Kathy and John met at our house, and also became engaged here. They recently celebrated their four year anniversary, and Rolf and I were very excited to have this special couple over for dinner.
Two factors inspired the menu - Kathy is a master gardener, and a friend had just given me a recipe for a chilled Persian yogurt soup, that included rose petals - therefore, a flower theme it was!
We started with a prosecco and wild hibiscus cocktail. Pop a flower in the bottom of a champagne flute, add a couple of teaspoons of the syrup, and top with your favorite sparkling wine!!
I found the flowers at Williams Sonoma - fun and fabulous!!
CHILLED PERSIAN ROSE PETAL SOUP
This was described as "a healthy, make-ahead, staff-favorite". Goodness, you cant go wrong with that!! My initial taste of the soup brought forth the sweetness of the golden raisins, and the earthiness of the nuts, followed with the burst of fresh herbs - delicious!!
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried rose petals (ONF has them)
2 cups plain greek yogurt
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.
In a small bowl, cover the rose petals with cold water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the petals, squeeze dry and finely chop.
In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the cold water. Stir in the raisins, cucumber, mint, dill, chives, walnuts and rose petals and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, with crusty bread if desired.
HONEY LAVENDER SALMON
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
freshly ground black pepper
Combine olive oil, herbs, seasonings and honey in a dish, or food storage bag large enough to hold the salmon. Place salmon filets in the mixture, turning to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
Heat oven to 375F.
Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet, sear the salmon, skin side down, for about 4 minutes. Move the skillet to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 12 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork (or have your husband pop it on the grill).
Recipe adapted from About.com Southern Food
FRESH CORN AND POTATO SALAD
1 pound baby potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup slice green onions
Bring potatoes and salted cold water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cover and boil for 10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and let cool 15 minutes.
Whisk together cilantro and next 4 ingredients, in a large bowl.
Add warm potatoes, corn, red bell pepper, avocado and green onions, toss to coat.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, April 2011
CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA WITH FRESH PANSY BLOSSOMS
This smooth, silky, chocolately, and very easy to make dessert is similar to a creme brulee, but it doesn't require baking, or a blowtorch!! It is typically made with vanilla, and topped with fruit or a chocolate sauce, but I wanted to stay within the flower theme!! ONF was out of the edible flowers they usually carry, so I made a quick trip to the garden store for my pansies.
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
fresh pansy blossoms for serving
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups of the cream and the vanilla bean to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1/2 cup of cream and set aside for 5 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar.
Discard the vanilla bean from the cream. Return the cream to a boil and whisk until the cocoa has completely dissolved and the cream returns to a boil, about two minutes.
Remove from heat. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until thoroughly combined.
Strain (I skipped this step, and it turned out fine) the hot cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a pouring spout.
Divide evenly between 4 small ramekins, custard cups or tea cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Garnish with fresh, edible flowers or berries.
Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, October 2006