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updated: 4/2/2013 1:57 PM

From the Food Editor: Springing ahead with edible flowers

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  • Courtesy of Anderson's Bookshop"Drunken Botanist" author Amy Stewart will sign books at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville April 9.

    Courtesy of Anderson's Bookshop"Drunken Botanist" author Amy Stewart will sign books at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville April 9.

By Deborah Pankey

As I write this, small patches of snow still cling to the brown grass in my yard. Nearby the green shoots of crocus and lily of the valley peek through the dirt. How I yearn to see their blooms.

So this afternoon I had to get my fix of flowers paging through "Cooking with Flowers."

In her debut cookbook Miche Bacher -- herbalist, chef and founder of Mali B Sweets in Greenport, N.Y. -- shares 100 sweet and savory recipes that use roses, orchids, violets, chamomile and even dandelions.

Bacher includes tips for gathering and storing flowers and then dedicates a chapter to each of 17 flowers. You'll find recipes for pickled dianthus petals, dandelion ham and egg cups, nasturtium pizza, steamed sunflower buds. The recipes are very approachable, like these for chamomile apple streusel muffins, and the book is beautifully photographed.

"Cooking with Flowers" (Quirk Books, $24.95) hits bookstores this week and will give you something to look at until your own garden blooms.

Planting cocktails: Author Amy Stewart, who has previously written about the floral industry, plants and bugs, returns to Naperville to promote her new book, "Drunken Botanist."

Stewart will read from her book that looks at the root (ha!) of liquor and spirits and sign copies beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at Anderson's Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave.

Representatives of Chicago's Koval Distillery will be on hand to quench your thirst and folks from The Growing Place in Naperville will be around to talk plants. Details at (630) 355-2665.

Keep on rolling: Dozens of actors, writers and other celebrities share recipes in a cookbook that raises money for Meals on Wheels.

"Made With Love: The Meals On Wheels Family Cookbook" features more than 125 family-style recipes, recipes like Mandelbrot from Chicago Magazine writer Penny Pollack, mironoff piroshki from Oscar winner Helen Mirren and wild rice and turkey from Sen. Al Franken.

Providing more than 1 million meals a day for seniors across the nation, Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization of its kind. "Made With Love" is an ongoing campaign to raise awareness and abate senior hunger. The book costs $29.95 and is available at Walmart or online book stores.

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Friend her at or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram @PankeysPlate.

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