“The world laughs in flowers,” stated Emerson, and I’ve a sense chef Loria Stern would strongly agree. I first tasted her botanical-studded meals at a retreat in Northern Cali just a few years again, and I used to be struck not solely by the scrumptious style of her dishes, however the gentle playfulness she delivered to her creations. In Loria’s world, meals isn’t sole nourishment—it’s pleasure and wonder. Meals is her canvas.
Once I obtained Loria’s cookbook, Eat Your Flowers, within the mail final week, I devoured every flower-strewn web page. From the Kale Caesar with Caper Flower Vegan Dressing to the Uncooked Cashew Floral Cheesecake, it’s clear that Loria’s mission is inspiring others to discover and get artistic within the kitchen. She says, “Vibrant hues, advanced tastes, to not point out added vitamin and drugs—there are such a lot of methods to make use of nature’s bounty to create scrumptious and beautiful meals.”
In honor of the cookbook’s launch final month, Loria got here by to share the recipe that made her Insta-famous: her Flower-Pressed Shortbread Cookies. I can attest that they’re as scrumptious as they’re lovely. Scroll on for Loria’s tips about making these flower cookies and concepts on utilizing botanicals of each hue.
For me, meals is artwork and ought to be skilled with all of the senses.
Your cooking and artistic work let readers indulge all their senses. The place did this need to transcend style come from?
I’ve at all times felt like life must be loved via all of the senses. All of us expertise emotions and emotions are impressed by the senses. I imagine that’s what makes artwork work. And for me, meals is artwork and ought to be skilled with all of the senses.
You write that rising up in Ojai impressed your love of nature and strategy to cooking. What are your ideas for adopting this slower and extra considerate food-centric way of life?
I feel there may be nature to be loved all over the place. The desert, the snowy mountains, a tranquil lake, a peaceable park, ocean cliffs, and breaking waves. It’s about deliberately placing apart time in our busy lives to spend in nature, wherever we’re.
Your e-book and your cooking are each a testomony to the countless creativity present in meals. What are small, easy methods we will discover inspiration in meals?
There are a number of methods. First is to strive completely different recipes and actually nail them down after which incorporate completely different elements to alter up the flavors. There are such a lot of staple recipes in my e-book that I exploit for countless combos which yield completely different flavors so I’m by no means bored. The second is to deal with one seasonal ingredient and experiment with recipes surrounding that ingredient.
What are accessible methods we will carry flowers into our personal kitchens?
I’m an enormous supporter of heading to your native farmer’s market and assembly your farmers. Natural vegetable farmers at all times develop edible flowers on their farms as a result of flowers entice pollinators and lots of flowers additionally deter backyard pests! My advice is to go to the farmer’s market, meet your farmers (particularly the lovable ones 😉 and ask them if you should purchase edible flowers from them. I’m certain they’d be very excited to promote you some or begin rising them for you!
What are your favourite flowers to cook dinner or bake with?
That may be a very troublesome query to reply! I’ve just a few: rose petals, calendula, bachelor buttons, violas, and pansies. The rationale I like baking with these is that they’re brightly coloured and yield vibrant bakes.
Loria’s Suggestions for Making Shortbread Flower Cookies
The buttery shortbread dough takes the flavors of edible flowers and herbs splendidly. Begonia will lend a tart apple-like style, whereas a viola flower amplifies the sweetness naturally. Within the recipe under I’ve used an array of various botanicals, however a few of my favorites are pea tendrils for a verdant look; hibiscus and maple leaves, that are paying homage to fall; and delicate inexperienced herbs and freeze-dried peppercorns to have a good time the vacations. Get artistic and don’t be afraid to combine and match your favourite flowers and herbs! See [below] for a few of my favourite combos. Simply keep in mind that should you press a whole flower into your dough, it could overpower the cookie taste, so petals, smaller blooms, and delicate stems work greatest right here.
Adhering edible flowers to cookies was a standard apply of the Victorians within the 1800s. The cookies had been baked after which the flowers, crystallized for longevity, had been hooked up to the cookie with egg white. I select as an alternative to lock the botanicals by urgent and freezing them into the dough, then baking the cookies with the flowers intact. This works significantly better to protect the flowers and herbs quite than painstakingly portray every flower with egg white, so the recipe is simpler to make at quantity; it additionally permits me to make these lovely treats vegan (utilizing a vegan cookie recipe, after all). Including fruit dusts, flavorings, and spices to the dough is an exquisite strategy to taste and colour this base cookie recipe and add a distinct dimension to the pressed flower ingredient.
Beautify Your Shortbread Flower Cookies
Attempt these straightforward and flavorful options to your shortbread dough! Select pressed botanicals that complement the dough colour; typically contrasting colours look nice.
MATCHA ALFALFA: Combine ¼ cup (20 g) matcha powder into the flour and stir till uniform in colour earlier than including to the mixer. Use contemporary pressed wheat grass (instead of the vanilla extract).
TURMERIC LEMON: Add 1 tablespoon lemon zest with the butter and use contemporary lemon juice instead of the vanilla extract. Combine 3 tablespoons (15 g) floor turmeric powder into the flour and stir till uniform in colour earlier than including to the mixer.
RASPBERRY ROSE: Use rose water instead of the vanilla extract. Substitute ½ cup (63 g) of the flour with ½ cup (50 g) raspberry powder and stir till uniform in colour earlier than including to the mixer.
BLUEBERRY: Use blueberry extract instead of the vanilla extract. Substitute ½ cup (63 g) of the flour with ½ cup (50 g) blueberry powder and change a further ¼ cup (32 g) flour with ¼ cup (20 g) blue spirulina or butterfly pea powder. Stir till uniform in colour earlier than including to the mixer. Add ½ cup (13 g) freeze- dried blueberries to the dough when it has virtually come collectively in a ball.
CHARCOAL: Add 3 tablespoons (15 g) activated charcoal powder to the flour and stir till uniform in colour earlier than including to the mixer.
Get impressed by the colour and flavors of the seasons with these decorations.
FALL: As a substitute of colourful flowers, go for urgent your cookie dough with edible maple or hibiscus leaves.
WINTER: Use brilliant greenery reminiscent of carrot tops, chervil, thyme, or tarragon and freeze-dried pink peppercorns and beautify like boughs of holly or little wreaths.
From EAT YOUR FLOWERS by Loria Stern. Copyright 2023 by Loria Stern. Printed by William Morrow, An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.