I’ve been smelling the delicious scents of just-opening flowers on our evening walks with the dogs. Spring really is in the air!
So this is the perfect time for me to tell you that “Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion” by Vista cookbook author, teacher and expert Kitty Morse is in its second edition, published by Chefs Press. Kitty graciously let me share some of the recipes (and photos) from the new book. (Also, these two are vegetarian recipes, please note.)
All her books, by the way, feature beautiful photos to go with the recipes. And if you are at all interested in Moroccan food, you should definitely check out her book “Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories,” because that is her lifelong interest and specialty. Visit http://www.kittymorse.com or www.mintteaandminarets.com.
Kitty will be giving a chat on edible flowers at 10:30 a.m. April 16 at the San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., with Nan Sterman, host of KPBS’s “A Growing Passion,” for the Culinary Historians of San Diego. Check out CulinaryHistoriansOfSanDiego.com for details.
TOFU LETTUCE TACOS WITH CILANTRO AND MINT
Leaves and flowers are generally used raw, as their flavor fades quickly when cooked. This is one of my favorite light dinners! Saifun bean threads can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores or online, and baked tofu can be found in the refrigerated sections of most grocery and natural food stores.
1 tray Saifun bean threads or cellophane noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 ounces mixed fresh exotic mushrooms, minced
1/2 cup asparagus spears, diced, if desired
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup baked tofu, finely diced
2 to 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 cup cashews or peanuts, crushed
3 spring onions, minced
8 crisp iceberg lettuce leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced
1/4 cup mint leaves, minced
Sriracha sauce and hot sweet chili sauce, for serving
Drain bean threads. Using scissors, cut threads into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle with a teaspoon sesame oil. Set aside.
Trim mushrooms and finely dice. Combine with diced asparagus, if using, 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce and ginger root. Set aside.
Finely dice bean cakes. Set aside.
In medium skillet, heat peanut oil over medium high heat. Stir fry garlic, bean cake, mushrooms and asparagus until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bean threads, oyster sauce and cashews. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add chopped onions. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with coriander leaves, blossoms, and mint. Mound on a serving platter.
Place lettuce leaves on another platter, and allow guests to fill a leaf with some of the bean curd mixture. Serve with sauces on the side. Serves 4.
SQUASH BLOSSOM QUESADILLA
For the pico de gallo:
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced
2 tablespoons onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the quesadilla:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or more as needed
1 small tomato, finely diced
1 green onion, white part only, finely diced
2 zucchini blossoms, sliced into thin strips or 4 yucca blossoms, petals only
1 medium flour tortilla
Grated Monterey Jack cheese or goat cheese crumbles
To make the pico de gallo: Combine all the pico de gallo ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.
To make the quesadilla: Heat oil in medium skillet and saute the tomato and green onion until soft. Add zucchini blossom strips or yucca petals, and cook 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet. Fill the tortilla with the flower mixture and cheese, fold in half, and place in the skillet. Hold shut with a spatula until the bottom of the tortilla turns golden. Quickly flip, and brown the other side. Or microwave the quesadilla on high for 30 seconds. Serve immediately with the pico de gallo and, if desired, a dollop of sour cream and guacamole.
(c) copyright 2016 by Laura Groch