When I think of Earth Day, I think more about how I was raised instead of an event marked on a calendar that occurs once a year. I guess my mother was green before her time simply because she needed to be frugal with her earnings. But that’s not all. Her common sense was what was really at work. If you’re a single mother who works split shifts and have three children under the age of six, you put all of them in the tub at the same time and teach them that the water cannot rise above their belly buttons. Absolutely no showers, ever. You rinse your two girls’ very long hair with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water they wished was warm instead of shockingly cold. You nag your children incessantly until they understand that lights are turned off when not in use and that electricity costs money — which sadly does not grow on trees. You make your children’s clothes, and as much as your younger daughter may not love the idea, pass the older daughter’s clothes down once outgrown. You make shorts from cut off pants, either outgrown, or made possible by knees that have worn through. You purchase less of everything and teach them how to take care of what they have, because if they don’t, they’re not getting anything new. You make popsicles from koolaid poured into ice cube trays and dole them out over a few days like they were gold nuggets. You remind them to bring home from school each day, not only the brown bag their lunch was in, but the baggies their chips and sandwiches were stuffed in to. You teach them to clean their plates at meals, and never, ever to waste food. Ever. Or else.
And you teach them how to eat their vegetables — especially the green ones.
In celebration of Earth Day and smart, frugal moms everywhere who were green long before it was the cool thing to do, this soup is for you. It’s healthy, and made with a bit of this, and a bit of that from my vegetable drawer.
Cream of Dandelion & Greens Soup
6 oz. dandelion greens, thick stems trimmed, then chopped
3 oz. baby spinach
3 oz. baby arugula
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 c. good vegetable broth
1 lg. leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1-1/4 c. low fat milk
1-1/2 tsp. grainy Dijon
salt & pepper to taste
chives for garnish
Coarsely chop the dandelion greens and toss with the other greens. In a large wide-bottomed pot over medium, heat the olive oil and add the carrots and leeks, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the greens all at once and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes more.
Heat the vegetable broth to a simmer while the vegetables are cooking, then add it to the pot. Stir and bring to a simmer, allowing to cook about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the milk, stirring occasionally, and simmering until well-heated.
Puree in small batches using a blender or food processor, or puree in the pot with a hand-held blender. Stir in the Dijon, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle a few chopped chives over each bowl when serving.
- I made this soup and the Cream of Asparagus soup on the same day. I’d picked up the dandelion greens at Specialty Produce the day before and had quite a few left after the salad I made for myself. Since I’d enjoyed the salad, I wanted to try a soup, but didn’t have quite enough dandelions left, so true to form, had additional greens in my veggie drawer. Voila! Soup.
- My husband and son liked the asparagus soup more than this, but the flavors are so different, it was difficult for me to compare them. Although the Dijon can be optional, it added something special to this soup. The greens provide a little bite, so it’s a match made in heaven.
- The soup is fairly thick, so when it comes time to add the milk, you can add as little or as much as you’d like.
- It’s just as delicious the next day — just keep tightly lidded after cooled down and chill.
- I’m not a chilled soup kind of person, but this is nice at room temperature — perfect for lunch even on a warm day sitting in the shade out back, enjoying all the greenery and blossoms that Spring Time brings each year.
- This soup was adapted from Melissa Breyer at care2 who has lots of other yummy things to do with dandelion greens. Go see!
- If you’d enjoy a reminder about just how healthy dandelions and other greens are for your entire body, then check my notes out here.
- If you still haven’t been able to get something made and sent to Chris of Melecotte for the Cooking to Combat Cancer III blogging event, then you still have time!
- And if you’re interested in general information about Earth Day, then check out these links. Earth Day.gov Earth Day Network Earth Day 2009 EnviroLink
- Check out epicurious and their Green Kitchen Tips while you’re at it.