Have you ever watched a field of sunflowers? They dance all day long. Not just in the breeze or as birds and critters make a visit, but as they follow the sun from east to west. You may not notice if you're just passing through, but if you spend time with them, their tiny adjustments begin to feel more personal and endearing. Like each sunflower has a life and a story.
If you haven't guessed, I love a good field of sunflowers. So when my cousin Michelle invited us out, I leaped at the chance to create an intimate tablescape complete with sunflower infused dishes.
Even looking back at the photography makes me wistful. We couldn't have had a more perfect day for the shoot. Not too hot with just enough cloud cover to filter the light.
Even if you don't have a whole field of sunflowers to entertain in, a vase of the big-faced flowers can set a charming, open atmosphere. The large flowers are almost universally adored and are sure to make people smile.
Now for the food!
This little lunch turned into a true celebration of sunflowers. The star of the show was the sunflower slaw. Coleslaw is a great side dish for any meal and I loved mixing it up with some unique flavors. Substituting a sunflower oil based dressing for the more traditional mayo and buttermilk combination made for a lighter, nuttier salad that was perfect for an early fall day.
Not only did it taste good, this slaw was gorgeous! The bright, fresh colors were so appealing in our intimate garden setting.
I love doubling up recipes for several purposes. I found that the dressing I made for the slaw makes an excellent dipping oil for bread! If you're not much into cabbage, you can still take advantage of that beautiful sunflower flavor with a simple appetizer.
The oil tastes excellent with our parsnip bread which we originally made with pumpkin seeds. I substituted a sunflower seed salad topper here to keep on theme.
There are many ways to use sunflowers in cooking and decor. And being inspired by nature makes my creative brain come alive! Check out this time I was inspired to created a Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Sundae because of a stump. I may have another post up my sleeve, but for now, don't wait for a special occasion, create one!
- Mixing bowl
- Medium serving bowl
- 2 cups purple cabbage finely sliced
- 2 cups green cabbage finely sliced
- 1 bag shredded carrots store-bought
- 2 green apples finely sliced
- 1 yellow pepper finely sliced
- chives to taste
- fresh mint to taste
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds shelled
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp lime juice to taste
- 3 tbsp clear vanilla
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- clementine zest from 1 clementine
- clementine juice from 1 clementine
- 1/2 tsp roast cinnamon
- salt & pepper to taste
- .5 inch ginger root grated
- In a medium serving bowl, combine the combined purple and green cabbage, apples, yellow pepper, and carrots. Add chives and fresh mint. Set aside.
- Pour your sunflower seeds into a small skillet. Toast over medium heat stirring frequently until the seeds are fragrant. Add the toasted seeds to the serving bowl with the slaw.
- Combine sunflower oil, lime juice, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, and clementine juice in a small bowl.
- Add roast cinnamon, salt & pepper, and ginger and whisk until thoroughly blended.
- Drizzle the dressing over the slaw and toss until coated. Sprinkle the slaw with the clementine zest and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to several hours.
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