Spoonshine - Yes, dandelions are invasive weeds, but when you steep the petals with shredded apple, it makes a delicious jelly that tastes like honey and sunshine. My daughter named it “Spoonshine”. It is impossible to be anything but cheerful when you are working with these weeds, hands and face dusted a happy yellow. Bella likes dandelion flowers, too, she wanders nearby as I pick, biting off the flower heads and gulping them down. Plenty for everyone.
Spruce Tip Jelly - And, no, it doesn’t taste like trees, it tastes like apricots and snow. If you don’t believe me, you’ll have to try it for yourself. I will be selling it at the first Farmers Market next weekend.
Elderflower Cordial - I gathered elderflowers layered them with sugar and lemon in the steam juicer and made an elderflower cordial. You have to gather the blossoms early in the morning on a dry day and only the ones that smell fragrant and not musky. The blossoms are beautiful, white and foamy, lightly dusted with pollen. They smell like the elderberries, only fresher and greener with overtones of melon and citrus.
If you feel like making some sophisticated summer cocktails, you can use Elderflower Cordial to make the Hummingbird (2 ounces Champagne, two ounces club soda or seltzer, 1.5 ounces Elderflower Cordial); or an Old Fashioned Summer (one finger of gin, a splash of elderflower cordial, ice and fresh apple juice). I just drink it by the teaspoon over ice and seltzer.
I will have a few jars of this to sell at the Farmers Market in June . If it is a warm day, I might sell it by the glass (over seltzer and ice, no gin, sorry.)
The most beautiful ballerina in the world. ( I know that there are many most beautiful ballerinas in the world, you might have your own to enjoy.) This particular ballerina makes every minute of my life sparkle, and so it was very apropos that her costume covered the back seat of the truck with glitter. We seem have a lot of glitter and dog hair in our lives these days.
Daffodils from my garden: even a flower as simple and sweet as these roots me down into this place, makes it feel a little less wild and stubborn, a little more like home.
Spring Forage - I harvested nettles (ow ow ow) for smoothies and tea. They must be good for you because they don’t taste like candy, chock full of calcium and vitamin k, apparently.
I made some pretty good pesto using devil’s club shoots, olive oil, and pine nuts. This was a satisfying revenge after all the prickles I have received on various hiking expeditions. Not sure about the nutritional value but I do know that Oplopanax Horridus is an awesome name.
Fiddleheads were blanched and sauteed as a side dish for dinner (the girls love those). I made some into a pickles, too.
Next on the list: spruce tips, elderberry flowers and dandelions.
Here she is, hunting hooligan fish. She has, just in the last months, developed (it seems to me) an ethereal beauty, with her fair skin and freckles, tilted eyes, and pointed chin. This is grounded by her ready gap-toothed smile and snapping blue eyes. I love her to distraction and she is so good and sweet. (photo RML)
AlaskaRosalie on your radio: Click the play arrow to hear a short essay piece that aired on KHNS. (You can also go to their website: http://www.khns.org/local-news-may-15-2014. My essay starts at the 08:15 mark.)