Friday, April 18, 2014

An Edible Flower Workshop: Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender, & A Rhubarb Endive Salad

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Several weeks go I had the pleasure of hosting an edible flower workshop at home in my garden. We went over starting seeds, transplanting, the various edible flower varieties you can grow at home, and the ways that you can incorporate them into your food preparations. Impatiens were harvested and candied, peach and violet lemonade was sipped, snap pea seeds were sowed, and young bachelor's buttons were transplanted into larger and more robust containers. After all our hard work in the garden, I served a tasty outdoor supper that included a wide variety of edible flowers harvested from my garden. The line up included a rhubarb endive & viola salad, roasted brussel sprouts with toasted hazelnuts & lavender, leg of lamb with a hibiscus pomegranate glaze, and rose cupcakes for dessert, which were topped with the candied impatiens we'd made earlier that afternoon.

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Rhubarb Endive Salad

For the brussel sprouts, I tossed them with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper before roasting. While they were baking away in the oven, I toasted some hazelnuts on the stovetop and added a bit of dried lavender at the end of the cook time, giving it a good stir. Once the brussel sprouts were finished, I tossed them all together and the resulting dish was one full of flavor, texture, and a wonderfully intoxicating aroma. Brussel sprouts tend to caramelize a bit when you roast them, and hazelnuts release the rich oils inside them when toasted, so when you put these two together you get an incredibly satisfying flavor combination. And topping it with lavender adds just the right amount of floral sweetness to the dish, complimenting the caramelized flavors of the brussel sprouts quite nicely. 

For the salad, I roasted some rhubarb with honey and picked some endive, pea shoots, pansies, and violas from the garden to toss all together with it. This, sprinkled with a light homemade vinaigrette and topped with crumbled feta and roasted nuts, created a wonderfully refreshing little spring salad, full of the flavors of the season. I really liked the way the sweet-tart rhubarb played against the creamy-yet-sour feta cheese. And if you don't have pea shoots, you can easily substitute actual sugar snap peas instead, since the shoots have the same flavor as the actual beans. The endive can be substituted with butter crunch bib lettuce or even spinach, if you're looking for a slightly more bitter green.

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

I did have to change up the lemonade a bit, though, since the wild violets in my garden were no longer in bloom when I re-made the lemonade for this post. So instead, I used the beautiful blue rosemary blossoms that were covering my rosemary shrub. They're incredibly popular with the bees and have the most intoxicating rosemary scent to them. They make a wonderful edible flower choice because their periwinkle shade of blue is very unique and makes for a beautiful garnish, and they taste and smell like rosemary to boot! Mixing these blossoms in with peaches and lemonade made for an incredibly light and refreshing drink, with just the right amount of sweet and tart, and a wonderfully floral rosemary flavor. Of course, if you have wild violets in bloom like I did at the workshop, feel free to substitute out the same amount of them for the rosemary blossoms.

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

Edible Flower Workshop | Eva Kosmas Flores

When you're working with edible flowers, make sure to harvest them in the morning when they're most hydrated. If you're not working with them right away, you can keep them in the refrigerator in between two damp sheets of paper towels for up to 2 days, but the sooner you're able to use them, the better. You should always use organic flowers to avoid getting any pesticides in the food, and make sure to wash the flowers off well to get any unfriendly insects out of them. Also, make sure to remove any stem part of the flower unless you know for certain that the stem is edible as well. And for flowers that have large bundles of pollen like lilies, its best to remove the pistil and stamen unless you know for certain that those eating the dish don't have allergies. Otherwise, those who have seasonal allergy issues might have an unfortunate reaction to the dish. And if getting a hold of fresh organic flowers is tricky for you, feel free to use dried flowers, too. This preservation method works particularly well with lavender, whose flavor lasts long after the drying process. I recommend checking out Mountain Rose Herbs for a nice dried flower selection. And of course, if you ever have any questions about cooking with edible flowers, feel free to shoot me an email. There's nothing I enjoy more than talking about gardening and food at length :)

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender | Adventures in Cooking


Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender


Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 and ½ lbs Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon brown sugar

Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup hazelnuts
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
parchment paper


Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender | Adventures in Cooking

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the brussel sprouts, cut them in half and then toss them with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Evenly spread them out in a baking pan and roast them for 35-40 minutes, or until they’re crisp and lightly browned on the outside and soft on the inside.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lavender | Adventures in Cooking

While they're roasting, melt the butter and sugar in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat, stirring to incorporate the sugar. Once the sugar has melted, add the nuts and stir to coat them in the mixture. Let them sit in the pan for a couple minutes until they start smelling toasty, then stir it up again. Keep stirring every few minutes until most of the nuts are lightly browned and toasted on part of their surface and the pan is very aromatic with the smell of toasted nuts. Stir in the lavender and let the pan toast for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and empty the mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Smooth it out so the nuts are in one layer, then sprinkle the salt and nutmeg over the mixture. Place them in the freezer for 10 minutes to get hard and crunchy, then remove them and break the sheet of nuts apart with your hands.

When the brussel sprouts are finished roasting, remove them from the oven and toss with the candied hazelnuts and lavender before serving.




Spring Salad-2

Rhubarb Endive Salad


3/4 lb. rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup raw mixed nuts
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
4 cups endive leaves
1 cup pea shoots or sugar snap peas
1/2 cup fresh feta, crumbled
½ cup violas or pansies

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the oven racks in upper and lower thirds. Toss the rhubarb gently with the raw sugar and honey and then evenly distribute them on a baking sheet. Roast them on the upper rack until the rhubarb softens slightly and becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. On another rimmed baking sheet, toast the mixed nuts on the lower rack until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then crush them slightly (I usually put them in a ziplock bag and then pound it with a meat tenderizer for a few beats) and toss with a pinch of salt. Set them aside.

Whisk together the oil and cider vinegar in a large bowl, and incorporate the salt and pepper. Add the endive and pea shoots and toss lightly until evenly distributed. Top with rhubarb, mixed nuts, feta, and pansies or violas.


Click Here For Printable Recipe


Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade


6 cups water
1 cup honey
4 ripe peaches, cut into 8ths
1 and 1/4 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup rosemary blossoms, plus a few rosemary sprigs for garnish


Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade


Simmer the water and honey with the peach slices over medium low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rosemary blossoms. Set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the lemon juice and pour into the serving vessel. Garnish with the rosemary sprigs and refrigerate until serving time.




Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade

Peach & Rosemary Blossom Lemonade


41 comments:

  1. ohmyheavens these pictures are to die for

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    1. awwwww thank so much my friend!!! :D

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    1. Thank you so much Sini! I just took a look at your blog and love it, my husband's mother's family is Norwegian and I've always wanted to try making more Scandinavian food for them. I made lefse one year for Christmas which was a challenge but sooo worth it!

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    2. This is the first time I hear about lefse. Had to google them immediately and now I'm eager to make a batch at home! Thanks for the inspiration and your kind words.

      Have a great week,
      Sini

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  3. Replies
    1. Ahhhh that makes me to happy to hear, Katrina! :)

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  4. GASP. Everything here is absolutely stunning! Looks like the workshop was a success!

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    1. :D Thank you so much for your kind words, Michelle!! I am so happy you're enjoying the post & the photos!

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  5. WHY DON'T I LIVE IN CALIFORNIA!!!? I would have loved to be there. When I look at these images, all I can think is 'wow, what a beautiful bounty.' Everything is so vivid and lush. I'm dying for some of that lemonade...

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    1. The lemonade was *amazing*. I ended up making it again for a friend's dinner gathering and we made cocktails with the lemonade and some unfiltered sake. SO GOOD!

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  6. I wish I could have been at your workshop! I just did a round-up of edible flower recipes, (http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/2014/04/25-ways-to-put-springtime-flowers-on-the-table.html) and this post is so inspiring. I'm working on a honeysuckle tea for next week because I have a big old vine covering my front porch!

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    1. Oh yum!!! Honeysuckle tea sounds incredible, and I love your round-up! Flowers are so much fun to work with in the kitchen, and so very tasty, too :)

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  7. Oh Eva, these photographs. It gives me goosebumps, they are so beautiful! Also I love the idea of incorporating flowers into spring cooking. PS - I made your marjoram medallions and they were a hit at my house so I made them for a potluck. Such a great recipe! I'm keeping it in my party food stack!

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    1. So happy to hear that you guys liked them!! Yeah I love those things, sooooo savory and tasty. The soft and crispy texture is great, too :) And thank you for your kind words!!

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  8. Como siempre tus RECETAS y FOTOGRAF√ćAS tienen VIDA y PERSONALIDAD..
    Mil gracias amiga, FELIZ PASCUA!!! :)))
    Conxita

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    1. Awww muchas gracias Conxita!!! Y feliz Pascua a ti!!!

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  9. Such exquisite photographs that feel very natural and unstaged. And I really love the idea of using blossoms - I have a nectarine tree which is now in blossom and wanted to use them along with rosemary and rosemary blossom for a chocolate cake. I was going to add the rosemary to the mixture and then add blossoms afterwards for effect. My feeling is that the taste of the blossoms may get swamped in something as powerful as chocolate cake...Thanks again for this beautiful post. Sophie

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    1. Thank you so very much, Sophie. Nectarine blossoms, now that is something I would love to experiment with. I think it would go wonderfully with the rosemary blossoms, but you may be right about the chocolate overshadowing the floral flavors. Maybe use them with a vanilla citrus cake? I've always loved the way a hint of orange or lemon in a cake compliments any floral notes. Best of luck with your kitchen endeavors! :)

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  10. Eva, these are such great recipes! I love what you do with flowers and food. It would have been so great to be at your workshop :)

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    1. Awwww thank you Brianne!! I had such a great time putting everything together (especially the part where we got to eat everything haha). I'm hoping to have a workshop on the east coast later this year, so we shall see!!

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  11. What a beautiful post Eva, love how you incorporated the different types of edible flowers and herbs into the food. Well done!

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  12. I can't help but gush over your photos every time I visit your blog. Unbelievably beautiful. I've never worked with edible flowers and really appreciate a tutorial like this!

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    1. Thank you Chelsea, you are so kind and I feel so flattered! I hope this helps you give them a try, they really do bring a wonderful new type of flavor to dishes :)

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  13. This is just beautiful! Fantastic photography and what an excellent idea for a class.

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  14. Found your blog recently and just love, LOVE your photos and recipes. Very inspirational!

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    1. Awww thank you Yamilka!! I am so happy you found me and that you're enjoying reading and looking through the posts :)

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  15. Awww, the workshop sounds so beautiful and lovingly thought out. I bet your guests had a blast (and learned a lot too)! And I think you, more than anyone, makes me wish I had a garden, what, with your description of edible flowers and kumquats, and tomatoes, and the other tidbits you've slipped in over time. Sigh, when we move back to California hopefully!

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda! Yes having a garden is a wonderful thing, so much fresh fruit and vegetables. And it really helps you to eat more seasonally, too. I have been craving heirloom tomatoes for a couple months now, summer can't come soon enough! And I hope you get a chance to move back to California, the weather here could not be better suited to a gardener :)

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  16. your photos always have such unique and enjoyable lighting. they're always enchanting and i love visiting your site!

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    1. Awww Grace!! That makes me so happy to hear :) I'm so happy you enjoyed this post!

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  17. SUCH a gorgeous post, as always. My rosemary never blossomed when I was growing it! I'll have to plant it at my next house and make that happen :)

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing this post! Completely love the recipes and the photos are incredible! I must make that lemonade!
    Jordyn
    Pretty Lovely

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  19. I fell in love with the pictures and the recipes you shared, this is such a beautiful post, you nailed it

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  20. mind absolutely blown and boggled by these breathtaking photographs!! really, truly beautiful! xo

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  21. Its a very unique and artistic way of yours and I love it. God Bless! private chef in austin

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  22. this is a such a gorgeous, gorgeous set!! every photo tells an amazing story. thank you for the mental escape :)

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  23. Eva, your pictures are gorgeous! I love the way you stage your recipes..grabs your readers immediately. You also use very beautiful glassware, carafes and bowls. Where do you shop for your pieces, would love to expand my small collection? Many Thanks for sharing your fabulous posts!

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