Mustard Garlic

Wendell Berry has a lot to say about our visions for life. In The Gift of Good Land, he discusses the destruction of prairie and forest, saying this...

"As we felled and burned the forests, so we burned, plowed, and overgrazed the prairies. We came with visions but not with sight. We did not see or understand where we were or what was there, but destroyed what was there for the sake of what we desired. And the desire was always native to the place we left behind." p.82

In saying this, Berry urges me to know my own land, to understand where I am, and what is here. I'm compelled not to simply destroy what exists, for the vision of "perfection" handed down to me. (In my county, that would be the vision of a pristine lawn with narry a "weed" in sight.)

So I am learning, and I am trying to participate in a "re-visioning."

As part of the process, I went on a wild edibles hike this past Saturday, with Steve Brill. And I came home to a weekend of discovery... that on my own property I have garlic mustard (pic above) with a "horseradish" root, and edible violets, and day lilies (don't confuse with inedible Tiger Lilies), dandelions, and wild onions.

I felt a fresh vision of the gift I hold right here, on my own small parcel of land. My ten-year-old daughter expressed it well on Sunday night. She gave this blessing before the meal...

"Thank you, Lord for this day when we could be together. And thank you for all this wonderful food, that we didn't even have to pay for! Amen."

For a related post on my other blog, visit Discerning the Violet

Here's a recipe using dandelion greens. Pick them young, before the flowers come, for milder greens. If you've already got flowers, you could also eat those instead. Just pluck the green part off the bottom.

Caldo Gallego

Caldo Gallego

Saute in a bit of oil 'til brown:

- 1 onion, chopped

Add and saute briefly:

- 1 garlic, minced
- 1 TB "bacuns"
- 1/2 tsp. smoke spice (if using Liquid Smoke, add at next step)
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Add and boil about 15 minutes (til potatoes tender):

- 2 potatoes, large dice
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked red beans or chickpeas
- large tomato, chopped, or small can diced tomatoes
- water, to cover all (put more or less for thicker or thinner soup)


- good pour olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- bunch of dandelion greens, chopped (let wilt in soup before serving); if dandelions are out of season, substitute spinach

Serve with crusty whole wheat bread or rice and a salad.

Caldo Gallego photo by L.L. Barkat.

Labels: , , , , ,


Blogger Andrea said...

I like this re-visioning thing. It goes hand in hand with contentment, doesn't it? Something the Lord has taught me about a lot this past year. It's fun seeing your journey, too.

As for your yummy recipe, I have a couple of substitutions....use pinto beans and cilantro instead of the dandelion greens. If you like!

And my new favorite recipe is your lentil soup recipe on this blog. I've made it three times in the last couple of months. (I don't use the Bac Uns, my husband does not like any *taste* of meat...) but all of your recipes look so fresh and delicious...I sense a....revisioning!! ;)

4:14 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Yes, it really does seem to pair up with contentment. I like that you make that connection.

Your substitutions sound good too. Very Mexican, which I think works for the spices in this soup!

Oh, I'm so glad you like the lentil soup. I think you could probably use smoke spice, which isn't meaty, if you wanted. It's fun to share these things with people who are actually enjoying the ride.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am definitely going to try this soup! And I have PLENTY of dandelions to work with!

This post brought to mind the idea of perfection and beauty and how that varies over time and culture. Even in our own lives: as a child, I though dandelions were beautiful and would pick bouquets of them. Now, through the re-visioning our culture can do in us, I see them as weeds. Time for another type of revisioning.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Mama Monk said...

Our lawn has dandelions that continually pop up! we have a heack of a itme staying on top of them. So, Voila! I will eat them! Thanks for passing on this tip.

11:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home