Photo Red Dandelion Chef courtesy of FoodMayhem
So, I was recently blessed with good news from my doctor that could’ve given me two possible answers, benign or malignant. I heard the word benign and thought, “WOW,” I’m lucky and very thankful that I am going to live longer! I began forcing myself to eat a bag of greens every week just to keep up this new found lease on life. With the help of an apple infused balsamic dressing so far, my plan is working.
I love salad, but I have been privy to picking out that bitter stuff like radicchio, and curly endive because it is just gross and way too bitter for my sweet- tooth- taste -bud- tongue. I’ve searched for recipes to un-do the bitter in bitter greens, made a few lovely variations and came up with an amazing creamy soup, and a wonderful, addicting salad dressing to get those healthy leaves down the hatch. I am not one for vinegary dressings but, somehow grated apples added to vinegar, and a bit of sugar did the trick to tame the pungent bunches.
Anyone in the Delray Beach area has heard or been to the chaotic, always packed, fresh market called “The BOYS.” I am happy to be so close to it, but amongst the masses just as happy to be done with my shopping there until next month when I will once again be run over (with baby in tow) by 85 year olds all in some odd hurry in their South Florida retirement and vicious in their shopping. I pick up most of my unique foods there and this week picked out a Hemi Melon (?), red dandelion greens, 2 packages of blackberries (for under $4 total), more watercress, and two cheeses I haven’t dared try yet, and fresh made chunky cherry jam.
In an effort to eat even healthier and to continue getting great news from the docs, I have been making this killer cream soup with all available vegetables. Mostly, incorporating the bunches of greens I have and adding them during the last five to ten minutes to my stewed broth with some cream has also given me great results. Even I, the chef, wouldn’t know I stuck a bunch of dandelion in the brew! Somehow, the most bitter of the bitter greens: watercress and dandelion leaves (in my edible opinion) taste heavenly when blended with a potato and some squash and my toddler LOVES it.
The DANDELION WATERCRESS LEAF BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP (The DWB soup)
1 small potato (I’ve always liked the pink ones)
1/2 sweet potato sliced or grated
A few large chunks of butternut squash (I suppose any squash would work here)
Generous handful (or bunch if you’re daring) of fresh washed greens: Dandelion, Arugula and/or Watercress
Adobo Spice (the yellow one, get it, it’s cheap and I use it for almost any recipe and kids love it)
Medium yellow or Vidalia onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic minced
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup cream
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste, and/or basil
Sautee’ the onion and garlic in the oil in a large, deep saute pan. Add the chopped or sliced potatoes and the butternut squash. If you are short on time just use the grater and shred all the thick veggies (it’s all going into the blender anyway). Tonight I added small zucchini and did nothing but enhance an already decadent soup so play around with what you have. Once the onion is clearish and the home smells good of garlic add 2 cups of water and the Adobo spice. If you don’t have that you can substitute it with 2 tsp or more of salt, generous sprinkling of pepper and 1 tsp of tumeric. Chicken stock or broth will work just as well, I just don’t usually have that on hand or use it often. Add the greens, if it’s watercress make sure you’ve removed tough stems, same with endive ends. Cook lightly over medium heat for about 12 minutes. Add 1/2 cup half and half or cream.
Turn off heat and cover. Set up blender. While it’s cooling add a few ice cubes to blender and make sure lid is ajar to let the steam out. Blend in small quantities, taste, add more spice, or enjoy as is! The pototoes blend up quickly and turn creamy, the greens are still al dente’ and give a nice crunch to an otherwise creamy, extremely healthy soup!!!!
After I get some more to eat, I will publish the dressing recipe that will surprise anyone and get all those picky adults to get down those greens!