Yard Food Day 2010

As you know, Yard Food Day is a traditional post in honour of the first day that I eat something that is growing in my back yard, and in 2010, it is April 18th.

I've noticed that my chive plant has been growing for a few days now, and so technically, Yard Food Day could've been an omelet with some chives a few days ago, but that didn't happen.

Weedgeekery is shifting. Circa 1995, when Toxics Watch ran its "Lion's Tooth Festival" to celebrate the much maligned dandelion, there were few resources describing the uses of this valuable plant.

But today, there seem to be weedgeeks in the mainstream. My lunch recipe today was published in the April 7th, 2010 edition of the Globe & Mail's Food & Wine section: Salad of dandelion greens, pancetta and boiled eggs, a dish served at Montreal's Toque restaurant.

A quick ellipse.

At the 2009 Annual General Assembly of the Canadian Environmental Network, one of the presenters was local permaculture expert, Ron Berezan, who presented on the idea of no-till gardening. To help build up poor backyard soils, the no-till gardener applies layers of newspapers, leaves, and fall garden detritus to the yard to rapidly build up organic matter. I understand the initial layer of newspaper is supposed to suppress weed growth.

Of course, weedgeeks don't suppress their weed growth, so I left the newspaper part out.
The consequence of this omission is that what appeared to be ordinary, young dandelion plants growing atop a layer of leaves actually had 2 or 3 inches of sweet, tender, light-starved mid-ribs growing beneath them. Once picked, these plants resembled a true vegetable, kind of like a thin bok choy.

Notice the length of white underleaf in these plants: 
Compared to these which were growing directly out of the soil: 

My version of the Toque hot dandelion, pancetta and egg salad turned out like this:


It was so good, near the end of the dish, I was literally devouring it.

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