Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Local Finger Lakes Foods: Good Eats at 1922 Starkey House Bed & Breakfast

Spring and Summer Salads Are Delicious: You Can Eat Dandelion Greens!

I have always enjoyed early spring dandelion blooms and their little puffs of seed! What child hasn't picked one
to blow it to the wind?
I have eaten the green leaves in salads before and decided to revisit their use in my preparations here at 1922 Starkey House.

After all, Finger Lakes Restaurant Week is coming up this next week and though I am not a restaurant, I decided to accept the challenge as well.
Dandelion greens make healthy salads at 1922 Starkey House

So, as my daughter Rachael, owner of Holistically Haute has coached me about the health benefits of dandelion leaves, I decided to harvest them right from my own backyard (which is not pristine, purposely so) I have begun including these very nutritious greens from the very plant that so many people fight desperately to rid their yards of.

Dandelion greens with fresh tomato and avocado 

I know that dandelion greens can be bitter so I try to find the younger ones that are more tender and tasty. When you combine them with other fresh lettuces and any other salad ingredients that you normally enjoy, they add a delicious dimension to the depth of flavor. I find that enough salt and squeezed lemon are the perfect partners to dandelion greens, a bitter, salty, tart combination. Yum!

So, here is a simple recipe that I put together. I really like texture in my salads so I usually add nuts and dried fruits and even sliced fruits like grapes and apples.

Rinse the following and arrange on a large platter to serve one to three people.
Tear the greens instead of using a chopping knife. This will keep them crisper if you need to store the salad in the fridge for a while.

5 large leaves of romaine lettuce
5 large leaves of red leaf lettuce
7 smaller dandelions leaves
1 medium tomato sliced into wedges
1 cubed up avocado
1 small sweet red onion, very thinly sliced
4 leaves fresh basil roughly chopped

Crisp and delicious dandelion and mixed green salad
 with tomato and avocado at 1922 Starkey House Bed & Breakfast

The dressing:
1/8th cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 whole lemon
1tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove crushed and minced
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom for the . . .  je ne sais quoi
1/2 tsp. ground salt

The toppings:
1/4 cup of sliced almonds for crunch
1/4 cup of dried cranberries for natural sweetness

Enjoy!! Your mouth will explode with all the outstanding flavors combined!
Check the availability calendar tout suite to pick your getaway vacation dates.
I promise to serve you the Starkey House Dandelion Salad.