Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
Also: the most beautiful Deviled Eggs. And a raucous substitute for Sriracha..
There is nothing quite as dreamlike as a wholesale market in the very early hours of the morning; that made reporting this article pure pleasure.
The idea came to me when a friend mentioned that her family, long-time flower growers in what had not yet become Silicon Valley, had just sold their land. “There’s too much pollution now,” she said. “The flowers don’t like it. And the land has become so valuable.”
It struck me that flower growers were facing the same pressures as food farmers: rising land prices, rising costs, increased foreign competition and changing tastes. It seemed to me that this was a fine opportunity to explore those problems from a different perspective.
I found the subject fascinating and learned a lot about flowers. It’s interesting to note, from the vantage point of history, that one flower farmer I interviewed predicted that the San Francisco Flower Mart, then a growers’ market (and still in the same location), was destined to become a place for wholesale vendors. The prediction has come true.
It’s spring. Eggs are everywhere. And of course you want to make Deviled Eggs. Why not make them prettier in pink?
Once your eggs are cooked and peeled, put the whole eggs into a bowl with the juice from a can of pickled beets; add a bit of water if the eggs aren’t completely covered.
Before long the eggs will begin to turn a vibrant shade of pink. Leave them in the refrigerator overnight and the whites will be the most beautiful color, a dazzling contrast to the marigold color of the yolks. (Leave them in beet juice for more than 18 hours, however, and the yolks will turn pink as well.)
Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, then slice a bit off the bottom of each half so they won’t wobble on the plate. It makes them considerably easier to fill.
Remove the yolks and mash with mayonnaise, a bit of mustard, and salt and pepper. Add a splash of Sriracha for heat. If you want truly etherial tenderness, whip the filling in a food processor. Then pile the deviled yolks back into the pink shells. (A pastry tube makes this easier.) At the end, just for color, top each one with a little triangle of sweet pickle or a bit of sliced chile pepper.
Nobody can resist them.
Speaking of Sriracha…. if you’re looking for an alternative, here it is. Nonya Sauce is just one of the many fascinating products sold on the Yun Hai site, a wonderful source for Taiwanese specialty ingredients. (I’m also fond of their shallot oil, and they have a large and unusual line of soy sauces.)
Made in Taiwan, this chili sauce, rich with garlic and vinegar, is traditional in the Peranakan cooking of Malaysia. It tastes good on just about everything. And it’s so beautifully packaged it makes an excellent gift.