Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dandelions and Caramel Apple Puffed Pancake

My yard is a riotous patchwork of color... filled with patches of violets and golden dandelions.  I'm sure my citified neighbors don't appreciate the fact that I refuse to put weed killer on my yard.  These so-called weeds are wonderful healers... whether in tincture form or flower essences.  The Native American root doctor, Tis-Mal Crow, taught that the plants know before we do what we need, and to watch for the plants that "volunteer" in our yards.  I am not yet familiar with the plants in this area of Ohio, but I do know the value of Dandelions!  

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), rich in minerals, was probably introduced into European medicine by the Arabian physicians who were writing about its virtues in the tenth century, and it has sustained its strong medicinal reputation ever since!  Young maidens used the feathery seed balls of the Dandelion to determine if their true loves were really true: a maiden would blow on the Dandelion three times and if at least one of the fuzzy seeds remained, it meant her sweetheart was thinking about her. Dandelion leaf is a good natural source of potassium, rather than depleting the body’s potassium supply as is the case with diuretic drugs.  It makes an ideally balanced diuretic, and modern herbalists still value it as the diuretic of choice for treating rheumatism, gout, edema, heart disease, high blood pressure and in inflammation and congestion of the liver and gall bladder.  Dandelion has a reputation as a blood-cleanser and is considered helpful for many eczema-like skin problems that result when the kidneys or liver don’t remove impurities from the blood, as well as being a specific in cases of congestive jaundice. It is also suggested for women’s hormonal imbalances and PMS, and has been found to reduce blood sugar.  Even the most serious cases of hepatitis have rapidly been cured, sometimes within a week, with Dandelion Root tea, taken 4 to six cups daily with a light diet.  Young dandelion leaves are traditionally eaten in salads for their taste.  The roots may be roasted to produce an excellent coffee substitute that is naturally caffeine-free.  All parts of the plant are used for wine or tonic beers.  About 93 species of insects visit Dandelion for its nectar, and it is an important honey plant.  Possible side effects:  The fresh latex that appears as white sticky liquid in the root and stem can be caustic and cause skin irritations.  One advantage of this property, however, is that it removes warts if applied religiously a few times a day. Since the pain in my ankles and feet is especially bad today, I think I need to go out and pick some of those fresh leaves and flowers and brew myself some tea!  

As a flower essence, Dandelion may be beneficial for compulsive 'doers' who tend to cram too much into their lives, pushing themselves and leaving little time for relaxation, Dandelion releases the physical and emotional tension that accumulates in the body, particularly in the neck and shoulders; brings courage and endurance to those who feel worn out or discouraged. Dandelion reminds us we have right to be here. An excellent essence for those who are hindered by their own shyness. Excellent purifiers of intention, allowing us to look carefully at our deepest motives and impulses.

A few months ago, my daughter took me to the Original Pancake House, and she ordered a German Caramel Apple Pancake.  It reminded me that I used to make a similar oven puffed-pancake when my children were young, so I came home and dug up the recipe and tried it several times!  My daughter-in-law made these Caramel Apple Puffed Pancakes for brunch today for her family. It's a cloudy, gloomy day here in Cincinnati today, so it's a good day to put this recipe up on my blog!

Caramel Apple Puffed Pancake:
Put 3 Tablespoons butter to melt in a 9" glass pie plate in oven while oven is preheating.  When melted, add 3 Tablespoons brown sugar and stir well.  The butter will still separate a bit, but that's okay.  While butter is melting, peel and thinly slice 1 or 2 tart apples (I used Gala). You can add a Tablespoon or two of white corn syrup to make a softer caramel topping, if desired.

Mix in small bowl: 
2 large eggs, whisked until well blended
Add & whisk together:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
few grinds of nutmeg (or can use ground, about 1/8 teaspoon), optional
Pour batter over butter/brown sugar mixture. Put sliced apples on top of batter. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Pancake will be cooked and puffed around the edges.
Turn onto plate.  EAT & enjoy!  


  1. loved the information on the dandelions. thank you for sharing

    1. Thanks, Tina! Dandelions are powerful herbs.