Simple Green Salad with Edible Flowers


A simple green salad can be a perfect thing. Choose an interesting mix of greens, some spicy, some sweet, some tender and some crisp. Dress it simply and lightly. (I like a sherry vinaigrette composed of a little minced shallot, a tiny bit of dijon, sherry vinegar and good olive oil). Gently pile the salad high on a plate, and polka-dot it with edible flowers. When the greens are good and the dressing is balanced, you won’t wish for crumbled cheese or croutons!

Here are some hints. If you’ve never made your own salad dressing, start now! Begin with equal parts of acid (vinegar or lemon juice) and oil, and a pinch of salt in a small jar. Shake it up and taste it. Is it too sour? Add more oil. Does it taste flat? Try a bit more acid or salt. Not sure? Dip a leaf in it and taste it again. Dijon will help emulsify the mixture. A drop of honey or a pinch of sugar rounds it out. Add garlic, shallot, or herbs for complexity. Now mix and vary dressings to your hearts content.

To dress the salad without drowning it, pour a little dressing in a large bowl, then gently toss the greens in it. This way, you can add just enough gloss and flavor to each leaf. If the salad needs more dressing, pour it down the side of the bowl instead of directly onto the salad, and then toss some more. Also, make sure the greens are dry before you dress them, so the dressing will stick instead of sliding off.

Picked edible flowers can be hard to find and expensive, and they wilt fast. You are often better off buying a potted plant: pansies, violas, marigolds or nasturtiums are tasty and easy to care for. Water the plant whenever the soil feels dry. Pluck any blossoms that wilt. The plant will yield a couple of rounds of flowers for you.

But this shouldn’t be fussy, it’s a simple pleasure. Time to get to the farmers market, or scatter some seeds, and begin our salad days.

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Honest Early Spring Desserts

Salad Obsession

Salad Days


When the weather is nice, I want to spend every moment I can outdoors. That means the season of long stewing and elaborate baking is over. A salad for dinner is perfect––to be honest, often for breakfast and lunch too! I’m hungry for color and freshness after a long winter. I love my leafy greens, and I’d rather spend my evening watching the sunset than watching a pot.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some salad inspiration, with photos by Burcu Avsar. You can see more of her beautiful photos at www.burcuavsar.com.

#onthetable: pan-fried squid over aioli dressed cannellini beans with picked parsley; English peas, glazed carrots. #spring #dinner #squid #veg #vegetables #peas #carrots #aioli #vscocam #feedfeed

#onthetable: pan-fried squid over aioli dressed cannellini beans with picked parsley; English peas, glazed carrots. #spring #dinner #squid #veg #vegetables #peas #carrots #aioli #vscocam #feedfeed

@laurenornot took this photo of some brioche donuts I made. You can get the recipe from @ediblebrooklyn. #blueberryjam #brioche #doughnuts #sweets #homemade #spring #fuji #x100s

@laurenornot took this photo of some brioche donuts I made. You can get the recipe from @ediblebrooklyn. #blueberryjam #brioche #doughnuts #sweets #homemade #spring #fuji #x100s

Lemon Shortcake


This is one of those desserts that will make your cooking seem fabulously effortless! Make the lemon curd ahead (pretty little jars of it also make a wonderful gift). While you’re at it, cut a lemon into thin slices and leave it to soak in rich simple syrup: 1/2 cup sugar dissolved, with the help of heat and stirring, in ¼ cup water. When your guests are on their way, a batch of fresh biscuits can be mixed and baked in 20 minutes. Whisk up a bowl of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Just before serving, split the biscuits, fill them with lemon curd and whipped cream, and put another little dollop of cream on top with a sweetened lemon-slice pressed into it (save the syrup for cocktails). Edible flowers add a lovely flourish if you can find some.

Hint: Buy potted pansies, violas, or johnny jump-up plants to use for your edible flower garnish. It can be hard to find just the flowers, and this way you will have a nice little

 

Lemon Shortcake

make about 12 shortcakes

for the lemon curd

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

for simple biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4  cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

for assembling shortcakes

  • whipped cream
  • syrup-soaked lemon slices (see headnote)
  • edible flowers, such as violas (optional)

cooking the lemon curd

1. In a double boiler or a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the eggs and yolks. Whisk in the sugar and salt, then the lemon zest and juice. Cut the butter into several small pieces, and add it. Set the saucepan or double boiler over medium heat.

2. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is incorporated and the mixture thickens. Never allow it to boil, or it will separate and curdle. When the curd is nearly thick enough that you can imagine spreading it on toast, but still a little too runny for that, remove it from the heat; it will continue to thicken as it cools.

3. Transfer the curd to a bowl or jar. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd, and pierce a small hole in it. This will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool. This will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

baking the biscuits

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir with a fork or whisk to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and work it into the dry ingredients: pinch the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs or coarse cornmeal. 

2. Stir in the buttermilk or yogurt. When the mixture becomes too stiff to stir, mix and knead with your hands, just until it holds together in a ball. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick, then fold it in half, and in half again. Roll out again to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut 2-inch circles out of the dough, using a cookie cutter or a sturdy glass. Place them on the baking sheet. (Scraps can be pressed together, rolled out again, and cut out).

3. Bake the biscuits for 7-9 minutes. Serve warm, if possible. These are best within a few hours of baking.

assembling the shortcakes

1. Break the biscuits in half. Fill each with a spoonful of lemon curd and a spoonful of whipped cream. Put the top back on the biscuit.

2. Dollop more whipped cream on top, and garnish it with one of the syrup-soaked lemon slices and an edible flower. Serve right away.

 

Lemon Shortcake


This is one of those desserts that will make your cooking seem fabulously effortless! Make the lemon curd ahead (pretty little jars of it also make a wonderful gift). While you’re at it, cut a lemon into thin slices and leave it to soak in rich simple syrup: 1/2 cup sugar dissolved, with the help of heat and stirring, in ¼ cup water. When you’re guests are on their way, a batch of fresh biscuits can be mixed and baked in 20 minutes. Whisk up a bowl of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Just before serving, split the biscuits, fill them with lemon curd and whipped cream, and put another little dollop of cream on top with a sweetened lemon-slice pressed into it (save the syrup for cocktails).

Hint: Buy potted pansies, violas, or johnny jump-up plants to use for your edible flower garnish. It can be hard to find just the flowers, and this way you will have a nice little

 

Lemon Shortcake

make about 12 shortcakes

for the lemon curd

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

for simple biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4  cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

for assembling shortcakes

  • whipped cream
  • syrup-soaked lemon slices (see headnote)
  • edible flowers, such as violas (optional)

cooking the lemon curd

1. In a double boiler or a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the eggs and yolks. Whisk in the sugar and salt, then the lemon zest and juice. Cut the butter into several small pieces, and add it. Set the saucepan or double boiler over medium heat.

2. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is incorporated and the mixture thickens. Never allow it to boil, or it will separate and curdle. When the curd is nearly thick enough that you can imagine spreading it on toast, but still a little too runny for that, remove it from the heat; it will continue to thicken as it cools.

3. Transfer the curd to a bowl or jar. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd, and pierce a small hole in it. This will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool. This will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

baking the biscuits

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir with a fork or whisk to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and work it into the dry ingredients: pinch the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs or coarse cornmeal. 

2. Stir in the buttermilk or yogurt. When the mixture becomes too stiff to stir, mix and knead with your hands, just until it holds together in a ball. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick, then fold it in half, and in half again. Roll out again to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut 2-inch circles out of the dough, using a cookie cutter or a sturdy glass. Place them on the baking sheet. (Scraps can be pressed together, rolled out again, and cut out).

3. Bake the biscuits for 7-9 minutes. Serve warm, if possible. These are best within a few hours of baking.

assembling the shortcakes

1. Break the biscuits in half. Fill each with a spoonful of lemon curd and a spoonful of whipped cream. Put the top back on the biscuit.

2. Dollop more whipped cream on top, and garnish it with one of the syrup-soaked lemon slices and an edible flower. Serve right away.

 

What beauties! #eggs #nofilter #backyardchickens #chickens #dscolor #simplepleasures #vscocam

What beauties! #eggs #nofilter #backyardchickens #chickens #dscolor #simplepleasures #vscocam

Honest Early Spring Desserts

This is the time of year when you feel like it really aught to be warm and sunny already! The calendar may have turned to spring, but (at least here in New York) the weather is unreliable. The first day above 50 degrees and everyone frolics out the door in shorts and sundresses (never mind the goosebumps). If you like to bake, you’ve had enough of chocolate and nuts: you’re ready for fresh fruits and berries!

But we get ahead of ourselves. “Seasonal” restaurants put asparagus on the menu, even though it’s travelled from a farm California or Florida to our table in New York. Pints of berries in the supermarket taunt and tempt, but be honest with yourself––they don’t taste like much before June. And no matter how tired you are of your winter coat, those fair weather clothes really aren’t comfortable yet, are they?

There are ways to imbue brightness––of flavor and color––into desserts during this limbo between winter and spring. Evoke sunshine with the tart pastels of lemons, grapefruits oranges. Open jars of jam and bags of frozen berries to find summer, preserved. Imbue jewel tones and earthy sweetness into quick breads and cakes using beets and carrots.  And don’t overlook the radiant hues of teas and spices like hibiscus flower, green tea, or saffron.

Here are five honest desserts for early spring. Over the next week, we’ll roll out the recipes here and at www.ediblebrooklyn.com. (Links will become active as the recipes are posted).

Photo by @laurenornot. Get my recipe for Blood Orange and Beet Cake today on @ediblebrooklyn! #homespringhome #edible #cake #beets #bloodorange #spring #baking #seasonal #x100 #fuji

Photo by @laurenornot. Get my recipe for Blood Orange and Beet Cake today on @ediblebrooklyn! #homespringhome #edible #cake #beets #bloodorange #spring #baking #seasonal #x100 #fuji

Honest Early Spring Desserts

This is the time of year when you feel like it really aught to be warm and sunny already! The calendar may have turned to spring, but (at least here in New York) the weather is unreliable. The first day above 50 degrees and everyone frolics out the door in shorts and sundresses (never mind the goosebumps). If you like to bake, you’ve had enough of chocolate and nuts: you’re ready for fresh fruits and berries!

But we get ahead of ourselves. “Seasonal” restaurants put asparagus on the menu, even though it’s travelled from a farm California or Florida to our table in New York. Pints of berries in the supermarket taunt and tempt, but be honest with yourself––they don’t taste like much before June. And no matter how tired you are of your winter coat, those fair weather clothes really aren’t comfortable yet, are they?

There are ways to imbue brightness––of flavor and color––into desserts during this limbo between winter and spring. Evoke sunshine with the tart pastels of lemons, grapefruits oranges. Open jars of jam and bags of frozen berries to find summer, preserved. Imbue jewel tones and earthy sweetness into quick breads and cakes using beets and carrots.  And don’t overlook the radiant hues of teas and spices like hibiscus flower, green tea, or saffron.

Here are five honest desserts for early spring. Over the next week, we’ll roll out the recipes here and at www.ediblebrooklyn.com. (Links will become active as the recipes are posted).

  • Blood Orange and Beet Cake
  • Green Tea Rice Macarons 
  • Lemon Shortcake 
  • Spring Sherbets: Grapefruit and Hibiscus
  • Blueberry Brioche Doughnuts