A Blooming Salad photo by Leigh Beisch; Food styling by Dan Becker - Sunset website (see below)
It’s Fun Food Friday. Fun can mean many things – today it means food to smile at and enjoy.
Thanks to Kathy from Wedge Wood Flowers
for the first 1/2 of this post. She is a wealth of information on flowers, herbs and health! Meet her in person at Whole Foods Market/Cranston on Tuesdays afternoons as well as Pawtucket Village on Sat. 9-12, & Whole Foods/University Circle, Mon 3-6.
“As we enter midsummer we are in the best of both worlds. We have lots of fresh greens for salads from our gardens, or from farmers markets, and we have a great variety of flowers blooming ready to add to our greens/salads that fills our senses. A fresh salad with a variety of greens and a few nasturtiums tossed on top is a true delight. The mix of greens and buttery taste of the greens is brightened with the spicy flowers and it all just looks so good.
Even though edible flowers is not a new idea, day lilies were used in the Orient for centuries, there are a few guide lines to follow when considering flowers in our menu.
First, do not gather flowers along roadsides where pollution abounds,
Second, know which flowers are edible. Start with the best known flowers such as violas, nasturtiums, and day lilies.
Third, use sparingly. A small sprinkling of flowers is better than too much.
Last, keep in mind that herb flowers are spicier that the leaves of the herb
The list of edible flowers is extensive but here are a few that are the best know and easiest to find: calendula. Clover,day lily, chives, borage, chamomile, dill, lavender, viola, nasturtiums, pansy, roses, scented geraniums,
As a guide line, use garden flowers to bring a sweet and tangy taste to salads and desserts such as pansy, roses, and lavender. Herb flowers are flavorful and fragrant on cooked main meal dishes or vegetables such as baked yellow squash with dill. Use your imagination to create a some fun in your meals this summer.
A favorite summer salad,
tear buttercrunch lettuce into bite size piece and arrange on a salad dish. Make a creamy buttermilk dressing with 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2/3 cup Mayo, 2T each chopped green onion, chives, dill, and parsley. Drizzle over lettuce and sprinkle just the petals of a marigold flower.” — Thanks Kathy! Wedge Wood Flowers
Ok- and here are some more ideas! Go out, have fun and eat very pretty food! When your garden gives you flowers and vegetables, use them both to make a salad and to make you smile.
From the Sunset website: “Ingredients you can grow in your flower bed:
Pansy petals: The largest of the viola-type flowers, all of which you can eat (the littlest are Johnny-jump-ups). Faint lettucelike taste; velvety texture. Carnation petals: Sweet and spicy. Eat only the petals, and taste each flower before using, as they can sometimes be bitter. Calendula petals: Usually orange or yellow, with a daisylike appearance; mildly tangy. Bachelor’s Buttons: Spiky-looking but soft; can be blue, purple, pink, rose, or white. Cucumberish flavor and a fun, frilly texture. Nasturtium petals: The tastiest flower. Peppery and mustardy, with a touch of honey. Ranges from yellow to reddish orange, with variegations too.
Sunsets favorite salad flowers: 1) Bachelor’s buttons 2) Borage 3) Calendulas 4) Carnations 5) Herb flowers (basil, chives, rosemary) 6) Nasturtiums 7) Violas, including pansies and Johnny-jump-ups and 8) Stock.
Nasturtiums and Johnny-jump-ups are often available at upscale grocery stores. The best way to have the others is to grow them. To find out how to grow your own flowers for salads read here.
Recipe (Sunset Magazine/website.) Eat-Your-Garden Salad
- 2 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed, safflower, or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced tarragon
- 1 Persian cucumber or 1/3 English cucumber
- About 50 sugar snap peas
- 1/4 cup lightly packed chervil sprigs (optional)
- 3 ounces mâche clusters (about 3 lightly packed cups) (corn salad = mache = lamb’s lettuce = lamb’s tongue = field lettuce = field salad = fetticus Notes: Corn salad has tender leaves and a very mild flavor. Substitutes: butter lettuce OR Bibb lettuce)
- 4 ounces mesclun (about 6 lightly packed cups)
- 4 medium radishes, sliced in half lengthwise
- Your choice of: bachelor’s buttons (whole and petals), calendula and carnation petals, whole Johnny-jump-ups, nasturtium petals, pansy petals, and stock flowerets (15 to 20 whole flowers total)*
- 1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and tarragon.
- 2. Thinly slice cucumber. Split 30 of the fatter peapods and remove the peas; set aside. Gently rinse chervil, mâche, and mesclun and gently spin twice in a salad spinner to thoroughly dry the leaves.
- 3. Put greens in a large bowl and toss gently but thoroughly with 3 tbsp. dressing (leaves should be barely coated), adding more dressing if necessary.
- 4. Divide greens among plates. To each salad, add a few slices of cucumber, some sugar snap peas (both whole pods and just the peas), and some radishes. Drizzle with any remaining dressing, if you like, and top with whole flowers and flower petals.
- *Use only unsprayed, organic petals and blooms. If you’re growing your own flowers from seedlings, be sure to buy organic plants—and don’t spray them as they grow. To buy edible flowers, try gourmet grocery stores and farmers’ markets; avoid flowers from florists and nurseries.
- Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
- Amount per serving
- Calories: 67
- Calories from fat: 77%
- Protein: 1g
- Fat: 5.7g
- Saturated fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrate: 3.2g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Sodium: 101mg
- Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Sunset http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/healthy/edible-flowers-salad-recipe-00400000041405/ APRIL 2009
Want more information? Here is very fun list > Edible Petals Glossary. One more fun site.. The cook’s Thesaurus- a list of Edible Flowers, photos, and often what they taste like. Now that qualifies for fun! According to the cooks THESAURUS … To candy flowers, whisk an egg white, then use a brush to paint a fine layer onto clean, dry, pesticide-free flower petals (or whole flowers if they’re very small). Next, gently place the petal into some superfine sugar, and sprinkle some more superfine sugar on top. Shake off the excess and lay it out on waxed paper to dry (this takes as long as eight hours).” Now you can have your cake and eat it too with flowers.
So, that’s it for today – see you on Monday!