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Games, Songs & Recipes

At some point we’ll be posting instructions for playing many of the games we play at Dancing Sol. Many of you have also asked for lyrics to some of the songs we sing… so we’ll post them here as well. And finally, we make some great creations here at Dancing Sol: wheat-free play dough, gooey gak, and other fun things to squish and build with. (And we don’t tell the kids how great they are for their motor skill development.) We also make some yummy food creations as well: fruit leather, no-dairy (and no grain) ice cream, and other delicious treats often made with plants from our own garden! We’ll share our recipes with you.

Today I want to share with you a great recipe for how to Eat Your Lawn!
Head out to your non-pesticide-sprayed lawn and pick a pile of dandelions!** These bitter leaves can be turned into fabulous food with the simple addition of oil. You know how you can tame the heat of a dish with something sweet added to it? Well if you want to tame something bitter, you add oil to it. In this case, I add olive oil, blending it into the dandelions. And since we live in Eugene, Oregon – grower of almost all hazelnuts in the US – I make pesto using hazelnuts in place of pine nuts, but I’ve also enjoyed the buttery quality of walnuts as well. Below is the recipe. Enjoy!

Hazelnut-Dandelion Pesto
2 cups tightly packed dandelion greens
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sauerkraut (for vegan version)

dandelion-rockAdd each of the first three ingredients one at a time into a food processor until completely blended, starting with the dandelion. Drizzle in the olive oil to allow it combine thoroughly. Add lemon juice. Add the Parmesan cheese (or sauerkraut for vegan version) and blend until desired consistency is reached.

We use the dandelion pesto on pasta, to replace red sauce on home-made pizza, mixed with a little vinegar for a quick salad dressing, or just straight – spread on a fresh baguette! Let us know what you think of this recipe! I’ll bet your kids have never eaten a lawn as delicious as this!

**Please note: Our wonderful dandelion has a look-alike that some don’t find as edible: hairy cat’s ears, or “catsears.” (Hypochaeris radicata) It has similarly toothed leaves that grow out from the base like dandelion, but it’s leaves are hairy! If you wish to pick and prepare catsears, people often find it more palatable when cooked or steamed.

Did you know:
The English name dandelion is a corruption of the French dent de lion meaning “lion’s tooth”, referring to the coarsely toothed leaves. The names of the plant have the same meaning in several other European languages, such as the Italian dente di leone, Spanish diente de león, Portuguese dente-de-leão, Norwegian Løvetann, and German Löwenzahn.

Culinary: Dandelion leaves contain abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium and fair amounts of iron and manganese, higher than similar leafy greens such as spinach. The leaves also contain smaller amounts of over two dozen other nutrients, and are a significant source of beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. A cup of dandelion leaves contains 112% daily recommendation of vitamin A, 32% of vitamin C, and 535% of vitamin K and 218 mg potassium, 103 mg calcium, and 1.7 mg of iron.

Medicine: Dandelions, flowers, roots and leaves, have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine & medicinal teas, most notably for liver detoxification, as a natural diuretic and for inflammation reduction.

PS: Hazelnuts are good for you too!
The name filbert is the correct name for the tree and nut. The name is of French origin and the tree was likely first introduced into Oregon by early French settlers. Hazelnut is the name coined by the English and it was applied to the native species by early settlers. “Hazelnut” is the most common name for this nut, though “filbert” is used as well.

According to a manuscript found in China, from the year 2838 B.C.E., the filbert took its place among the five sacred nourishments God bestowed on human beings. In olden times the filbert was used as a medicine and a tonic. The Greek physician Dioscorides, 1800 years ago, emphasized the properties of the filbert as such: “It cures chronic coughing if pounded filbert is eaten with honey. Cooked filbert mixed with black pepper cures the cold. If the ointment produced by mashing burnt filbert shells in suet is smeared on the head where hair does not grow due to normal baldness or to some disease, hair will come again.” We can’t say if these are accurate, but even if not, the hazelnut is definitely a great tasting nut to eat!