Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Almost Spring

As I sit here sipping a cup of tea, I can hear a bird singing outside. His song is sweet & clear & another will join in with an answering refrain. It is quiet other than the little bird’s duet. If I don’t look out the window and ignore the turtleneck I’m wearing I can imagine I’ll walk out into lovely, warm sunshine. Alas, that is not the case. We were given a small taste of spring over the weekend. Friday & Saturday were sunny and warm. We had a case of “garden fever” & to our delight; the garden centers were ready with a cure. The cool-weather annuals were out with all their bright crayon box colors. We chose a flat of yellow pansies for the urns by our front door. Finally a bit of color instead of the winter drab browns & greens. Even though it is chilly today with the scent of rain in the air, I can look out at that bright slash of yellow & know Spring is just hiding behind the clouds.

I love to grow Pansies not just because they make their debut in early spring, but because I can enjoy them into early summer. If they are kept in a spot that gets morning sunshine and afternoon shade, they will survive until scorching summer heat. I use them for garnish on appetizer trays & salads. I like to dust them with sugar to decorate cakes.

Sugar Frosted Flowers

1 egg white, beat until smooth but not stiff or use powdered egg white or meringue powder-(prepared according to package directions).
Super-fined granulated sugar-free of lumps-(I put a half-cup in the food processor for about 30 seconds)
Small un-used, clean paintbrush

I like to use pansies, violets, scented geraniums & roses. You can also use mint leaves & scented geranium leaves. Remember, not all flowers are edible. Choose, clean, perfect pesticide-free blooms. If needed gently wash and let them air-dry on a paper towel. Gently brush all petals with egg white. Gently sprinkle under-side then top with sugar. Gently shake off excess sugar. Place on wax paper lined tray to dry. Embellish!

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