Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

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Posts Tagged ‘edible flowers’

Gastronomically yours,

June 29th, 2013

Flower Power

This year’s growing season has been weeks ahead of schedule due to our early spring. This has been challenging at times to keep up with what’s in season locally.  The easiest crop to follow and know when it’s in season this year has been flowers; in particular edible flowers which can be as delectable as they are beautiful.

The most commonly consumed flowers are artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower. While capers, lavender and saffron are flowers that are used more for seasoning our foods.  There are over 200 varieties of wild edible flowers in Ontario and the list of cultivated ones is endless.

Before you venture out into the garden and start munching away, you will need to consider the following…

Are the flowers poisonous? Make sure you know what you are harvesting and even then slowly incorporate edible flowers into your diet to avoid possible allergic reactions.  Only consume flowers grown without chemicals and away from roadside exhaust. Flowers from florists should be considered inedible unless they are certified organic. Some edible flowers aren’t that palatable but most of them are high in vitamins A and C as well as iron and calcium.

Once you have safely identified and harvested your flowers you will need to remove the pistil and stamen from the flowers and gently rinse them in cool water. Once this is done your flower petals are ready to be sprinkled over salads and desserts alike.

Other ideas to use flower petals in the kitchen include placing a few petals into your ice cube trays when making ice to add an elegant edition to any cocktail on a hot summer day.  In a Mason jar one can alternate layers of flower petals with layers of white sugar, then seal the jars and allow the floral scent to permeate the sugar.  These vibrant, perfumed sugars can be used on the table or in baking to add a delicate flavor to foods and beverages.

Venture out to the garden and pick some flowers to try in any of these delicious preparations or try the following recipes and preserve the flowers of summer for use later in the year.

 

 

 

 

 

FLOWER JELLY

Ingredients:

Two cups of white wine
One cup of fresh rose or nasturtium petals
Three cups of white sugar
juice of one half lemon
Three ounces of liquid pectin
One quarter cup of additional fresh flower petals

Method:

In a non-reactive pan bring the wine to a gentle boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the petals, cover and let steep until cool. Strain off the flower petals.

Combine the cooled flower infused tea with the sugar and lemon juice. Return the pot to the stove and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the pectin and let the mixture return to a rolling boil for one minute while constantly stirring.  Remove the jelly from the heat and skim off any foam. Let the jelly cool slightly and add the remaining flower petals.  Pour the mixture into sterilized jars. Process the jars in a hot water bath or seal with paraffin.

 

 

FLOWER BUTTER

Ingredients:

Three-quarters of a cup of chopped fresh flower petals
One pound of sweet unsalted Sterling Creamery butter

Method:

Finely chop flower petals and mix into softened butter. Let mix stand for several hours at room temperature, then refrigerate for three days to bring out the floral flavours. This recipe is great to use on bread and in sugar cookie or pound cake recipes. This butter can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.

 

Lilac Love

 

The heady scent of lilacs wafting through the air after a spring rain shower can be quite intoxicating especially if the sun comes out after the rain to increase the humidity making the scent of the lilacs almost seem to stick to us.

Lilacs and their beauty pass quickly, never staying open more than a week, being able to preserve their scent to be enjoyed at other times of the year can easily with a bit of time and sugar. The time that it will take to harvest, clean, and process the blossoms of the flowers will vary depending on the size of the blossoms. Large plump groupings of lilac flowers will hang like clumps of grapes allowing for an efficient harvest. Be sure to clip just the flower clusters as you do not want any of the leaves or branches to add any bitter flavours to your lilac concoctions.

Lilac sugar is easily made by sealing some lilac flowers and granulated sugar in a mason jar for a week and tastes great with black tea. Candied lilacs are made by brushing the petals with sugar and egg whites. Other culinary preparations to preserve your lilacs include vinegar, wine and jelly.

Lilac flowers will retain their colour if used fresh but if you heat them at all the flower petals will turn brown while cooking. If used in muffins, bread, or cake the end product will have a faded yellow appearance.

When harvesting any wild edible foods I advise to avoid those growing along busy roadsides as these flowers are exposed to heavier amounts of pollutants from exhaust and vehicular fluids.

Fill your kitchen and home with the wonderful smells of spring by trying the following recipe is for lilac flowers but can be used for any flowers depending on which you prefer. It works well with apple, rose and nasturtium flowers. Flower petal jellies will preserve the aroma and taste of flowers but not their colour. Most flower jellies are tinged with yellow and brown hues. To give your flower jelly a naturally intensified colour that represents the flower you may want to add some natural fruit juices to your recipes. For lilacs, blueberry and pomegranate can produce a rich violet colour to accent its appearance.

 

 

Lilac Jelly

 

4 cups lilac blossoms

2 cups water

2 cups white wine

Juice of one lemon

2 packages powdered pectin

6 cups sugar

¼ cup additional lilac flowers

 

Method:

In a non-reactive pan bring the water and wine to a gentle boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the petals, cover and let steep until cool. Strain off the flower petals.

Combine the cooled flower infused tea with the sugar and lemon juice. Return the pot to the stove and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the pectin and let the mixture return to a rolling boil for one minute while constantly stirring.  Remove the jelly from the heat and skim off any foam. Let the jelly cool slightly and add the remaining flower petals.  Pour the mixture into sterilized jars. Process the jars in a hot water bath or seal with paraffin like you would any other jelly.

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