Flower Power

July 12, 2008 at 11:37 am 17 comments

Nasturtiums and borage flowers

Gardening brings so much pleasure and beauty to my life.  I’m really pleased with how my little plot has been progressing over the past few months.  A friend who stopped by my garden the other night asked me to explain my broad sweeping goals for my garden.  I didn’t hesitate with my answer: “slightly unkempt cozy cottage garden with a purpose.” 

Lettuce couching a lemon cucumber

What this mouthful of a mission means is that I wanted a less-fussy but still “designed” garden that would produce practical crops that I could use.  My vegetable rows obviously yield plenty of useful crops.  I have just begun to harvest carrots, string beans, and lemon cucumbers.  Even the tomatoes are starting to blush.  Sadly, my gorgeous collection of antique cutting lettuce is just about to bolt in the July heat, but not before I got enough for today’s post.

carrot and chives from my garden

But it’s been my flowers that have been the most productive so far.  I have been taking lots of cut flowers into the house (I have three large bouquets right now in my kitchen), and I’ve already dried dozens of bunches for tea and wreaths yet to be made.  However, eating my fresh flowers is the “bee’s knees” in my opinion. 

Borage flower up close

When I was selecting what varieties to grow, I held up a standard in my mind: the best flowers out there are those that serve all of these functions – cutting, preserving, and eating.  As such, borage ranks right up there among the best.  Its cool cucumber taste has long been a key ingredient in the English “Pimm’s Cup” cocktail.  It’s striking when used in salads and to garnish desserts.  When you think about it, there just aren’t that many naturally blue ingredients available, making borage special.

Salad

Nasturtiums are another favorite.  My two small plants have more than quadrupled in size over the past two months, making their flowers a frequent and welcomed peppery addition to my salads.  They’re also great in butter and cheese spreads.  I’m getting so many of them, some quite large, I’m also thinking about stuffing them with soft cheese the way I do with squash blossoms

Straining blueberry vinegar in the sink

Gosh, I’ve rambled on so much about my garden gatherings that I’ve completely forgotten to talk about what the real recipe is for today: a sweet and tangy dressing for the salad.  Buoyed by the delicious results of my strawberry dressing earlier this season, I put some of my stash of fresh blueberries into this one, along with some of the lavender-infused vinegar I’d brewed myself.  If it’s no longer blueberry season where you are, the same results can be gotten with frozen berries.  Just be sure to thaw them before proceeding with the recipe. 

Dressing in the jar

With a salad so pretty and flavorful, the blueberry lavender dressing really accented the floral notes that were already there without overpowering the bits of cucumber, carrot and lettuce.  The leftover dressing will keep for a week or two in the fridge.  Use it on more salads or drizzle it over steamed or roasted vegetables, such as beets or squash. 

Salad wtih Blueberry Lavender Dressing

 
BLUEBERRY VINEGAR
Adapted from www.mealsforyou.com

2 C.fresh blueberries
2 C. white vinegar
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. lemon zest

Put blueberries in a large bowl and cover with vinegar. Let stand for 1 hour. Transfer to a large sauce pot and add the sugar and lemon rind and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain the blueberry mixture, pressing out as much liquid as possible.

LAVENDER BLUEBERRY DRESSING
A Straight from the Farm Original

3 T. blueberry Vinegar
3 T. lavender vinegar
1 small Shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash white pepper
6 T. extra virgin olive oil

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake vigirously until combined.  Serve over salad or roasted vegetables.

(makes 1 cup)

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Entry filed under: Recipes, Salads. Tags: , , , , .

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17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. eggsonsunday  |  July 12, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Everything is so, so beautiful! I made some strawberry vinegar the other week with our local strawberries, and with blueberries coming into season now, I think I’ll try your suggestion of blueberry vinegar. Love the blue borage flowers, too! :)

    Reply
  • 2. Mary  |  July 13, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I have been chomping on Nastertiums for a couple weeks now. They’re super delicious! And now I will have to make some of that blueberry lavender dressing!

    Reply
  • 3. Jacqueline  |  July 14, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Love these photos — I blog about flowers at http://www.teleflora.com/flowerblog — I have news and tips on decorating and entertaining with flowers, flower events, flower horoscopes and a chance to win free flowers. Hope you’ll check it out. Best, Jacqueline

    Reply
  • 4. WasabiBratwurst  |  July 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Stunning photos, thanks for sharing. I wish I could taste it.

    Living in a small condo in So Cal with a tiny patio space,we are limited with our container garden.

    Keep up the good work, I am very inspired!

    Reply
  • 5. Audrey  |  July 15, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Try pickling the nasturtium seeds. They taste a bit like capers. Pick them before they get too big and hard. Soak in strong brine overnight then in fresh water for an hour. Drain and pack into dry jars and pour over boiling spiced vinegar, slightly sweetened, add a blade of mace,close tightly and use after 2 – 3 months. Nasturtiums grow like weeds here in Cape Town, south africa.

    Reply
  • 6. Jennie  |  July 15, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Audrey – Thanks for the tip! I actually was thinking about investigating how to use the seeds since I’d heard they were a substitute for capers. This answers several of my questions. :)

    Reply
  • 7. Peter Jeff  |  October 8, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Thats a great blueberry celebration I should say.
    You got wonderful live pictures.

    we are a florist company http://www.flowers-for-all-occasions.co.uk the pictures are really great!

    Reply
  • 8. Milia  |  November 16, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Im going to have to try the Lavendar Blueberry Dressing! Where can I find sea salt? I don’t ever recall seeing it at the grocery store.

    Reply
  • 9. Martha  |  November 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    My Favorite flower is the yellow rose. Does anyone know the meaning behind the different rose colors?

    Reply
  • 10. Kampanye Damai Pemilu Indonesia 2009  |  April 25, 2009 at 6:23 am

    thanks for this usefull informations.. now i find what i want to know.. thank you so much..

    Reply
  • 11. Swas  |  May 28, 2009 at 3:37 am

    The food must have benefits for our health. Talking about flower, I always want to give my wife with the most beautiful flower in the world to show how much I love her, :)

    Reply
  • 12. Vladimir Khontol  |  June 1, 2009 at 10:39 am

    very nice photos, thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  • 13. sulumits retsambew  |  July 21, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

    Reply
  • 14. moratmarit  |  August 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    i’m beliave, that flower have power.
    Thanks for information.

    Reply
  • 15. cheez  |  August 20, 2009 at 12:56 am

    so beautiful! i like this

    Reply
  • 16. ghenbiu  |  September 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

    nice info.i will bookmark this website right now

    Reply
  • 17. kimsimon77  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Thanks for an amazing recipe, love your blog

    http://howtoloseweightezee.com/noodle-shrimp-salad.html

    Reply

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