Monday, August 26, 2013

Squash Awesomes

I love weekends, because there are absolutely no expectations.

Well, let me re-phrase, in theory, there are no expectations. I am one of those people who constantly overbooks their schedule with fun things. This weekend it was the Pier Concert to see Nick Waterhouse, coffee and lunch dates in Malibu to catch up with old friends, sunset drinks at Shangri-la, which turned into nighttime drinks all over Venice, birthday grill-outs and dips in the pool. By the time Sunday rolled around I was over all of my plans. I'd been invited to a pool party at the W Hotel, and I had good intentions about going to yoga, and making myself a bunch of healthy meals for the week. 

But that's the beauty of weekends. I lazed around Sunday morning, had brunch at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, and then I bought one thing: Squash Blossoms. Here's what I know about squash blossoms - practically nothing. They grow on zucchini, they're yellow or orange, and I'd heard you could stuff them with cheese, which was all of the information I needed. 

I went home, cleaned my apartment, laid around some more, went for a walk, turned on this little mix and then decided to tackle the culinary experiment that is stuffed squash blossoms. I'll get right to it and tell you I had no idea what I was doing. For starters, I washed the blossoms, which seemed like a good idea because they had dirt and tiny bugs on them, I later read that you're just supposed to wipe them off with a paper towel, because they're harder to fill when they're wet. Oh well. 

Challenge #2 came up when I filled the blossoms with the cheese mixture. Just FYI pastry bags are the devil. I have one and I hate it. I ended up just spooning the cheese into a plastic ziploc bag and cutting of the corner to pipe it out and into the blossoms. Magic.

Ziploc bags are your friend.

Filling them was the hardest part, but once that was done, it was as simple as egg, flour, and fry. Totally tasty. Totally worth the work. And essentially, I ate fried cheese for dinner. I'm about that life. It's the weekend. 

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms
12 squash blossoms
1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella 
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 roughly chopped basil leaves
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup flour

Wash and trim excess stem length from blossoms (I left about an inch). Pat dry with a paper towel.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Spoon mixture into a plastic ziploc bag, and then snip off the corner of the bag. carefully pipe about a tablespoon of filling into each blossom. Don't fill them past where the petals separate or the filling will run out when you fry them. Twist the petals together to close. (So you have a tasty little cheesy pocket).

Note: it's best to keep them in the fridge as you fill them, and while you prep the oil, egg and flour in the next step. This will keep them from untwisting, and the filling from oozing out if it gets melty. 
Heat enough vegetable oil in a skillet to cover the bottom in 1/4 inch of oil.Heat oil on medium-low.
Scramble the second egg in one bowl, and pour the flour in another small bowl. Dredge each stuffed blossom in flour, egg, and then flour again for maximum crispiness. 
 Fry stuffed blossoms in batches. Turn them with tongs when you see the edges begin to brown. Brown both sides and then transfer to a stack of paper towels to drain the oil and cool.
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt before serving. (I also added parmesan and marinara for dipping) Best served warm.

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