1/3 c. almonds (or whatever nut you have in your pantry)
2 c. loosely packed dandelion greens
3/8 c. olive oil
3 (or more or less) cloves garlic
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/3 c. (or more or less) grated parmesan; the sort you grate yourself, not that crap in the green tube...

In a blender or food processor, grind almonds to a fine consistency but stop before it becomes butter.  Dump out of blender into a bowl and set aside.
Roughly chop dandelion greens and discard big stems.
In the blender, process greens with 1/4 c. olive oil until well broken down.  Add garlic, salt, cheese and reserved ground nuts and process until desired consistency, adding more oil as needed.

We have a blender, so this is sometimes a bit of a challenge, but if you have a food processor, then, well, man, you're golden.

Right then, a note about dandelion greens.  The older and more pointy the edges and the later in the growing season, the more bitter they will taste.  So if you are sensitive to bitter greens in a negative way, then carefully select the smallest, roundest, palest, leaves and trim the stems well.  If you have a penchant for bitter greens, then, well, chuckle quietly at those spending several hours to pick a couple of cups of greens while you haul whole plants out of the garden, tearing the leaves from the limp, conquered enemy...

A note about the almonds.  We've made this pesto three times this spring.  The first time we used pine nuts, the second time we used walnuts, the third time we used almonds (the picture is from the almond version).  Every attempt was successful and tasty.

Garlic.  We really like garlic.  Three cloves might be too much for you if you are garlic-shy.  But don't forget that garlic is really good for you... raw garlic is especially good for you... and just about everyone in the known universe is a fan of garlic to some degree, so if you smell like garlic, it can only result in you being even more popular and attractive than you already are.

The beauty of this pesto is you can customize it to your taste.  By which I mean, make it however you want, roughly following the quantities and instructions. More oil will make it thinner, different oil (like walnut oil) will give it a different flavour.  Extra cheese or less cheese or none at all will make it variously suitable for your vegan or lactose intolerant friends and family.  What the hell, even use a different green.   Toss it with pasta. Use it as a condiment or sandwich spread or dip. Use it as a base for pizza.

30 May 2013

The Dandelion Martini

2 oz. dandelion-infused vodka (below), straight from the freezer
3 dandelion capers, it has to be 3, because 3 is sexy

Pour vodka into martini glass, garnish with capers.
Best served in the middle of your dandelion-infested lawn.  Drink and think about the diaspora of dandelion through the known universe.

The dandelion infused vodka was adapted from Dazed and Infused's recipe.

Pour an inch of vodka in the bottom of a clean, dry, mason jar.  Use good vodka for this. Cheap vodka is for Ceasars and teenagers.  If it comes with a free hat, it's cheap.

Pick two really big handfuls of dandelion flowers, carefully avoiding bugs, then chop the green end off, pull the yellow fluffy part out.  The yellow fluffy part goes in the jar with the vodka; keep adding yellow fluff until the jar is about 2/3 full.

Top up with vodka.  Leave on the counter near a window for 2 days (if you live in a warm sunny climate) or 3 days (if you live in Newfoundland).  Put it in the fridge to make it a week. On day 7, strain into a new clean jar and store in the freezer.

Once it's good and cold, go ahead and make that martini.


Since Dazed and Infused doesn't have tasting notes for this, here's what we thought of it:  totally drinkable.  Fefe thought it had a sweet note... she described it as floral-y and nectar-y.  caribougrrl thought the taste was reminiscent of very very ripe cantaloupe   Fefe continues to drink dandelion martinis, caribougrrl is happy to leave it in the freezer.

Dandelion Martini on Punk Domestics

Dandelion Capers (quick-pickled dandelion flower buds)

Adapted from Wildcraft Vita's recipe

1/3 c. dandelion buds (or more or less... it takes a long time to find the perfect low to the ground fully closed buds)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp salt (plus some for soaking)
white vinegar to fill teensy caper-sized jar 

This is a multi-tasking opportunity.  

Take your weeding tool of choice and hoik out dandelions from your garden or lawn.  Remove the tiny dandelion buds... these are the buds at the base of the plant, not the ones that have started to rise up in the air.  Discard the rest of the plant, but not into your composter (unless you want to exponentially increase your dandelion crop in future).

Remove stem and dark green outer leaves (caribougrrl would like to point out that these are the sepals, not technically leaves).

Soak buds in salted water for 5-10 minutes to get rid of any bugs that might be there.  Strain and put into the bottom of small but clean and dry jar.

Sprinkle sugar and salt over buds.  Let sit for a while.  Do some more multi-tasking of some nature.  When you remember the sugared and salted buds, fill the jar with vinegar and put the lid on.

Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days, then keep in fridge.  They are ready to eat within a week.  Don't store for too long, but they are in salt and vinegar so don't panic.


We LOVE quick pickles.  We love capers.  When we heard that pickled dandelion buds were kind of like capers, we were all over that.

Pickle 'em quick and eat 'em quick.  That's our motto (at least since Fefe read Carol Sheild's novel Larry's Party).  We do sometimes make shelf preserves, but Fefe is terrified to serve those to other people, we keep all the risk within the household.

At any rate, we were partly surprised to taste them and find out they really are like capers.  So save yourself the $3 a jar and use them like you would use capers (with smoked fish, pasta puttanesca, tapanade, pizza...).  They make a lovely garnish for a dandelion martini.