Apr
19
2011

Baking with Weeds

Yes, weeds in the plural, dandelions to be specific. Hannah and I were out on an errand, and I was telling her about a recipe for dandelion bread that I had just read about (in Langdon Cook’s foraging book Fat of the Land – anybody seeing a trend here? However I can guarantee I won’t be diving down to the bottom of Puget Sound to spear lingcod anytime soon.) Of course she was delighted by the idea of cooking with flowers, so we kept our eyes out for a good patch. We found some huge dandelions out beside a sketchy Chinese restaurant and filled the only vessel we had handy – mom’s hat.

Back in the kitchen, the process of picking the yellow petals from the flower head was a bit tedious, but got easier as I refined my technique. I needed to get a full cup of them, which was no small feat, and Hannah lost interest pretty early on in the project. The bread was a basic quickbread, and the dandelions only seemed to add color (though a lovely color it was), and apparently also a ridiculous amount of vitamins. The flavor was pretty plain, and next time, I’d add some cinnamon, or maybe lemon zest. Fortunately we had some tasty lemon curd from the Bent family pantry, and it made the perfect accompaniment.

I’m also thinking that dandelion petals could go into pancakes or scones just to sneak in a little extra nutrition and interest from the kids, but only when I have an extra half hour to kill. The recipe is after the break.

Dandy Bread / Muffins
From Fat of the Land by Landon Cook
Adapted from Peter Gail’s The Dandelion Celebration

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dandelion petals, greens discarded
1-1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients with dandelion petals. In a separate container mix together the liquid ingredients. Mix into dry ingredients and stir to just combined. The recipe said to bake at 400°; we did mini-loaves and they scorched a little bit. You might want to try 375°. Mini-loaves will take 20 – 25 minutes; a full loaf will take a bit more.

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