Thursday, June 18, 2009
Strawberry, meet Elderflower
...meet Onepot, meet Foodista.....
Elder flowers are one of the prettiest ingredients around. Tiny white star shaped flowers gathered on droopy pom poms, thousands full. I was shaking these pom poms around at the dessert course for a special event with One pot and Foodista last Monday. One pot is a organization that puts on experimental eating events in Seattle and around the world. Recent boring events have included a hike through LA culminating with dinner on a "island" next to I-5 and a slightly more plebeian dinner with the Master Musicians of Jajaouka from Morocco. (I saw these musical wonders perform in February. I wish I knew about that dinner!)
Foodista is a locally based website that is an editable(wiki) encyclopedia of food and all things related. Posts range from bacon grease to supreming(cutting citrus segments from pith). The cool thing is if you don't like a post you can change it!
Michael Hebb from One pot, Conor Donahue- a chef newly relocated from San Fran, and I created a menu featuring only foraged and local food for Foodistas core team and guests. All the recipes were transcribed as we cooked them and posted on the website. This was an interesting experiment to showcase the strengths of the Foodista website as and tool for instantly and easily sharing food inspiration and wisdom with the masses. Here is a description of the event on the Foodista blog with the menu and recipes attached. And here are links to some recipes:
I harvested 5 different varieties of basil, and 2 shisos from my garden for this scallop dish.
And we used Taylor Shellfish dry pack scallops. Taylor is the only company locally farming scallops and they are selling them fresh and untreated.
Go see Oyster Bill at the farmers market for these sweet tender morsels.
One of my favorite dishes from the event-
Elderflower Shortbread and Strawberries
At the dinner, Conor commented that this was a very feminine dessert after I heavily laced the strawberries with elderflowers- well I am a lady I guess. This would be very nice served with vanilla ice cream or ricotta. The syrup also can be used for summery cocktails or sorbet.
Elderflower Shortbread Cookies
This dough can be rolled and cut into desired shapes, or made into a cylinder and easily sliced into cookie rounds.
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup elderflowers, removed from stems, plus a handful more for baking
1/2 pound butter(2 sticks), softened
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
In a food processor combine sugar and flowers, grind until flowers are fine. Add butter and salt, blend until well creamed. Add flour and pulse to combine, pushing down ingredients on the sides of work bowl. Remove to a piece of plastic wrap or parchment and form into a cake(if rolling out cookies) or a cylinder(if slicing cookies). Refrigerate dough for a few hours or overnight. Heat oven to 300F. Roll and/or cut dough into desired shapes 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle some elderflowers on top of cookies and lightly press on with fingers or a rolling pin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until edges are just beginning to brown.
Makes about 30 small cookies.
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 cups elderflowers, removed from stems
Heat sugar, water and zest and lemon juice together in a sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a simmer, add elderflowers, remove from heat, steep at least one hour or up to 3 days. Strain through fine sieve. Makes approximately 3 cups.
Strawberries with Elderflower Syrup
Fresh local strawberries
You probably will need about 1/2 pint strawberries per person, depending on appetites.
Clean, trim and cut strawberries. Toss with enough syrup to coat berries with a little pool on the bottom of bowl. Sprinkle in some elderflowers. Let sit for a few to macerate. Serve with cookies and creamy stuff if desired.