Archive | Entrees

Crisp Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Feta and Mint

Crisp Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Feta and Mint

Recipe by Marie Simmons, Illustration by Helen Krayenhoff

 

A bagful of squash blossoms from the farmers market sent me back a few decades to my childhood. My mother harvested the blossoms from the tangled zucchini patch in our garden, dipped them in egg and flour, and fried them in olive oil. We sat on the back porch and ate them like some kids eat peanuts. Here is Mom’s basic recipe. The feta and mint are my additions. Mom would have used a square of mozzarella or Pecorino Romano.

12 or more squash blossoms, preferably with stems attached (stems make good handles)

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more, if needed

1 to 2 large eggs

Feta cheese, cut into ⅓-inch pieces (one for each blossom)

Mint leaves, torn into small pieces (one for each blossom)

Olive or other vegetable oil

 

Examine the blossoms closely to make sure there aren’t any bugs hiding inside. Do not rinse the delicate blossoms.

Place the flour on a large shallow plate. Whisk the egg or eggs and 2 tablespoons water in a shallow soup bowl until blended. Make a small slit in the side of each blossom near the stem end and insert a piece of cheese and mint leaf.… Read More

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Grilled Potimarron with Salsa Verde

This Italian style salsa verde can be made with any combination of herbs. “Don’t be afraid to experiment.” —AP

1 fully mature potimarron, cut into wedges
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only (about 2
cups), finely chopped
½ bunch mint, leaves only (about ½ cup), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

To make the salsa verde, combine the minced shallot and vinegar in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. In a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, anchovies, and capers and process until combined. Add the shallot-and-vinegar mixture. With the machine on, slowly pour in the olive oil until incorporated. Season with salt.

Grill the squash until soft and serve topped with the salsa verde. Serves 4.

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Potimarron with Almonds, Garlic, and Aleppo Pepper

A good way to use semi-mature potimarron. Even at full maturity, potimarron has a tender skin that does not need to be pared away.

1 potimarron, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups slivered almonds
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
Pinch salt
Pinch Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced
Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss potimarron with olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until the wedges have softened and started to brown (about 40 minutes). Toss almonds and garlic in
the canola or grapeseed oil, place over parchment on a baking sheet, and roast until lightly toasted.

Remove from oven and toss in a bowl with the salt and Aleppo pepper. When the squash is fully roasted, place on a serving dish and top with the toasted almond mix, a pinch of parsley, and a slice of lemon. Grate some Parmigiano over the top. Serves 4.

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Potimarron Jeune in Tomato Sauce

“The possibilities on this riff are endless. Try it with any summer squash variety.” —AP

Several potimarron jeune (or summer squash), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces of an oily type fish, such as yellowtail,
tuna, sardines, or mackerel
2 cups tomato sauce (arrabiata, puttanesca, or with herbes de Provence)
3 ounces oil-cured olives or a really garlicky aioli

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss the potimarron and eggplant cubes in olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until the cubes have softened and started to brown (about 40 minutes). When they
are nearly done, start grilling the fish. Place the tomato sauce in a sauté pan and add the roasted squash and eggplant cubes, stewing them all “à la minute.” Divide the mixture onto 4 serving plates and top each with a piece of grilled fish. Garnish with the olives or aioli. Serves 4.

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Black Futsu in Green Curry Sauce

At Sea Salt, they love black futsu for the “fudge-like” texture of its golden flesh, which has a rich taste resembling hazelnuts, and for the edible skin that gets somewhat crisp when roasted.

1 large black futsu squash, cut into 1-inch-thick half moons
6 tablespoons butter
Salt
½ medium-sized onion, chopped
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
2 stalks lemongrass (Cut away and discard the green portions and then bruise the remaining portion with the back of a knife before slicing thinly.)
3 green apples, peeled and diced
Zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 cans coconut milk
½ cup cream (optional)
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
(Reserve a few whole sprigs for garnish.)

Preheat oven to 350°. Clarify 2 tablespoons butter and use it to coat the squash segments. Lay them on a baking sheet, salt lightly, and roast until the squash is soft and its skin is crisp. Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan and sauté onion, ginger, lemongrass, and apple until soft. Allow to cool and then pureé in a blender or food processor along with the lime zest, curry paste, coconut milk, cream, and cilantro. Just before serving, gently heat the curry sauce while arranging the roasted squash slices onto plates.… Read More

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Mostaccioli con Mandorle

Honey Cookies Filled with Almonds, Cocoa, and Anisette From My Calabria: Rustic Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South (Norton, 2010), by Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher, © 2010 by Rosetta Costantino and Janet Fletcher.

Used with permission.

In a discussion about her book, Rosetta mentioned that there were quite a few recipes, especially in the dolci (desserts) chapter, that her editor wanted omitted because they were deemed too esoteric. Indeed, most of the recipes that made the cut will be highly accessible to most people who enjoy spending quality time in the kitchen. But Rosetta seems to have found various ways to give readers a nibble here and there of the esoterica. In the headnote to this recipe, she explains that mostaccioli,

“Calabria’s most beloved holiday cookies” might also be “among the region’s oldest sweets, judging from their primitive nature.” She goes on to describe the most traditional version as being made with nothing but flour and honey that’s mixed into a stiff dough, rolled flat, and cut into whimsical shapes before being baked. “Calabrian children learn to suck slowly on these jaw-breaking cookies until they soften.”

As she describes the traditional decorating techniques, one starts to understand the degree to which Calabrians go in their hand crafting of food:

“Mostaccioli are never frosted but are charmingly decorated with hatch marks and tiny squares of shiny colored tinfoil that you remove before eating.Read More

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Blueberry Pickled Fish

Any meat or fat that is stored in blueberries will become pickled, developing a unique color and flavor within a few days to a week.  Clean and gut some fat trout or whitefish and then hang it to dry for three days. Hanging and drying are necessary to toughen the fish so it won’t fall apart.

Cut the fish into 2- by 4-inch pieces, removing any bloody or spoiled pieces. Mix this into a large bowl or jar filled with blueberry juice or juicy blueberries (fresh, or stored from last year). You’ll need enough juice so that the fish is completely submerged and can be easily stirred.

Keep cold and stir gently each day. It will be ready to eat when the color goes all the way through the fish. To check, cut a piece and see if the center is purple.

Eat the berries, juice, and fish all together as pickles with a meal, or with sugar for dessert.

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Warm Shelling Bean Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Adapted from Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers

Shelling beans should be in good supply this season as growers have stepped up production to meet rising demand. When you purchase shrimp for this recipe, look for Pacific Coast wildcaught
pink shrimp, which are a Best Choice according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s SeafoodWATCH program (montereybayaquarium.org). If you can find wild-caught shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, purchasing them will be a way of helping support the fishermen impacted by the BP oil spill.

2 pounds fresh cranberry beans, cannellini beans, black-eyed peas, crowder peas, or other shelling
beans
½ yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise, plus 1 large clove, finely minced
4 thyme sprigs
1½ quarts water
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ large red onion, halved again through the stem end, then very thinly sliced
¼ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces
2 innermost celery ribs, thinly sliced
1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes, preferably red and gold types
Red wine vinegar
18 large shrimp (about ¾ pound total), peeled and deveined
1 lemon

Remove the beans from their pods; you should have 3–3½ cups.… Read More

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Festive Dumplings

Adapted from The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
by Patricia Tanumihardja

This dessert is eaten during festivals and celebrations, including weddings and Chinese New Year, and is symbolic of
family unity and harmony. Happy Year of the Tiger!

2 cups glutinous rice flour, (such as Koda Farms Mochiko Blue Star
Brand Sweet Rice Flour), plus more for dusting
⅓ to ½ cup cold water
¼ cup brown sugar
Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)

Put the rice flour in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water and mix until the dough is stiff and no longer sticks to your fingers. Keep in mind that the dough won’t be as pliable as dough made with all-purpose flour. Cover the dough with a damp cloth as you work, since it dries out very quickly.

Dust a large plate with rice flour and glove your hands with flour. Pinch off a walnut-size piece of dough (about ¾ inch across) and flatten into a circle about 2 inches in diameter. Cup the dough in your palm and place ⅛ teaspoon brown sugar in the center. Pinch the edges together to fully enclose the sugar and then roll into a 1-inch ball. Place the dumpling on the plate. Repeat with the remaining dough and sugar.… Read More

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Yuba Rolls with Koda Kokuho Rose Rice

From Hodo Soy Beanery, 510.464.2977, hodosoy.com

Hodo is one of a very few producers in the U.S. of yuba, the tender “skin” that forms on the top of heated soymilk. The skin is pulled off the vats in sheets, and these can then be used in various ways in your kitchen. Shredded, they are great in stir-fries or salads, and they can also be cut in the form of noodles and fried or used as a wrap, both of which are done in the following recipe.

1 cup Koda Kokuho Rose rice
(white or brown)
2 cups water
4 sheets fresh Hodo Soy yuba
1 small jicama root, julienned
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce or
tamari

Cook rice with water in a steam rice cooker or on the stovetop. Finished rice should be a bit moist.

Cut 1 sheet of fresh yuba into thin strips. Stir-fry jicama strips in olive oil until they sweat (4–5 minutes). Add soy
sauce. Add strips of fresh yuba and stir-fry until yuba is slightly brown (4–5 minutes)

Unroll remaining yuba sheets one at a time onto a 6 x 8-inch sushi mat. Spread cooked rice and then spread stir-fried jicama and yuba strips onto the yuba.… Read More

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