Lovin’ Fresh is a series of recipes designed to showcase produce gathered from local farms or grown in my own garden.
Gardening brings so much pleasure and beauty to my life. I’m really pleased with how my little plot has been progressing over the past few months. A friend who stopped by my garden the other night asked me to explain my broad sweeping goals for my garden. I didn’t hesitate with my answer: “slightly unkempt cozy cottage garden with a purpose.”
When I was selecting what flowers to grow, I held up a standard in my mind: the best flowers out there are those that can serve one or more of three functions – cutting, preserving, and eating. As such, borage ranks right up there among the best. Its cool cucumber taste has long been a key ingredient in the English “Pimm’s Cup” cocktail. It’s blue star flowers are striking used in salads and as garnish for desserts and drinks. When you think about it, there just aren’t that many naturally blue ingredients available, making borage extra special.
Nasturtiums are another favorite. My two small plants have more than quadrupled in size over the past two months, making their flowers a frequent and welcomed peppery addition to my salads. They’re also great in butter and cheese spreads. I’m getting so many of them, some quite large, I’m also thinking about stuffing them with soft cheese the way I do occasionally with squash blossoms.
As wonderful as edible flowers are, the real recipe is for today’s post is a sweet and tangy dressing for the salad. Buoyed by the delicious results of a batch of homemade strawberry dressing earlier this season, I put some of my stash of fresh blueberries into this one, along with some lavender-infused vinegar I’d brewed myself. If it’s no longer blueberry season where you are, the same results can be gotten with frozen berries. Just be sure to thaw them before proceeding with the recipe.
On a fresh seasonal salad adorned with edible flowers, the blueberry lavender dressing really highlights the floral notes without overpowering the bits of cucumber, carrot and lettuce. The leftover dressing will keep for a week or two in the fridge. Use it on more salads or drizzle it over steamed or roasted vegetables, such as beets or squash.
Adapted from www.mealsforyou.com
2 C.fresh blueberries
2 C. white vinegar
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. lemon zest
Put blueberries in a large bowl and cover with vinegar. Let stand for 1 hour. Transfer to a large sauce pot and add the sugar and lemon rind and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain the blueberry mixture, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
LAVENDER BLUEBERRY DRESSING
3 T. blueberry vinegar
3 T. lavender vinegar or distilled white wine vinegar
1 small Shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash white pepper
6 T. extra virgin olive oil
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake vigirously until combined. Serve over salad or roasted vegetables.
(makes 1 cup)