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Sarah Lawrence

Eating Something Beautiful

The summer garden is a phenomenal source of inspiration.  Besides the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, zukes, cukes, squash and herbs are a few major beauties that you might not consider putting on your plate. If you haven’t tried them already or didn’t know you could, I’d like to introduce you to the common daylily.  The plant I’m talking about is the one that grows in great clumps by rambling New England stone walls.  It’s the one that has clusters of creamy orange blooms atop tall stems.  We’re not talking Easter Lily or any other lily variety --- some are quite toxic.  If you’re not sure about the plant growing in your garden or in the wild, DON’T eat it.  But if you you’re your stuff and you want to try something new, read on!  Daylily flower buds and blooms are edible raw and are also lovely steamed or sautéed.  To prep them requires a check check for bugs, a pinch and a turn to remove the cluster of stamens/pistols from the center of the blossom and a moments pause to take in their beauty before you devour them!  Now, the stems and tubers are also edible, but we’re going to save those for another day because I’m not digging up these pretties while they’re putting on such a great show!  Honestly, I don't want you to go digging up your daylilies right now either... let them live... they won't mind you pinching a few buds and blossoms.  I think it's quite a tribute to their single day showcase to enjoy the beauty of the bloom and them use it to nourish your body. Much like squash blossoms, daylily blossoms kind of beg to be stuffed.  So whether you spoon a dollop of something sweet or savory into the center of the blossom and eat it like a popper, you won't be disappointed.  Talk about a stunning nibble for a party!  Now if you're not into the totally ladylike feat it takes to eat a popper you can opt for a fork friendly option by removing the petals and peppering a salad with the tender bites or take your cues from the Asian origins of the Daylily by steaming or sautéing the buds.  One thing is for sure:  You will elevate your meal by using this simple, stunning, surprisingly flavorful flower.  I really hope you'll post a note for me if you try these or are inspired by the idea!   Daylily Poppers [caption id="attachment_598" align="alignleft" width="300"]filled daylilies filled daylilies[/caption] Fresh picked daylily flowers, stamens removed 1 cup corn ½ cup cashews 3 stevia leaves or 1 date ¼ cup lemon juice ½ cup blueberries (optional add in) Put corn, cashews, stevia leaves, lemon juice and berries into Vitamix and blitz until smooth.  You can make the corn base first, remove a bit of that and then blend in the blueberries for a 2nd flavor profile.   Spoon about 1 tsp of the mixture into the cleaned hollow of the flower.  Top with a fresh berry. [caption id="attachment_599" align="alignright" width="300"]Daylily Poppers Daylily Poppers[/caption] To eat, fold the petals up like you’re closing a purse and pop the bite right in your mouth.  These are a beautiful appetizer or dessert.  The filling possibilities are just about endless.  Think about a no bake cheesecake filling, or a lemon mousse… instead of going the sweet route with the stevia, omit it and add ½ cup of chopped scallions or dill for a great onion cream cheese mixture.  Peppery mock tuna salad makes a lovely bite as well.    This light, colorful salad is an amazing way to nourish the body.  The basil and oregano really make the dish come alive.  All garden fresh or grown in the yard, takes about 1 minute to put together and it’s just vibrantly yum… in my book, it doesn’t get much better than this! Colorful Daylily SaladColorful Daylily Salad 1 or 2 kale leaves, minced a few leaves of basil, minced sprig oregano, leaves plucked off stem 2 daylilies, petals minced 2 small yellow cucumbers, diced 1 cup blueberries Toss all ingredients together and serve.

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