OK, Showtime addicts, not that kind of weed. Dandelion stir fry...while these leaves are bitter, and often used medicinally rather than just for fun, they are tasty in salads and vegetable dishes. To make dandelions less bitter, gently saute them for twenty minutes with sweeter vegetables or with aged balsamic vinegar and cooking sherry. Tonight, I added dandelion leaves to shredded cabbage, white mushrooms, scallions, broccoli raab (rapini) and bok choy. The leafy bitter addition was a welcome strong flavor with the milder other vegetables. All were cooked together with a tablespoon of sherry, a tablespoon of dark aged balsamic vinegar, a half teaspoon of soy sauce, two tablespoons of water and sliced ginger. And, I did load some cayenne pepper on my portion.

The bitter flavor for which dandelion is notorious is actually the source of much of the leaves' nutritional benefits. Dandelion is rich in vitamins A, B, C and D and many minerals and was traditionally used primarily to treat liver problems. Herbalists also use dandelion to treat kidney problems, skin issues, swelling, digestive problems and as a diuretic. As a diuretic, dandelion helps the kidney excrete salt, but because it is rich in potassium and other minerals, it does not deplete the body the way a prescription diuretic could. Dandelion has also been used to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.

So, eat your weeds, don't toss them...in my effort to get Lizzie to experience life, she tasted the fresh raw dandelion but she gave it a thumbs down for bitter but did say it tasted interesting, hmm...Next time, I will marinate them in something sweet first. But for now, she stuck to her spicy scallion and raw carrots!

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