Dandelions

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.  Welcome to My Last Diet Plan and DC/Seasons of Parenting who are now Following.

Dandelions [Taraxacum officinale] originated in Europe and have spread to all temperate regions due to Colonization. Yes, they qualify as an ‘invasive species.’ The English name is a corruption of the French ‘dent de lion’ [lion’s tooth] due to the shape of the leaf. Children love dandelions — to make flower crowns and to blow away the downy seeds in a wishing game. To people who covet a smooth green mono-culture of a lawn, dandelions are the bane of their existence: no sooner have you mowed, than the flower stalks surge upward making the lawn look irregular and raggedy. But dandelions are good for you! They are very versatile in cooking: salad, tea, pesto, soup, wine — all can be made from dandelions. Just be sure that you gather them from a lawn or meadow that has not been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or machine exhaust gasses.

If your taste buds shy away from foods on the bitter end of the scale [ex: arugula], then you might need to mask the dandelion flavor a bit more. For the rest of us, these recipes give you a chance to eat the ‘alien invaders,’ and put those weeds to use. From morning eggs to a silky smooth soup for dinner, dandelions are on the menu.

Dandelion ScrOmelette:  147 calories 8 g fat 2 g fiber 11 g protein 9.5 g carbs 103 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF Since dandelions abound in most lawns during the early Summer, why not try them with scrambled eggs?

1 ½ two-oz eggs HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week  ½ cup  dandelion greens 1 clove garlic 1 Tbsp cooked brown rice 1 oz melon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Chop the dandelion greens and cover them with boiling salted water. Let sit 5 minutes off the heat, then taste a leaf to see if the bitterness is gone. If not, heat the water again to boiling, then take off heat for another 2 minutes. Taste again. If still bitter, drain the water, add fresh salted water and cook 2 minutes more. While that is going on, chop the garlic. Drain the dandelion greens. Heat a non-stick or cast-iron skillet and spray with cooking spray. Cook the garlic over medium for 30 seconds, then add the dandelion and rice. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper, then pour them into the pan. Scramble or cook like an omelette. Plate with the melon and try something new.

Forager’s Soup:  271 calories 17 g fat 6 g fiber 13 g protein 29 g carbs 250 mg Calcium  PB GF  Here is an Irish soup made with summer greens. Did I hear you say ‘weeds’? Know that a weed is a plant that is growing in the wrong place. The cook-pot is the right place, where they are splendid. The recipe is one of Darina Allen’s from Reclaiming Ireland’s Culinary Heritage, One Roast Lamb Or Sponge Cake At A TimeHINT: The recipe makes 3 cups, enough for 3 servings.

2 tsp butter
½ c onion
½ potato = 4 oz
salt + pepper
Melt butter in pot over medium-high. When it foams, add vegetables, and stir to coat. Season. Turn down to very low, put parchment paper atop vegetables, to trap steam. Put on lid and cook gently 10 mins, until vegetables are soft but not brown.
1 c chicken stock
½ c + 1/3 c whole milk
Heat stock and dairy in a saucepan to simmering. Remove parchment and add hot liquid. Simmer 5-10 mins to cook vegetables fully.
4 oz by weight = 2 c. wild greens: dandelion; garlic mustard; sorrel; chives
¼ c ricotta
Add greens + simmer uncovered 2-3 mins until greens are just cooked through (do not cover pot or overcook, or else bright green color will be lost.)  Add ricotta. Purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
1 oz chorizo/ bacon per personSlice chorizo and cook on low in a skillet until fat is rendered and meat is crisp, 5-10 mins. Drain on paper towels. 
Edible flowers
2 Finn Crisp per serving
At serving time, warm soup over medium-low heat, uncovered. Scatter chorizo/bacon bits on each bowl, and garnish with flowers.

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