My First Vegetable Garden – squash blossoms

In May, after reading Barbara Kingsolver‘s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben, I went out and bought plants for an ambitious attempt at fruit and vegetable gardening.

I still haven’t bought any gardening books but my garden is looking pretty good!

My yellow pear and grape tomatoes have started producing fruit — very small and green but I’m still thrilled!

My summer squash plants (Raven, Yellow Straightneck, Peter Pan) are huge and they all have all sprouted small squash and blossoms.

A friend of mine fell in love with squash blossoms in Italy and sent me a few recipes that I’m just dying to try.

Spaghetti with Poblano Chile & Squash Blossom Sauce
* 1 pound spaghetti
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 large cloves garlic, peeled & finely chopped
* 1/2 medium white onion, peeled & finely chopped
* 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded & cut or torn into strips
* 1 bunch squash blossoms (be sure to remove the pistil)
* 1 cup mexican crema or sour cream
* 2 sprigs epazote, chopped
* 4 ounces cotija, añejo or parmesan cheese, grated
* salt to taste

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and onion, and cook until the onion is transparent.
Add the poblano strips, squash blossoms and epazote, and cook until the blossoms wilt. Add cream and heat through. Add salt to taste.
Toss with the cooked pasta, top with the cheese and serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms
* 8 good-sized summer squash flowers, pistils removed, with a tiny zucchini attached if possible.
* 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
* 1 large egg
* 1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
* 1 small clove garlic, minced
* Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
* 2/3 cup flour
* 1 cup carbonated mineral water or seltzer
* Olive oil & vegetable oil
* Sea salt

Wipe the squash blossoms clean if necessary. If a small summer squash is attached, slice it lengthwise in thirds like a fan, leaving it attached to the blossom.

Mix together the ricotta, egg, cheese, garlic, nutmeg and a pinch of salt in a medium-size bowl.

Spoon or pipe the filling into the squash flowers, handling them gently. Each flower should have 2 generous tablespoons of filling.

Preheat the oven to very low. It will be a holding oven.

Place the flour in a large bowl & whisk in the water until smooth. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat the oil in a small, deep skillet to a temperature of 375 degrees — if you drop in a teaspoon of batter it should float quickly to the surface &turn golden.

Dip one of the flowers in the batter, making sure it is evenly & thoroughly coated. If it has a small summer squash attached, make sure it is coated as well. Hold the flower over the bowl to let any excess batter drip off, then lower it gently into the oil and cook just until the batter is crisp and golden, up to four minutes, if that.

Fry no more than 2 flowers at a time. Use a slotted spoon to remove the flowers from the oil and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven with the door slightly ajar to keep the finished flowers warm while you prepare the rest.

Arrange 2 flowers on each of 4 small, warmed plates. Dust lightly with sea salt and serve.

Let me know if you’ve got any great squash blossom recipes!

Also, I’m a little confused about whether harvesting the blossoms with reduce squash production. Any advice?

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One response to “My First Vegetable Garden – squash blossoms

  1. Pingback: Economics of Growing Your Own Produce « Adventures in Reading

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