Archive for June, 2014

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These white japanese turnips are mild, crisp and watery. You can minimally cook them, roast them, grill them or just have them in their raw and tender state.  They don’t have the sting of sharpness that radishes do, and they’re much sweeter than you would expect.

You can cook baby turnips as you would potatoes — boil them, bake them or saute with butter, garlic and herbs for a delicious side dish. Also, the turnip greens sauteed with garlic can accompany any dish.

In the dish above, I roasted the turnips with bell peppers, mushrooms and spring onions. I sauteed the greens with a cup of chopped kale, a few fresh herbs and steamed a cup of rice.

IMG_6707Scrub off any dirt and wash turnips.

IMG_6710  Cut the greens and stems from the turnips and set aside.

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Wash and prepare other ingredients.

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Cut turnips in half, add a sliced red pepper, a few mushrooms, a handful of fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste and some chopped garlic. Place in a casserole with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat evenly and place in a hot 375* oven for about 30 minutes.

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While the turnips are in the oven, steam the rice and sautee some green onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the pepper, mushrooms, turnip greens and kale. Cook until wilted. Combine roasted turnips and greens on a bed of rice or on the side. Serve hot. Enjoy!

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wild edible weed salad

wild edible weeds salad

wild edible weeds salad

Take a stroll in your backyard or a nearby vacant lot and find a few weeds here and there, add a few edible flowers and you have yourself a beautiful and nutritious salad. Make  sure the land is not treated with any pesticides or visited by dogs and cats. The best time is in the spring when everything is tender, colorful and delicious! For this salad I picked the weeds in my backyard. It rained last night so I waited till the sun dried everything before picking. I found chickweed, wood sorrel, plantain, lamb’s quarters, purslane, dandelion leaves and flowers, and wild violet.

Make sure you pick only plants you know are edible. Check with a local expert for plants that you are not sure about.

 

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lovage pesto

lovage pesto

lovage pesto

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This is the lovage plant in my garden which is now a few feet tall.

By the end of the summer it will grow to over six feet.

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One lovage plant is plenty for any garden. The plant grows so big, you’ll never use it all. The taste is very similar to celery and is sometimes called wild celery. The best time to use the tender leaves are April through June.  In hot weather this herb can turn bitter, so use it early on for best taste.  After flowering, but before the seeds fall to the ground, cut the plant back to about one foot from the ground to encourage fresh growth and save the work of rooting out seedlings.

Every part of the lovage plant is edible. It has a much stronger flavor than the more familiar celery, so only use about half as much in any given recipe. Here I used the leaves to make pesto, but you can use it in soups, salads, casseroles, as a spice for flavoring any dish just to name a few.

Both leaves and stems may be dried for winter use. To prepare the leaves for your spice shelf, rinse the stems in water, then clip off the leaflets and spread them out on a tray until dry and ready to be stored in airtight containers. The seed heads which mature in August should be laid out flat to dry, then put in a large bag and shaken to remove the nutlets. Also the stems are hollow, so they can be used as a straw to sip your favorite summer drink!

cool lemonade with fruit and a lovage straw

cool lemonade with fruit and a lovage straw

lovage stems can be used as a straw

 lovage stems can be used as straws

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2 cups of chopped lovage leaves

1 cup parsley

1 cup basil

1 whole head of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pine nuts, almonds, walnuts (toasted) or hemp seeds

1 cup olive oil

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Blanch the lovage leaves in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes

Chill in a cold water bath, drain and squeeze excess water

Add all ingredients, except oil, to a food processor, process until roughly chopped then drizzle in your olive oil

Note:

I add parmesan cheese if I use the pesto right away. If I make a batch to freeze, I leave out the cheese and add it in when I use the pesto in a recipe.

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