Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Summer. Summer and Squash Blossoms. They go hand and hand, you can’t look at these bright flowers and not think of warmth and sunshine. I am trying to make the farmers market a Saturday morning ritual…but you have to get there before 10 am or it isn’t worth going (I don’t like having to hurt someone for that last bunch of radishes). With the 4th and traveling I haven’t been since May, crazy, and upon seeing another blogger posting photographs from the union square market I declared my farmers market-free days over. The seasons produce is in full swing. I came home with fresh arugula, basil, sunflower greens, summer onions, blueberries, yellow beets, rattlesnake beans, red currants, carrots, peppers, and on and on and on. AND squash blossoms.

I wanted to keep this simple. I have never cooked with flowers before and first timer ingredients are always a bit scary.

I only purchased 4 large blossoms and had a decent amount of filling leftover. Make a large batch of  filling and either make more stuffed blossoms or save it and spread on bread, sandwiches, or top off salads.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Summer Greens

For the blossoms:
4-10 squash blossoms
1 large clove of garlic, minced
*a few large spoonfuls of soft goat cheese (3-6 tbsp)
6-12 green onions, chopped
pinch of chili flakes
fresh lemon juice
coconut oil, for sautéing 
 
*I used goat cheese with pieces of kalamata olives mixed in. I loved the taste and flavor this particular cheese added. If you cannot find olive goat cheese or do not like olives just use plain goat cheese. Your blossoms will still turn out spectacular and tasty. 
 
Summer Greens Salad
Large handfuls of fresh:
spinach
arugala
sunflower greens
and a little basil if you have it.
 
A Light vinaigrette:
amount will change depending on how many people you are serving. 
roasted walnut oil
white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
 
In a medium sized bowl, mix together goat cheese, green onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of lemon juice, and a pinch of chili flakes. Taste and add more if needed. To prepare the squash blossoms, removed the stem, or baby squash from the end. Carefully remove the stamen or any seeds from the inside of the blossom. Try not to tear the petals though I found it to be inevitable at times. Rinse the blossoms delicatley in cool water and pat dry with a paper towl. with a knife or your fingers, stuff about a tsp of the goat cheese mixture into the bottom of the blossom and twist the top. Once all the blossoms are stuffed heat about 2-tsp to a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan (adjust your oil to the amount of blossoms you are cooking, you just want the bottom of the pan to be evenly coated). When the oil is hot lay the blossoms in the pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side. The tips of the blossoms will begin to brown when they are ready to come out. Pat dry with a paper towel if you wish. 
 
Wash and toss salad greens in large bowl. Whisk equal parts roasted walnut oil (any light oil or olive oil will also work) and white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss the greens in the vinaigrette and top with cooked squash blossoms. 

This made a magnificent summer meal. As lunch or a light dinner.

I paired mine with smoked salmon and despite all of this New York City heat I was fully enjoying the fact that it’s Summer.

~

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Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

Have you had enough squash yet? I admit I’m about ready to give it a rest for a while..BUT this, this is something differnt. A fresh look on squash with a citrus zing. Butternut squash is the new soup staple, from spicy purees to stuffed ravioli it’s everywhere. However there are many other varieties out there just waiting for your love and care! Welcome acorn squash.

I went for a sweet take with hints of citrus and ginger topped with a soft honeyed goat cheese. Now don’t be scared, but you can eat the skin. When cooked long enough it becomes soft and gives the dish an earthy flare.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

One acorn squash, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil + extra for drizzle

1/2 tsp ground ginger

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

ground sea salt

1 tsp dark muscavado sugar

sesame seeds

8 ounces of honeyed goat cheese (regular is fine)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, then slice and set aside. In a bowl whisk together all ingredients except sesame seeds, salt, and goat cheese. Lay the squash out in a pan or baking dish (grease if necessary) Pour sauce over the squash, grind a little sea salt on top and bake for around 30 mins or longer. When the squash is cooked through and the edges are beginning to brown they should be done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the honeyed goat cheese.

I was able to find honeyed goat cheese at my local grocer, to make it yourself simply stir honey to taste into a soft goat cheese.

I ate this simply with a salad but it would make a wonderful side dish.

Here’s to the Squash

Here’s to the Squash…

The yellow squash. Not as decadent as its fellow butternut, acorn, or spaghetti variety but still perfect for a winters night.

For the first time in a long time I have only a mere three days as opposed to three months in-between my posts. An outstanding accomplishment I feel and hopefully will be the first of many future kitchen adventures now that I am a bit more settled.

Next week I embark on a journey back home for the holidays! A phrase I am using for the first time, ‘home for the holidays.’ I can’t wan’t to be worry and fancy free with good food and family.

With a longing for all I have been missing at home lately I decided to make one of my moms dish’s for squash caserole. Strolling over to the nearest market I bought all needed ingredients … then when looking for the yellow squash was pointed to a shelf where one package lay left. YES – package, of yellow squash. There is no way I will ever eat vegetables out of a plastic wrapped container of my own free will. They just look so sad in there……So after stopping by TWO more markets I finally found some yellow squash that looked quite happy to jump into my bag and come home with me.

So here we go: Yellow Squash Casserole {for 2}

Wash and thickly chop two large yellow squash, half a red onion, and 10-15 small carrots (or one large).

Fill a large pot with all of the chopped vegetables and water then bring to a boil.

Boil vegetables until the are just tender enough to mash up. The squash skins will still be a little tough which is alright.

I used a small casserole dish, close to the shape of a bread pan. Drain the all the water then transfer the veggies into your dish. Since a masher was not on hand I used a large fork.

Once you have a good mash going, you may be able to drain a bit more excess water out.

The next part is up to your liking….I added around 1/4 cup cottage cheese a decent handful of bread crumbs and a little seasoning.

Then came the cheese……

I had picked up a block of white chedder from trader joes labeled: The Unexpected White Chedder. Deliciously sharp and with hints of parmesan this cheese gets two thumbs up. Hands down Amazing. Any cheese will do, but the salty nutty flavor of the ‘Unexpected’ rendered all other seasonings useless.

With cheese, cottage cheese, bread crumbs, and desired seasonings added, mix then top casserole with a bit of extra shredded cheese and bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for around 25-30 minutes or until bubbling hot on top.

Once given a moment to cool serve with a spinach salad and crusty baguette….. Or however you please…

Especially as a meal for two, or one, on a cold winters night there is nothing more pleasing then a hot plate of squash.

Rosemary Salt and Pepper Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

Oh Boy ~ is that a mouthful to say..

But OH so worth it.

Remember how I said it would be in your best interest to keep the seeds from the butternut squash?  Well this is what you do with them 🙂

Unfortunately one squash does not yield a large portion of seeds, but enough to make a small batch with.

Rosemary Salt and Pepper Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

This recipe is a short one

Once the seeds are rinsed, all squash flesh removed, and patted dry place them in a small bowl.  Add oil of choice, I used grape seed again, about a tbsp until covered.  Then add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a healthy tbsp of rosemary (dried or fresh, whichever is on hand).

Place on a small baking sheet lined with foil or oil and bake on 300 for 10-15 mins.  Times will differ but seeds will brown on the outside, and will begin to pop when they are ready to come out.

Though I am sure when your house starts to smell like heaven you’ll know they are ready.

Bon Appétit!

Baked Butternut Squash

Let’s get our Squash ON

The new year has passed.  And now a million different events come into play.  The biggest of which will be finishing up college.  A very surreal time full of all sorts of crazy.

BUT lets get back to the squash at hand.

This particular butternut squash has been on my counter for what seems like forever.  Great shelf-life.

The most daunting aspect, however, is cutting it lengthwise before blissfuly leaving it to sit in the oven.

With a large knife in hand I approached the squash.  Placed it on its side and cut off the top tip with the stem.  I did not cut the bottom piece off but feel free to do so.

Then bringing the squash back to an upright position place the knife in the center and begin your decent downward.  It won’t be easy.  It will take many bouts of effort and a few choice words.  Some people use small plastic mallets and tap on either end of the knife.  Some people might be blessed with superior upper arm strength, in which case disregard the previous statements.

I am not one of those prized few.  But after a few minutes of careful cutting my squash lay in two beautiful halves on the counter.

With a spoon or other tool of your liking remove all the seeds and string-y insides.  SAVE THE SEEDS.  Put them in a small bowl.  Whatever you do, do not throw them away.  You will be grateful later, I promise.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Use a large baking dish and pour enough oil into it to nicely coat the bottom.  I used grape seed oil, but olive oil amongst others would be more than fine.  I then rubbed a bit of oil onto all sides of the squash halves, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then placed flesh side down into the baking dish and into the oven it went.  Cook for around 40-50 minutes.  Until inside is tender.

Remove from oven and serve!  I sliced mine before sending it around the table and everyone ate all but the skin on their own plate.  It is so versatile and can be served with a variety of seasonings, mashed, or pureed.  But baked with a bit of salt and pepper is beyond divine 😉