Archive | May, 2012

I’ll Have Another

20 May

Beer became brainy at the 4th annual Beerology, at the Buffalo Museum of Science, where a sold out crowd learned about the science of beer.

Brewers came from all corners of the Northeast to offer their wares and discuss the science behind brewing.

A Taste of Vermont

The Long Trail Brewing Co. brought their Long Trail Ale all the way from Bridgewater Corners, VT. A German Altbier, this amber brew has hints of chocolate malt and is an excellent year-round beer.

Spirit of the Adirondacks

Saranac Brewery has been crafting beer in New York State for 120 years.

Their Blueberry Blonde Ale is traditional with a fruity twist. The light, golden haze is evidence of wheat malt and oats with a low hop bitterness. A medium body gives way to summertime freshness in a bottle.

Saranac’s traditional Summertime Ale represents summer in the Adirondacks. This beer is brewed with generous amounts of wheat malt for a light refreshing taste. Caution, there are subtle hints of lemon.

Buffalo’s Beer Store

Consumer’s Beverages Inc. has been serving Western New York since 1948, and offer a wide variety of brews. Visit their website for a complete list. Don’t forget their Growler Club!

Food for the Eyes

6 May

Guava paste with edible flowers. Serve with chips or saltine crackers.

Hibiscus flowers give Red Zinger tea its gorgeous red color and a pop of lemony-cranberry flavor. It can also be placed at the bottom of a champagne flute for an extra touch. A common flavor in the Caribbean, Hibiscus is found at Tops in Buffalo, NY’s Westside.

Chamomile tea is lightly apple in flavor and known for its calming abilities. Daylilies, a common ingredient in Chinese cookery, are especially evident in hot and sour soup. Most eaters don’t realize they have enjoyed the wonderful flavors and colors of edible flowers, according to an Edible Flower class at Urban Roots in Buffalo, NY.

It isn’t recommended that you eat flowers if suffering from allergies or hay fever, but City Girl Country survived this class by taking a Claritin prior to attending.

Flowers are a beautiful addition to ice cubes, drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts. They dress up any meal, making it “happy food” as Leo Buscaglia, psychologist said. Just looking at flowers can make us smile.

Rule for eating flowers

  • If you don’t know if the flowers are edible, do not eat them
  • Don’t eat flowers from the roadside. They contain automobile emissions
  • Only eat petals
  • Just like spices, flavor is more potent in flower petals when they are dried

To be safe, edible flowers can be purchased pre-packaged (Wegman’s in Amherst sells five blossoms for $2). However, for more variety and a larger quantity, grow your own! Some planting suggestions, let parsley and chives live together, and violets and cabbage can be neighbors.

English lavender is not just for sachets in dressers. A common flower to use in drinks and food is lavender. Soak petals in boiling water, and stir in lemonade mix for a flavorful and bountiful, refreshing glass of pink lemonade. Garnish with a slice of lemon. For recipes, refer to epicurious.com

Apple blossoms are edible

Lavender can also be used in chilled vodka for added flavor.

Edible flower petals can also be frozen into an ice bowl (a nesting bowl is needed) to chill salads, fruit or dessert.

Paint egg whites on cookies or cheese to hold flowers, or dip lilacs in egg white and fine sugar, and place on top of a cupcake. Include Pansies in spring rolls to create “trapped” flowers and a beautiful wrap.

Edible flowers from the backyard or a container garden can be cleaned with a paintbrush to dust off bugs or dirt. To get rid of any possible pesticides, soak in salt water (it is recommended not to eat flowers from commercial nurseries).

Other edible flowers

Chive flower

Violet

Johnny Jump Up

Jasmine

Hyssop

For additional reading

Edible Flowers: 25 recipes and an A-Z pictorial directory of culinary flora (Anness) by Kathy Brown