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Dandelion cakes are the last hurrah until the fall season

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The peak of dandelion season nears its end for the summer season. While dandelions can be eaten all summer long, the hotter weather causes them to have a more bitter taste. Dandelion leaves are loaded with vitamins and minerals, are rich in vegetable protein and easily digestible. The leaves contain twice the calcium as kale or spinach, and are full of vitamins A and C, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Medicinally, dandelions are a very safe and effective general tonic, improving overall health and alleviating a variety of ailments.

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Native to Europe and Asia, dandelions were introduced into the Midwest from Europe to provide food for our imported honeybees in early spring. Dandelions are quickly and easily harvested from untreated lawns (you can also grown your own in flowerpots if you like) or from Meijer grocery (although the dandelion greens at Meijer are generally rather bitter, no matter the time of year).

This recipe for dandelion rice patties (cakes) is perfect for using up leftover dandelion rice. Utilizing a relatively small amount of dandelion, it’s another great recipe for those who have never tried dandelion, as it contains a relatively small amount of dandelion. The Spice Rack at 2nd Street Market has orzo, rice, flour, cheese and vegetable bouillon powder, KJB Farms has eggs, and Hydrogrowers has the garlic and olive oil.

Dandelion rice

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup orzo
  • 2 cups dandelions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups rice
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 5 or 6 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon powder

For the cakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • Bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • Shredded cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (one with a lid) and sauté the garlic until lightly browned. Add the orzo and sauté until the orzo is golden brown. Add the dandelion leaves and sauté for half a minute or so, then add the rice and sauté it until it is mostly coated with oil. Add the water and the bouillon powder and gently whisk the bouillon powder until it blends with the water.

Bring this mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, cover and cook 25- 40 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If more water is needed before the rice becomes tender, add some boiling water and continue cooking.

To make the patties, add the eggs, some bread crumbs, a little flour and a little cheese until the mixture just barely holds its shape when formed into patties. Fry these in some olive oil or butter, and season with salt or pepper as desired.

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