salad: 3 posts

White Acacia and Cucumber Salad : Edible Flowers

While mimosa makes me think of the last days of winter in Provence, white acacia flowers evoke late spring. It’s not only the sweet scent that appeals to me, but also the taste. Beignets de fleurs d’acacia, acacia flower fritters, are a seasonal treat, a crisp confection dusted with powdered sugar. The acacia season is fleeting, but it overlaps with that of rose de mai, so when I visit Grasse for the harvest, I try to time it to taste the beignets.

What I call white acacia is really a black locust tree (robinia pseudoacacia), a common plant in both Europe and the United States, blooming in April-May, depending on the region. I’ll continue calling it white acacia, because that’s the name most familiar to me–and besides, it’s prettier. Whatever you call it, it’s edible, and the flowers taste like sugar snap peas, but sweeter and more delicate. Since it’s an invasive plant, one might as well forage for it and eat it.

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Rose Petal and Raspberry Infused Vinegar

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that I have just as much fun with my spice cabinet as with my perfume collection. Whenever I catch the aromas of cardamom, vanilla, saffron and allspice that escape from the little jars, I feel as much exhilaration as  I do from my Serge Lutens and Guerlains. So, I indulge both passions. I love making cardamom flavored coffee for the rich perfume of spicy lemon the green pods give off when I pound them in a mortar. Adding vanilla extract to my morning yogurt, I can’t help sneaking a dab on my wrist as well so that I can enjoy its sweet, creamy perfume during my commute. It’s satisfying, uplifting and inspiring.

One of the ways to link cooking and perfumery is to make your own spice mixtures or infused vinegars. The expensive vinegars at Dean & Deluca and other gourmet stores no longer tempt me, because I know that they can  be prepared easily and customized to my own liking. Having a couple of bottles of aromatic vinegars in my pantry makes it easy to create variety in our daily meals and experiment with flavors. I look forward to the bitter orange season to make a bitter orange and tarragon vinegar, and I am already anticipating next summer to try a mirabelle plum and star anise version. Today I would like to share my favorite combination for an infused vinegar–rose and raspberry.

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Spicy Laotian Beef Salad (Lab, Larb Recipe) : Bold Flavors of Laos


by Katherine

Historian, researcher and writer, Katherine currently lives and works in Mumbai, India and travels widely throughout Asia. You can read further about her discoveries and adventures on her blog, Mumbai, Masala and More.

Much of Laos’ culinary culture seems to take place outside.  Everywhere you go things are being boiled, stewed and sizzled in outdoor stalls.  A crepe maestro would be deftly rolling out the thinnest dough creation in the world over a giant pan (France’s colonization of Laos has brought baguettes and European-style pastries into popular usage).  Eating is also communal; in the street, you can see people sitting around a meal served at the ka toke, the traditional low circular platform made of rattan where all the courses are brought out and eaten together.

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Latest Comments

  • Victoria in Coffee and Flowers: I completely forgot about this perfume. It’s excellent. Thank you for reminding me about it. June 18, 2024 at 7:03am

  • Andrea SD in Coffee and Flowers: A*Men by Thierry Mugler has a really pronounced Arabica / Espresso note. A proper lift-me-up. June 18, 2024 at 6:02am

  • Victoria in Coffee and Flowers: What a great description! June 18, 2024 at 4:30am

  • Judith Attar in Coffee and Flowers: I always thought that Margiela Untitled smelled of coffee and shampoo, ie a London bus in morning rush hour. June 18, 2024 at 4:28am

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