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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Pairing Flowers with Red Wine

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Sep 27, 2017

If you read the articleabout how to pair a white wine with a vase of flowers but aren’t really into chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or Riesling than you’re going to like this piece that turns the tables to red.  You and I both know you’re a different species altogether from the white wine drinkers and deserve an opposite approach when selecting your florals.  As white wine drinkers are often more casual in personality as well as easy going and fun loving-the reds tend to fold more seriously towards the intense side where they know what they want, when they want it.  Judging from this broad categorization, you can imagine that the blooms chosen for you will look quite different.  If you’re a merlot, cabernet or pinot noir consumer, check out this list of flowers especially tailored for you!

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Merlot


Merlot is a smooth operator in the wine world and tends to be on the heavier side in terms of its composition.  The color is almost always deep crimson which helps to make a sexy setting.  Due to its low tannins, merlot is quite popular and is often described as either having a cherry, chocolate or herbal flavor.  There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s when talking about merlot so the perfect flower to accompany a glass should be just as dramatic in nature.  Try placing a few stems of brown cymbidiums, black calla lilies or chocolate cosmos in a vase to really set the scene.


        

        Cabernet


Cabernets are a lot of fun to variate within your palette because the taste can be completely dependent on where the grape was grown.  Since they are harvested in a multitude of regions, you are bound to receive an eclectic flavor.  Having more tannins than merlot, this wine can taste dry to sweet, bitter to dry and has been described anywhere from having a pepper taste to sweet wood sensation.  That’s quite an array of flavor, isn’t it?  Since cabs can take on many different forms, that means that pairing flowers can also be a bit easier, giving you a tad more wiggle room for your shopping.  If you want to stick with the red theme of things, how about picking up a bunch of red roses, red dahlias or red James Story orchids to maximize this delicious display of eye candy?



    Pinot Noir

This is a great wine to talk about because it’s really quite interesting…  Most popularly grown in Burgundy, France, this plant is actually a very fussy specimen to harvest.  Apparently, the stems and roots are very susceptible to the outer elements and prefers climates that are cooler with well-drained soil.  The shade of the wine is also interesting as well as opulent in color and resembles the jewel tone of a ruby.  Best matching florals are amaryllis, red poppies or red anthurium.

Tags: Wine, cooking, Lifestyle, Chef, Hostess Flowers

Baking Recipes with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Sep 25, 2017

There is a considerable amount of benefits that come from consuming flowers that I bet you didn’t know about…  For starters, they add an interesting taste, texture and decadent quality to recipes that can change the entire “feel” of a meal without becoming overbearing in flavor.  This concept may not be completely foreign to most since many of us already cook with plants such as flowers and veggies which have useful blooms to add to our kitchen.  Violets and squash are examples of this and have several delicious qualities that turn an ordinary dish into magic.  Even if you’re a meat and potato type of a person- I can guarantee there is a recipe here that is perfect for you.  Read up on the qualities of these earthy flowers and see what entices your palate.

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photo credit via thenerdyfarmwife.com

Violets

You wouldn’t think it but these little purple wildflowers are more than a pretty ground cover.  Violets have several purposes due to its rich color, scent and yes- even taste.  There are hundreds of recipes that utilize this bloom’s properties to make delicious dishes, particularly those that lay on the sweeter side.  Desserts are the perfect place to show off this spring blossom’s attributes such as in cakes, pastries and drinks.  One idea that really interested me was a recipe that I came across written by “the nerdy farmwife” which was a violet jelly.  Not only did she market the beauty of this concoction impeccably but it also made my mouth water for some jam and biscuits immediately.  Easy as 1-2-3 instructions as well as sensational photographs taken, jelly fans might want to pop on over to this site to see how you can make your own violet infused jelly!

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photo credit via marthastewart.com

Squash Blossoms

Every year I grow zucchini in my garden and every year I gaze upon their beautiful yellow buds that are pretty enough to cut and place in a vase. Little did I know that they share a dual purpose because after some research, I found that these flowers could also be used in cooking.  From additions to salads to enticing Italian platters, squash blooms have been used forever in cuisine and can easily be adapted into any diet.  There are many different ways to prepare the blossoms such as frying, baking or stuffing, which makes them highly popular when sold at farm stands or on the rare occasion- grocery stores. Often you will see recipes calling for squash blooms when they are stuffed with cheese, the best being ricotta because of the pleasant compliment in taste they give one another.  Another incredible combo is with marinara sauce, making these the ideal ingredients to bake an earthy version of the classic pizza.  The taste is out of this world plus you’ll get the added benefit of dressing your pie with healthy veggies.  Try this version invented by Martha Stewart!

Tags: cooking, Chef, Lifestyle, Health, Violets

Pairing Flowers with White Wine

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Sep 18, 2017

When you’re a wine lover who also adores flowers, it’s pretty safe to say that both are on your shopping list fairly regularly.  Just as with anything else, you develop your own preferences in taste, color and scent, which lead you to a favorite label or perhaps a specific variety of blooms.  Each and every one of us is drawn to certain flavors and appearances, especially when it comes to floral design and bubbly.  Funny enough… there’s even a way to pair the two that will complement each other’s characteristics such the shade of the alcohol and aroma.  While some white wines are sweeter than the next, there is a method used by several restaurateurs to give patrons the utmost experience in fine dining.  Here are some examples of how it is done.


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Chardonnay

If you’re a chardonnay drinker, you usually tend to prefer oaky blends that give off either a honey, nut, butter or spicy after taste.  This type of white wine is fuller bodied compared to some of the other bottles and has the propensity to incur greater taste as the year ages.  When matching with a flower variety, you want to go with a seductive bloom like Annabelle hydrangea, green calla lilies or oncidium orchids.  The chardonnay grape typically has a strong smell so don’t overwhelm nearby vases with stinky florals.    



Sauvignon Blanc


Sauvignon Blanc is a much lighter wine than chardonnay and in turn has a much different taste.  Being the most popular grade to be harvested for wine, instead of a rich taste, this wine is described in fruitier terms.  The difference in varieties depends on the maturity of the grape and can taste similar to a lime or a sweet peach.  You’ll want to remember this when picking out your flowers and opt for airier varieties like cherry blossom, peach peonies and buddleia.  These blossoms may have a scent but will not interfere with the overall aroma.  



Riesling

Since Riesling is originally cultivated in the country of Germany, this wine has a very unique taste which closely identifies with flowers and fruit.  It is said to be the sweetest of all the wines and is often the drink chosen to accompany dessert.  These characteristics make Riesling lovely alongside a vase of pale pink roses (this species will look beautifully against the hue of the liquid), pink ranunculus or my favorite, peach dahlias.

Tags: Wine, Lifestyle, cooking, Chef

Flowers for the Foodies

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Aug 02, 2017

We use flowers to design our homes, landscape our property and even call upon them to provide medicinal benefits both in sickness and in health.  Yes, flowers are a remarkable gift from Mother Nature and we are incredibly blessed to rely on them for a vast provision of attributes, including their taste!  How many foodies out there have tried a meal that has incorporated some part of a bloom and thought it was delicious?  I’m willing to bet there are several of you who have experienced the savory characteristics of flora in cuisine such as the interesting taste, texture and aroma that are capable of enhancing top-notch recipes.  Salads, pastas and even roast beef have been known to be creatively dressed with blossoms, sparking higher appeal from our stomachs and taste buds.  Do you have to be adventurous with food to enjoy these floral dishes and treats?  Heck No!  If you only possess a small bit of curiosity, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by these scrumptious recipes, which all include a bit of Mother’s Nature’s glorious gifts from the garden…

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Mushroom Ravioli with Sprinkled Chive and Lavender


Raviolis are yummy just about anyway you prepare them but when I say this mushroom recipe with sprinkled chive and lavender sprigs is to die for?  I mean it…  Don’t be turned off by the rustic atonement of garden spice that seem unusual for ingredients- I promise you won’t be disappointed.  The creamy filling perfectly compliments the earthy taste of these flowering herbs to create and interesting and unique take on this popular Italian dish.  

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photo via Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum       

 Nasturtium Salad


If you’re into salad like I am, you’re going to LOVE this fun take on designing a floral infused plate of greens and nasturtiums!  Not only can you add whatever dressing you want (although Italian and balsamic vinegar pair best with the combination) the color of the plate is perfect for summertime dinner parties where the salad serves also as a festive centerpiece.


Wild Violet Cupcakes


You might be surprised by the fact that wild violets are actually naturally sweet in taste but in all honesty, it’s true.  Farmers everywhere are adding these beautiful flowers to their tarts and cakes, especially to their cupcakes!  Their inherent possession of sweetness enhances already decadent baked goods while also turning up the flair to create a fancy table.  Now what could be better than that?

Tags: Chef, cooking, Nasturtiums, Gardner Museum, Lavender

Fancy Floral Cakes

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Apr 07, 2017

If you have a birthday coming up, you might want to consider having a themed cake made just for you to celebrate your special day.  If you love super heroes, maybe a Batman cake would work or if you enjoy spending your summer’s at the beach, maybe a tiered tropical island shaped cake would be the ideal sweet treat.  Whatever interest or passion you may have, I promise you there’s a bakery willing to whip you up a creative and imaginative sugary sensation that will help you ring in the new year with pizzazz!  Boston’s best bakers make a large percent of their income satisfying customers with goods inspired by their hobbies and personalities.  It doesn’t matter if you’re into skydiving or snorkeling, chances are-they’ll be able to provide you with a delicious model that celebrates the unique you that you are!

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photo via pinterest.com

So what do you ask for if you’re infatuated with flowers?  Perhaps you’re an avid gardener, a local florist or just someone who loves a fresh vase of blossoms in their home and are wishing for a cake that visually commemorates this interest?  I mean, wouldn’t it be fun to dig into a stunning pedaled spoonful of frosting instead of the traditional chocolate square cake you’re used to eating on your birthday?  


Of course it would!  

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photo via pinterest.com

With a little research, I’ve found some of the most outrageously beautiful flower themed birthday cakes created right here in our own city.  Roses, sunflowers, dahlias, daisies and even orchids are possible to design and can be specifically tailored to conform to whatever your favorites might be!  Check out these amazing styles and a few local bakeries that are willing to make your sweetest floral dreams come true!

Tags: cooking, Chef, Wedding Favors

Flowers for Tea

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Feb 15, 2017


The older I get, the more I have adapted to drinking more tea and less coffee.  I have no idea why this is but I’ve got to admit that I feel a lot better.  There’s a big difference between the two beverages even though they both can contain heightened amounts of caffeine (although coffee typically has about 100x’s more depending on the brand).  While coffee is made out of concentrated beans, tea is made from leaves, petals, herbs and other natural environmental elements, which hold properties benefiting digestion and vascular circulation.  Tea also has a longer history of existence since it was first introduced in 2737 BC while coffee came into play only in the 9th century AD.  If you think about it, emotional states connecting to the drinks are also a differentiating factor because while coffee is tied to speed and quickness, tea is linked more often to relaxation and calmness.  

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So what does this have to do with flowers?


Due to this emerging interest of people consuming more tea, manufacturers are looking for ways to expand product lines beyond Breakfast, Green and Earl Tea flavors.  One surge we’re seeing is the addition of flowers into brands that are said to bring about a preferred sweeter tang to the taste.  


What flowers are the most efficient and effective for tea making?


Passionflower Rose Hips Yarrow


Lemon Balm Milk Thistle Lavender


Dandelion Lemon Grass Calendula


If you’re thinking about trying to make your own floral tea, it’s really pretty easy!


For Herbs/Sprigs:

Boil water and insert herbs or sprigs of leaves into a mesh ball or infuser.  Let the contents sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes so that the essence can flavor the water.  It will likely not change to a darker color similar to store bought teas, which is more natural and healthier for the body.


For Hips/Petals/Seeds:

These floral ingredients make wonderfully flavorful accents to teas and you’ll notice a freshness that packaged varieties don’t have.  First you want to crush the ingredients thoroughly and then place the contents into a cup of boiling water.  Let stand for 10 minutes and then strain the remains so that the “earthy” substances are extinguished.  


If you really get into floral teas, there are hundreds of easy ways to create your own indoor “Tea Garden” so that you can enjoy it year round!

Tags: Lavender, Chef, Wellness, cooking, Passion Flower

Romantic Valentine’s Dinners at Home

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 27, 2017

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year so it may not be convenient for those who have to work early the next day to dine in a restaurant.  For those of you who are night owls, this won’t present a problem but for people like me whose schedules begin at daybreak, I’m planning on celebrating at home.  It doesn’t have to be another boring evening in front of the TV if you’re in a similar situation, heck no!  There are plenty of ways to spice up a Valentine’s Day festivity with your special someone without ever leaving the house!  Believe me, there are some benefits to this strategy such as not having to deal with traffic, saving money and most importantly having the flexibility to be as creative as you want.  There are plenty of ideas you can use to ensure a saucy evening with your honey and guarantee a holiday that neither of you will ever forget.  Try these few tricks of the trade and start preparing a night of unforgettable romance within the comfort of your own abode.

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photo credit via En Vogue

Set the Ambiance

Restaurants aren’t the only ones who know how to set the scene for an intimate ambiance!  Break out some votive candles and turn the lights down real low to recreate the stage in your living room, dining room or bedroom (no one’s judging you).  If you have a working fireplace, spark that baby up too because it’s a well-known fact that flames from the hearth inspire flames of the heart.


Cook a Decadent Meal

It’s pretty important that you devise a menu that will leave your lover wanting more.  Successful dishes that have been noted as aphrodisiacs are oysters, mussels, and other varieties of shellfish.  If you aren’t into these ocean treats, try red-hot chili peppers, which are said to trigger erotic hormones when ingested.  Be sure to also include a tray of fruits like bananas, strawberries and watermelon along side a bowl of melted chocolate or honey.  Let your sweetheart dip these delicious goodies in their choice of syrup and watch how quickly things heat up!

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photo credit via Victorias Secret

Get All Dolled Up

Whether you’re a man or a woman reading this, don’t forget that you are the main dish that’s being served up for the evening.  What I mean is, don’t get tempted by a comfortable pair of jeans or god forbid, your favorite sweatpants as the attire for your Valentine’s Day dinner.  You have the opportunity to wear whatever sexy thing you have hanging in the closet (think lingerie, cowboy boots, boas) and you might even be able to use that imagination of yours to come up with something wild.  You’re in the sanctity of your own home so don’t be afraid to get a little crazy!

Tags: Romance, Valentines Day, Lingerie, cooking

A Comforting Winter Soup Recipe

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Jan 22, 2017

It’s a well-known fact that most Bostonians pack on a few pounds once the temperature starts to drop.  Reasoning says that we are just putting on a few layers to help protect from the cold, which is a natural biological response to our habitats.  Humans are not alone either since millions of New England wildlife participate in the same ritual including cats, dogs, birds and bears.  So if everyone is doing it, why feel guilty?  For one reason, many of the foods that we are ingesting contain a higher amount of fat and processed sugars.  These unhealthy additives are what make it a bit tricky when we finally decide to shed those pounds in the spring.  If you think about it, you seldom see squirrels stressing about their winter waddle once the warm weather arrives because their calories needed to be burned are mainly nuts not ice cream and cream puffs.  Does that mean forgo the comfort foods altogether in order to spare ourselves the trouble?  Absolutely not!  We can still indulge in this New England tradition of finding solace and warmth in our food; we just have to do it in a slightly different way.  Try this recipe on for size!

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photo credit via countryliving.com

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is made by a variety of companies and there a few like Progresso and Campbell’s that are in all honesty, pretty good.  The soup is for the most part, healthy so why should you make your own?  In many canned brands, the salt and processed ingredients rank high and may even contain “iffy” ingredients that you can’t even pronounce when reading the labels.  Using real poultry and veggies is always a better way to go where you can control the amounts of seasonings and be sure that your meats are fresh for cooking.  You may not be able to can and shelf your finished product but freezing is a definitely possibility allowing you to re-cook and save for a later date!  Wait to make this recipe after you’ve made a chicken roast so that you can use your own stalk, too.


How To:

Add 4 cups of your own chicken stalk to a crock-pot and set to low heat.  If you couldn’t save this much stalk after cooking your roast, just add water slowly as the soup continues to cook-it will make it’s own broth over the course of the preparation.  Add chicken that has been pulled from the leftovers being careful not to add in any bones or cartilage (it won’t taste good to those you serve and be disruptive to their palette.  Chop roughly 2 celery stalks and 1 small onion and add that to the brew.  Wash 4 large carrots and then peel and cut into circular shapes and then throw them in as well.  Add 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the soup for 4 hours until the chicken naturally pulls apart and vegetables soften.  In a separate pot, boil water to cook 4 cups of “No-Yolk” noodles.  When done, rinse in a colander over cold water, afterwards adding the pasta to the soup.  If you put the noodles in when they are still hot, they’ll dissolve in the soup creating a funky consistency, so make sure you rinse them first in cold water.  Serve in crock bowls with a fresh piece of Italian bread and bon appétit!  

Tags: cooking, Chef, Health, winter

Great Desserts For Winter Weather in Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 13, 2017

Who says a blizzard makes you want to just eat hot foods?  What about all of the yummy desserts inspired by the New England winter season?  Okay, crock-pots filled with simmering chicken noodle soup might seem nice but we can’t forget to sugar up on all of the delicious sweet treats made perfect for this chill infested weather!  No, I’m not just talking about stopping by the ice cream aisle before the next storm arrives.   I’m talking decadent, sensational blizzard ready concoctions that will be adored by the whole family.  Not only are they tasty, but they can be a fun project to make together when the house bound boredom sets in.  Easy to create and simple instructions, you won’t be disappointed by these festive New England indulgences.

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photo credit via allrecipes.com

Vanilla Snow Ice cream

This one is so fabulous because the main additive is the stuff piling up outside your door-SNOW!  Have the kids go outside and grab a bucket of snow that is clean and un-dirtied by salt or soot.  In a mixing bowl, combine the fresh snow with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 cup of sugar, a half-cup of milk (or added until desired consistency) and a teaspoon of salt.  Stir thoroughly until your batch resonates an ice cream body.  Put in the freezer for 2 hours and serve into white or light blue bowls for an extra creative flair.  You will flip over the reactions to this easy peasy ice cream recipe!


Snow-Capped Winter Cookies

This is a great one to make with your children on a snow day because the very name is thematic after the season and contains a very simple list of ingredients.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and take out confectioners sugar, flour, salt, butter and vanilla extract.  Mix together 1 cup of confectioners sugar with 1½ cups of melted butter.  Add a ½ teaspoon of vanilla and 2 ¼ cups of white flour.  Add a pinch of salt for seasoning.  Stir together until a soft consistency gels and put in the refrigerator to chill for about a half hour.  Then roll the dough into small balls placing them on a cookie sheet setting them evenly apart.  Bake for 12 minutes and then sprinkle with more confectioners sugar to get a snowy effect.  Let the cookies cool and store in an airtight container until serving time.


Blizzard S’more Frappes

I love this one because again, its fuss free and tastes of so delicious!  All you need is 2 scoops of really good vanilla ice cream, 1 crumbled graham cracker, 1 cup of chocolate chips, 1 cup of whole milk and ½ cup of mini marshmallows.  Throw everything into a blender and lightly mix until the desert resembles a white mound of blizzard delight!  Serve in high ice cream flasks and sprinkle with white sugar or confectioner’s sugar.  Everyone will love the presentation and you’ll love how little effort this desert was to make!

Tags: Snow, winter, Dessert, cooking

Different Ways to Gift with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 04, 2017

When we meet that special person, we often seek ways to impress him or her in order to show them how we feel.  Maybe it’s a dinner to a fancy restaurant or maybe it’s a Hallmark card that’s says just the right sentiment, but whatever we decide, we want it to be a perfect match for that individual.   If you’re a flower lover, you probably choose to send flowers that perhaps might consist of a dozen roses, a bouquet of favorite blossoms or even a single stem of buttercup or daisy.  Yes, flowers have been the most popular way to connect with a person and have continuously been an effective conduit to show them how you feel.  

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photo credit via aboutflowers.com

Here’s an idea… what if you could be a bit clever on how you gifted them? Instead of just wrapping up any old bunch of flowers, how about using your noggin to think of interesting ways to impress their unique sense of self?  What are their likes, dislikes, hobbies or dreams?  As soon as you figure that out, you can implement your creativeness to really give them something special!  No two people are the same and neither are two roses.  Here are a few ideas to get the wheels really turning towards impressing the love of your life!  


For Those Who Love to Bake

A colleague recently told me about this movie she watched where a baker was wooed with a case of “flour”-you know, the cooking kind?  I thought this was so brilliant and really showed his love for her individuality while still sticking to a traditional gesture.  By making a pun based on her occupation, he was able to connect with her in a deeper, more meaningful way as well as show a sense of humor.  Sure, she probably would have kissed the guy anyways if he handed over a pile of orchids, but the effect wouldn’t have been nearly as strong, nor would have been the scene.  If you’re trying to get a special baker’s attention, this might be the “sweetest” way to do it!

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For the Book Lover

If you’re trying to get the attention of a book lover, you’re going to have to use your head.  Although a vase full of wildflowers will surely be adored, why not pick out a few titles that are written about flowers instead?  You can either grab a few floral designing books, gardening manuals or even a novel such as, “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh or “Flowers in the Attic” by V.C. Andrews if they like a good thriller.  Your courtship will be extra intellectually sentimental as well as useful reading material for the future!


For the Gardener

I personally love this approach because not only will a gardener appreciate the message but they’ll be extra excited to have a head start for planting.  Seeds that are the most thoughtful would either be varieties of their favorites or choosing perennials instead of annuals.  Perennials will come back year after year and will remind them of you each time they bloom.  

Tags: Gifts, Flowers, cooking, Gardening, book

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