May 11, 2014

Cooking With Flowers: Tips For a Creative Chef

Cooking with flowers Tips for a creative chefBoulder is home to a variety of great farmers markets, local farms and organic food co-ops. While you might visit one of these grocery hot spots for meat, eggs and produce, you may not have ever stopped at the flower stand. Certain blooms are edible and can be a sustainable and delicious edition to your next meal. As you take your Boulder culinary arts courses, consider grabbing a bouquet on your way home and trying these ingredients:

Chamomile
You’ve probably had chamomile tea, which has a unique earthy and floral flavor, but have you considered cooking with chamomile? These small flowers have a daisy-like appearance and a bright yellow color. However, if you’re allergic to ragweed, you might want to skip this plant.

Panna cotta: Insert the flavor of chamomile into panna cotta. Infuse your milk or cream with chamomile, mint, basil, lemon verbena, citrus peel and loose tea. The dairy should get hot but not to the point of simmering. Once it’s there, let it sit for 20 minutes. Then drain the mixture and chill it.

Wisteria
These purple flowers are sure to add color and springtime appeal to your next dish. This flower is fragrant and bright, and you can grow it at home! While you may have never imagined eating it, wisteria can go great with a salad.

Salad: Toss wisteria petals with arugula, dandelions, cucumber, orange and orange zest. Next, top the salad with a mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, orange juice and pepper. You may want to play with the balance of the dressing before dousing your salad. This light dish is full of flavor and perfect for spring.

Squash blossoms
You eat squash, so why let the flowers go to waste? This yellow plant is a favorite among foodies who like to include flowers in dishes. Squash blossom is a touch sweet and tastes a lot like the squash it comes from.

Stuffed squash blossom: Try cooking up pan-fried squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese for a delicious appetizer. You’ll need squash blossoms, herb goat cheese, your favorite chopped herbs, salt, pepper, eggs and either olive oil or butter. Stuff the flower with the goat cheese and herbs, then heat the frying pan and oil. Dip the squash into a mixture of egg and herbs then pan fry.

Violet
These purple flowers are actually considered a weed in many gardens. But before you throw them away, grab a bunch of blossoms. You can use them in a number of dishes to add a lovely hue or a floral taste.

Cupcakes: You’ll be using violet three ways in these delicious spring cupcakes. The cakes themselves are a simple vanilla cupcake, but it’s the toppings that are interesting. You’ll make a violet jam and buttercream frosting along with candied violets. The jam will be inserted into the cake to create a filling. The buttercream frosting goes on top along with the candied flowers. You can also sprinkle coconut flakes on top for another light flavor.