SQUASH BLOSSOMS: I've been dying to make these. Somehow, James and I never got around to making dinner after we got home from The Trappist on Friday -- we found ourselves busy with non-food preparation related entertainment.
After the picnic in Dolores Park with the green bloggers, I took him to Ristorante Bacco for the first time - we had a fantastic dinner with the same server, Lucca, who was there the last time I had dinner with my friend Samael7.
James ordered a salmon carpaccio over a fennel salad, and I had a nice arugula and radiccio salad. For dinner, he had the fregola (tiny round pea shaped pasta) with seafood, and they made me a fantastic dish of rigatoni with truffle oil, green beans, asparagus, pine nuts, red pepper and carrots. Since we have liked the Layer Cake primitivo, we ordered another primitivo which had a bit more bite but which was delicious. We finished off with a mango sorbet that was creamy and delicious but not nearly as good as the WWOZ mango sorbet.
All this means is that we still had squash blossom sitting in my fridge when we got back to the east bay.
This morning I was determined to make up a squash blossom brunch. I made a nice nut cheese to stuff in the blossoms:
1/4 c raw pistachio nut meat
1/2 c raw cashews
1/4 c. raw pinenuts
1/2 tsp of chopped garlic from a jar
1/4 tsp chopped ginger from a jar
1 Tb white miso
1/4 tsp powdered cumin
dash of cayenne & salt
nutritional yeast to taste (optional)
dozen sprigs of cilantro (optional)
1/2 tsp lime juice (optional)
Whir in a food processor or high watt blender with a good knife-in-bowl system.
The nut cheese came out pretty astonishingly good.
Stuffed 12 squash blossoms with the nut cheese, and roll in batter:
1 c. flour
3 Tb crushed black sesame seeds
salt and coarsely crushed black pepper to taste
1-1 1/2 c water to make a thick batter
Make sure you get the blossom ends and a bit inside the blossom ends to keep them stuck together when you fry.
Thinking a batter would cling to the blossoms better than if I dunked them in flour-water-flower. It worked stupendously -- we had the most gorgeous and delicious squash blossom fritters with a side of sauteed red pepper, mushroom, chopped squash blossoms and grated zucchini and one sliced, sauteed sage-apple gluten sausage (pictures are coming, I swear!). We made a sauce with some chili oil, soy and lime -- but I think I would try one of the fruit chutneys I have made or a fruit- chili based sauce next time.
FRUIT: I know - I was going to take it easy, but... after delivering jars of apricot jam (and I got a jar made from the same apricots by James' neighbors), I picked more apricots from the tree next door to James' apartment. We went and got some gorgeous green gage plums and some light green/yellow apples. The plums are so astonishingly tasty - it's all I have had for dinner so far. Dobson loves the bruised apricots and the squishy plums, too.
I put all the fruit out on trays so that the apricots and apples can ripen a bit more. Then I spent aobut 2 hours cleaning the kitchen - I pulled out the stove and cleaned behind as best I could without detaching the gas hose pipe. I took the top off and cleaned out all the gooey, caramelized, burnt jam from under the burners, pulled out the bottom shelf and scrubbed it and the inside of the oven door. The sides are clean, as is the side of the cabinet and I even vacuumed and got all the bottle caps from behind the stove. It is CLEAN.
After finishing in the kitchen, I spent about six hours re-staking and re-tying tomato plants. My brother arrived and worked on the solar dehydrator -- it's practically a whole box now! I'm pretty excited and feel very grateful that my brother has stepped up to assemble the solar dehydrator for me. I don't know when I would have had time to do it with all the other stuff I have going on with preserving and housework. Oh - and there's that quilt I'm trying to finish up for Samael7 before his birthday on 9/11.
Ah... projects. I am going to figure out the dinner project and find a book. The kitties are zonked (except Dobs) -- George found a neighbor cat to fight with (no scratches or blood) but he was so tired out that he has been asleep since eating dinner at 6pm. Even though all the doors were open until 8:30, he just curled up on the bed in a ball and won't even wake up when I pet him.
BANG: Oh - and - there was a shooting around the corner from me last night. I missed it because I was at my sweetie's house... the 2 victims crashed their car, taking out about 4 cars and totalling them. The neighbors say there were about 8 shots, semi-automatic weapon fire.