Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Feasting on Flowers

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Spring has sprung and the flowers are in full bloom! What better way to celebrate than with a floral-themed picnic in the park?

In addition to being gorgeous to look at, flowers can be a source of inspiration and flavor in the kitchen. For this month’s 24, 24, 24 event, I created a multi-course picnic dinner inspired by — and including — flowers. On the menu: Orange Blossom Brioche with Pate and Orange-Balsamic Marmalade, Green Salad with Flower Petals and Lemon-Poppy Vinaigrette, Tuna-Strawberry-Rose Maki, and Lavender Creme Brûlée. The biggest hits were definitely the brioche and the creme brûlée — yummy!

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Hunting down flowers to use in my dishes was a little more difficult than I anticipated. It’s still a little early in the season for the farmer’s markets to have any, and even though many common flowers are edible (dandelion, chrysanthemum, pansy, etc), you don’t want to just go and pick them or buy a bouquet because they’ll be full of nasty chemicals. Make sure that any flowers you intend to eat are sold as being edible or grow them yourself without any chemicals or pesticides. ;)

Anyway, I was having trouble finding exactly what I wanted, so I had to make do with using only one type of fresh flower (I’m honestly not even sure what they were, since they weren’t labeled other than “edible flowers” anyone know?) as well as dried rose buds, dried lavender, and a bottle of orange blossom water. Dried flowers have a more concentrated flavor and tend to be more “floral” tasting, so it’s best to use them in applications where the flavor is infused into another ingredient. Fresh flowers have a more subtle flavor that’s less like eating perfume — they’re a little bitter and almost peppery. I like to balance them out with something sweet or rich.

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Want to have a flower picnic of your own? Recipes can be found by following these links.

Comments

  1. Lauren what an absolutely DELIGHTFUL 24,24,24. Reading this today as I look at the rain drizzle down outside, you have most definitely brightened my day. Gorgeous photos too!!

  2. Thanks, Mardi! It’s rainy here today too… I got lucky that it was nice out yesterday!

  3. Such a pretty post today!

  4. Great 24 post. Definitely was a perfect day for a picnic. :)

  5. HEe! I couldn’t WAIT to see your flowery dishes, and they didn’t disappoint! The Tuna-Strawberry-Rose Maki has got my mind blown away! You know I adore my fusion foods!

  6. oh wow what a wonderful post and a great idea

  7. I LOVE this theme! It’s so original. I have been seeing edible flowers at the greenmarket lately and haven’t bought any because i have no idea what to do with them. but you have inspired me greatly!

  8. What a fun idea–everything looks gorgeous and delicious.

    Your purple flowers are Dendrobium Orchids. In addition to being made into leis here they are often served on/with food as they are edible and very pretty! ;-)

  9. Yes!Picnic is a very exciting thing in spring with beautiful scenery and delicious food.

  10. That looks so awesome! What a perfect way to celebrate spring.

  11. What a beautiful spread! Those purple flowers are orchids (dendrobium), which I only know b/c I was going to use them in my wedding! =)

    I’ve been meaning to do a simple salad with edible flowers that have been sold at the farmers market (here at Union Square in NYC). Thanks for the inspiration!

    Check out my Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 if you have the chance:
    http://www.highlowfooddrink.com/2010/04/foodbuzz-24-24-24-hester-street-fair.html

  12. What a cool idea! Way to rock the 24 24 24! All of the dishes are gorgeous, but I am especially loving the salad!

  13. What a lovely picnic! Cooking with flowers is super fun!

  14. That looks so delicious! Great job!!

  15. wow Lauren! your 24 posts keep getting better and better. Beautiful execution and gorgeous presentations!
    Great idea!!!

  16. Congratulations for being one of the other 23. What a fun picnic and a great idea to use edible flowers. The flowers you are referring to I think they are orchids !!

  17. Congrats on the feature. :)

  18. Gorgeous 24, 24, 24!
    What a beautiful scene and stylish photos!

  19. Congratulations on a wonderful 24, 24, 24 post! What a great idea – you’ve inspired me to seek out edible flowers now.

  20. pretty stuff! Think the dandelions in my backyard would do? I know they haven’t been treated with anything, lol.

    • I’d be tempted to eat them if I knew that they hadn’t been treated (and if I didn’t let my dogs out back…;))

  21. Don’t know whether I love your recipes or the gorgeous photos of Washington Park more. What a lovely post.

  22. Sounds divine! Especially like the sushi.
    Congrats on a great 24!
    LL

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