I came home from a long Memorial Day weekend with family to find my wild rose bush blooming beautifully. The petals on those roses don’t last for long, and Philadelphia was expecting yet another big rain later that afternoon; I wanted to find a way to preserve some of these gorgeous flowers. After some internet searching, I found a few reciples for rose petal jam, a traditionally Syrian and Lebanese condiment that keeps all of the wonderful color and scent of fresh blooming roses. Because the “jam” is made with flowers and not fruit, it doesn’t have any of the natural thickening pectin of fruit, and so the finished product if more of a thick syrup than a traditional jam. I’m so excited to eat it with fresh, organic yogurt, and maybe a few herbs from the garden! I’ve included the link to the recipe I used below.
These roses adjoin my home, so I know that they aren’t sprayed with chemicals or fertilizers, but if you are scavenging for your own, make sure the petals are organic.
Have you hear of the vegan restaurant Vedge? This upscale Center City restaurant does amazing things with vegetables, and is justifiably famous outside of vegetarian circles – in fact, chef / owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby have won numerous awards for Vedge, which is widely considered to be one of the best vegan restaurants, and restaurants period in the country. If you’re in Philadelphia, it’s definitely worth a visit, but even if you’re not, you can get a taste of the inventive, flavor-forward, vegetable focused menu.
I just got my copy of the new Vedge cookbook, and I’m so excited to work my way through it. I’m most struck by how simple most of the recipes are, and with not many ingredients, but the flavors really shine. For a recent fancy picnic I brought their Fingerling Potatoes with Creamy Worcestershire Sauce. This time of year, new potatoes are so buttery and perfect, and the roasting, combined with the savory mayonnaise, really highlights this Spring treat. I know that Worcestershire sauce is usually not vegan, but it is possible to find both vegan mayos and worcestershire if you would like to keep the recipe vegan. Landau and Jacoby suggest smashing the fingerlings and tossing them with the mayo sauce, but since I was looking for a finger food, I kept mine whole and served the sauce on the side.
After a long Winter, everyone is eager for Spring. It’s so wonderful to go into farmers’ martkets and co-op, or maybe you visit a local farm or are participate in Community Supported Agriculture, and see these first Spring vegetables arriving. Though I have planted my spring garden, all I currently see are little, encouraging green shoots and leaves, and so I was excited to find some beautiful radishes at the farmer’s market last weekend. I was tempted to slice them up immediately and spread them on whole wheat bread with a nice slab of butter sprinkled with Maldon salt (on of my favorite ways to eat new spring radishes), but I held off in order to make a version of the “Thyme Farrotto with Roasted Radishes and Radish Greens,” from the wonderful cookbook “Whole Grains for a New Generation.”
I didn’t have any farro in the house, so I substituted wheat berries, which are similar (though do take quite a long time to cook). I cooked the wheat berries in vegetable stock and thyme , and when it was soft but toothsome, finished it with a tablespoon of butter and a bit more yogurt (instead of the creme fraiche in the original recipe. Meanwhile, I roasted the radishes and greens (after tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper) until the radishes browned and started to shrivel, and the greens crisped. While they look beautiful here (and in the cookbook) the greens will be easter to eat if you chop them a bit first! This simple recipe really let the radishes shine.