Susan Hauri-Downing ecoartist

tns_01.jpg drizzle oil, toss and serve, 2012, Glass jars, growth light, soil, Carpobrotus virescens, Portulaca oleracea, Plantago lanceolata, Taraxacum officinale

What plants do we value as food? drizzle oil, toss and serve presents edible weeds collected from the streets around my home. Once staple foods, these plants are no longer considered worth eating. Global food insecurity forces us to refocus our attention and rediscover knowledge lost in mass agricultural production. Preserved in glass jars used for preserving agricultural foods, these living weeds are given new value and promise.

drizzle oil, toss and serve (detail), 2012, Glass jars, growth light, soil, Portulaca oleracea

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) and Tomato

Portulaca oleracea

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing zucchini
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 zucchini (1 3/4 to 2 lb total), halved lengthwise
12 oz purslane, thick stems removed (4 cups)
10 oz pear or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

Prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill. Make dressing: Whisk together zest, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, and salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified. Whisk in pepper and parsley.

Grill zucchini:
Lightly brush zucchini all over with oil. When fire is hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds), grill zucchini, cut sides down first, on lightly oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning once, until zucchini are just tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and cool slightly, then cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Toss zucchini with purslane, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl. Serve immediately. (Accessed: 25/02/12)

Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) Omelette
This is a modern British recipe for a classic dish of an egg omelette containing onion and ribwort plantain leaves in the mix.

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 handful of young ribwort plantain leaves
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
oil or butter, for frying

Remove any fibrous ribs from the plantain leaves and trim off the stem bases. Wash well, drain, chop finely, season with salt (this will help reduce the bitterness) and set aside.

Heat oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and fry gently for about 6 minutes, or until soft and beginning to colour lightly.

Stir the chopped ribwort plantain leaves into the beaten eggs. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour the mixture into the frying pan with the eggs and whisk with a fork until the egg begin to set.

Allow the omelette to cook, lifting the edges as they set and allowing any raw egg to flow underneath. Cook until the base is golden brown then flip the omelette over and cook on the other side.

Serve hot. (Accessed: 25/02/12)

"Plantain was brought to the US and also to New Zealand by European settlers who valued it for it's culinary and medicinal properties. The settlers seemed to leave the plant wherever they went, thus earning it the name "White Man's Foot' or "Englishman's Foot" by the natives of both countries." (Accessed: 25/02/12)

Carpobrotus virescens
"If we went on long walks we'd always eat black fellow's food: cherries, little cherry things, things like potatoes, pigface, that type of thing." (Moran 1987) (Accessed: 25/02/12)