Turquoise Barn

An Eco-Conscious, Green-Certified Retreat, Event, & Education Center located in the Catskill Mountains on an Organic farm. Offering group workshops, retreats, outdoor event space....specializing in sustainable Botanical Cuisine, Nature Therapy, and more! An ideal venue for YOUR retreat, wedding, or friends/family gathering. For more information, please visit our website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Hands are Dirty - Real Dirty - With Real Dirt...

It's finally feeling like spring!  I've really been enjoying the sounds of the birds in the morning & the peeps at night, the smell of fresh rain,  feeling the warmth & energy of the somewhat elusive and oh so beautiful SUN, watching the unfolding of new life all around, and exploring the land to discover new species of nutritious & delicious edibles. 

Yesterday was a deliciously warm & sunny day - almost balmy.  And......according to the Biodynamic Calendar, it was a ROOT day.  So....I finally made it out to my garden to begin planting.  Into the ground went really red, red & white striped, & golden yellow beets; purple pink & scarlet radish, purple kohlrabi & pretty pink turnips.  But before all these lovelies get into the dirt there is work to be done.  It involves "weeding", compost, a fork and some stamina.  

Contrary to most, one of my most favorite aspects of gardening is weeding.  One of the things I  like about it is that I see  results - kind of like vacuuming the house - it makes things feel more organized and "right".  I also find weeding to be very meditative and relaxing.  But mostly what I really, really, enjoy is getting dirty, with real dirt.  I like the smell & feel of it - i even like the turning in the compost (when it's veggie) and playing with the slimy worms. And believe me, I am one of those people who gets squeamish & starts gagging at anything resembling "gross".  (although I'm not as bad as my son who gags at our kitchen compost)

Years ago before I had my own garden, I use to try and find ways to incorporate dirt into my sculptures.  I was sometimes successful & sometimes not.  It's somewhat of a contrast because I strive to keep things neat, clean & orderly but when it comes to dirt....well - it just doesn't bother me. I can be covered in it and I just don't care.   I just love the feeling of working with it; whether I'm in the garden or in the studio - it feels sacred, magical, like an elixer- and it always leaves me with a sense of peace, calm and yes.....dirty.  

Well I can go on forever about dirt, weeds, and gardening but what I wanted to do was to share a recipe with which you can use some wild edibles from your own backyard.  And the sun is coming out! So here it is. 
Wild Edible Salad:
Dandellion, lambsquarters, red & green amaranth, kale, collards, parsley, garlic scapes, sorrel, pansies

Fresh Garden Green Salad
I love to grow & harvest greens, herbs & flowers.  This recipe has so many variations; here are the basics,
then just experiment with different types of greens both wild & cultivated, season with fresh herbs & decorate with lovely edible flowers. 

2-3  bunches of kale
1 bunch collards
1 bunch dandelion leaves
½ cup parsley
¼ cup olive oil
few dashes of pink Himalayan sea salt (to taste)
juice of 1 fresh lemon

De-vein greens - hold stem and pull until leaf comes off.  You don't really have to do this for the smaller leaves or the dandelion, although doing so will make it less bitter.  Chiffonade or (if you’re in a hurry) tear into bite size pieces, add to large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat, few dashes of sea salt and lemon juice.  Massage mixture into the leaves. The greens will shrink a bit so I always use as many greens as possible. 
You can also massage in 1/2 a really ripe avocado, add in some shredded carrots, diced red bell pepper, fresh herbs & seasonings -  the possibilities are endless.  I just use what’s fresh in my garden, what I have on hand, or have a taste for. 
*Note – if harvesting dandelions – they are most tender and the least bitter before flowering.

We will be hosting wild edible weed walks throughout the spring & summer at Turquoise Barn - contact us for more details or check our website http://www.turquoisebarn.com/

Next time we'll talk about my favorite wild edible "Stinging Nettles" - eat if you dare........

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