Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crockpot Dandelion Stew!

I think the first crop out of my garden is dandelions.  It has been warming up in middle Tennessee, and I have been planting spring vegetables and pulling the dandelions which are young, tender and perfect for a spring stew.  The roots can also be saved for tea or a coffee substitute.

I like using cubed pumpkin, but you can also use any squash or even potatoes.  When pumpkins go on sale in November for $1 each, I stock up and cube them for the freezer.  It makes soup and stews really easy.  Carving pumpkins are edible.  They often don't have as strong a flavor as baking pumpkins but for soups and stews, or actually any pumpkin recipe, it works out fine. One large pumpkin can produce a ton of pumpkin cubes!

Dandelion Stew


  • 2 lbs of cubed meat (pork, beef or chicken -  I used cubed pork loin)
  • 2 cups chopped dandelion greens
  • 4 cups cubed pumpkin
  • 1 cup diced peppers
  • 1 cup of beans already soaked or canned
  • handfuls of other chopped spring greens that are available (like chickweed, sorrel, dock, wild garlic chives and cress)
  • seasoning of choice (I used Za'atar seasoning made with wild Staghorn Sumac)
  • 3 pints of broth (I used a combination of duck broth and chicken broth)
  • 1 box of favorite small pasta
  • 1 block of cream cheese (optional for creamy variety)

Clean and cut your vegetables.
Diced dandelion leaves

Other wild greens

Add all ingredients to crock pot except for cream cheese and pasta.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.
Za'atar Seasoning with wild Staghorn Sumac
Duck broth, darker and richer than chicken broth
Stew beginning to cook

Half an hour before completion, warm cream cheese in the microwave until soft and add to crock pot. Mix. 

Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and add to soup.

Best served hot topped with shredded cheese.

I got a "Thanks, that was great, mom!!" If my fourteen year old son likes it, then it is good!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pork Loin with Crab Apple Glaze

In my continued desire to utilize my wild edible ingredients, I am very pleased with this combination!  All of these ingredients will be ready for harvesting in the next few months. I will definitely be making more of this jelly as it goes so well with meat!

Pork Loin with Crab Apple Onion Sage Glaze


5 lb pork loin
Half pint crab apple onion sage jelly, divided
4 potatoes cut into chunks
2 onions cut into wedges
1/2 cup diced peppers
3 T dehydrated Kudzu, crushed
4 T dandelion mead
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Grease baking pan which includes lid. Rinse pork roast and place in pan. In a separate bowl, add potatoes, onions, peppers, kudzu, salt and pepper. Toss gently to mix.  Add to pan and surround pork loin. Pour dandelion mead over ingredients. Using 3/4 of the jelly, glaze the top of the meat and potato mixture.

Bake covered for four hours.  Serve with additional remaining glaze. This would also work well with sweet potatoes.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

White Clover Bread

I have found that when you begin your foraging journey that you also begin accumulating ingredients for which you have no recipes and are not sure what to do with. However, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.  You begin experimenting and find things you and your family like. Strangely, by the end of winter you stare at an empty jar that was once clover flower flour and can't wait for the plants to reemerge so you can collect more! What was once strange is now desirable.

Recently I watched a BBC documentary about WWII. By the end of the war there was a young
generation that had never seen a banana and did not even know how to eat one. It had been an import that stopped due to the war. When they finally got them back, the children thought them strange and did not like them.  It goes to show that food is what you are accustomed to having and that can be changed.  Bananas weren't bad just different.

This is a great recipe to use clover flour (dehydrated and ground clover flowers). I served it at a recent foraging meet-up and it was a success! It is a great way to stretch your more traditional flour if ever circumstances put you in that position, and if you are more concerned with health, it's a great method to add nutrition and enjoy it.

White Clover Bread


3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
3 T of butter
1 3/4 t of salt
3 cups of flour

1 1/4 cups clover flour
2 3/4 t of yeast

1 egg white (to paint loaf before baking)


Place all ingredients, except egg white, in bread machine, liquids first, dry ingredients, then yeast. Set to dough cycle.

When dough cycle is complete, turn oven on briefly to just warm (not hot). You are creating a warm environment for your bread to rise.

Remove dough from machine and shape into desired loaf. I prefer to make two braids. To do this, cut dough into half. Cut each half into three. Some people prefer to roll their dough on a floured surface. I prefer to use oil on the work space and my hands to prevent sticking. Use what ever method works best for you. Roll out dough to long strands. Take three strands and press ends together. Braid and tuck ends under. Repeat with the other three strands. For an alternative braiding method and a more even braid, start braiding in the middle and then finish each end.

Place loaves on stoneware pizza pan (regular pan works fine too). Loosely cover with Syrian wrap. 
Put in warmed oven for 25-30 minutes to rise.

After rise is complete, paint the loaf with egg white. Put back in the oven and bake at 340 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.