Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Herbs & Cheese

Free is better than 99 cents any day. And the main ingredients in this week's recipe proves it! Squash plants with bright yellow blossoms are everywhere in my small garden this summer, and I didn't pay a cent for the plants.


All year I compost my veggie scraps in a 4 by 4 foot square of dirt. By the Spring I have enough rich earth to replenish my fallow garden. One of the problems, or in this case, benefits, are the compost seeds that sprout everywhere. Usually it's just some tomato plants, but this year squash plants have sprung up everywhere. 

When one is given lemons, you make lemonade -- or in this case, when you get squash blossoms, make Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Herbs & Cheese. I am also getting a bumper crop of herbs. So the only main expense was a small tub of Cream Cheese, and half a can of PBR (cheap beer) from my local 99c only Store. I always have eggs and flour around.

This delicate dish uses a light batter for frying, so the tender and mild squash flavor comes through. Surprisingly, the squash flowers hold up quite well to frying. And the herb-studded cheese is a scrumptious creamy bite.

You don't need a lot of cash for The 99 Cent Chefs latest high-end  recipe -- just some free garden squash blossoms, herbs, and a light sauteing touch. For all you gardeners out there, this recipe is for you.

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
1 dozen squash blossoms
1/2 small container of cream cheese, ricotta, or any favorite cheese -- soft or shredded.
Handful of chopped herbs  - I used parsley, oregano and sage from my garden. Okay to use a 1/2 teaspoon of dried.
1/4 cup of oil - just enough to cover the bottom of your frying pan.
A tasty addition would be to add some sauteed and chopped soft mushrooms into the cheese mixture.


Frying Batter Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch - this makes a lighter coating, but you can substitute for an equal amount of flour.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder - optional
  • 1/2 cup of beer - okay to use bubbly water, like soda or sparkling.
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

 Directions
Allow cheese to reach room temperature. Chop herbs and mix into softened cheese. If you use a harder cheese like cheddar then grate it and mix with herbs.


Cut off long stems of squash blossoms, but stop at green base. Be careful not to clip a hole into bottom - you don't want melting cheese to leak out too much. Stuff each blossom with about a teaspoon of cheese mixture, depending on the size of  each squash blossom.


Mix all the batter ingredients in a shallow bowl for dipping the Stuffed Squash Blossoms. It should be thinner than pancake batter. You are going for a light coating, it can be on the thin side. It's all about tasting the delicate blossoms. The batter coating will help hold in the melting cheese/herb stuffing.


Next add veggie oil to sauteing pan or pot, over medium/low heat. Test heat oil in pan with a drop of batter -- it should bubble and fry when added.

Dip Stuffed Squash Blossom into batter, coating all sides. Pick up coated blossom and let excess batter drain off; then add each Stuffed Squash Blossom into pan as you coat them. 

 

Turn over each Stuffed Squash Blossom when edges just start to lightly brown -- you don't want a dark "Fried Chicken" brown, more of a "Japanese Tempura" light color. Be careful as blossoms may sputter and splash some grease, because of the melting cheese -- that is why pan heat is medium/low.

Drain on paper towels or a metal rack. Be careful of the first bite -- it will be deliciously melting hot!

This dish combines well as a topping for a favorite pasta entree, like my John Cassavetes Red Pepper, Olive Oil, Garlic & Pasta; Fettuccine Alfredo; or Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Bacon Bits -- just click on a name for the recipe. Stuffed Squash Blossoms also make impressive party hors d'oeuvres.

9 comments:

Louise said...

I also have about 10 seedlings growing out of the compost pile. I transplanted them. They could be pumpkin, zucchini, summer squash, watermelon or cukes. This is going to be such a surprise. I can't wait. Will try this recipe as soon as I have flowers. I enjoyed Ms. Patti's Red Beans & Rice. I really enjoy your food blog. Keep up the great recipes. Louise

Billy Vasquez said...

hi Louise, do come back -- next month is all Cajun cuisine, with a lot of recipe videos on the way!

Dinahsoar said...

I remember my first squash blossom fritters--disbelieving eating such a thing, but love at first bite. Love this take on it.

BTW--on the hob is a big pot of Miss Patti's red beans, to be eaten over rice tonight. I lucked out and found her favorite brand of red kidney beans at my local Walmart. Who knew?

I've sampled them--must taste test you know--and they are delicious. I did soak them all last night and started cooking them early this morning.

Billy Vasquez said...

hi Dinah, It's all about the beans with Mrs. Patti. I usually go with a cheaper brand, but in this case it's worth the price for the real thing.

Jimmy said...

Hello! When I saw the title, I didn't really believe it was for real. But the pictures spoke for themselves. Still, I am very confused. How does this taste like? I have some squash in the garden, 20-ish to be precise. Wondering if my girlfriend would like this.. Thank you for the input!

___
International call

Billy Vasquez said...

hi Jimmy, you girlfriend would love them - my wife did! The flower itself has the lightest squash flavor and the herb cream cheese is pungent, but not too much so. As for the mouth feel, the blossom flesh is so tender, but some crunch is introduced with the light coating. It's a delicious dish ;-P

Louise said...

Stuffed squash blossoms have become a favorite of mine. I've stuffed them with ricotta, cheddar, cream cheese and even pesto. My only problem is I still do not know what kind of produce my plants will provide. They are enormous plants with only male flowers. I'm patient but there don't seem to be any bees this year. Billy, can't wait for the Cajun cuisine.

Louise said...

Hi Billy, I'm still on the squash blossom craze. Your Artichoke Dip with Cream Cheese & Parmesan is my newest filling. I'll be making your Meatball Sub recipe tomorrow night. I'm enjoying your older posts. I'm picking about 4 cucumbers a day now and already started making refrigerator pickles.

dedy oktavianus said...

such a fancy tiny savoury bites...
i thnk i'm gonna theat my cucumber blossom this way...
Dedy@Dentist Chef

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