Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

M-O-T-H-E-R. The word that means the world to many. The second Sunday in May has become a very memorable celebration for Americans. “Be Inspired” to make her day extra special and reach out and touch the mother you love. Flowers and herbs as a theme for mom show her she’s surrounded with love. Prepare a simple, showy dish like the ones below for her day, embellished with edible flowers and spring green herbs. Create an extraordinary hair clip, pin or even a tiara with more blooms and herbs for that precious gal and of course, have more living blooms and scented herb sprigs gracing the table.IMG_8523


Garlic Chive Bruschetta with Mixed Petals

 Bruschetta have become the go-to nibble for every occasion. The toppings for these little toasts don’t necessarily need a precise recipe and measurements. They are more about starting with a creative idea and building to your own tastes. 

  • Garlic chives
  • goat cheese
  • Black olive tapenade
  • Thin slices French bread, toasted
  • Fresh edible flowers of various colors

 In a bowl, mix the goat cheese and garlic chives.

 Spread the goat cheese mixture on the crisp bread rounds, then top with a dollop of tapenade. Place on serving plater and scatter with flower petals of your choice. Serve immediately.

Note: You can vary the filling as long as it stays delicate so to not cover the flavor of the flowers. 


Saffron Lemon Thyme Risotto with Marigolds

Serves 6 as an entree, 10 as a side dish

 What could be more decadent for a Mother’s Day dinner than creamy risotto with the most expensive spice in the world, saffron? Food and Wine inspired this traditional risotto with saffron recipe which is typically served with osso bucco. These days as we don’t normally have such heavy courses the rich risotto can serve as an entree perked with brilliant flowers or an elegant side dish.

  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 3/4 cups arborio rice (1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme 
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Cover and keep hot over low heat.

In a heavy 6-quart pot or casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Crumble in the saffron threads and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly with butter, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until evaporated. Add enough hot stock to cover the rice (about 1 1/2 cups) and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to moderate. Cook, stirring the rice constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 1 1/2 cups at a time, and stirring until it is absorbed before adding more; the risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the liquid is thick, about 25 minutes total.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon thyme and the cheese. Season the risotto with salt and pepper; top with more lemon thyme for garnish and edible flowers. 


Salmon with Herbs and Flowers

Elegant salmon can be prepared with no effort yet look festive. Bake it quickly in a hot oven with real butter. Let the topping of edible flowers and snipped herbs speak as the sauce.

Serves 2-3

  • 1 pound center cut salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 marigolds, petals only
  • 8-10 nasturtium flowers

Preheat the oven to 375F. 

 Spread the butter all over the salmon and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on a small flat roasting pan; cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and let it rest for a moment. Cover the top with the edible flower petals and garlic chives.


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