However, before you go flower picking, read Edible flowers: Beautiful, fragrant and flavorful for more information. And regardless of the flowers you choose, make sure they are free of pesticides and other chemicals (organic flowers are your best bet).
Serves 8 Sit back and enjoy a tall glass of iced lavendar-kissed lemonade.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon fresh lavender buds 1 cup boiling water 6 cups fresh squeezed lemonade Lemon slices Sprigs of fresh lavender
Directions: 1. Place lavender buds in a large glass and add boiling water. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a 2-quart pitcher. Discard lavender buds. 2. Stir lemonade into mixture in pitcher. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. To serve, pour lemonade mixture over ice cubes in stemmed goblets. Garnish each with a lemon slice and fresh sprig of lavender.
ROSEMARY FLOWER BISCUITS
Serves 8 Rosemary bushes produce tiny purple flowers that can liven up biscuits, quickbreads and salad dressings. They also make a lovely garnish for finished dishes. Serve these tasty biscuits with oven-fried chicken and roasted asparagus for a savory satisfying meal.
Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny pieces 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary flowers 3/4 cup milk
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. 2. Cut in 1/4 cup butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture is a coarse meal. Stir in rosemary flowers. Stir in the milk until ingredients are moistened. 3. Turn dough out onto a floured board. Shape and knead just until dough forms a square shape about 1-1/2 Inches thick. Transfer dough to a heavy cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 squares. Dot squares with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
PANSY HERB SALAD
Serves 4 With their beautiful array of colors and mild lettuce-like flavor, pansies brighten any dish. For this salad, only lemon juice is used as a dressing. The walnuts and feta add quite enough flavor.
Ingredients: 4 cups mixed greens 1/4 cup fresh sprigs of dill 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 4 large basil leaves, rolled up and thinly sliced crosswise 1 large lemon, halved Pinch of salt Fresh ground black pepper to taste 1 cup toasted walnuts 3/4 cup crumbled feta 1 cup fresh pansy flowers
Directions: Toss salad greens and herbs in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice (without the seeds) over the greens and season with salt and pepper. Toss again. Add walnuts and feta and toss well. Divide salad and pansies among four serving plates and serve.
GRILLED SALMON WITH NASTURTIUM VINAIGRETTE
Serves 4 Nasturtiums add a mild peppery bite and beautiful color to this dish. The agave nectar or honey lends a lovely sweetness that is countered by the rich flavor of the salmon. For a change, grill mahi mahi or tuna steaks and substitute other fresh herbs for the vinaigrette.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup sherry vinegar 1/4 cup minced shallots 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh nasturtiums 4 (5 ounces each) boneless, skinless salmon fillets 6 cups mixed greens Whole nasturtiums for garnish
Directions: 1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. In a food processor or blender, combine vinegar, shallots, honey or agave nectar, salt and black pepper. Slowly add 1/2 cup oil until emulsified. Pour dressing into a cruet or mason jar. Shake or stir in tarragon and chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 2. Lightly coat salmon with remaining olive oil, salt and black pepper and grill until just barely cooked through. Toss half of the vinaigrette with the greens and mound on individual plates. Place salmon on top of greens, drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with whole nasturtiums. Serve immediately.