If you are a personal friend or a loyal reader, you may know by now that I like to Forage and make nice edible things with my finds, like a Dandelion Syrup or a Lilac Jelly, even a yummy Mulberry Pie. Mulberry season is coming up, by the way!
Are you ready to see what I did with Dandelion Stems? Yes, Dandelion Stems!
I had read in a few different places that some fellow Foragers enjoy harvesting Dandelion Stems and making "Noodles". We HAD to try this!
I am going to give you the disclaimer early on, calling cooked Dandelion Stems Noodles is a complete misnomer! Trust me, I am a huge noodle fan, from wheat noodles to rice to the fun shirataki noodles. Calling them greens may be closer, though still inaccurate. The taste, to me, was almost exactly like Asparagus stems. If you love Asparagus, you will be delighted with this dish!
The Children went out with me early in the day and we had a blast harvesting. Pick only longer stems that have blooms that have already turned into the downy seed, and as always, please leave much more than you harvest. Additional foraging tips, always forage where you know chemicals are not used, and you are at least 100ft away from any car exhaust. ;)
Look at all of those beautiful stems! We have a special fondness for finding the extra wide, fused dandelion stems. It's a special tradition of ours to look for those in fields.
Little Man loves foraging so much! Bunny prefers when we go out on not as sunny days ;)
Once you have harvested an amount that you are happy with, take your bounty home. Trim off any spots as needed, and then rinse with water in a colander.
Then add salted water to a large pot, place your Dandelion Stems in, and heat to boiling. If you do not have a large pot, you can chop up your stems into more manageable pieces, though as they start to boil and soften, you can stir them and the stems will bend and fold down to your pot a la noodles, and the size of them shrinks down a la greens.
Boil for several minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to cook the Dandelion Stems until they are very soft and tender, this also helps to get some of the bitterness out.
Once done, drain out the excess water, and add Butter. I added a little bit of extra Himalayan Salt and we ate ours like that. I had requests that next time we add Parmesan Cheese and I do think they would be way better that way! We even brought a little plate of Buttered Dandelion Stems to one of our neighbors who greets us daily on our walks, and even he and his Family were surprised at how good the Stems tasted!
I made some Orca Bay Cod for lunch the other day and I have to say, WOW! My daughter came running into the kitchen asking what smelled so good! I almost feel guilty when my family raves about some of my meals because they are so effortless. ;)
Full disclosure: I was sent this seafood for free, though I promise that you can always expect honesty from me, and I will never tell you about, much less rave about any products or companies that I am not genuinely into. All of my opinions are always my own! I love Orca Bay's mission of sustainability and of giving back to help support the ocean.
To make my Cod with dandelion syrup, I defrosted the cod according to the easy directions on the package.
Next, take 1 clove of garlic, cut into thin slices, toss into a pan with some grapeseed oil, and lightly sautee until the garlic starts to appear translucent.
Slice your cod into thick pieces, then add to your pan, along with a drizzling of Dandelion Syrup.
I cooked my Orca Bay Cod for about two minutes on each side in my grilling pan. Overcooked seafood is a big no no-if you have the habit of overcooking yours, please try lessening your cooking times and I think you will enjoy your seafood even more!
Meanwhile, I had prepared some lightly steamed snow peas(yum!), everyone in our house loves them, especially the children, I encourage you to make whatever is preferred in your home!
Plate your snow peas or vegetable of choice, place cod and garlic over, and drizzle with extras from the pan. Yeah, baby!
We are on a huge foraging and jelly making streak these days. Both activities are super fun and great for families or alone time, you will love it!
Where we live in the Midwest, everyone looks forward to the lilac bushes blooming in Springtime. The smell is divine, and the colors are spectacular. Lilacs are edible and turn into a beautiful jelly.
Pick a nice day and your cutest little helpers and get to harvesting! We took extra care and time to stop and smell the lilacs ;)
After we collected our harvest, we brought it inside, rinsed the lilacs off in a strainer, and began the task of plucking each blossom from the stems. It turned out to be a pretty neat bonding experience and we had fun sitting around the table and talking.
Once that is done, it is time to place your blossoms in a heat safe jar or container, and completely cover with hot water. I like things to be simple, so I used my Keurig for the hot water. Now for the hard part, at least for me-letting the blossoms soak overnight.
The pretty lilac hue fades from the flowers, and that is a neat thing to see.
Are you ready for the next step? Even if you have never made a jam or jelly, you will have an easy time. You can get your jars and lids/rings at most any of your local grocer or big box stores, Ball brand, of course. ;) Do not forget to pick up your pectin, it now comes in a handy canister.
Strain your lilac solution and place in the pot you are using. We used our good ole medium sized saucepan. If you are working with little helpers they can do this step and adding in the pectin and sugar no problem!
Add in your pectin-the standard amount for most batches is 6 tablespoons. Next up, Sugar! There is a little bit of wiggle room here. White granulated will work great and is the standard classic. I have a raw cane sugar that I like to get from Whole Foods. Honey works, though you need to go through some trial and error as amounts need to be adjusted to avoid an overly syrupy final result. For our jelly, we used two cups of sugar, which made our jelly sweet but not sickly sweet. Just a touch of tartness.
Whisk everything together and let your solution come to boiling.
During this time, you will need to sterilized your jars and lids in a hot bath. We do not have a canner, we use our big stainless steel pot with lid that I use to make large batches of sauce and other things.
Once your jelly has boiled, pour it into your pre sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 of an inch room at the top. Put your lids on, and secure the ring around each jar. Place your jars back into your canning bath, put the lid on, set timer to ten minutes and bring to a boil.
Using tongs and caution, remove your jars from your pot or canner, and place on a counter or flat surface to cool. Soon you will hear the satisfying POP of each jar lid, letting you know that the jar is sterilized and that you did a good job!
Label and decorate your jars if you please, and make sure to give some away as prezzies.
It is almost Mother's Day, and full disclosure: I like to start treating myself early. My children are very open with their attitudes about food and what they will eat, especially seafood. That makes my decadent dinners even better since I can share them with everyone! ❤️
I am so into Orca Bay Seafoods! I was lucky enough to discover them through Moms Meet.(I am a Mom Ambassador and recently got the privilege of becoming a Moms Meet Blog Ambassador as well) They are a company based in the Pacific Northwest that practices transparency, from harvest to table. Yay for ethical fish!
I was lucky enough to get sent some more fish from Orca Bay, and I am happy to share some of the delicious meals I prepared with their flash frozen fish. I promise that you can always expect honesty from me, and I will never tell you about, much less rave about any products or companies that I am not genuinely into. All of my opinions are always my own.
My latest meal was Orca Bay Scallops with Crab Ravioli and Caviar. If you have the motivation and a pasta maker, you can use their King Crab, or you can purchase a pre-made crab ravioli of your choice at your local grocer.
This meal is so easy and is over the top rich!
I heated one quart of heavy cream (if you prefer non dairy, chill a can of coconut milk in your refrigerator for a few hours and it turns into a thick cream-just warm up for a few minutes on low to keep the consistency) with shredded fresh basil, a dash of Himalayan salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of orange blossom water.
If you don't have orange blossom water, no problem! A tiny bit of orange juice will add that something special, too.
In a separate pan, lightly sautée your scallops after they have been defrosted and patted dry. I used coconut oil in my pan.
Cook your ravioli according to directions. If homemade, cooking time is less, either way play your favorite song, dance around, and keep your eye on the pot! Strain your ravioli, and plate.
Pour your cream sauce over, top with scallops, fresh orange pulp, and a light sprinkling of caviar. My apologies to the caviar purists, I pick up a sustainable icelandic caviar from Marshall's. It pairs great with my Orca Bay Seafood. ;)
Serve, and enjoy the smiles and satisfied silence.
Today was a most beautiful day. The children and I looked out the window and were admiring all of the neighborhood lawns dotted with pretty dandelions, or as I love to call them, dandy lions.
We decided to take a walk to a local park and gather dandelions to make dandelion syrup! The process is super easy, and I share the steps below. If you have pectin on hand, you can make dandelion jelly as well or instead.
Gather a ton of dandelions. I mean that as hyperbole, not as in gather two thousand pounds of dandelions. *wink* If I were in a way more precise mood, I could have weighed the amount we harvested, though this does not have to be an exact science. Just have fun!
Bring your dandelions in, sort them out, rinse off with a strainer, and then lay out to dry on tea towels or paper towels.
Next, we sat at the table and talked about the uses of the different parts of dandelions.
I used a knife to cut the green base away from the yellow flower tops. There are a couple of different options here. Some people simply twist the flower head away from the base(that doesn't seem to be in my skill set) or you can leave the green part on for a deeper hued and flavored syrup or jelly. Ours had a few green bits mixed in.
Now you are ready to transfer your dandelion petals to a large pot. Cover with water, stir, and bring to a boil. I boiled it for a few minutes, and then simmered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, our dandelion petals were no longer the pretty yellow as above, but instead had a darker, more tea like appearance. This is when we added in the sugar, and the juice of one lemon. I started with two cups of sugar and ended up adding in a third cup of sugar towards the end. Agave would also work, as would some fantastic local honey if you have a good amount of that on hand.
Our mixture was cooked on medium heat for an hour, and stirred occasionally. You will notice it starts to get a more syrupy consistency as it cooks. The longer you cook your dandelion mixture, the thicker it will be, so go with your instincts and what you prefer.
Once done, use a mesh/metal strainer to filter out the petals, then place in the container of your choice!
Your dandelion syrup will keep in your fridge for several weeks, your freezer for several months, and if you go with using pectin and a traditional canning method to make it a jelly/jam instead, that will have a nice long shelf life. Enjoy the mellow, slightly floral taste, and the fun harvesting experience! My children had a marvelous time and are looking forward to gathering more dandelions and making more creations!
Yesterday we made some incredibly delicious Mahi Mahi, today's dinner was Scallops from Orca Bay sauteed in avocado oil, with asparagus(also sauteed in avocado oil), then drizzled in honey and truffle oil, with some dashes of coconut balsamic. The plate has additional garnish of oyster mushrooms and carnation petals.
My big tip for you with scallops (and any other seafood) is to not overcook it! A short bake or quick sautee will do, I promise!
We were once again dazzled with the fresh taste of our seafood from Orca Bay(all of their seafood is flash frozen). I am not only impressed with the quality of their food, but of their social responsibility and commitment to supporting the National Fisheries Institute, City of Hope, Seashare, and the Whale Research Center.
Thank you again, Moms Meet for the free vouchers! I received these products for free in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own!
Fun fact, I spent a few years living in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Alaska. My children were even born there! This puts a soft spot in my heart for any company based in the Pacific Northwest, like Orca Bay Seafoods. I received a couple of $5 off coupons, courtesy of Orca Bay and Moms Meet. I picked up a package of Mahi Mahi and a package of Scallops(review for the scallops will be tomorrow's post, check back in for the exciting meal I created) from our local market, the wonderful employee owned Woodman's.
Each package of Orca Bay seafood has simple instructions on the package, along with recipes, and even more recipes are available on their website.
For our dinner I baked our Mahi Mahi in a shallow dish with some salt and coconut oil at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. (Next time I would bake it for a shorter amount of time and finish up with my grill pan to add the lovely sear marks!)
I cooked two cups of quinoa in water, with coconut oil, garlic salt and some mango puree, and prepared a salsa of kiwis, mango, jalapeños , avocado and plum.
My family LOVED their Mahi Mahi! Both children finished their dinners aside from a few specs of quinoa, YAY!
I received these products for free in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own!