I always felt squash blossoms were a special and coveted find at the farmer’s market. It wasn’t until Tom and I started planting squash ourselves last year, that we realized how readily abundant and available they could be (particularly if grown in your own backyard).
Similar to a parent; they are there…and available, if only you pay attention to look, reach out. My Dad, as I mentioned previously, passed away on my birthday this summer. He was always there for me and willing to lend an ear, a hand and even a handout when needed in my youth.
I took for granted that he would always be there to talk to, in good times, and bad. I always remember his strengths, even though, as with all of us humans, were equaled by his weaknesses, even if unperceived by most.
Today would have been his 82nd birthday. Last year for his 81st, we celebrated over a Zoom call with most of the guest list who attended his special 80th birthday party at my brother Scott’s house the previous year. I thought about making some banana dessert today in his honor, as I did last year. He was famous for his love of banana cream pie and for his 80th, my sister-in-law Christine, had a cake made based off a recipe I found on the internet called Banana Cream Cake. The recipe was for a small cake so it was, I don’t know, quadrupled (!!!) in size? That Cake was quite the star of the party (other than Dad, of course) and continued to feed the group of house party attendees that had flown in for the event, and stayed over to keep the party going all weekend.
This year instead, I am celebrating with squash blossoms, to remind me how fragile life is and yet how exquisite it can also be.
The squash blossom is dynamic. The full, vibrant, yellow beauty is best when picked at peak color and scale, because soon after, it collapses into a watery mess. The flower is both delicate and sturdy, yet should be handled gently and with care. It has many talents but is best known for it’s affinity for being stuffed with soft cheese and quickly pan-fried.
Dad’s talents, accomplishments and contributions to society were impressive and many, but his greatest hit of all was just being Dad! Happy Birthday Dad; I love and miss you.
A special shoutout for MY BROTHER MARK AND HIS WIFE IRMA who have been in Mexico helping to make sure our step-mom is both healthy again and sorting out the remains of his life from memorabilia. They are, the unsung hero’s and so appreciated. Mark met his wife, Irma, in Ajijic and is now surrounded by extended family (on her side) to rally and support. A big shout out to all – THANK YOU!Print
Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Smoked Goat Cheese
Fresh from the garden and quick to the plate. This is an easy, ad-hoc appetizer for any night of the week, or even every night of the summer while your garden is feeling generous. Since you might have only 4 blossoms to work with or you might have as many as 12 or 16, I will give a rule of thumb on the ingredient quantity, but feel free to scale up or down as needed. Left-over batter and stuffing can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for several days.
Freshly picked squash blossoms
Smoked goat cheese (soft); assume approximately 1 oz., per 4-6 blossoms (depending on size of blossom)
Grated parmesan cheese (just a sprinkle, or up to a few TBSP if making 12-24)
Egg yolk (1 yolk for 6 oz. goat cheese, or just a portion of the yolk if doing a small quantity)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Sprinkle of smoked paprika (more if using non-smoked goat cheese)
Cooked beets (particularly yellow), skin removed and sliced thin
Arugula, lemon juice, salt and pepper
Green Sauce (enough to dollop each plate)
FOR THE BATTER
Flour (1/2 cup or so)
Salt and pepper
Sprinkle of parmesan
Enough soda water to resemble pancake batter
3 Gigante beans (in vinaigrette) from the olive bar (I said it was ad-hoc but you could use a little tahini or another handful of white beans from a can)
1/8 cup fresh basil leaves
3 green Castelvetrano olives
1 TB lemon juice
3 TB olive oil
3 TB water
Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Check each blossom for bugs and gently part the outer pedals to create a cup for the filling.
- In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, parmesan, egg yolk, pepper and paprika.
- Gently fill each blossom, leaving the tips empty enough to twist closed.
- Twist the tips closed and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the batter by mixing all the ingredients together.
- Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a sauté pan and heat until hot but not smoking.
- Dip each blossom into the batter while holding the tips and drop them one-by-one into the heated oil.
- Let the one side crisp to a golden brown (1-2 minutes) then, using tongs, flip them over to heat through (30-60 seconds more).
- Put sliced beets onto a plate.
- Toss arugula with sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice and put a mound over each plate of beets.
- Top with the cooked blossoms and spoon a bit of the green sauce around the plate.
Simply put all ingredients into a blender/Vitamix or food processor until smooth.
Mix all ingredients together.