Friday, May 6, 2016

Eat your weeds!

Eating right out of your backyard is about as "local" as you can get.

Sure having a garden is a great way to do this but even more interesting (and easy) is seeing what is already growing there.

Let's first start by saying, "Don't spray those weeds!" Well, don't spray them if you want to eat them.

In the U.S. people think dandelions are just nuisance weeds. Yet, in European farmers markets, you'll find big piles of dandelion leaves for sale. When I was in Italy a couple years ago, the dandelions I saw in an outdoor market were only the leaves and no flowers but the more I've been reading, there is a ton you can do with dandelion flowers, which will be a future article.

With the leaves, I've made pesto, scrambled them in eggs and thrown them in soups. They are bitter but if you like more bitter greens like mustard greens, beet greens, kale and chard, you may like dandelion greens. 

Backyard Pesto #1 - Dandelion greens
Cut the dandelions about 2 inches from the ground (you want more to grow!) - you'll want about two cups. Younger, smaller leaves are more tender but if you just have large leaves, that's okay too. Be aware though, if you cut them and they start to ooze white juice, they are going to be super bitter. You want the newest, smallest leaves. Pull the leaves off the center of the leaf. See the image below for reference. You'd don't want the center of "core" of the leaf, the long center part that holds the leaf together - just the green leafy parts.

In a food processor, blend:
- 2 cups dandelion leaves (I put in a bowl with a sprinkle of water in the microwave for 40 seconds first)
- 2 cups fresh spinach (adding fresh spinach cuts out the bitterness a bit)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves

Yes, this is super basic and vegan. If you'd like, add in a handful of parmesan cheese and/or pine nuts or walnuts or pecans. What I like to do is great the basic recipe above and freeze it - either in jars or ice cube trays. That way I can add cheese later if so desired. Maybe I'm a bit of purist and believe that the pesto is delicious as is! Keep in mind, it's going to have a bit of a bite. It's delicious!

Pesto is a staple in our house and I made a new batch every couple of days to freeze or eat right then. ANY green really works. It's fun to be creative. In fact, I just did a batch with arugula, spinach, and radish leaves and it was excellent. Yes, radish leaves that you usually just through away. I've even made some with fresh carrot leaves. In a small amount (mixed with spinach), the result was a spicy, earthy pesto.
Do you have a favorite, unique pesto recipe you'd like to share? I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wow, so I had forgotten I even had this blog. The last post was a little less than two years ago. Let's get 'er going friends.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Do you ever think about why you do things in life?  Like picking up and moving to a state where you don't know one person who lives there and where there are fewer people in the entire state than in the county you lived in at the time.  Or after 20+ years of working for someone else, you decide to give entrepreneurship a shot and open your own business. Or go back to school and become a teacher. Or finally find your voice realizing that what you think and what you believe in matters, even if it's, well, sort of weird.

Today, on this beautiful Sunday, I was reminded of my love for digging in the dirt, writing and pondering life.  When we moved to Spearfish from Sacramento seven years ago, I started this blog a Sunday on July 6, 2008 when I had first heard the word Locavore.  I thought it would be fun to see if we could focus on living, eating, shopping within 100 miles.

In those seven years, I have started my own business Black Hills PR, Mike has gone back to school to get his teaching certification and we are in full-fledged life with a special needs middle-schooler.

In the garden, I have expanded to a 30 x 30 foot L in the backyard and have a plot in the Spearfish Community Garden.  And seven years ago, we move to the 'fish not knowing anyone and today, I can't go anywhere without running into someone we know.  I like that.

So maybe this is the seven-year-itch of wanting to get back to more writing and pondering.  I'm looking forward to resurrecting Black Hills Locavore.  I'm glad you are reading this.  Welcome back!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In the winter here in the Black Hills, we should be bundled up and trying to stay warm.  What  a "winter" this has been.  Yes, we've had some snow but nothing too crazy to speak of.  I'm actually looking forward to "when" winter will actually start.  Recently, we've been introduced to Bountiful Baskets and have been loving the fresh produce.  Local? Well no.  What we do local is eggs, milk at meat at Black Hills Milk and of course, beer at Crow Peak Brewery.  Alas, we await summer!

Friday, November 25, 2011

There is something so wonderful about farm-fresh eggs.  We get ours at Black Hills Milk which is located in the same lot as Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish. The difference is clear.  All you need to do is compare the color of the yolks.  The yolk should be bright yellow or sometimes, even orange.  Now, open up the eggs you just bought from the stack of 100 dozen eggs at Safeway or Wal-mart and crack one open. Lemon yellow yolks will await you. 

You can find local eggs at your local farmer's market and if there isn't one open over the winter, ask around because there is probably someone that has eggs to sell.

For those of you in Spearfish, head over to Black Hills Milk and support this great local business.  They are open from Monday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm and offer grass fed / finished beef, raw milk, a great selection of cheeses, produce, homemade bakery items, jellies / jams and all sorts of good things. 

Shop local - it's a GREAT idea!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shopping locally is so important.  I'm continually reminded of the power each of us has when we choose to head downtown to buy a candle at an independently owned store instead of going to Wal-Mart or ordering something online.

With the holiday shopping season upon us, please remember your town's small businesses and really make an effort to shop there.  Yes, I understand that Wal-Mart and the like employ local people and offer cheap(er) products. I also understand that's it's really convenient to order online to get EXACTLY what you are looking for. However, every time you give your local businesses a shot at your business, you are providing a larger impact on your LOCAL economy.  We have the power to make or break a small business.  I say, let's try and make it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sturgis awarded $25,000 for recycling

Good news this morning that the city of Sturgis will receive $25,000 for larger scale recycling options.  Stated in an article in the Rapid City Journal today, Sturgis recycles old newsprint and corrugated cardboard and that these funds will allow for holding trailers and a larger baler for cardboard.  Instead of these usable materials heading to the landfill, they will be separated and taken to recyclers.  Good news!  Randy Nohava, Public Works Dept Director also notes that "a good 85% of that stuff is worth money".

Just today, we started our week of "tracking our trash".  It's really making me think about everything we thoughtlessly toss in the trash that will soon head to the Belle Fourche landfill.  Already, the orange plastic bag the RCJ came in this morning, a piece of saran wrap, an old receipt and even lint from the dryer.  And this just in the first 30 minutes of a Sunday!