May in New England is the enchanting time of year when flowers, root vegetables, and herbs make their inaugural appearance. Backyard gardens and spring farmers markets are blooming with color and flavors to bring back to our kitchens and infuse in cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
One of the dreamiest ingredients to add to spring dishes is edible flowers. Violas, pansies, violets, and dandelions are usually the first to burst onto the scene. Add as a garnish for aesthetic and textural appeal or turn into a syrup for an ethereal cocktail mix-in. Pair these light bites starring spring root vegetables, microgreens, and fresh blooms with floral-forward cocktails using homemade violet syrup.
Find pesticide-free edible flowers from Fern Farm’s summer stand, opening in June (follow @fernfarm55 for updates), or at the woman-owned, chemical-free Lucayda Farm, with a plant sale May 26-29. For best results, use fresh edible flowers immediately after purchasing or harvesting. To prolong shelf life, wash and air dry as you use them, and store in an airtight container with a damp paper towel. Always consult with your farmer about which blooms are edible.
Fern Farm | Warwick, FernFarm.net
Lucayda Farm | Cranston, LucaydaFarm.com
• 1 cup packed edible purple violet flowers
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1 cup white granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp lemon juice (optional)
1. Remove the stems from the violet flowers and gently rinse the flower heads or petals in a bowl of water to remove any soil particles. Scoop the violets out of the water and set them on a towel to drain.
2. Add the violet flowers to a heat-safe bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let the violets steep until their blue color is visible in the water, for at least 1 hour or overnight for the best results.
3. Strain the violet infusion into a medium saucepan, pressing the flowers with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.
4. Add the sugar and gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the sugar is dissolved.
5. To change the color of the syrup from cool blue to purple, stir lemon juice one drop at a time into the syrup until your desired color is reached.
6. Pour the violet syrup into a sterilized glass bottle. Let it cool completely, store in the refrigerator, and use in cocktail and dessert recipes.
• 1 bottle of 2021 Anchor & Hope Rosé
• ½ cup ISCO Structural Vodka
• 1 bottle grapefruit sparkling water
• 1 Tbsp violet syrup
• Edible flowers for garnish
1. Add all ingredients to a punch bowl. Reserve some of the grapefruit sparkling water to add to drinks once served.
2. Stir and chill in the refrigerator for one hour prior to serving.
• 2 small, cooked beets, chopped
• 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp tahini
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• ¾ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp cumin
• Bread of choice
• Radishes, microgreens, and herbs to garnish
1. Combine beets, chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and cumin in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until pureed.
2. Pour reserved chickpea liquid slowly, with the processor running, until hummus is smooth and desired consistency is achieved.
3. To make sandwiches, use a biscuit cutter to cut out the bread circles.
4. Spread a generous portion of beet hummus onto the bottom slice of bread. Place another slice on the top.
5. Garnish with rose radishes, microgreens, and herbs.
• 2 oz. RI Spirits Rhodium Forager’s Gin
• ¾ oz. violet syrup
• ¾ oz. lime juice
1. Add gin, syrup, and lime juice, to a shaker with ice
2. Shake and strain
3. Garnish with violas and pea microgreens
• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• ⅓ cup butter, melted
• 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
• 1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping (thawed)
• ½ cup sour cream
• ½ tsp vanilla
• ¼ cup RI Spirits Rhodium Limoncello
• ½ tsp violet syrup
• Edible flowers and mint for garnish
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Stir together the crust ingredients. Press firmly and evenly on the bottom of the pie plate.
2. Bake for 9 minutes. Cool 20 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, beat cheesecake ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth; spoon over crust. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
4. Garnish with edible flowers and mint.
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