Quinoa-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Hi everyone. So sorry I’ve been missing from here since before Mother’s Day. I managed a few posts at my alter-ego’s site, but even that’s been a tad sparse. End of the school year–which wrapped up on 6/23–got a touch busy. I’m already fully in our extended school year and that will take me through to the end of July. Then there’s tennis to keep one busy in between…

So Hubby’s garden has been far ahead of schedule this year—typically by now, he’d be harvesting a few zucchini blossoms and hoping to see a zucch or two beginning to form. Pumpkin flowers usually follow a few weeks later and an actual pumpkin doesn’t form until far later in the month.

Uh…not this year, folks.

zucch blossoms

Every morning brings the same question: where am I going to store all these blossoms? We’ve got them coming in like crazy from zucchini, yellow squash AND pumpkin plants. (That doesn’t include the multitude of zucchini I’ve been giving away–Hubby picked five yesterday afternoon. Maybe it’s the Miracle Gro he treats everything with faithfully. And perhaps I should get a permit for a roadside stand and sell them, lol. Even at $13/lb (or whatever the going rate is), it’s quite the return on the buyer’s dollar, lol. 😉

Anyway, the other night I made a platter of fritters to send to my neighbor’s. I still had some blossoms left to play with—the pumpkin variety, which are at least as big as my hand. These babies beg to be stuffed. (Had them with a ricotta filling for the first time last year—OMG. Just sayin’.)

pumpkin blossom-zoom

Luckily, I lacked ricotta, nor was I in the mood to get into that kind of fat and calorie count. I did, however, have cooked quinoa sitting in the fridge. (Quinoa is my new favorite ‘carb.’)

Hmmm.

I searched a few recipes, started here and wound up concocting something of my own.

Here we go. (Sorry, all amounts are approximates. I made this up as I went. Posted the finished product on Facebook and someone (Hi, Deb!)  asked for the recipe. I did my best to oblige!) 🙂

6-8 intact blossoms (I always remove the stem and pistol or stamen—the part inside the center at the flower’s base—male or female flower, respectively.)

For the filling:

½- ¾ cup cooked quinoa (I had flavored mine with olive oil, a spoonful of butter, parsley and garlic salt)

¼- ½ cup of bread crumbs* (or crushed pre-seasoned stuffing cubes/mix)

Fresh parsley and/or basil (as much or as little as you like)

Grated cheese (I used a mix of romano and parmesan)

Feta cheese (to taste—maybe a ¼ cup?)

Salt and black (pepper to taste)

A squeeze or so of lemon–optional (something tells me this will all work nicely together)

A (table)spoonful of chia seeds–also optional, but why not bump up the fiber and protein count some more?

Mix all the above together and set aside. (If you include the bread crumbs, sauté everything except the basil in hot oil. Stir in basil after the mixture has cooled a bit.

Note: Making the filling a day ahead will increase the flavor big-time.

For the batter:

½- ¾ cup of flour

Grated cheese

Chopped parsley and/or basil (to taste)

Salt and/or pepper (to taste)

½ tsp baking powder (optional)

Water

1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium to large bowl. Add water, enough to create a creamy, thin (but not watery) pancake-like batter. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. The mixture should be similar to a tempura batter.

Carefully fill each blossom with a spoonful or two of the quinoa mixture. Fold the flower closed as best you can. Dip and roll it in the batter. Pan-fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.

Drain on paper towels.

quinoa-stuffed zucch blossoms

These are best served immediately but are fine a little while later (i.e., several hours). I wouldn’t make these a day ahead. They’ll be heavy and oily.

*I plan on eliminating bread crumbs next time, to keep the carb count down. Don’t think you really need them.

And for dessert…

ooey-gooey choc chips

More to these than meets the eye, and fodder for a future post.

Have a great day and enjoy those special summer delicacies while they last!

Joanna

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#FollowFriday? No, #FridayFrittata!

Happy Friday everyone!

Ash Wednesday set Lent in motion, so how about a meatless recipe? And in the spirit of Twitter’s #FF (Follow Friday) we’ll call this one #FridayFrittata.

As with all of my recipes, I try to keep things easy. I must say, however, this one might take a little practice to make the way I do. Trust me, experience is the only reason I can flip the thing the way my mom does, but there are ways around that (which I’ll share as we go).

So here goes Joanna’s Momma’s #FridayFrittata:

Ingredients:

4-5 medium-large potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

3-5 eggs, lightly beaten (as if you were to scramble them)

Parmesan cheese*

Salt/pepper*

Parsley* (preferably fresh or frozen and lightly chopped—something about the smell of dried I don’t like)

Cooking spray

Oil (canola or olive)—enough to fry potatoes (I tend to be light-handed and fully coat bottom of pan)

How to put it all together: Spray the bottom of a large (12-inch) fry pan. (Non-stick is best in this case.) Cover bottom of the pan with oil; enough to allow you to turn the potatoes with a spatula and coat them lightly before you start cooking, know what I mean? Fry over medium-high heat, stirring and turning as needed until golden and tender as you like.

While potatoes are frying, prepare the egg mixture. Beat the eggs together with the remaining ingredients. Spread potatoes out so that they cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Reduce heat to medium and pour the egg mixture in, making sure to distribute between and around the potatoes.

Use the spatula to lift the sides and make holes to allow the egg to run to the underside.

Okay, the tricky part*: When the bottom is firm enough, cover the pan with a large plate. Hold one hand firmly over the middle of the plate and grasp the pan’s handle even more firmly with the other hand. Invert the frittata onto the plate. (The less-cooked top should be in contact with the plate.) Slide it back into the pan and continue to cook until the egg is done.

This dish tastes best served immediately but leftovers are yummy too!  Pair it with a salad, soup, toast or even pasta with garlic and olive oil for a light and tasty meal.

*Some folks skip the flipping part. (I just made a mess until I got it, lol.) Though I’ve never done this, another way is to take a large pie dish  and slide the frittata into that, uncooked side up. (Or simply start with a frying pan that has an oven-safe handle.) The whole thing then goes into a 400-degree oven for no more than 10 minutes (or until the egg is firm but not dry).

For a photo (not mine, but a good representation), click here.

Let me know how you make out! And if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a minute to help me spread the word and click one of the share buttons? Thanks so much!

A great weekend to all,

Joanna