Zucchini Blossoms… painting, procreating & preparation!

Stuffed squash blossoms with chicken sausage
Zucchini blossoms are delicate by design, exquisite to eat, and pleasurable to paint.
But today I didn’t just paint Mother Nature…
watercolor-painting-squash-blossom-

I tampered with it.

Really, it wasn’t my fault – the birds and bees were busy elsewhere. I shamelessly did the bee’s dirty work as I hand-pollinated the zucchini flowers with my artist’s brush.

zucchini-blossom-in-garden

Painting with pollen helps facilitate fruit to mature. And yes, botanically speaking, zucchini is considered a fruit, even though we treat it like a vegetable.

This tampering all came about when I couldn’t figure out why I had so many blossoms, yet very little fruit. Traditionally, zucchini live by the “be fruitful and multiply” decree, so I embarked on an Internet voyage to navigate the secret sex life of squash. Flowers are a plant’s sex organs – the provocative colors and aromas exist for one purpose… procreation. For all of you who are rolling your eyes, you obviously skipped biology class that day.

To help nature along, I first had to identify the male blossoms from the female. This is harder than you might think! One was slender with a frilly skirt, the other looked more masculine, anatomically speaking. But no, it was the opposite. Guess it’s time to order that Biology for Dummies book.

female-and-male-squash-blossoms

But once I looked inside the flower, it all became very clear. I plucked out their private parts in preparation for my culinary delight.

female-and-male-squash-blossoms-sexes

No matter which sex, both flowers are edible. Visually, females are more delightful… of course. They are also more expensive… naturally.  Some things hold true in all aspects of life.

Today’s Featured Recipe:

I am constantly inspired to try unusual produce when I go to the farmer’s market. Zucchini blossoms have been my cherished selection so far. All summer long I have been stuffing blossoms with diverse ingredients. This recipe comes to you after much trial and error, and is my personal favorite so far.

stuffed zucchini blossoms

I find the best sausage to use is fresh, and I prefer Aidell’s chicken sausages. They can be purchased at your local grocery store or online. This mild chicken sausage complements the delicate flavor of the flower, and is simple to work with.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
Author: 
 
This fun recipe can be served as an entrée or a side.
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini - diced
  • 10 -12 zucchini blossoms
  • 8 ounces fresh chicken sausage - approx. 2 links
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese - grated
  • ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove - diced
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Brush the inside of a 20 x 12 baking dish with 1½ tablespoons of oil
.
  3. Open the flower and remove the pistil/stamen.
  4. Skin the sausages, remove the meat and crumble into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the chopped zucchini, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, and garlic - mix well.
  6. Carefully open each flower and insert a little of the sausage mixture into each flower - twist to close.
  7. Arrange the flowers on the baking dish in rows. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remainder of the oil.
  8. Bake until the flowers and stuffing are cooked, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  9. Place flowers in rows on a serving platter and serve hot
.

You can also make this dish by sautéing the stuffed flowers in some extra virgin olive oil. I find almost anything goes when it comes to all the great flavors of sausages that are available now. Have fun with it.shepaused4thought_line-NEWHope you enjoyed plant sex education 101, as well as learning to make a fabulous new dish.
…and then, she paused for thought.

 

 

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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20 Responses to Zucchini Blossoms… painting, procreating & preparation!

  1. Nan September 18, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Love!

    • Cathy September 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Thanks Nan! This is my favorite summer vegetable dish.

  2. Bob Gale September 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Where can I find zucchini blossoms? None of my local markets carry them.

    • Cathy September 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      Good question Bob. You will have to visit one of your farmer’s market for this special treat. There is a farmer’s market everyday of the week in LA. Check out this link for a location near you.
      http://projects.latimes.com/farmers-markets/

  3. Susan Herrmann September 19, 2013 at 2:24 am #

    Cath,

    This is not only a gorgeous post, but a gorgeous recipe. I happen to know this first-hand. Oh for sunny L.A. days filled with zucchini blossoms!

    Susan

    • Cathy September 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks Susan. Wish you were back in LA to eat these treats with me. Miss you.

  4. nusrat2010 September 19, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    And your posts are always pleasurable to read and to look at 🙂 Thanks for the unusually amusing, inviting recipe 🙂
    And loved that Van Gogh like striking yellow blossom painting!

    Another great share, thanks a ton, dear. Hugs.

    • Cathy September 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks Nusrat! I always appreciate your kind words and love when you stop by.

  5. sippitysup September 19, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Paint your way to success (and by success I mean a bumper crop). GREG

    • Cathy September 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks Greg, it is a strange things to do, but what can I say? 🙂

  6. Teri Ciani September 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Hi! Cathy,
    I hope you enjoyed the summer and I love this recipe my husband’s my mother used to dip the batter in a light fritter batter and fry them up once every summer. They were memorable. I love your painting as it brings nice memories with it. Would you consider selling it to me?
    I wish you and your husband all the best and a great fall.
    Warm regards,
    Teri Ciani

    • Cathy September 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      I am so happy this brought back good memories for you Teri. I will contact you directly about the painting. Hope things are well for you!

  7. Lentil Breakdown September 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Wow, I LOVE this post! I learned, laughed and got to marvel your marvelous painting! You got it goin’ on, girl!

    • Cathy September 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks Adair. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? 🙂

  8. Kristi@my San Francisco Kitchen September 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    I love this! You are so talented!!!

    • Cathy September 21, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks Kristi! You are so talented as well. I am inspired by your creations.

  9. Lynne @ CookandBeMerry October 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    I didn’t know you were an artist, amongst all your other talents. Beautiful painting. Delicious recipe.

    • Cathy October 7, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks Lynne!

  10. Fresh Food in a Flash October 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    I can’t believe you painted that picture. Your talents are unstoppable!

    • Cathy October 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      Painting and creating food is very similar. We are all artists, with different mediums. 🙂

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