Recipes for Found Foods

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Pasta with Dandelion, Garlic, and Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings

1 pound fresh dandelion greens

1/2 pound pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound peeled fresh tomatoes or one

16-ounce can stewed tomatoes

Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste

Hot pepper flakes, to taste

Salt, to taste

1. In a large pot of salted water, boil the dandelion greens until they're almost tender. Add the pasta to the pot and cook until done.

2. In a skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil until it's lightly colored. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Drain the pasta and dandelions; spoon the tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with the cheese, hot pepper flakes, and salt to taste.

This recipe is adapted with permission from The Dandelion Celebration: A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine, by Peter Gail. © 1995 by Goosefoot Acres Press.

Blackberry Syrup

Makes about 3 pints

4 cups whole blackberries, washed

1 3/4 cups sugar

1. Run the blackberries through a food mill, or juice them in a blender and strain the seeds out with a sieve. Pour the slurry into a large nonreactive saucepan and stir in the sugar.

2. Place the pan over high heat and bring the syrup briefly to a boil, then reduce the heat until a vigorous simmer can be maintained without the syrup boiling over. Continue cooking until the liquid thickens perceptibly, bearing in mind that it will be considerably thicker when cooled.

3. Skim off the foam that forms on the top, then pour the syrup into hot, sterilized jars and seal. It will keep at least
a year if stored in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.

Marigold Vinegar

Makes about 3 cups

4 cups cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dried (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh) orange peel

1 teaspoon dried (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh) lemon peel

1 cup marigold petals (about 2 cups whole blossoms), packed

1. Pour the vinegar into a nonreactive pan and bring it briefly to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat to its lowest point. Add the orange and lemon peel and marigold petals, and warm the mixture over low heat for an hour. (Do not return it to a boil.)

3. Strain the infusion through wet muslin, then pour it into a sterilized wine bottle. Cork securely. Store this and other flavored vinegars in a cool, dark place.

Note: This pretty, honey-colored vinegar, usually used for salads and cooking, is also a good clarifying rinse for hair. The above procedure can be used with any edible flower.


Stir-fried Chickweed

Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon corn or peanut oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons peanuts or cashews, chopped

5 cups fresh chickweed, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Steamed rice

1. Heat a wok over high heat and swirl in the oil.

2. Add the onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add the nuts and toss for 20 seconds.

4. Add the chickweed and ginger. Sprinkle the soy sauce over the greens and toss them just until they become bright green (about 30 seconds).

5. Remove the wok from the heat, spoon the chickweed over the steamed rice, and serve.

The three preceding recipes are adapted with permission from The Neighborhood Forager: A Guide for the Wild Food Gourmet, by Robert K. Henderson. © 2000 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company.