This entry is being reposted as it mysteriously vaporized due to a system-wide Blogger malfunction....
Recently, my friend Renee posted a photograph on Facebook of some beautiful spring violets she'd seen in her yard. After a lively discussion about their weed v.s. flower status (they are a flower), I got to thinking...which is were the trouble always starts...just ask my handsome husband. I woke him up at 2 a.m. this morning to run this blog post by him. The man is truly a (tired) saint.
Dandelion Greens Salad, I also have these dainty purple and white wild violets sprouting up all over my yard and garden. There are lots of recipes around, but as luck would have it, a little research led me to the excellent blog, The Feast Within, where I found exactly what I was looking for: recipe for Violet (simple) Syrup to make Violet Martinis and directions for Candied Violets.
Score...dessert and cocktails, all from one sweet little flower right there in my back yard! Mother Nature is the (wo)man.
And, as if all this excitement wasn't enough, today I found a set of vintage violet martini glasses at my local consignment shop for $10 - can you beat that? Thank you Thrifty Interiors, I love your store!
Violet Simple Syrup
Candied Violets (Recipe Adapted from The Feast Within blog)
1 large bunch wild violets, gently washed with a fine mist
2 egg whites or dried egg whites (if you're worried about salmonella)
Superfine sugar (or regular sugar run through a food processor for a few minutes)
Using a gentle mist, carefully wash violets and place on paper towels to air dry.
In a bowl, beat egg whites (or substitute) with a wire whisk until just frothy.
In another bowl, place sugar.
With a small paint brush, paint each violet with the egg white, then sprinkle with sugar.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place sugared violets on cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet in a pre-heated 200 F oven for 30 minutes to dry flowers.
Using a small fork or gentle fingers, very carefully remove to a wire rack to cool.
Stored in an air tight container, they will keep indefinitely. Separate layers with waxed paper to avoid sticking.
Use to decorate cakes, cupcakes, whipped cream topping and salads.
Violet Simple Syrup (Adapted from The Feast Within)
2 cups fresh violets, stems removed
1 cup water, boiled
1-1/2 cups sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Gently wash violets in water then drain on paper towels.
When dry, place them in a clean, sterilized jar that has a lid.
Bring one cup of water to a boil, then pour over the blossoms.
Place lid on jar and let sit to infuse the water for 24 hours, shaking the jar gently from time-to-time.
Stain the blossoms out of the jar into a bowl - do not press on the blossoms.
Strain the pulp from the lemon juice and add by 1/4 tsp. to the violet juice.
The juice will be inky blue at first, but will turn a magenta color as you add the lemon juice - I wanted to keep mine blue, so only added a 1/4 tsp., but you can add as much as you want to get the desired color.
Place violet juice in a heavy bottom, non reactive sauce pan and add 1-1/2 cups sugar.
Bring to a boil over medium low heat and boil for 10 minutes.
Place in a sterilized jar and store in the refrigerator.
1/2 ounce violet simple syrup
1-1/2 ounce vanilla or plain vodka
2 ounces cranberry juice (optional, but cuts the sweetness, which I like)
Add vodka, violet syrup and cranberry juice in a glass with ice, and stir or shake for 15 seconds.
Pour into chilled martini glasses.
Garnish with violets
Final Assessment: Whoa - this was so much fun to do. The violets are beautiful and elegant, and the martinis, well, who wouldn't love a martini violet. My husband thought he'd died and gone to heaven when he got home from work tonight and I handed him a violet martini - which he definitely deserved. Have fun with these recipes and tweak them to make them your own!