TEAM SPOTLIGHT: HEATHER HOUSKEEPER
Heather Houskeeper is The Lodge at Woodloch’s Certified Herbalist. Also, as a long-distance hiker, Heather truly knows how to let nature nurture. Whether sharing her tales about her last hike on the Appalachian Trail or how to identify plants and herbs with medicinal and healing powers that she has foraged along the way, Heather’s passion is contagious and knowledge is enlightening.
Spring is the perfect season to explore nature’s bounty. One of Spring’s first surprises are the bright yellow dandelions that brighten each day. While some find them a nuisance, Heather will help highlight their healing and nutritious attributes to shift your thinking about these mighty wonders.
Why not try a delicious recipe straight from Heather’s book A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Finger Lakes Trail? The book is available at Great Things Boutique or on her website: www.TheBotanicalHiker.com.
Sunny Orzo Salad
- ½ c orzo pasta
- 16 oz water
- 1 handful of dandelion leaves, slivered
- Small handful of sundried tomatoes, diced
- 1 oz. feta cheese
- 2 dandelion flowering heads
- 1 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a pot, bring water to a boil and add orzo. Allow pasta to boil for 8 minutes and stir regularly to prevent pasta from sticking to bottom of pot. Drain pasta and immediately add olive oil and dandelion leaves. Stir to combine. Add sun-dried tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Once pasta has slightly cooled, tug Dandelion florets from green bracts and sprinkle atop pasta, again stirring to combine. This dish may be enjoyed warm or cold.
NOTE: If using mature leaves, add them to pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking to dispel bitterness; otherwise, add them after cooking as instructed above.
This April and May, Heather’s offerings featured on the Class & Activity Schedule are the perfect way to explore The Lodge at Woodloch’s natural surroundings as the forest begins to awaken.