By SIMON WEBSTER
The other day I was out in the vineyard at Sabor a Pasion checking on the grape vines. They are beginning to show signs of life and you can almost see the sap just wanting to burst from each little stem.
Some of our recent cold temperatures had me concerned but I know the vines, just like all the other East Texas foliage, are strong and the cooler nights help push things along.
Flowers on some of the trees have already started to come out and signs of spring are everywhere. I can’t wait to see the beautiful dogwoods blooming along the driveway.
All this had me inspired to create some dishes that incorporate flowers, and I found just the thing at Granny Muffin Wines. She sells jars of hibiscus flowers from Australia and they are completely edible.
These flowers are beautiful in a glass of champagne or white wine, on top of a salad or even stuffed with cheese. I made this white chocolate peppermint mousse for dessert the other night and topped each dish with a hibiscus flower.
The contrast in color between the stark white of the mousse and the deep violet-red of the hibiscus flower and its syrup made it absolutely beautiful. And don’t forget — you can eat the flower and it is just as delicious, as it is beautiful.
WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT MOUSSE
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 packet gelatin, mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water
1 cup melted white chocolate
1 jar hibiscus flowers
In a bowl mix cream cheese, sugar, peppermint extract and orange juice. Add melted gelatin.
Whip cream to soft peaks then fold into cream cheese. Add melted chocolate and fold together. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve in small ramekins or dessert bowls. Top each with a hibiscus flower and a spoonful of the juice from the jar.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.