I can never resist adding a new cookbook to my collection and I was lucky enough to be offered a copy of Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets in New York. We live on a 1/2 acre with lots of fruit trees and a big vegetable garden, as well as lot of herbs and flowers. I love being able to grow some of our favorite fruits and veggies, and I was excited to be able to get some more use out of my garden, this time by using flowers as a fun new ingredient in my kitchen.
This book is full of both sweet and savory recipes, and beautifully photographed. The recipes use a wide variety of flower, from your typical rose, all the way to violets, sunflowers, tulips and hollyhocks. Using flowers as food is the epitome of seasonal eating, as I had to choose my recipe based on what was in bloom, and that happened to be nasturtiums.
Nasturtiums have a peppery taste and I have used them in salads, but nothing more. We wanted to try the flowers in a way that was completely new to us, so we made the Goat Cheese Nasturtiums Ice Cream and the Nasturtiums Thumbprint Cookies.
Both recipes were straightforward and easy to make. The thumbprint cookies used a nasturtium jam, but I didn't have time to make my own so I embellished some red currant jelly with nasturtium petals and white pepper. It added just the right bit of sweetness to the buttery, peppery shortbread cookie.
The goat cheese ice cream was smooth and creamy, with the distinct tang of goat cheese, but was still sweet enough to be called ice cream. It had a very light and refreshing feel, making it the prefect dessert for the upcoming hot summer nights. I know we will continue to flip through this book, and try new recipes based on what is blooming in my garden, and maybe even plant some new varieties of flowers to use in the kitchen.
Goat Cheese Nasturtium Ice Cream
Cooking With Flowers- Miche Bacher
8 ounces soft goat cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup nasturtium petals, finely chopped.
1. Crumble goat cheese in a heat proof bowl.
2. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, warm the milk and half the sugar. Summer until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and salt in a heat proof bowl. When the milk has absorbed the sugar but before it comes to a boil begin to temper your eggs by slowly pouring half the hot milk mixture over the yolk mixture, while whisking vigorously. Then slowly pour the egg- milk mixture back into saucepan, whisking vigorously. Heat the mixture until it coats the back of a spoon and the temperature reaches 160 F.
3. Slowly pour mixture over the goat cheese, whisking to fully dissolve and incorporate it. Fold in chopped flowers and chill mixture for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. (The flowers will release their essential oils when they absorb some of the residual heat from the cream.) Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and let harden in freezer until firm. Let ice cream sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.