Cooking

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morningharvest

The other morning I was in the garden, as you oft could find me most mornings this spring. It’s been cool and we’ve had rain and so the weeds are coming on thick now. Sometimes I walk past them on the way to harvest this or that. Usually I find myself lingering to pull a few, leaving me there much longer than the just-going-to-pick-something trips I intend.

Joshie is now up and running around so he either joins me on foot or in the stroller. He sings a lot; while we’re at the clothesline, while he sits in his high chair in the kitchen, and most especially while we’re in the garden. There is one tune in particular he seems to attach his bop bops to lately (you can find it here as the tune for 16B).

squash-blossom-saute

Back to the other morning… I had just picked a bowl of squash the previous day so decided to let them be. Instead, I picked the male squash blossoms. These are the blossoms with just a thin stem; no round squash forming. My understanding is that you can pick many of these and since the bees are happily buzzing from plant to plant, leaving just a couple on each plant seemed fine.

Fried (and often stuffed) squash blossoms are fairly well known but I knew that was a little more effort than I could lend time to for the midday meal. Instead, I poked around on the internet and looked up Mexican Squash Blossom. Well, there are many ways these little guys are used in traditional cuisines so I grabbed a few extra ingredients from the garden and got started on a simple saute.

Prepping Squash Blossoms

I like to pick the blossoms early in the day, when they are wide open and I can see if there are bees or any other bugs in there. I let the bees fly out and then bring them inside for a quick rinse as needed.

Then I remove these little leaves along the base of the blossom.

squashblossomprep1

And then remove what I believe is called the stamen.

squashblossomprep2

They are then ready to fry, saute, or slice into salads.

Squash Blossom Saute with Beans

Note: Feel free to omit the beans. I have and served it with scrambled eggs and it was delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or lard
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large collard green or kale leaves, chopped
  • 15-20 squash blossoms, prepared as above
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups prepared (precooked) beans
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro

squashblossombeans

Directions

Heat the coconut oil or lard over medium heat. Fry the onion for several minutes until it begins to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic and chopped greens and saute until the greens begin to wilt, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the squash blossoms.

Add the squash blossoms and diced tomato and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the squash blossoms are tender. Add the beans, cayenne, and salt to taste. Cook just until the beans are warmed through.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle in cilantro. Serve warm.

Other Ways to Eat Squash and Their Blossoms:

spring-garden-pasta-peas

One of my favorite ways to use up whatever we are harvesting is simply by mixing it with a carb or protein. So potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, meat, etc. become the vehicle for all of the goodness from the garden.

Right now we are harvesting lettuce, peas, fava bean greens (they taste just like peas!), onions, garlic, and are seeing baby squash and green beans coming up next. The weather has been lovely and Stewart has been busy with a host of projects, so I have found myself in the garden with a few helpers for a few hours most mornings in recent weeks. That means come 11:30, I need a quick lunch to feed all of the gardeners and barn-builders.

spring-greens

On one such morning this past week I put a pot of water on and then headed to the garden. We brought in a big bowl of peas to shell, big handfuls of greens, and whittled down the last of the green onions given to us from our neighbor’s garden. By the time we got back in, the water was boiling and the rest of the dish came together in the time it took to shell the peas.

spring-greens-pasta-overhead

The result was this super green pasta just green enough (and quick enough) for the bustle of spring.

Spring Garden Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic pasta (gluten-free works well)
  • 2 cups freshly shelled spring peas
  • 2 cups, packed, spring green such as spinach or fava bean leaves
  • 3 spring onions, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan or goat cheese to serve

Directions

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and add all other ingredients while hot. Stir well to combine, adjust seasoning and serve with cheese as desired.