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Happy-Gourmand

Gad-zukes!

As I sat on the deck the other night savouring another hot summer evening, I reflected on the high points of the summer so far.

This year has been bit a shorter summer frought with more challenges than our usual spectacular season in the Okanagan. For a place where the norm is being spoiled, that means we feel we are being gypped – doesn’t it?

I didn’t want to spend my time with you griping, so I was trying to think of the positive things from the season so far… then it occurred to me. The thing I could tell you has performed according to all tradition and exceeded expectations - as always – is my zucchini patch.

I have papaya squash the size of footballs and zucchinis that look more like baseball bats than squash.

Apparently, this is due to how much the bumble bees like my garden too, as huge production in every sense depends on them pollinating the female flowers.

Aside from the compliment that the bees pay me, I am also grateful that the squash stay tender so we can still cook with them – all of them (well, the ones I don’t give away).

When the “squash fairy” is not visiting my friends and neighbours by leaving a present on their doorstep, she is trying to come up with new ways to enjoy this garden bounty. After all, you can only eat so much zucchini cake and sautéed or grilled zucchini.

One encouraging fact about zucchini consumption: the average zucchini contains 19 per cent of the recommended daily intake of manganese, which helps activate fat-burning enzymes (according to Wikipedia).

I wonder, does that mean if you ate five zucchinis a day, you could burn all the fat you ate?

Of all the recipes I can pass on, I think the one that is best suited to my usual style is one I got from my father after his once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy. This recipe typifies a special traveling memory, and it also makes the most of the situation. The recipe is Fiore di Zucca.

You see, this recipe involves using the flowers of the zucchini plant – something you would only do with a plant that had prolific flowers, and I think only in a culture that has a reverence for food and its rituals.

There are many ways to cook them, and according to my Dad they are all worth trying, especially if you can do it in a small trattoria in Florence or Rome. For those of us who can’t get there this week, perhaps this will help transport us in spirit…

FRIED ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS

  • Zucchini blossoms (or as many as you can find – multiply the recipe and invite friends over)
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • ½ cup olive oil for frying (grape seed oil works well, too)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 12-ounce can of beer, preferably at room temperature (you can substitute water if you prefer – the beer makes a lighter, fluffier batter)
  • Optional: stuffing mixture of fresh ricotta cheese with freshly chopped herbs, or anchovy fillets

Make the batter by beating the eggs and then stirring in the flour gradually. Add the beer to make a smooth batter and set aside.

Wash the blossoms well, but carefully. Heat oil for frying and prepare paper towels to put the fried blossoms on after they are cooked.

If you are stuffing the blossoms, place a spoonful or two of the mixture in the blossom. Then dip in the batter and fry until golden brown.

Drain; season with salt if desired and serve warm.

As the Italians say, “Salute!”



More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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