Sunday, August 5, 2012

Farmer's market dinner

I was so jazzed about my farmer's market finds this morning that I (actually "we" - the KOAM did a lot of cooking too) used almost everything we bought at dinner!  Since I haven't blogged lunches in a while I thought I'd share our dinner with you.  By the way, even though it's August I'm still packing lunches.  Tomorrow is the first day of camp for Juju and she'll need a lunch and snack every day.  I will try to get back in the habit of documenting these for this space.

The thing I was most excited to get today were squash blossoms.  I actually made them last month and posted about it on Facebook.  I made up a recipe based on something I ate at a restaurant and it's absolutely delicious.  They are sort of a pain to put together but the result is totally worth it.

Here are my squash blossoms fresh from the Hollywood Farmer's Market this morning.  They are $5 a pound and these 12 cost me $2.50.  Not bad at all.  I ended up chopping the stems off and we used them in a mushroom and squash lasagna we made (more on that in a moment).

Aren't these just so beautiful and summery?

I also love buying fresh herbs at the market and vow to one day grow them myself.  For this made up recipe I used Italian parsley and basil:

My plan was to stuff the blossoms with a cheese mixture, dip them in egg and flour, fry them in oil and devour them instantly.  The plan paid off.  Here is the cheese mixture:  I used ricotta cheese, one clove of minced garlic, salt, pepper, honey, parmesan cheese, parsley, and basil

Next, I put the cheese mixture into a plastic bag so I could pipe it in to the squash blossoms easily.  As you can see this yielded a lot of cheese, way more than I needed but it was ok because remember that mushroom and squash lasagna I mentioned?  Well this ricotta mixture worked perfectly between the layers.

The next task was to gingerly open the very delicate squash blossoms, remove the stamen from each one by plucking it off, pipe in the cheese filling, and twist the top of the flower to keep everything inside.

This took a while to get it just right but here they are in all their cheesy glory.  I put them in the fridge to firm up a bit, I figured that would help with the next step which was to coat and fry them.

While the squash blossoms were chilling, I decided to roast some okra with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I often forget about okra but it's really great.  And Juju liked it too.  I never thought my child would utter the words "more okra please."  I must make these again.

Chopped, coated, and ready to go into the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

While I was working with my squash and okra, the KOAM was hard at work at a wild mushroom lasagna.  Here are some of the beauties we picked up this morning:

And here they are sauteing with the actual squash from the squash blossoms (the bottom part of the very first picture) with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

And what would a late summer dinner be without a gorgeous heirloom tomato?  This baby wasn't cheap but sure was delicious.  And it's big enough that we have leftovers for tomorrow.

Back to the squash blossoms.  I didn't photograph it but my next step was the coat them in a bowl with one beaten egg and then roll them in flour.  After that I dropped them into a pan of hot olive oil (yes, they require a lot of oil, don't make these every night) and rotated them a few times until they were golden brown.  Transfer to a paper towel to absorb some of the oil and eat instantly.  They are incredible!

And finally here is a look at our white cheese mushroom and squash lasagna.  I was proud of us; we used things we had around the house, lasagna noodles and leftover panko breadcrumbs in the pantry, three kinds of cheeses from the fridge, etc.  It was AMAZING.  I am so happy we have leftovers.

Here are the insides of that beautiful tomato.  My favorite part was the heart.

Here is how the okra came out all brown and delicious and Juju approved (she ate several before I could snap this photo!:

Happy Dinner plate!