Ever since I started reading Cooking With Flowers, Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher I look at flowers with different eyes. I knew that a number of flowers were edible (commestibili), from zucchini blossoms (fiori di zucca) to herb flowers (which I have used, for example, in rye bread) to roses (which I have used to flavor ice cream). But I did not know that orchids are edible and so are daylilies and lilacs, to name just a few.
FTC disclosure: I have received a free review copy of Cooking With Flowers from the publisher. I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for discussing it on my blog. The experience shared and the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
After the introduction, the book devotes a chapter to each flower, from Calendulas to Violets. At the end, there is a section called The Basics, which covers a lot of ground, from flower sugars to flower vinegars and a lot more. The book's website has a page with some recipes that give you an idea of what to expect. Lovely photos complement the rich content. Overall, Cooking With Flowers is a pleasure to browse. You can take a look at the first 19 pages by clicking the "View interior spread" link on the book's web page.
Now, please, follow me in a short photo journey of a few of the dishes I made according to the book (marked with an asterisk *) or inspired by it.
I started with calendula flowers. For my first experiments, I bought a bunch of calendulas at the farmers' market, because the ones in my garden had not yet bloomed. As you can see from the photos above, those lovely flowers are quite photogenic. I used calendula petals (petali) as an ingredient in:
The recipe for Calendula Scrambled Eggs in the book only gives instructions on the amount of petals to use. For my first ever rendition of scrambled eggs, I followed my friend Sally's meditative recipe (from a personal communication; however, she just published a post on frittata where she talks about some important facts about eggs that have a bearing also on the making of scrambled eggs).
I also created a special pasta (hinted at in a recent black and white photo post), which will be described in detail soon.
While the experiments with calendula flowers were going on, nasturtiums exploded in my garden, so I turned my attention to them. I made "stained glass" maltagliati and
The bright orange color is simply spectacular. I have also added nasturtium flowers and young leaves to pans of leafy green vegetables (no good photo available yet).
While decorating cakes is not my thing, using flowers to brighten savory dishes thrills me: Cooking With Flowers caters to all preferences. It is a book I wish I had written, because I wish I had Miche Bacher's in-depth knowledge about flowers and her elegant way of sharing it. I am sure the book will instruct and inspire other interesting uses of flowers besides the ones I showed in this post. Thank you, Miche Bacher, for writing a great book!
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the cucinare coi fiori audio file [mp3].
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