Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza

Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza

Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza
Baby Zucchini, Epazote, Garlic, Monterey Jack Cheese

Two months ago my garden was bursting with arugula and borage, now the epazote has gone wild. This unique sawtooth herb with the curious aroma produces tons of seeds, so it is everywhere. Not to worry, in another month, it too will fade and be replaced by something else. I plant everything I like to cook with, and see where it goes…

Epazote

In Mexican cooking, squash blossoms (flor de calabaza) are often paired with epazote. It is a heavenly match where the mild slightly-sweet nectar taste of the flowers is complimented by the petroleum-like aroma and the complex flavors of the herb.

In Oaxaca, cheese quesadillas are often flavored with epazote, so it naturally pairs well with the cheese on these flatbreads.

Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza Recipe

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Beets N’ Roses

Beets N' Roses

Golden Beets and Disneyland Roses

With its apricot-orange-pink coloration and delicate spice fragrance, the Disneyland Floribunda is the official rose of the magical kingdom. See this fabulous rose planted at the main gate turnstiles and throughout the park.

After a trip home from the farmers market, I noticed how similar the color of my golden beets were to the Disneyland roses blooming in my garden. They were begging to be photographed together.

Then I roasted the golden beets and this is where they ended up:

Golden Beets, Blistered Haricots Verts, Marinated Blackberries
Vanilla Skyr, Dukkah, Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Golden earthy beets, tender green beans with a hint of smoky char, and sweet-tart blackberries all pair surprisingly well with creamy vanilla skyr. The nutty, toasty Egyptian spice mix adds depth and exotic notes to this savory-sweet, veggie-fruit combination.

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Move Over Avocado Toast!

Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts
Lodge Bread German Style Rye

Sometimes we want a different kind of toast for breakfast, especially when there are fabulous hand-shelled, sweet and tender, English peas available. So, no disrespect, but move over avocado, and make room for Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts.

Fresh sweet peas and crunchy pea shoots, fresh basil and mint, and lemony ricotta top an extraordinary German style rye by Lodge Bread.  This heavenly bread is bold and sturdy – made of 100% whole grain dark rye, buttermilk, local beer, sprouted rye berries, and filled with seeds – sesame, nigella, sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy.

Serve this breakfast with tea. English peas, and tea. Of course it’s lovely.

German Style Rye Bread

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts Recipe

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Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Garlic Scented Lima Beans
Fennel, Feta, Mint, Oregano, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil

Cool-crisp Persian cucumbers and creamy-buttery lima beans make a delightful summer duo. Fennel adds a bright crunch with a sweet, nutty anise flavor.

The large limas by Lompoc Beans are sold at our local Torrance Farmers Market. They are also available online. Grown in Santa Barbara County, the beans cook up beautifully smooth and tender.

Soak 2 cups of beans in water for 4 1/2 hours then drain. Place beans in a pot and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, cook uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Cook al dente (soft but not mushy), taste a few beans for doneness. Drain. Set aside to serve at room temperature.

It’s a fun salad to compose. Put cucumber chunks in a roomy ziplock bag and smash with a mallet. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle fruity olive oil into the bag. Add shaved fennel and toss the bag to coat the veggies with the dressing. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Smashed Cucumber Salad Composition

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Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Hummus and Pita

Take ordinary (high quality) store-bought hummus and pita to another level. Easily jazz it up for guests with a few items from the garden and the pantry. Edible flowers, lemon, herbs & spices, olive oil, nuts – with very little effort, anything colorful and tasty can take the ubiquitous dip over-the-top for entertaining.

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Linguine, Arugula Pesto, Edible Flowers

Linguine Arugula Pesto

Linguine with Arugula Pesto
Arugula Flowers and Borage Flowers

Arugula flowers taste just like the leaves, but maybe slightly less peppery and with an interesting hint of sweetness. They make a mighty tasty garnish for such a delicate little white blossom.

Borage flowers have much less flavor, only a whisper of cucumber taste, but what they lack in flavor they make up in color. Because the flavor is mild, borage can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and they make any presentation pop!

arugula and borage

With Spring in full force, my garden is bursting with arugula and borage…and since they are growing side-by-side, I thought I would combine them in a pasta dish.

Arugula leaves make a peppery pesto so I lower the volume and balance the flavor with the addition of cilantro and mint. Those who are not fans of cilantro can combine the arugula with another mild-tasting herb, such as parsley.

Linguine Arugula Pesto Recipe

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Arugula Borage Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Arugula and Borage Salad

Arugula and Borage Salad
Feta, Pomegranate Arils, Pistachio Slivers
Pomegranate Vinaigrette

It’s April and the borage is blooming! These electric blue star-shaped flowers have a mild cucumber taste and a soft texture. They make a striking addition to any salad.

Here, peppery arugula is accented with borage, giving the salad a distinctive visual emphasis. Feta brings salty-tangy-creamy notes while sweet-sour pomegranate arils add another layer of jewel-like color and a crunchy texture. Pistachios add that distinctive nutty flavor.

Pomegranate vinaigrette ties it all together with sweet-savory-zippy characteristics. Serve the dressing on the side for better presentation. Pair this lovely spring salad with a glass of rosé, of course.

Salad

  • arugula
  • borage
  • olive oil
  • pomegranate arils
  • feta, crumbled
  • pistachio slivers
  • salt and pepper

Toss arugula lightly with olive oil. Gently toss in the flowers. Place salad on serving plates and top with pomegranate arils, feta, and pistachio slivers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a few more flowers on top.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. pomegranate molasses
  • 2 T. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 t. dijon mustard
  • 1 t. garlic, minced
  • 1 T. shallot, minced
  • salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Serve vinaigrette in a small glass pitcher on the side.

How to Prepare Borage for Food

Unfortunately I see many photographs of borage flowers in food with the sepals still attached. The reddish-brown sepals are covered with bristly hairs, they are not something you would want to eat in a salad.

Borage

To separate the corolla from the sepals, simply pinch the middle of the star and pull. Rinse the flowers in a bowl of cool water to remove any dirt or little bugs.

Eat Flowers, Be Happy

Here is a link to all of my Edible Flower posts, photos, and recipes.