Petal Panache: A Feast for the Eyes and Palate

  • 04/22/2013
  • Terelle Jerricks

By Lori Lynn Hirsch Stokoe, Guest Columnist from

Edible flowers are so darn pretty.

It is easy to use them to garnish the plate and call it good. No complaints. But cooking with edible flowers is not just about putting a pretty posy on the plate. It is about matching the flavor, texture, and color so it harmonizes with the dish.

Savory flowers such as chive blossom and society garlic pair well with main courses and vegetables. Sweet aromatic flowers such as roses and lavender pair well with desserts. Almost all of them work in a salad. Lemon-scented geranium petals can enhance a fruit salad, while peppery nasturtiums add zip to a pasta salad with goat cheese. Striking blue borage complements any dish that has cucumber — especially Greek salad.

The quesadillas florales recipe below can be paired with almost any edible flower because it is a neutral dish. In decorating the tortillas, the colors and design are most important. The addition of flowers elevates the simple cheese quesadilla to another level for entertaining. And, it’s so easy!

Be sure to choose flowers that are edible and eat only in moderation. Some flowers are poisonous and others just aren’t that tasty. To be safe, grow your own edible flowers without pesticides or chemicals or purchase edible varieties in the produce section of the supermarket.  Before incorporating flowers into your dish, rinse in cool fresh water then gently dry on paper towels.

Some edible flowers you’ll see growing in the Harbor Area:

  • borage – bright blue color/ cucumber flavor

  • chive – pale purple/ onion flavor

  • lavender – purple/ floral, pungent

  • nasturtium – vibrant orange/ zesty-peppery

  • rose – multi-colored/ aromatic

  • scented geranium – pink, purple, red/ flavor varies with variety

  • society garlic  – pale purple/ savory, garlicky

  • squash blossom – yellow/ hint of zucchini flavor

  • viola – purple, white, yellow/ mild pea or lettuce flavor

And thank you to all the passionate gardeners in our charming corner of Los Angeles for showering the neighborhoods with your beautiful, breathtaking and sometimes edible flowers.

Quesadillas Florales Recipe

2 cups of corn masa flour
 (maize seleccionado y nixtamalizado)

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1-1/4 cups of water

edible flower petals

brie cheese

1.     Sprinkle flour with salt.

2.     Add water and mix thoroughly to form a soft dough.

3.     Form masa into a ball, cover masa with damp cloth, let rest 5 minutes.

4.     Roll dough between the palms to form balls about the size of a golf ball.

5.     Cover masa balls with a damp cloth to keep moist.

6.     Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a tortilla press. Place one ball in the center and cover with another sheet of wrap. 
Close lid and press down on lever.

7.     Open lid and remove top layer of wrap.

8.     Place a few edible flower petals on the tortilla in a decorative pattern.

9.     Then re-cover the tortilla with plastic wrap, apply the press again to embed the petals into the dough.

10. Leave tortillas in individual wrappers until ready to cook.

11. Heat an ungreased skillet or comal over medium-high heat, add tortilla to the pan and cook about 50 seconds on each side.

12. Keep tortillas florales warm between folds of cloth napkins.

13. Heat plain tortillas for the bottom of the quesadilla, top with slices of brie cheese.

14. When brie starts to melt, top with a decorated tortilla.

15. Slice into quarters.

Lori Lynn Hirsch Stokoe blogs about food and entertaining at “Taste With The Eyes.”

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