Dandelion "Honey"

When a friend of mine posted a link to a recipe for Dandelion Honey on her Facebook page, I was more than intrigued. The amounts in the recipe sounded almost magical: "365 dandelions, 1 for each day of the year", and the idea of taking a pesky weed and turning it into something delicious was very appealing to me.

So, the other day on our 1 mile walk home from school, my children and I collected dandelions that we found growing in parks and next to the sidewalk on our route home. We weren't keeping track, just picking all the nice looking ones that we saw, and when we arrived home I found we had collected more than 800! So I doubled the recipe.

It turned out to be a real task extracting the petals from the leaves and bases of the flower, so I probably would have been wise to make a single batch... so I will give you the quantities for just one recipe! (Please note: it is important to remove all greenery from the flowers to ensure that your final product will have a pleasing golden color! Also, wash the flowers before removing the petals, then let dry out an hour or two in the sun before proceeding.)

The flower petals from 365 dandelions are mixed together with 1.2 Liters of water, 2 lemons and 2 oranges thinly sliced (preferably organic, so as to avoid the pesticides leaching out into the mixture). Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, covered for one hour. Leave the covered pot to sit overnight so that the flavors can continue to infuse the liquid.

The next day, strain the liquid, add 1 kilogram of sugar, and reheat to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes at moderate heat. Ladle it into small jars, close while hot.

This "honey" may be used in desserts and also as a cough syrup if you like! We used it this morning on pancakes.


Pasta di Carciofi

To ring in the spring season, I decided to make an artichoke pasta. I found the recipe in Giuliano Bugialli's book On Pasta.

I was so proud of myself for finally cleaning artichokes without hacking them up into unrecognizable bits and pieces... I started with 3 large artichokes, which were cleaned, then soaked in ample cold water with lemon halves squeezed and dropped into the bowl.

30 minutes later, the artichokes were cut into 8ths and sauteed for 5 minutes along with the chopped leaves of 15 large Italian parsley sprigs, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, and 1/4 cup olive oil.

I added 1 cup dry white wine, and cooked the artichokes over high heat until the wine evaporated, then added salt and pepper, covered the casserole, and continued to cook the artichokes until they were tender.

The artichokes were pureed in a food mill, then made into a dough using 5 1/2 cups flour, 3 extra-large eggs, and salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the pasta, I rolled the dough through a pasta machine to make sheets, then cut the sheets into tagliatelle using an attachment.

To finish, the pasta was boiled for about 3 minutes, then tossed with a butter and sage sauce. It was soooo yummy!

The re-telling of this recipe was somewhat abridged. For the full version I recommend you purchase Bugialli's book. It's a great resource!