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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Simple Sunday Fare

Hey everyone,

Yes, I’ve been so MIA even I missed me, lol.

Feeling as if my life is one distraction after another these days. Falling into that unproductive rut has been such a downer, I’m currently in near-total avoidance mode. That’s got me MORE bummed so now I’m kicking my own butt out of the hole (no easy feat to move this much mass, I promise). The French Open Tennis Championships, kids, their friends, gardening, the house–none of it is any help re: getting me on track.

The first zucchini blossoms–so early this year–and tonight’s dinner delicacy. (Recipe at my website–dee-lish! Just make sure to scroll down the page a little. :))

See how DBD (Distracted by Dust) I am? Anywho, This 30-40-minute recipe/meal was due to post on my blog two Fridays ago, as promised to my online friend and cooking aficionado, Stephanie. (Check out her blog and some of her awesome recipes: comfort food from scratch, and many dishes/desserts from typical household ingredients—my favorite kind.)

Once Stephanie took added a part-time job (cooking, of course) to everything else I’m sure she does, she asked for quick, from-scratch meals that could be made in a 30-40-minute time frame. Here’s the one I offered. Hopefully, some others found their way to her sooner! (Sorry, no photo of this one.)

Pork Chops with Zucchini, Onions and Rice (serves 3-4)

For the rice: white or brown rice (1 cup)

2-2/3 cups water

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

butter or olive oil (optional)

In a small saucepan you can cover tightly with a lid, bring water and seasoning(s) to a boil. Keep flame on high and add rice. Stir continuously for one minute then lower heat completely. Cover and let rice steam until done (about 23 minutes). When finished, keep rice covered for at least five minutes to allow all the water to be absorbed. Fluff with fork then cover and set aside. (Please note: brown rice will take about 40 minutes to cook.)

For the zucchini and onion:

2-3 zucchini (about8 incheslong and 2-3 inchesthick) cut into 1-inch pieces

1 med or large onion, chopped

canola or olive oil

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

Over medium flame, heat a large frying pan and add enough olive (or canola) oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When hot, sauté the veggies to desired doneness. (You can also coat with cooking spray and roast in a 400˚F for about 20 minutes. This cuts back on oil—and calories—and brings a unique sweetness out of the vegetables. Stir at least twice while veggies are in the oven.) Set aside.

Meat: (At least 4) boneless pork chops (boneless chicken breast or top sirloin make nice substitutes here, but you may want to marinate them in Italian salad dressing or Worcestershire sauce and olive oil, respectively)

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

oregano

fresh parsley

small clove of garlic, finely chopped

olive oil (1-2 tbsp, or to taste)

Flatten 4 boneless pork chops to desired thickness. Season with salt/pepper/adobo to taste. Spray a cast iron (or heavy aluminum frying) pan with cooking oil and heat over medium to high flame until a drop of water dances then evaporates. (Pan should be hot enough to sear the pork chop when it makes contact with the pan.) Place pork chops on pan and cook about five minutes before turning over. Cover and cook another 5-10 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to plate on which you’ve already mixed together oregano, parsley, garlic and olive oil. If you like, add juices from the meat to the plate too. Turn meat to coat.

That’s it! Serve immediately with veggies and rice. (Hint: If you’re using rice you made the day before, stirring together the rice and veggies in a frying pan coated with olive oil for a quick stir-fry. Yum!

Some easy substitutes for your sides: peas with onions and bread crumbs (see this post for how to on the peas) and a microwave-baked potato. (Yes, I much prefer oven-baked but at 7-10 minutes as compared to 6o in a conventional oven, the former speed-cooking method wins). Another thought: making the rice, chopping the veggies and pounding those pork chops the day before will cut your cooking time that much more! Finally, having your favorite crusty bread frozen (wrapped in foil and ready to pop in a 400-degree oven (Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes saves a trip to the bakery too).

Thanks so much, everyone. I appreciate your indulgence and hope you’ll try this very simple meal. Let me know how you made out. Any variations on the theme? Housing some awesome recipes at your blog? Share links in the comments!

And while we’re talking about sharing, please help this girl get ’round the web just a little faster by clicking one of the SHARE buttons below. (Assuming you liked this post and deemed it worthy of being thrust beyond my tiny corner of cyberspace!)

Have a great day! Go Rafa!

Joanna