Mustard Greens Soup with Foraged Mustard Flowers

Mustard Greens Soup with Foraged Mustard Flowers

Mustard Greens Soup and Foraged Mustard Flowers
with
Shrimp, Great Northern Beans, Fennel, Onion
Chicken Bone Broth, Parmesan, Lemon

I am surrounded by mustard. Literally. The unusually rainy Southern California winter season has turned our hillsides into a gorgeous brilliant yellow.

Wild Mustard in Palos Verdes

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My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup with Herbs and Flowers

Among the many Seder rituals, out of innocence the youngest child who is able asks The Four Questions. The first Question posed, “Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we eat leavened bread or matzoh but tonight we eat only matzoh. Why?”

And to all the children at Seders around the world, the first Question is answered, “This night is different because we eat the unleavened bread called matzoh in remembrance of our ancestors’ haste to escape from Egypt’s bondage as there was no time to let the dough rise.”

Among the many Passover dishes, Matzoh Ball Soup is a perennial favorite.

Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

Since 2007, I have shared many a matzoh ball here on Taste With The Eyes. But this year, because winter had been especially rainy, cold, and snowy from LA, to Las Vegas, to Chicago…I am giving an extra nod to rebirth and springtime by adding more green herbs and pretty edible flowers to the soup.

Everyone had the same reaction to this bowl of soup. “That’s beautiful!” they said, so here I present the 2019 version called My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup.

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Sardine Smørrebrød

Sardine Smørrebrød

Sardine Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød is a Danish word that simply translates to buttered bread. What comes after the butter has been spread, however, is where plain bread is elevated to an absolute art form.

There is specific etiquette associated with composing and consuming these fabulous Danish open-faced sandwiches:

  • It would not be prudent to lift the sandwich to the mouth and risk the precious toppings falling off. A knife and fork are required.
  • Proteins are not mixed, each smørrebrød has a stand-alone special protein.
  • Several types of smørrebrød sandwiches are to be eaten in a particular order: herring is always enjoyed first, then other fish, then on to meats and last, cheeses.
  • The bread is always spread with a generous portion of butter, for taste, of course, but it also adds a protective layer to keep the other ingredients from turning the bread into a soggy mess.
  • Dense dark rye bread is the bread used most often, and always paired with herring. But sometimes white bread is used and often paired with smoked salmon.
  • The toppings always generously cover the entire piece of bread in an artful manner.

In planning to make a sardine smørrebrød, I chose ingredients that have a natural affinity for the fish: fennel, orange, lemon, dill, onion, garlic, chili. As always, color and texture enhance the taste, so I added peppery pink radish and some edible flowers too. It is the presentation that makes this open-faced sandwich so compelling.

Sustainable wild-caught sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Ounce per ounce they boast more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more potassium than coconut water, and as much protein as steak.

Sardines are an excellent source of Omega 3s and low in mercury due to their petite size on the food chain. Canned sardines are readily available and have a long shelf-life. Lightly smoked canned sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil that are cleaned and scale-free are preferred.

Mimosas make the perfect sparkling orange accompaniment. Be sure to toast with friends between bites. Cheers and Skol!

Sardine Smørrebrød Recipe

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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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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.