Great nights need to be followed by equally great mornings (or as I’ve put it: boycott the comedown) and, quite obviously, the best way to do that is with brunch. Brunch is a meal that knows no constraints of time and has no strict tendency towards traditional; That paired with the most energy you’ll have all day gives you all the makings for a really enjoyable meal. Don’t waste your morning waiting for a table just to be served expensive food whose quality is only acceptable if you’re also having the bottomless mimosas. Make brunch only limited by your own creativity and led by your desires, not constrained to a menu indistinguishable from the restaurant around the corner’s. Make your kitchen the place to be, where the tunes are always right and the kettle is always whistling along.
I started this post a month or so ago, now finally got to finishing it and violets are almost done flowering..But! there are still some if you look in the right places (like the woods..shady and protected from wind). Of the 600 or so species of violets, I used blue violets (viola sororia), a very abundant wildflower in North America and the Wisconsin state flower. This common variety of violet is also referred to as the lesbian flower, since ladies gave blue violets to women they were wooing in the 1900s. I imagine it was pretty effective.
While the flowers get all the attention, the leaves are great in salads and contain more Vitamin C than oranges and more Vitamin A than spinach! Violets truly are a powerhouse, a powerhouse which impresses you with its beauty and abundance, its history (from Greek mythology all the way up to modern cancer treatment studies) and its vitality. Just the other day, someone looked at my front yard and said “man your landlord has really got to come spray some weed killers”. Yeah, totally, can’t wait for them to come kill the dandelions whose flowers we make wine from, wash our hair with and get an abundance of vitamins and minerals from their leaves. Take the violets and wood sorrel along with them!..How ignorant do you have to be? What do you think spraying toxic weed killer right next to the perennial herb garden will do? I’m so glad the ideology behind manicured lawns is going to die with the generation perpetuating it. Not only are you putting chemicals into our waterways, further damaging the dwindling bee population, but you’re also spending your time and your money on something so inconsequential, time that could easily be spent doing something beneficial instead of destructive. When you see someone you know doing this or talking about it, you have to get in their face about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable, people need to know that it’s not okay to be doing this. WHY do you think a “perfect” lawn is better than a natural one and what benefits do you get from it? WHY do you think that your desire for an eyesore lawn is worth polluting our waterways and harming fish, birds, bugs and microorganisms in the soil? WHY do you think your small-minded aesthetic goals is worth harming bees, one of the single most beneficial things to the human race, even though you know their populations are in crisis?
Okay, time for a palate cleanser, here’s the most beautiful man in a field of dandelions.
And now back to violets. I’m so happy for these wild little flowers. I generally eat/drink them but have also used them in skin toners due to their salicylic acid content. When violets encounter other acids, they change colors (from the traditional blue violet to dark pink/magenta). Here’s an example of a violet infused vinegar and a violet cordial/liqueur. I usually add lemon to my cordials but wanted to retain the deep violet color so left it out.
Violets are one of the first food for bees of the season so, as always, don’t pick too many flowers when you’re out collecting (never more than 10% in any given area and avoid sparse areas completely). Be sure to get some greens too! Free salad is the best salad.
Apple & Violet Pizza with Gorgonzola
(serves 2 alone or 4 with included sides)
1 cup cheese of choice (I used fontina but mozzarella would work just as well)
~2 tbsp gorgonzola, separated into small chunks
1 braeburn apple, cored and cut into thin slices
15 violet flowers
1 tsp tried or fresh thyme
1 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 550 degrees or as high as it will go.
Stretch pizza dough thinly. Spread with melted butter. Top with the cheese (it will look sparse), then even layer on the thinly sliced apples. Sprinkle with thyme.
Bake for 10 minutes. Top with violets immediately after removing from oven.