A beautiful evening with a dear friend....sitting on our deck overlooking the yard, flowers, and kitchen garden. The neighbor kitty visiting and entertaining us with his forages into my Lemon Catnip and his humorous quirkiness that followed...and of course--yummy food!
I knew ahead of time that I wanted to pair our light meal with a fantastic fruit salad. So I began earlier in the afternoon by picking Dianthus from my Kitchen Garden and candying them. Dianthus is the edible flower that I love the best! Nasturtiums are too bitter, as are so many others, but Dianthus have a mild, almost sweet, leafy taste that pair wonderfully with salads, or absolutely anything else!
Have you ever candied a flower? You can candy any edible flowers that have been grown organically. The best way is to grow them at home, so you can be assured that they're pesticide free! Let me share with you this simple process:
Several edible flower blooms
Sugar - superfine is best
Clean, unused paintbrush
Take your egg white and sieve it to loosen it. This will enable a thin coating that isn't too gloppy and thick, ruining the look of your delicacies. Using your brush, paint a thin layer on each petal.
When lightly and evenly covered, press gently into an awaiting bowl of sugar.
The resulting bloom will have been quickly and easily transformed into a magical, fairylike addition to almost any food you'd like to beautify!
Once you've glittered these little beauties, dry them on a rack until use.
Now.....on to my luscious fruit salad!
Knowing the tastes of my friend led me to toast some coconut just as she was arriving, allowing the decadent scent to meet her at the door. Nothing transforms a beautiful dessert as a bit of toasted coconut can! To toast coconut, just sprinkle it in an even layer on foil, and toast - WATCHING CONSTANTLY - in a preheated 425 degree oven or toaster oven. Stir occasionally until lightly and evenly browned! Remove and cool.
As we ended our meal and broke out the wonderful Snickerdoodles she'd arrived with, we heaped the fruit salad, redolent with fresh pineapple, mango, orange, grapes, and cherries, with a bit of whipped cream. On this occasion, we used fat free Cool Whip, whose lightness truly allowed the flavors to shine. Then..... the pièce de résistance....the toasted coconut! We sprinkled it on the beautiful dish, BUT. . . . would you like to know a little secret? We love coconut so much, as we continued to eat the fruit, we kept adding more, so fabulous was its crunch and delightful taste!
There are countless "favorite desserts" in my mental files.....but last night....a simple bowl of fruit was elevated into that category!