In western culture, roses are viewed as romantic and beautiful”‹”‹. No one thinks to actually eat the roses themselves and taste the romance and beauty.
Roses can be consumed in the form of rosewater. In fact, Middle Eastern cuisine has utilized the intoxicating flavor of the rose since the Middle Ages. It’s time we catch on over here! And why not? Roses are considered to be anti-inflammatory and are rich in skin-beautifying antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D, E and B3. They not only taste like love, they deliver the benefits of love, too.
1Watermelon Rose Granita Recipe
The taste of the rosewater and watermelon together is like crisp summer heaven with sparkles, except it’s super classy and usually classy things don’t have sparkles. It can function as a dessert, a snack or a palate cleanser between courses.
Makes 8 servings
1/2 of a large seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons rosewater*- or to taste
*Rosewater is available at Middle Eastern markets or gourmet shops. Note, the ones sold at gourmet shops are usually in smaller bottles and stronger, so anticipate cutting the amount by half, and then add to taste.
Cut the watermelon into pieces so you can easily remove the rind. Cut the “meat” into cubes about a couple of inches wide. Place them in a blender with the rosewater and blend until it’s a puree. Put the mixture in a glass or plastic container and freeze for 4-6 hours. Use a fork to scrape and stir the granita every hour and a half or so to get ice crystals.
2Rose Tea Recipe
I hate getting out of bed. But this tea changes my entire outlook on life each and every day. The taste of roses and raw honey add beauty and romance to my mornings. Up until recently I didn’t even know I had permission to add beauty and romance to my mornings when not on vacation. Well, guess what? I do have permission and so do you. Don’t walk—run to get these ingredients and then share with every single person who comes over for a visit, anytime of day.
1 bag black tea, such as English Breakfast or Darjeeling
A capful of rose water
Add tea bag and hot water to mug or tall glass. Let stand a few minutes. Sweeten to taste with raw honey. Add a capful of rosewater. Stir and drink.
3Risotto with Rose Water and Saffron Recipe
Try this delicious twist on classic risotto.
7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ¼ cup arborio or carnaroli rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons rosewater
½ cup parmigiano reggiano + more for serving, freshly grated with a microplane; if already using grated, use less to start
Salt, about ¾ teaspoon; add more if needed to taste
Freshly ground pepper
Dried organic rose petals for decoration (available at health food stores or online), optional
Bring the broth to a simmer with celery stalks—left whole—and bay leaves. These will add a nice flavor that will pair well with the roses and saffron. They will not be eaten. Keep on a low flame so it stays on a low boil. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, just a few minutes after it gets going. Add rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add wine and cook until it is evaporated. Add a couple ladles hot broth over rice to cover and crumble saffron threads into it. Add one tablespoon of rosewater and some salt, about ¾ teaspoon. Stir, stir, stir! You must keep stirring the risotto, without stopping, the whole time. This is the trick to getting it creamy. Once broth has evaporated enough so that it no longer spills into the gap created when you run your spoon across the bottom of the pan through the rice, add more stock. Basically you want the broth to be fully absorbed before you add more. Continue this process until rice is tender but still al dente, about 15-18 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, add another ladle of broth, the rest of the butter, the remaining rose water and half of the cheese. Stir like a madman until it is creamy. Serve and top with freshly ground pepper, dried rose petals if you have them and more parmigiano.
4Juicy Spiced Chicken with Hazelnuts, Honey and Rosewater
This recipe is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey recipe.
8 organic free-range chicken thighs on the bone, skin on
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A generous pinch of saffron threads
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cups unskinned hazelnuts
3 1/2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons rose water
A handful of raisins
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
Organic dried rosepetals, optional
In a large bowl, mix chicken thighs with onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Allow chicken to marinate for at least an hour, or even better, in the fridge overnight. If chicken was in the fridge, bring it to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Chop coarsely and reserve. Transfer chicken and marinade to a casserole dish large enough to fit everything easily. Arrange chicken pieces skin side up and put in the oven for about 45 minutes.
While chicken is roasting, mix honey, rose water, raisins and hazelnuts together to make a rough paste. Remove chicken from the oven. With a spoon, spread a generous amount of the paste over each piece. Return to the oven for another 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the nuts are golden. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving dish and top with chopped green onions and dried rosepetals to serve.
5Rose Hot Chocolate Recipe
A trip to heaven, in a cup without added sugar or dairy. ‘Nuff said.
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or rice milk
1-1 ½ teaspoons raw carob powder* or unsweetened cacao powder
3-6 drops clear liquid Stevia, or to taste
A capful of rose water**
½ teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil- optional
*Raw carob powder, which is alkaline and rich in calcium, is available at health food stores or through Meal and a Spiel.
Heat milk over medium-low flame. Be careful as it will bubble over if left unattended. Add carob or cacao to the bottom of a mug or tall glass. Add a couple fingers of hot milk and stir to mix in carob or cacao. Add the rest of the milk. Sweeten to taste with Stevia. Add rose water and coconut oil, if using. Enjoy a trip to heaven!
6Rose Meringue Recipe
This delicious recipe comes from “Under the Shade of Olive Trees: Recipes from Jerusalem to Marrakech” by Nadia Zerouli & Merijn Tol.
Makes 6-8 servings
Lemon juice or vinegar (to clean stand mixer)
6 egg whites
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon rose water
1 pomegranate, optional
Preheat oven to 250 F. Make sure the bowl and whisk of a stand mixer (or handheld electric mixer) are oil free by cleaning them with some lemon juice or vinegar on a paper towel. Add egg whites to the bowl and, on medium speed, beat them until just thickened. Add one third of sugar and beat on a higher speed. Add another one third of sugar and beat until sugar has dissolved. Add remaining sugar and beat on the highest speed until foam is shiny and forms stiff peaks. Take care not to overbeat or the meringue will collapse. With a wooden spoon, stir in cornstarch and between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of rosewater, depending on your taste. The more rosewater, the stronger the flavor, and you’ll risk seeing rosewater leak from the meringues. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange dollops of meringue any way you wish. You can even form fanciful peaks of foam, but don’t make them too big. Bake the meringue for about 2 hours.