Sunday, September 10, 2006

squash blossoms

Last week, Mr. Cupcake and I hit up the local farmer's market. We picked up the usual suspects of peaches, tomatoes, and grapes. For the past few weeks, there's been one vendor with squash blossoms. I don't know anything about them, yet I'm drawn to them. I figured what the hey, and bought a box.

I researched a bunch of recipes for the squash blossoms. Most recipes stuff the squash blossoms and then deep fry them. While I'm sure that's great, I have an aversion to frying food at home. I'm a total addict when it comes to deep fried foods, and if I did at home, I'm pretty sure I'd turn into a big fatass. Not to mention the heartburn. So frying was out. Then I came across a recipe on epicurious. It was called Farmer's Market Fettuccine. It seemed relatively healthy, and I had all the ingredients. What more can a girl ask for?

Later that night, Soo and Chris came over for dinner. It was the same night as the It's It challenge. Soo brought a few salmon fillets and I worked on the pasta.

I laid out the blossoms. They had since wilted a fair amount since earlier that morning. I had no idea I was suppose to care for them. It was too late to do anything at that point, so I channeled Tim Gunn, and carried on. (Michael for the win!)

Our selection of tomatoes out here is really phenomenal. The produce in California puts all the other places I've lived to shame. The lighter colored tomatoes are called pineapple tomatoes. They've very sweet in flavor. I highly recommend them if you can find them. We also had some red tomatoes - I want to say they're local girls but I'm not sure - and mixed them up.

The recipe also called for zucchini, basil, and other miscellaneous ingredients. Soo baked the salmon in garlic and butter and dinner was on like donkey kong!

The pasta was interesting. I think if we had used a bit less pasta, it would have been better; it was too overwhelming. That's my fault though because I used a whole pound instead of the 12 oz. cited by the recipe. I'm not really sure how to describe the squash blossoms. They had a distinct flavor. I could cop out and say the flavor was very floral, but I hate when people say that. I mean, what does a floral flavor really mean? I'll just say it was different. The tomatoes were good as expected. They dissolved quite a bit, but the flavor was there, and it was sweet and potent.

I won't be itching to try squash blossoms again for awhile. At least I don't think. Maybe I just need to try them by someone who knows what they're doing. Though, I bet I could deep fry them and they'd taste good. Maybe I'll try it when I deep fry a turkey later this year. That's right, I said I'm going to deep fry a turkey! If you can make a good side, I might be willing to invite you. :P

Oh, and I took some leftover pasta for lunch the next day and it was better. It had that whole flavor melding thing going on.

To round out the meal: 4 oz red wine or juice spritzer; 1/8 honeydew and 2 butter cookies; 8 oz low-fat milk
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 1/2 lb fresh ripe tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (or one 28-oz can plum tomatoes)
12 oz fresh fettuccine (or dry pasta)
3 small zucchini, julienned
12 fresh squash blossoms, trimmed well at the base (or 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed)
1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Warm oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute or until translucent and fragrant. Add fennel and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in vinegar, increase heat to medium-high and cook until very little liquid is left. Stir in tomatoes with their juices. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 10 minutes (if using canned tomatoes, simmer uncovered, breaking them up with a wooden spoon). While sauce is simmering, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Season sauce with salt and pepper, add zucchini and cook 5 minutes. Add squash blossoms and spinach and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in basil. Drain pasta, add to sauce in skillet and mix well.

To serve: Divide among 4 bowls. Serve hot.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 453 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 78 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein
Makes 4 servings.
June 2002


mrcupcake said...

I liked the rice pudding after the squash blossom pasta dinner. Though it didn't taste nearly as good as it did the next day because it didn't have time to cool and for the flavor to develop. I told the mrs about it, but she never believes me... I think she keeps forgetting I'm an expert in all things rice pudding.

Anonymous said...

You could try stuffing them with ricotta or any other soft, bake-able cheese, topping them with a red sauce, (or the sauce you made) and baking it, just slightly. I've layed mine into lasagna on the near top layer and they were delicious!
Thanks for your recipe, I'm trying it tonight!