Sunday, April 28, 2013

8 Heart Review: Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher

Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers
Miche Bacher

Page Count: 191

Release Date: 2 April 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Here are more than 100 recipes that will bring beautiful flower-filled dishes to your kitchen table! This easy-to-use cookbook is brimming with scrumptious botanical treats, from sweet violet cupcakes, pansy petal pancakes, daylily cheesecake, and rosemary flower margaritas to savory sunflower chickpea salad, chive blossom vinaigrette, herb flower pesto, and mango orchid sticky rice.

Alongside every recipe are tips and tricks for finding, cleaning, and preparing edible blossoms. You’ll also learn how to infuse vinegars, vodkas, sugars, frostings, jellies and jams, ice creams, and more with the color and flavor of your favorite flowers. Fresh from the farmers’ market or plucked from your very own garden, a world of delectable flowers awaits!

Review


Miche Bacher of the famed Mali B Sweets brings us this gorgeous, wonderfully written cookbook on the culinary usage of flowers. There are dozens of flowers mentioned in this collection, including ones I encounter regularly such as dandelions, geraniums, herbs, and roses, as well as a few I hadn't even heard of prior to reading Cooking with Flowers, such as nasturtiums, hollyhocks, and elderflowers.

Each flower has it's own "chapter," making finding recipes you want as easy as ever. I also love how each section has a brief background history of the flower, as well as its culinary uses, flavors, seasonality, preparation instructions, and proper units of measure. 

Now, my expectations of this book were a little different—I thought at first that it would show me how to actually use flowers as food, such as flower soups, casseroles, sautées, etc., but for the most part, they are not an integral part of the recipes in which they are featured. The majority of the recipes only use flowers as decor; otherwise, they can be easily replaced by a non-flower ingredient (e.g. the various flower jellies that are pretty much regular jellies but use flowers instead of fruits). I'm not disappointed, though! This was an unexpected, and rather aesthetically pleasing new experience.

My only reservation is how there are no step-by-step pictures. Maybe it's because I'm an awfully visual person, but the long chunks of text made it difficult for me to follow the steps for some of the recipes I tried out. Other than that, this book is a must for the natural food lover, and for gift-giving!

Pros


Magnificent photographs // Impressive number of diverse, colorful recipes // Sturdy, refreshing matte-cover hardbound book—great for the kitchen and the coffee table! // Beautiful graphics and text // Organized by flower, with so many to discover and try

Cons


No step-by-step pictures // Recipes aren't groundbreaking in uses for flowers; most of them use flowers as edible decoration, for seasoning, or for pigment

Love


Miana Jun's photography is amazing... here are some gorgeous pictures from some of the recipes from the book.
Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chamomile Apple Streusel Muffins

Excuse my ghetto cell phone photo-of-photos...
 Lilac Sorbet—LOVE the colors! And so easy to make, too!

Process of Tulip Ice Cream Bowls—adorable and delicious!

Verdict


Cooking with Flowers isn't terribly inventive in its recipes—for the most part, flowers have superfluous roles, serving as cake/cookie/bread toppings or just as flavoring, akin to the function of herbs—but that doesn't make Miche Bacher's new cookbook any less enjoyable. I love the stunning photographs and the organization of the types of flowers used. Do pick this one up when you get the chance; it's definitely a keeper! Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended (x)