Friday, December 12, 2008
You could make it even healthier by using ground turkey and brown rice. Enjoy!
Grandma D's Cabbage Rolls
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
3 Tbsp raw rice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 can diced tomatoes
Rest of recipe calls for:
8-10 cabbage leaves
remainder from can of diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Boil whole cabbage leaves until pliable, about 3-5 minutes. Drain. Trim rib from back of leaves. Roll meat in leaves like a burrito. Place in skillet, cover with remainder of can of diced tomatoes with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano sprinkled over the cabbage rolls. Cover and simmer until done (about 45 minutes). Add a little stock or water if it gets too thick.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
This simple one is from a recent Family Circle magazine and the whole family really seemed to enjoy it. The kids preferred theirs without the nuts and parsley (eww...something GREEN?)
I know everyone has a similar recipe in their files, but if you don't, give it a try. Pair it with brown rice and a salad for a healthy dinner.
1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 T ketchup
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I used walnuts)
1 box wild rice (I used brown rice)
1 T. olive oil (I omitted)
Make rice according to directions. Heat oven to 400. Spray baking dish with nonstick spray.
Whisk together apricot preserves, ketchup, mustard, ginger and garlic. Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture. Place chicken in dish and spread remaining apricot mixture over the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
To serve, lay one chicken breast on top of 1/2 cup rice, drizzle with a little extra sauce if desired. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and parsely, if you have any on hand.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I learned this dip from my sister in law (she's from Boston) several years ago at our extremely traditional family Thanksgiving. We are talking the same menu every year - turkey, mash, candied yams, green bean casserole, apple salad and cranberry sauce from a can. I think that was the same year she brought Oysters Rockafeller, which went over like a ton of bricks. But this one was a hit, and I've been making it every year since. Thanks, Lori!
Pulse all in Cuisinart until blended. Let sit overnight in fridge.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This recipe is super easy, especially if you forget the graham cracker crumbs and use a Nilla Wafer in the bottom of each cup instead. I opted for the higher degree of difficulty (only because going to the store with the munchkins would have been a wash in level of difficulty)
Set oven to 350. Mix the cream cheese in a Kitchen Aid or with a hand beater until creamy and fluffy. Add rest of ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour a heaping spoonful into each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve chilled.
For the chocolate decoration, I melted chocolate chips and used a ziplock with the tip cut off to squeeze out and make the design.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It was pretty funny because when I looked at the rice wrappers, there was not a single word in English...no pictures either! However, with the internet, nothing is a mystery for long....I found a cool web page all about it here. I made the water a little too hot because the first one turned into a gummy mess, but once the water cooled down a little, they came out fine.
I know these are fabulous with mint and shrimp inside, but I just went with what I had on hand.
This is a very light and delicate starter, perfect for an asian themed party or meal. I actually made quite a few and they stood up in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
Onto the recipe:
Vegetarian Salad Rolls with Nuoc Cham
1 package round rice papers
2 carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 package extra firm tofu, baked or fried
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cups spinach or lettuce
Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce):
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves minced garlic
2-3 chopped Thai bird chiles
Mix up all the sauce ingredients and let sit while you prepare rolls.
Sprinkle tofu with garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Bake at 400 for 2o minutes. (or fry it up)
Get all the ingredients for the rolls prepared.
Heat a pan of water to almost boiling.
Soften 1 paper in the hot water.
Layer the ingredients in the wrapper and roll up tight like a burrito.
Repeat until the ingredients are gone.
For me and tall guy, it seemed like a gourmet treat to eat with our coconut chicken and sticky rice. Nummers!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Wash and peel your citrus with a vegetable peeler, being careful not to get too much of the white pith. Try to make long strips so that when you cut them lengthwise, you get a nice ribbon effect. Put the strips in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Dump the water, and do it again 3 times.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I saw this recipe over at Vegan Yum Yum, which was my inspiration. I changed some minor things and added more veggies. This was also my first time cooking with quinoa...and I LOVED it! I was imagining a fibrous bland grain, but it wasn't that way at all! I toasted it first which gave it a sweet nutty flavor. My skepticism prevented me from buying more than one cup from the bulk bin, so I will have to pick up more later. It's a nice alternative to rice or pasta - and it has way more protein and fiber!
Sweet Chile-Lime Glazed Veggies over Quinoa
Heat oil in a pan and add the quinoa. Cook, stirring frequently, until the quinoa is golden and fragrant. You might hear a little popping sound. Add the broth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, work on the rest of the dish.
3 T. sugar
2 T. lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 T. Dragonfly oyster sauce*
1 T. water
1 clove minced garlic
2 red thai chiles, chopped fine
1 T. chopped mint
Mix everything in a bowl and set aside.
* Here is a picture of the thai chiles and they oyster sauce that I prefer.
1 T. olive oil
1 block firm tofu
2 japanese eggplants
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. water
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions cut into 1/2 inch pieces
I'm not sure the correct way to cook tofu - I just know how good it tastes when the outside is crunchy and the inside is smooth. I cut my tofu kind of thin, pressed on it with some paper towels and then put it in 1 T. of really hot oil. Use your non-stickiest non-stick pan. Trust me on that. Let it brown on all sides. Put in a separate bowl. Slice the eggplants once lengthwise and then into half inch pieces. Since I used the oil for the tofu, I decided not to on the other veggies. Get your nonstick pan hot and add the eggplant. When its starting to brown too much, add the soy-water mixture. After a few minutes, toss in the chopped bell pepper. The liquid should evaporate about the same time that the veggies are soft. Add back in the tofu and green onions. Pour glaze sauce over the veggies. It should bubble up and get a little thick. That's it.
Honestly, I would have been extremely happy with this dish if I ordered it at a restaurant. And while I was taking pictures, I turned around to see the kids devouring the quinoa. Shhh...I'm not telling them its *gasp* healthy!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Knowing that nugget of information (forgive the pun), I decided to make my own healthy version. It worked...the kids gobbled them up with the voracity of ants on a lollipop. For children who shun meat in most forms, this was like winning a key battle. And why didn't I think of it sooner??? Duh!
Baked Chicken Nuggets
3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper
Heat oven to 400. Put a rack inside of a cookie sheet or baking pan. This will allow more even crisping on the underside.
In a bowl, mix the milk with vinegar and throw in the chicken pieces (This would be a tenderizer kind of like buttermilk). Make the breading by mixing up the rest of the ingredients in another bowl. Roll the chicken pieces in breading until coated and put on the rack.
Cook for 15 minutes, then turn them over and turn the oven up to broil. Cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with dipping sauce of choice (we used marinara).
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I had this recipe from www.recipegirl.com bookmarked for so long and finally got around to it. And wow, they did not disappoint! These were so moist - just sweet enough and spicy enough to please every palate. I changed the original recipe by cutting the oil in half and adding some applesauce.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
1 ¾ cups pure pumpkin puree (1 small can)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
4 large eggs
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole- wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¾ cup mini- chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 Tbs butter, softened
2 tsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup mini- chocolate chips (for topping)
Prepare batter: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray or line with paper cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, applesauce, eggs and sugars until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves. Toss in mini chocolate chips and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet and stir until moistened.
Pour batter into muffin pan coated with nonstick spray or paper cups. Bake until the center springs back when lightly pressed in the center- about 20 minutes. Remove and place on wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix until smooth. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with additional mini chocolate chips.
Friday, October 3, 2008
The book was also riddled with controversy because Mrs. Seinfeld was accused of plagiarism and defamation of character from a woman who a few months prior to Seinfeld's release, wrote a very similar book called "Sneaky Chef." It seems that the concepts and recipes were practically identical, but it was Seinfeld's book that raked in the dollars. That is the reason I checked the book out from the library instead of buying it. The Seinfeld Empire does not need any of my cash!
The main concept of the book is cooking and pureeing veggies and freezing them in 1/2 cup portions, so that when you make a recipe like this, you just pull the veg out of the freezer and throw it into the recipe. I can't imagine cooking the squash just for this, but if it was already prepped, then it's is a snap. I may try another butternut recipe since I have several baggies in the freezer now. I could see how you need to build up your stock of purees in order to try more of these sneaky recipes. Try finding time to do that!
I am going to post the recipe exactly as written and I hope nobody accuses me of plagiarism. The book shows theirs all puffed up over the edges, whereas mine fell flat once I turned the camera on. They were still very tasty - fluffy yet substantial and sweet enough for toddler palates. They were so easy, I could even make them on a weekday morning.
Baked Egg Puffs (with butternut squash)
4 egg whites
1/2 cup butternut squash
2 T. grated cheese
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 400. Coat 4 (1/2 cup) ramekins with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, squash puree, cheese, flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake until the tops are puffed up and the eggs are no longer runny in the center when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
You may not know it, but my kitchen is pretty tiny and I finally decided to let my food processor live on the much-coveted counter space.....for the time being. Even though it is an eyesore, when I see it sitting there, it reminds me of how easy it is to whip up a little dough for crust. It makes me happy.
On to the recipe:
Monday, September 29, 2008
Preheat oven to 400. Take the almost thawed shells and separate them. With a rolling pin, roll them out a little bit flatter and bigger. Place on cookie sheet. This way they don't puff up so high. Mix the goat cheese, garlic, thyme and salt/pepper together. Spread about 1/2 tsp. cheese mixture on each tart shell and top with tomatos slices. Sprinkle with pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes, until desired golden color.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
When I think of fall several types of food come to mind......baked winter squash, hearty soups and poached pears. Because its still in the 80's here (temperature, not decade - hah!), we haven't quite gotten the autumn feel, but I still oven-roasted a head of cauliflower yesterday, with plans of a simple creamy and healthy soup.
I made a cheesy cauliflower soup recently, but I prefer this one, hands down. I was going for a more subtle flavor this time, with the cauliflower center stage - no onions, garlic, cheese or other herbs (besides the garnish). I think roasting the cauliflower first gave it a sweet nutty flavor which worked really well. I balanced that roasted flavor with a dash of sugar, which gave it even more depth. It's also really important to blend it vigorously so that it has a rich creamy consistency.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
1 head cauliflower
2 T. olive oil
1/2 cup FF half and half
1/2 cup milk
1 small can veggie broth
generous amount of salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
Heat oven to 450. Cut up and spread cauliflower on baking sheet. Drizzle oil over and mix gently so it's evenly coated. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring a couple times until soft on the inside and browned on the outside. Chill until cooled.
Put cauliflower and rest of ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Heat on the stove until hot. Gobble up with a nice grilled cheese sandwich. Yum!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
2 cups flour
Pulse the flour, butter, oil and salt in a processor until crumbly. Add the water and pulse a few times until it comes together. Carefully dump it out onto a board and push it together gently! Roll into the shape of your pan. My tart pan has a removable bottom for easy serving. Brush egg wash on the edges and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Let cool off a bit while you make the filling.
Mix eggs, milk and parmesan together in a bowl and set aside. In a pan, saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms until soft. Add the basil or any other herbs and remove from heat.
Put mushroom mixture onto crust. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese. Pour egg mixture over that. Arrange asparagus in a starburst pattern. You may have to trim the asparagus down into 2-3 inch pieces. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Who doesn't love fried flautas smothered with salsa, guacamole and sour cream?? I sure do, even though I've never made them myself. These are just as good, in my humble opinion and much better for you. You can surely use chicken to save even more calories.
Flautas are a nice alternative to enchiladas and are a snap to assemble after you've let the pork cook in the crockpot all day. It took me all of 5 minutes to get the meat going. I definitely prefer the "butt" roast (no snickering, kids). For some reason, the last few times I tried using a pork shoulder, it came out kind of gamey.
Put into crockpot:
1/2 cup water
3-4 lb. pork butt roast with dry rub*
sprinkle 3 sliced jalepenos on top of meat
Cook on high for 5-6 hours. Remove from crock and shred meat, picking out obvious fatty spots.
* My favorite dry rub seasoning is something called "Santa Maria Style Seasoning" which is salt, garlic, black pepper and parsley. I used about 2 tablespoons of this along with 1 tsp. of cumin.
10-12 flour tortillas
shredded carnitas (above)
2 cups shredded cheese
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
1/2 onion, minced
Olive oil for brushing over tops
Preheat oven to 375. Warm tortillas in foil for 10 minutes in oven. Spread a little of each ingredient in a line down the middle of the tortilla and roll up as tight as possible. Place on greased cookie sheet, seam side down. Once, you've made them all, brush with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with salsa and guacamole.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
That's it for the update. Hopefully I will be back to blogging, but I'm working on another project which has been keeping me occupied. So this morning at about 9:30 my kids were asking for pizza because they were soooooooo hungry. I decided to let them make their own fruit pizza, and they were thrilled with that prospect.
Owen keeps telling me that he wants to be a chef (and I get a pang of pride each time I hear that), but then again, he also wants to be a Super Spy, an astronaut, a doctor, and a pilot. So I'm not holding my breath.
Notice below, Wesley licking his hand. Awesome! Clearly no rules around here for fun-time cooking. I try to bite my tongue and just let them make a grand old mess. They were so proud of themselves, and that was my goal here. It didn't matter that the sugar melted and ran off the pizza stone into the bottom of my oven. It didn't matter that the crust was hard as a rock. Nor did it matter that I had to sweep up a pound of flour from the floor. They ate it and beamed. Mission accomplished.
Not sure if you knew this, but getting a loaded pizza onto a pre-heated pizza stone is not easy. Especially when your topping is sugar and round berries. Next time I will use a plain ol' rimmed cookie sheet.
And I might "help" with the cinnamon-sugar portion control so it doesn't melt off the pizza and do this:
When they are all grown and married with their own kids, I can only hope that they remember mornings like this and smile. And their wives can sit back with a cup of coffee and the newspaper while dad whips up some gourmet breakfast!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Just taking advantage of what's hanging around the house here - a little extra ricotta and some fresh peaches. Again, if you don't like ricotta cheese, this will not impress you. I just think it gave the peaches a little extra pizazz (is that a real word? It looks wrong). Anyways, if this is a jumping point for embellishing your own fruit then, whoopie! But I toally get it if you prefer your fruit nude. And sometimes ricotta just won't satisfy your ice cream craving. I understand. Really, I do.
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Splenda
Spray your grill or grill pan with cooking spray. Once hot, lay those peaches down. Meanwhile, mix ricotta, cinnamon and Splenda (or sugar) together. Once the peaches are heated through and have the grill marks, take them off the heat. Put 1 T. mixture into each peach and then drizzle with honey. Yum!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Chocolate filled raspberries. I just melted chocolate chips and put in a ziplock bag. Snip the corner and pipe the chocolate into fresh raspberries. Best served at room temperature so the chocolate melts in your mouth along with the berry. So delicate and beautiful, these would make a perfect adornment to a cupcake, tart or just pop them in your mouth for no apparent reason (my favorite way).
Do you remember the ice cream trucks coming around your neighborhood when you were a kid? This one I remember well because of the gumball eyeballs. There was also Tweety Bird and the foot-shaped one with a gumball for the big toe. I'm scared of the ice cream truck that comes around my hood. That beat-up 70's van must cruise through here at a brisk pace because when I hear that creepy wailing tune, by the time I run out the front door, he is long gone. I often wonder if maybe they sell more than just ice cream, if you know what I mean.
Dreyer's Yogurt Blends - Caramel Praline Crunch. If you are an ice cream fan and just have to have a serving every night, here is an interesting solution. I LOVE this particular flavor, but there are several to choose from. Only 120 calories per serving and 3.5 grams of fat, plus all those live culture things that yogurt has, which is apparently good for digestion and what not. I think it just tastes so incredibly good.
Sopapillas - Fried flour tortillas topped with powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar. Now you picky foodie people, I realize that mine are not traditional sopapillas, which are some sort puffy bread made from scratch and then fried....it's just my gringo version. My parents used to make these every once in awhile. I think it was a frugal dessert which made us totally happy.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Fresh Figs - With walnuts and Cambazola (creamy blue cheese). Simplicity at it's finest.
Oven-Dried Figs - This was kind of a mistake, but it turned out pretty good! I was going to pre-bake some figs to put on a pizza or tart. So I put them in the toaster oven at about 300 degrees......and TOTALLY forgot about them. Over 2 hours later, I got these dry sweet chewy morsels. A blessing in disguise!
I know, I know, that's a fire hazard waiting to happen. It's just that they didn't really emit an odor and I was completely engrossed in catching up with some housework and a little Olympics on the TIVO. If you are planning a hike in the hills, these would be a great natural sweet snack to bring along. It makes me think of trying to find a food dehydrater.
Fig & Ginger Chutney - Aside from a little chopping, chutneys are easy to make and they are so versatile. Serve it on grilled meat. Pour it over a wedge of brie with crackers. Make a crostini appetizer with some goat cheese and chutney. I love the sweet-sour-spicy combination!
1 pint figs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T. grated ginger
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup minced onion
4 oz tomato sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Mix everything together in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Transfer to sauce pan and simmer for about and hour, or until all the flavors have mellowed. Best to eat the next day.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Put everything together on a plate. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
First things first. The crust. Do what you wish here....I made mine from scratch. Nothing wrong with frozen pre-made crust. In fact, if I had some handy it would have been just fine and cut my prep by at least 15 minutes.
Pie/Quiche Pastry Crust
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4-5T. ice cold water
Cut the butter into the flour and salt. Add the water, until a formable ball of dough forms. Roll it out and put in a pie pan. Cover the crust with parchment paper and top with dry beans or rice to weigh it down so it won't puff up. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 oven.
Second, saute the onion slices in a little olive oil until caramelized. This takes a good 15 minutes. I usually cheat and add a teaspoon of sugar to help the browning along. Then get all your other ingredients ready to go.....slice your mozarella, grate the parmesan, cut up some basil and brush off those zucchini flowers.
1 onion, sliced and caramelized
4 oz fresh mozarella
1 cup milk
1 T. chopped basil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
6 zucchini flowers, halved vertically
In a separate bowl, mix 4 eggs with 1 cup milk. Add parmesan, basil, salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Spread the onions on the crust, then the mozarella. (mushrooms would also be delish) Pour egg mixture over the top, reserving a couple tablespoons. Lay flowers in a pattern on top and push them down a little so they get wet with the egg. Cover with the last couple tablespoons of egg. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until done.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Step 2 - Make the BBQ sauce.
Step 3 - Make the red cabbage slaw and finish the sauce.
Step 4 - Cook the taco shells and assemble.
So here is my version:
Yucatan Tacos with BBQ Chile-Peanut Sauce with Red Slaw
2 lbs. chicken cut into small chunks
2 T. honey
2 T. lime juice
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil
2 t. minced garlic
1 minced chipotle pepper
Mix everything together and let marinade while making the rest of this dish.
1 T. olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 inch chunk of fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
Saute onion until soft, add ginger & garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Add BBQ sauce and chipolte and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool for a bit and then blend together in a blender until smooth.
Put sauce back in pan and add:
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Increase heat to HIGH and cook until reduced by half.
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. creamy peanut butter
Cook another 5 minutes.
1/2 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Place cabbage and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, oil and honey and pour over the cabbage. Add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
The last step...this is it, really.
Fry corn tortillas into taco shells - or let your partner do that while you stir fry the chicken. Grate some cheese. Assemble tacos - chicken, sauce, cheese and slaw.
Eat. Enjoy. Sneak one more taco than you anticipated. Come on, you worked for it!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Pssst. Don't tell anyone, but I've been having a summer fling. His name is Ricotta. He is so great to be around - he gets along with everyone and never talks back or steals the remote. If you want, I can give him your number.
Anyways, it's farmer's market Thursday again, usually one day I'm feeling a little adventurous in the kitchen. I can honestly say that I've been wanting to make these for 6 years!! How do I know the exact moment, you ask?
That was the first time I tasted ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers in a restaurant....it was shortly after we got married and I remember making the reservations to A'Cote in Berkeley with my new last name. I was giddy - and even more giddy after finding these on the menu. To me, it was so fru-fru and fancy, but now with the explosion of foodie bloggers comparing notes, nothing seems out-of-the-ordinary anymore.
I've tried to reproduce them making my basic ricotta stuffing that I use to make stuffed pasta shells. I found the tempura batter online, a really easy flour/egg/water mixture.
Pick some zucchini flowers from your own garden, steal them from your neighbor's garden, or just seek them out from your local farmer's market. Brush off any visible bugs and cut out the pistil or stamen, whichever reproductive organ you see lurking down inside. Ack!
Cut up some veggies really tiny and saute until soft. Add some herbs like basil or thyme.
Add the veggies to some fresh ricotta and stir together.
Stuff each blossom with the ricotta mixture and coat with the tempura. Fry those puppies up. Get your splatter screen out. Trust me. Do it.
You can serve them up on a plate and let people pick them up like perfect little hand-held appetizers or......
.......make an appetizer plate for each person. I found some beautiful heirloom tomatoes to use as a base. They were so incredibly sweet and juicy - a perfect way to balance out the creamy fried goodness.
Nibble nibble. Munch munch.
Zucchini Blossoms with Ricotta
12 zucchini blossoms
oil for frying
1 cup finely chopped veggies (zuc, carrot, onion, broccoli, peppers etc.)
1 clove minced garlic
2 T. chopped herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, etc.)
1 small container of fresh ricotta
1 cup ice water
1 cup flour
Directions: Saute the veggies in 1 T. water until starting to turn soft. Add the garlic, cook for another minute. Remove from heat and cool. In a bowl, mix ricotta, veggies and fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stuff each blossom with 1 - 2 T. of ricotta mixture. I think you could put these in the fridge at this point (not sure on that).
Heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan. For the tempura batter, mix the egg and super cold ice water together, then add sifted flour, stirring briskly to avoid lumps. (This reminded me of the paper mache "glue" we made as kids). Dip the blossom into the batter, twisting the top of the flower to seal it up. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Sprinkle with sea salt after removing from pan. Enjoy!