Fiddlehead & Flower Month-of-May Salad

fiddlehead fern salad, edible flower salad
fiddlehead fern frond & edible flower
tatsoi & arugula salad
avocado, yukon gold potato, dijon dressing

April showers brought May flowers. And with the upcoming opening of our “ristorante alfresco virtuale” Ciao Fiore! I’ve got edible flowers on my mind. Marigold and Johnny Jump-Up, Nasturtium, Pansy, and Borage too. I spotted the fiddlehead fern fronds at Whole Foods Market, in season right now just shipped down from Portland, Oregon. Flowers and ferns seemed like a pretty pairing, and thus this delightful Month-of-May salad was born.

Edible Flowers in the Salad:

  • marigold – bright orange petals, some with red tips
  • johnny jump up – small purple petals
  • nasturtium – large orange flower
  • pansy – large dark violet-purple flower
  • borage – tiny blue petals

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Resplendent Baby Golden Beet Salad

golden baby beet salad
Roasted Baby Golden Beet, Gala Apple, Kumquat
Raw Sheep’s Milk French Roquefort, Pistachio
Dandelion, Butterhead, Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette
Tricolor Viola & Wild Mustard Flower Garnish

Roasted tarragon-scented sweet soft baby golden beets are paired with tart-crisp apple, bitter-spiky dandelion, creamy-smooth butter lettuce, zingy kumquat, tangy Roquefort, rich pistachios and a playfully-spicy poblano chile vinaigrette. It’s a very refreshing, harmonious, and somewhat surprising salad – which I submit to this month’s 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group Challenge featuring BEETS.

The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. It continues to be a great source of inspiration and my absolute pleasure to be on the team. Please visit their blogs this coming Friday to enjoy the round-up of super-creative beets recipes from this talented cooking group.

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Can Split Pea Soup Ever Be Pretty?

split pea soup
Herbed Split Pea Soup
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme with Ham and Potato
Fried Sage and Garlic Chive Blossom Garnish

Tasty, you bet. To the eye, it has the most unfortunate color and often sludgy texture. But close your eyes, and you will be transported to soup heaven. Rich, flavorful, nourishing and comforting split pea soup has global appeal. Vegetarian versions are as equally satisfying as those made with ham or bacon.

Split pea will always be a nostalgic, family soup. It doesn’t remind us of our favorite gourmet restaurant or our most memorable meal, instead, it is a soup that soothes, calms, and makes us feel nurtured, at home, comfortable.

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Foodbuzz 24X24: Autumn Affair, New Nordic Style

An autumn affair! Oh, I am in love. He is fresh, sensuous, healthy, and playful.
He is simultaneously familiar and exotic; simple and complex.
His diverse tastes always reflect the season. And he is absolutely gorgeous.
He is New Nordic Cuisine.

wild carrot flowers

We are experimenting with New Nordic for the first time. My fellow passionate cooks, Lauren and Gail, join me in the kitchen to create this titillating dinner. Ingredients for the six-course meal include Norwegian goat cheese, wild herbs and flowers, berries and seeds, smoked fish, quail, grainy breads, root vegetables, and fresh fruits from the farmers’ market. Each dish is inspired by nature. We’ve attempted to present and garnish the plates in the sensual & earthy New Nordic style.

The setting is natural-organic-minimalist. White china, set on a large mahogany table sans cloth. The centerpiece and decoration is created from foraging…sticks, twigs, fruit from the vine in our gardens, and rocks and driftwood from the beach.

Our goal was to transport our dinner group of five, as well as Taste With The Eyes’ readers, to experience the essence of Fall in Scandinavia, Finland, and Iceland via my home in Los Angeles. We were inspired by the beauty of New Nordic Cuisine, by the distant land’s cutting-edge chefs’ pure artistry and commitment to local, seasonal, and sustainable.

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Sweet Spicy Eggplant & Shishito

sweet spicy eggplant shishito
Japanese Eggplant & Shishito Peppers
Sweet Spicy Soy Glaze
Crispy Garlic & Chopped Peanut Topping
Chinese Chive Blossom Garnish

Back in August we had a most memorable meal at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese Restaurant WP24. One of the many noteworthy side dishes was called “Hunan Spicy Eggplant, Roasted Shishito Peppers, Chili, Crisp Garlic.” Wanting to serve something similar at a recent dinner party but having no recipe, I decided to create my own interpretation of Wolfgang’s excellent side dish. It was a hit.

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