Dandelions, Harvest & Recipes
"It's snowing like crazy in Angel Fire!"
Yes, there really is such a place, high and wild, redolent of Ponderosa pine and sage. A broad, cattle ranch valley with snow peaks and big sky and views to forever.
And right now, a lot of goofy-grin skiers doing March snowstorm jigs!
My firewood guy had reported in with the weather report and will bring a cord of piñon tomorrow. I've been rationing the diminishing woodpile. Dear friends sent me home with a goodly amount, stuffed in the old car to tide me over.
Counting blessings, a warm fire and warm feet, and good-hearted folks can change a day, even a life. We never know.
Second eclipse today in two weeks; the vibes in town were a little off-key. But a big guy bundled up with muffler and wool cap, a guy I don't know delighted me with gallantry.
My face lit up with the joy of surprise. I grinned and said, "Thank you, Honey!" while he made room for me and my awkward bundles.
Business done, I turned to go, nodded and thanked him again.
"No. Thank YOU, for calling me Honey."
"Well, I guess we all deserve to be called Honey every now and then!"
A big old fire is crackling in the woodstove. Am sipping dandelion root tea. During the astonishment of faux-spring, I started preparing a new flower bed, which meant a density of tap-rooted dandelions.
Once upon a quieter time, country folk gathered early dandelions for a spring tonic when most of the world still looked gray and brown, and will winter never end?!
Here's what you do:
The roots are a premier liver/gallbladder tonic. After you've grunted many roots to the surface, topped with the dandelion leaf rosette of back-pointing "lion teeth" (dent de léon), save yourself some kitchen mess.
I was at the end of a long day so did fast prep:
Cover leaves with water.
Add a splash of cider vinegar, salt pepper.
Simmer till tender; add butter or olive oil.
Puree in a blender with garlicky roasted potato.
A vividly-nutritious cream soup and YUM.
In Pennsylvania-Dutch country, a sort of wilted sald is made, with the first tender dandelion leaves, before they get stunningly bitter.
Leaves gathered, washed and separated from the rosettes, bacon is fried till crisp and crumbled. Bacon and hot grease are poured over the greens, drizzled with cider vinegar. Chopped hard-boiled eggs can be added and garlicky croutons.
And those roots you set aside? You can chop a handful and simmer till the tea tastes rich and earthy. The roots are often gently roasted with their cousin, chicory, for a hearty tea, sometimes construed as a coffee substitute, though by few coffee lovers!
Nonetheless, Spring's gift to health.
This morning, I walked westward to watch a chilly, early-riser show. The full moon, Jersey-butter-gold, was settling through bare tree branches, and mauve and azure sky.