Make a Midsummer Sandwich

  1. Gather ingredients

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Wild day lilies, CSA cucumbers, locally-produced cheese, homemade bread

2. Assemble sandwich

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3. Enjoy!

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A Floral Treat

Midsummer is bright with day lilies blooming along roadsides and in gardens.

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So pretty to look at and so delicious to eat!

Just about all parts of the day lily are edible, but I’m partial to the delicately flavored buds.

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I steam them for about 5 minutes and eat them with butter and salt.

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Eating day lily buds has been described as similar to eating green beans or asparagus. Texture-wise, I’m in the asparagus camp, but flavor-wise they are nothing like asparagus, having a delicate flavor all their own. Try them, but be sure to leave some behind so you can enjoy the bright flowers when they bloom.

 

 

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Bok Choy – A Vegetable I Have to Learn to Love

Bok Choy has little to recommend it as far as I can see. Its stems are watery, its leaves wimpy, and it cooks down to an almost flavorless almost nothing.

And yet it keeps appearing in my CSA basket.

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During CSA season, I plan meals around the contents of the weekly basket. I have no problem whipping up a dinner with asparagus as the main event, or radishes, or even a mixed greens salad. But bok choy just doesn’t seem to have the personality to hold its own as the main feature of a meal.

But it’s in the basket, so I have to use it. So here are some ways I’ve some up with.

  • Salads – The chopped raw stems add a crispy texture to a rice salad or tossed green salad, and the leaves can be added to salad greens
  • Stir fry – Maybe this is how this vegetable is most commonly used. I used it in a radish sauté last week. It added some bulk to the dish, but not much else.
  • Snacks – If you’re a little thirsty or just want to feel something crispy in your mouth, you can munch on some raw bok choy.
  • Beans – Add some to the pot when you’re cooking beans. I admit I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on this week’s agenda.

If anyone else who’s had a happier experience with this vegetable has some other suggestions, please share.

 

 

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Ingredients for a Spring Salad

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  • freshly-picked wild violet leaves
  • freshly-picked wild mustard flowers and buds
  • carrots (last fall’s harvest) and spinach from local farms
  • home-sprouted sprouts
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Nettle Quiche

Stinging nettles need no dressing up. A plate of them steamed and eaten with just a dollop of butter and a dash of salt is an exquisite dish indeed. But sometimes I like to get fancy. We brought home a bucket load of stinging nettles yesterday, so I decided to try my hand at making a nettle quiche.

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I followed my basic quiche recipe. I started with a loosely-packed colander full of nettles, which I steamed for five minutes. It cooked down to a handful, just the right amount for a quiche. Meanwhile, I sautéed a minced garlic clove and a chopped medium onion. I added a dash of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg to the eggs and milk, then put everything together in the piecrust with a handful of cheese.

While the quiche was baking, we sipped on nettle tea — the water that the nettles had been steamed in. Really, that is my favorite part of cooking with nettles. The tea/cooking water is so packed with deliciousness.

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The quiche was very delicious, too. I will definitely make it again. And I can! We picked so many nettles yesterday that we had plenty left over to freeze for future quiches.

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Local analysis:

Local — nettles, eggs, milk, cheese, butter (in the crust)

Non-local — salt, nutmeg, olive oil, flour (in the crust)

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My Salad Garden

This is my salad garden.

Mother Nature planted it for me right behind my house. All I have to do is step out my backdoor and harvest.

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Yum!

 

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Something You Don’t Need to Try

After an initial experiment baking with dandelion flowers – I made dandelion biscuits – I decided to drop the idea of dandelion baked goods because the flowers didn’t seem to add anything to the final product – no taste, no texture. But this week the dandelions are blooming again, looking so bright and inviting and delicious that I thought, why not give baking one more try?

I decided on cookies this time. It’s easy to find recipes for dandelion cookies online, but they usually call for just 1/2 cup of dandelions. I wanted to make my cookies as dandelion-y as possible, so I ended adapting a carrot cookie recipe that called for a full cup of carrots. I just used dandelions instead.

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I ate a few flowers straight. They were sweet but had no particular flavor.

The cookies came out OK, tasting of vanilla and brown sugar, but with no hint of dandelion at all.

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If you want to try this, you’ll have no trouble finding a dandelion cookie or carrot cookie recipe online. But I think I’ll stick to enjoying dandelions in my salad.

 

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