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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dandelion Salad for the Taste of Early Spring!

We've been taught to look upon this humble weed/herb as a plague in our lawns, but perhaps we should have more respect for the much maligned dandelion. The leaves are full of vitamins, so I searched out an old Southern recipe for a tasty hot dressing to pour over the tender greens. Be sure to gather young leaves or they will be too bitter.

You can also use this dressing for other greens like watercress, spinach, and endive. My mother-in-law made dandelion salad years ago, then forgot her recipe. But I found it in the Mennonite Country Cookbook, which is about as country as you can get. I gathered tender dandelion greens and mixed them with some spinach I wintered over, and made the salad yesterday. Very good.
For The Salad itself:
4 cups chopped dandelion leaves
3 hard-boiled eggs
3 slices of bacon
For The Hot Dressing:
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour (or gluten-free flour)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups milk or water
Wash and chop dandelion leaves. Cut bacon in pieces and fry. Remove bacon from drippings. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, add egg, vinegar and water or milk. Stir until well blended. Cook this mixture in the bacon drippings until thickened and cool slightly. Pour over dandelions and mix lightly. Garnish with sliced eggs and bacon. If you are reluctant to use bacon fat in the dressing, I suggest substituting butter. Adjust proportions to suit your taste.~
The valley is greening up and looking far more hopeful than the brown we've lived with since November. A blanket of snow is pretty but we haven't had much white stuff this year, though the rain has finally returned after months of drought. I'm in my 'giddy about the earth awakening' mode and have been chronicling spring in the garden. Early crocus, snowdrops, and miniature iris are in bloom now. These faithful flowers come back each February/March and are as tough as nails. They have to be with our crazy weather this time of year.
"A house without a garden or orchard is unfurnished and incomplete."  ~A. Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), quoted from
Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732
One of the worst mistakes you can make as a gardener is to think you're in charge. ~Janet Gillespie
My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings. The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming. ~Betsy CaƱas Garmon,
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