Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunday - Goat Cheese and Chive Stuffed Squash Blossoms & Some Desserts

I guess I am getting lazy, because we've been making repeats of previous blog posts. On Sunday, we had a little BBQ and made our new favorite, Grilled Veggie Pasta with Browned Butter and Mizithra (covered on the blog here). We served it with a slice of toasted brioche and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Mmmm, mmmm...So good. It's really good left over, too. It can serve as at least your next day's lunch. In the spirit of trying something new, though, we did make some fried squash blossoms. Also, I've been hankering for desserts lately, I'm not sure why. But look for a couple of dessert posts below, too!

Trey's Mom served these fried squash blossoms to us when we were in Houston in June and though I'd seen squash blossoms on menus and in the stores I'd never eaten them. Trey's Mom did them simply - with just (and I hope I get this right) seltzer water and salt and pepper and flour. They were phenomenal. So delicate, with just a hint of squash-y flavor. I had seen a recipe for goat cheese stuffed blossoms and of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. We bought a huge squash plant from Portland Nursery on Sunday afternoon and immediately picked off all the male blossoms (a word to the wise - if you do use your own blossoms, don't pick off ALL the male blossoms. You'll need at least one to fertilize the female blossoms. I just hope I didn't ruin ours!). You'll need to give them a good rinse, gently, if you use ones from your garden. I'm hoping to find some at Zupan's or Uncle Paul's so that I don't have to ravage our plant every time I get a hankering for these.

If you decide to stuff your blossoms, just remember that they are very very fragile and will break or tear easily. Be super gentle.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms:

Squash blossoms, stems and stringy sepals removed (the insides, including the stamen can remain intact)
About 1/4 C goat cheese, at room temperature
Chopped chives
Dash lemon juice
2 eggs
1/4 C heavy cream or whole milk
1 C Flour
Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying (we like Canola)

Rinse your blossoms really well in cold water. Let dry on a paper towel. Meanwhile, mix chives, goat cheese, lemon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl, beat eggs and add cream or milk. Put the flour in another shallow bowl or plate.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Using a teaspoon (I used a 1/4 tsp. spoon), gently spoon your goat cheese mixture into the center of the blossoms. Twist the ends of the blossom back up so that it closes. One at a time, dip the blossoms into the egg mixture, then the flour, shaking off any excess. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

When your oil is ready drop the blossoms in, about 5 at a time. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on rack set over paper towels. Let cool slightly, serve immediately.

Dessert #1: Brownie A La Mode with Caramel Sauce

Why? Because it's the easiest freaking dessert you can make! Especially if you get a nummy hazelnut brownie from the Moonstruck counter at Fred Meyer. Just add vanilla ice cream (I LOVE the new Five by HaagenDazs) and drizzle with caramel sauce. So good. So so so good.

Dessert #2: Blackberry Tartlet

I made this one up, pretty much. It started when I had first taste of blackberry pie many years ago. I've always loved blackberries, I have fond childhood memories of picking them off the roadside and in fields by my house. Anyway, a pie is a perfect showcase for these little nuggets of num. Sometimes, however, you just don't pick enough to fill an entire pie. Case in point, on Monday at the Sandy River we miraculously found a small patch of blackberries that were already ripe. There were acres upon acres of bushes that had unripened berries on them, it's still a little early for blackberries. However, the ones that were ripe were perfect if a little sour. So I picked a handful (literally, a handful) for a small tartlet that evening. All you have to do is make a quick pie crust, take a small dish or ramekin and put the crust on the bottom, add your berries (that have been soaking in sugar) and top with another small pie crust. Do a little egg white wash and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Top with ice cream et voila! Blackberry tartlet!

Saturday Dinner - Rotisserie Chicken Sandwiches

 This recipe was emailed to me last year courtesy of the Whole Foods newsletter. I thought it sounded like a good recipe for leftover roasted (or rotisserie) chicken which we usually have in spades after we make it. It's a great sandwich for a hot night - it's cool, refreshing and healthy. We paired it with our new favorite, the grilled salad, from The Bitten Word (with some modifications, of course). I've covered it here on the blog, but it's totally worth repeating. Both recipes use buttermilk, so I guess I figured they'd go well together. And they did! Success. Side note: We had an avocado left over, so I grilled it. It's super easy and a delicious accompaniment for the salad. Just brush a halved avocado with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill for 3-5 minutes on high heat. Voila!

Rotisserie Chicken Sandwiches (recipe from the Whole Foods website):

1 cup low-fat buttermilk (or 3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk)
1/2 avocado, peeled & pitted - I used a whole one for more flavor
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup (about 1/2 bunch) packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, stems removed
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 slices whole wheat hearth bread, toasted - Zupans has these amazing demi-baguettes that we use for just about everything. They're perfect for these sandwiches!
1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, meat shredded and warmed

Combine buttermilk, avocado, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender until smooth; set aside. In a medium bowl toss together parsley, radishes, remaining lemon juice, salt and pepper. Arrange toasted bread on a large platter and top with chicken. Drizzle with avocado cream, top with parsley salad and serve. That couldn't have been easier, right!!


Bon appetit!