Sunday, July 23, 2006

Eat Flowers!

July 5th Lesson Summary

Making an edible-flower-salad is easy. First, we washed all our greens in a salad spinner. Kevin cut the caps off the strawberries. Madeline’s good design eye put together the lettuce around the bowl, the French crisp’s curly edges scalloping like a beautiful crinoline skirt. Brian and Arthur set the table and got everyone water. Layering the flowers was the best part! The sweet pea blossoms tasted just like peas, the nasturtiums were sweet and lettuce-like until they suddenly released a spicy kick on our tongues, and the pansies, too, were like lettuce until you swallowed the nugget of pollen, and suddenly they tasted like spearmint! Even a smalls sprinkling of the onion flower’s tiny white blossoms was potent, and worlds easier than cutting up a tear-inducing onion! Borage and strawberries completed the colorful salad. Our table was completed with our pesto and brown rice pasta, as well as a beautiful flower arrangement of lavender, garlic scapes and onion flowers.

July is a great month for produce. From Keith’s Organic Farm in Union Square, I picked up garlic scapes and a bundle of pom-pom onion flowers. Keith cuts the flowers off his onions and trims the garlic scapes in order to force the plant to concentrate on producing a rich bulb. I also got a headily fragrant bunch of lavender flowers—delicious in honey infusions, or sprinkled across a salad. From Windfall Farms stand, I got spicy, bright orange and gold nasturtium flowers, a package of female zucchini blossoms (unlike their plain male counterparts, the female flowers had tiny zucchinis already beginning to form!), violet-hued sweet pea blossoms, and purple, star-shaped borage flowers. (*Unlike Keith, who has organic certification, Windfall Farms chose decades ago to forgo the expensive, labyrinth process. They feel the word “organic” is misused to describe processed, preserved food shipped over a great distance. Instead, they rely on pursuing organic practices and transparency with their customers to mean the same as an FDA label. I think it’s a pretty good plan. When I visit the abundant, beautiful Greenmarkets throughout New York City and up in Connecticut, I’m struck by how silly it seems that about 60% of the organically-labeled food in supermarkets is shipped all the way from California.)