Cooking with Roses
Rose Petal Syrup
4 cups rose petals
4-6 cups water, so the petals float quite freely. (You'll get the flavor extracted best if you allow lots of room in the pan.)
Simmer the petals until all the color has gone into the liquid, about 30 minutes. Strain & return liquid to pan. Gently reduce to about 1 ½ cups liquid-takes about an hour or maybe longer. (House smells wonderful...) Then add
2 cups sugar
and a few drops lemon juice, maybe a teaspoon. Boil just until all dissolved (you don't want to overheat the sugar or it will taste carmellized) and bottle in sterilized jars. This makes aobut 12 oz.
1 cup old garden rose petals
1 cup sugar
Either mix petals with sugar, or blend fine in a food processor. Store for at least a week before using. I like to mix the whole petals and sift them out. This will be a bit damp & clumpy but keeps well frozen.
For the table, simmer roses about 5:4 parts water, or maybe 6:4. Strain off when the color is gone and add lemon juice about ¼ cup per quart-it pinks it up and helps preserve it.
Use your favorite cheesecake recipe (mine follows), reserving 1/2 cup of the batter and tinting it nicely with rose syrup, about 1 Tbsp.
Swirl this pink rose batter through the surface of the cheesecake, then bake as usual.
Glaze finished cheesecake with 1/4 cup of melted Rose Petal Jelly.
(I think this comes originally from Bon Appetit, about 30 years ago)
4 8-oz packages cream cheese
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c real sour cream
Heat oven to 350. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Grease & flour a 10" springform pan. Mix all ingredients except sour
cream till smooth, then stir in sour cream; blend well. Pour into pan;
bake until eges are golden brown but center is still moist--50 minutes
Let cool completely before unmolding; refrigerate. Serves 10.
Summer Recipe: Rose (or Lavender) Lemonade
sugar or simple syrup
Prepare lemonade from fresh lemons (squeeze a lemon for every two glasses of lemonade) and sweeten with simple syrup or sugar; add 2 T rose syrup per glass and fill with chilled water or club soda.
Variation: use Lavender syrup instead of Rose syrup (1 T instead of 2T). Garnish with a lavender flower sprig.
about 50 large Damask roses, just picked. (Fully blown roses are best for scent.)
gallon glass jar
Remove petals from calyx & rinse in cool water.
Fill sterilized jar 3/4 full of petals, add 1 cup flavorless vodka and fill jar with distilled water.
Cap tightly, shake to distribute, and set aside for a week or more, agitating daily. You may set jar in the sun but be sure to use a saucer as it may run over. The vodka prevents the mold which will definitely form otherwise and ruin your rosewater; it also helps draw out the color and scent.
Strain, bottle and enjoy; makes a wonderful cooling summer spritz.
Fill a quart jar with newly opened Damask roses (minus the calyx, just pull it off like stemming strawberries) or petals, shaken down. Cover with colorless non-flavored vodka, 80 proof minimum.
Cover tightly. Let steep in a dark cupboard, shaking jar gently every few days to distribute evenly.
After several weeks strain and then filter through coffe filter paper into a clean bottle with tight fitting lid. You can sample now or let mellow a month or so. This schnapps stores well and the soft pink color will keep if kept out of the sunlight.
Mix Rose Schnapps half and half with simple syrup (or less; sample to be sure. I like not quite equal parts but tastes differ.) This is such a unique flavor that I would not use honey or other sweeteners as they would change the character too much. The lemon in the syrup also heightens the pink color of the schnapps.
Simmer slowly together equal parts white sugar and water for 20-30 minutes (do not boil!) until completely dissolved. Add a little lemon juice to prevent crystallization. Bottle and keep refrigerated.
Finally! Nostradamus Does Someting Useful!
Having read some of the mishmash that passes for prophecy in Nostradamus' writings, I was happy to find some items that are actually worth reading. Turns out he was an apothecary before going wholeheartedly into the mysticism that was alchemy; amongst the writings he left were many home-remedy type recipes and some quite nice sounding (if slow and overly deliberate) ones. Shortened quite a bit here for the modern cook, we have
"To make candied orange peel, using sugar or honey, that will be excellently tasty."
Remove the peel from some oranges which you have quartered.
Soak the peel in good clean water, changing daily for 9 days. (Use salted water the first time to remove bitterness).
At the end of nine days, boil the peel in water until very tender. Blanch in cold water, shake and lay to dry. Meanwhile, make a simple syrup.
Cover the peel with the syrup, bring to a boil, and let stand overnight. Strain, re-boil the syrup, and then add back the peels. Repeat this twice. The last time, add back the peels, bringing back to the boiling point 5 to 6 times. At this point, either can or refrigerate for a month (don't leave it to set otherwise for a month no matter how much you like Nostradamus!)
He suggests adding some powdered cloves and cinnamon, which do sound good.
Nostradamus uses heart cherries--a nice tart variety like Morello might work, or very dark red ones like Bing.
Juice 3-4# of the cherries and immediately dissolve the sugar in their juice. Bring quickly to a boil, stir and skim off any foam, and then just as quickly add in the other
3# cherries and cook, stirring "neither too much nor too little" until cooked through. When the liquid sheets off a spoon, ladle into small jelly glasses and process.
Using the concentrated juice instead of water makes a deep red preserve. Modern cooks will want to add some lemon juice, both to preserve and to heighten the color: about 2T per quart of liquid.
Ginger is well known as a cooking herb. Ginger syrup can be used to make homemade ginger ale, a warming tea, or taken by the spoonful as a treat!
- two large fresh ginger root "hands", scrubbed well and chopped rather fine.
- 1-2 lemons, zested and juiced roughly (use a reamer)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- cinnamon and allspice to taste
Place 2 cups of chopped ginger root in a large low kettle, cover with 4 cups water, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until tender.
Add the lemon zest, the juice, the spices and sugar, stirring well, and simmer over low heat. Watch and stir frequently to prevent scorching; reduce to 3 cups liquid
Pour the syrup through a sieve, bottle in sterile glass jars and refrigerate (or can and water bath).
A few tablespoons per glass of sparkling water gives a nice ginger ale, per cup of hot water makes a soothing tea, and a liqueur glass full on a winter night will warm you up to go back outside and finish the shovelling!