Thursday, March 28, 2013

Miner's Lettuce

Early Miner's Lettuce in Tilden Park—February
Miner's lettuce, the tender, flowering wild green, shoots up in back of my Berkeley house, blanketing the hillside in early spring. My husband Dean, an East Bay native, pointed it out to me some time ago and explained that this plant, Claytonia Perfoliata, was nicknamed during the  California gold rush when the miners indulged in the soft, velvety leaves to  prevent scurvy while panning for gold. It's a great source of vitamin C. Other forms of the plant kept the British in greens during WWII.  I too have enjoyed the crisp yet buttery texture of this leafy plant on bike rides and hikes in the Berkeley hills when hunger struck. A few leaves can revive me and in minutes quell all hunger pangs or low blood sugar. And munching wild, native greens makes for a refreshing break.

Same patch in Tilden Park in mid-March

I gather clumps of the  delicate flowering leaves to add to salads. They are surprisingly hardy and can withstand a trip home in my bike bag. The growing season lasts from February to May, when they completely disappear. They make a delicious addition to other cultivated lettuces and veggies. Lately I have also seen them for sale in the Berkeley and San Rafael farmers' markets, but I enjoy foraging, as there is such an abundant supply near my house.
Salad of beets, spinach and flowering miner's lettuce

I discovered this must-have shirt on the Web, available in black or white from Cafe Press. Who could resist?
Miner's Lettuce T-Shirt

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What did we like best about Australia?-----The Australians!

A Tasmanian sheep in need of a bit of a shearing

This atractive ewe is glad to be outside of the Ross Female Factory, an old Tasmanin women's prison now in ruins

Wine tasting at Train Trak Winery in the Yarra Valley

Tasmanian Devil waiting for lunch at Taronga Zoo in Sydney

Koala Bear in Taronga Zoo

Tree Kangaroo, another marsupial in the Taronga Zoo
Schoolgirls in the Yarra Valley, Victoria

Anthony, our wonderful Chill Out Winery Tour guide at Domaine Chandon, Yarra Valley

Kate, smart and charming owner of Kate's Berry Farm in Tasmania

Red Billed Black Swan at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne

Pellegrinis, a classic old espresso bar in Melbourne

A friendly bartender at Beer Deluxe in Federation Square, Melbourne 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Icebergs Swim Club, Bondi Beach, Sydney
                                                       Australia, here we come!