Wedding Champagne and Flowery Foods
GARDENIAS!!! This flower makes my heart sing! It is such a beautiful and exotic wedding flower. These past couple of weeks, we’ve been in the midst of the last warm weather southern gardenia blossoms. I have two of these buxom girls lazing next to me right now in a little bowl of water. While doing backstrokes, their fully open butter cream florescence wafts a heady invitation through the air. I can’t help but bury my nose in their sensual aromatic beauty each time I pass by them.
Gardenia jasminoides….are they edible? A petal popped quickly into the mouth, raked teasingly across the tongue, teeth gently nibbling to release the narcotic fragrance. Rapture!! Yes!! Gardenia j. is edible! Used by chefs and sommelier in ways similar to the addition of edible rose petals. A delightful taste sensation, although a complete surprise, given that this flower does not easily give up her perfumed scent mysteries. The taste is light, sweet, a bit buttery and Gardenia fragrant. The scent of this flower translates accurately to the taste buds, filling your mouth with it’s rich, yet delicate sexy perfume. It’s petals, I shred, pluck, candy and toss au naturelle as often as possible.
When, where and how to apply Ms. Gardenia’s beautiful wiles Writer’s choice: Float a fully opened 2″ bloom in an open mouthed flute of chilled Roederer’s Cristal Champagne. What bride or wedding anniversary couple wouldn’t be enthralled by this lovely romantic sentiment? Pluck the petals, trim the bitter base end and layer into your favorite salad of fresh garden greens – add a handful of pitted fresh lychees for taste and texture interest. Toss with the lightest non-seasoned vinaigrette dressing. Candy the Petals. Rinse and thoroughly dry pesticide-free gardenia petals. Using a small paintbrush, thinly coat the petals with lightly beaten egg whites. Set gardenia petals on a plate covered with superfine sugar. Sprinkle the blossoms with more superfine sugar. Gently shake to remove the excess. Place on waxed paper and allow to dry for several hours. These can be used to adorn any number of wedding food offerings and adds an elegant touch to wedding cakes.
Gardenia Ice Cream
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, opened up, seeded (include seeds in mixture)
3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup if you prefer less sweet)
Petals of 2 or 3 Gardenias (wash them well. Cut leaves up. Home grown gardenias are best)
PREPARATION Bring milk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds, half of the sugar, and chopped gardenia petals to a simmer in heavy saucepan (at least 2 quart in size), stir to melt sugar, remove from heat and let the flavors develop for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk 8 egg yolks and remaining sugar till blended and lighter in color.
For Diabetics: Use Whey Low Ice Cream Sugar(low carb, low calorie, and natural). It works perfectly. Add about 1/3 of the heated mixture slowly to the egg yolk mixture, whisking while adding. (this keeps egg from clotting) Then whisk all of egg mixture into cream mixture. Reheat, whisking continually, bring to simmer, but not a boil. Whisk and heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. A spoon dipped into mixture should stay lightly coated, and a finger run down the center should leave a line in the custard. Remove from heat. Put custard into a bowl in an ice bath (partial sink of water with ice works, to cool it quickly) Stir every five minutes or so. When cooled off, strain, put covered in fridge for several hours or overnight. Then use your ice cream maker. Freeze it to “soft-serve” consistency, put in another container and set in freezer to finish.
*NOTE – Be sure to use natural blooms from non-pesticide sprayed plants.
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