Squash Blossoms Two Ways: Brown Wild Rice, Feta Squash Blossoms & Crispy Fried Blossoms

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Every Saturday that we are at the farmers market, I wish I could be there with my mother. She'd get a kick out of the scarlet queen red turnips, the juicy strawberries and the soft squash blossoms. My dad would enjoy strolling down the painters row filled with gorgeous watercolors or photo representations of the city, the beach houses and everything Charleston.

This coming Saturday, it will finally be a reality. My parents are arriving tomorrow and staying throughout the month. I can't wait. It's been almost a year since I last saw them and due to work, family circumstances, health and other, it has not been possible for either of us to get together. But tomorrow....oh tomorrow...all the hugs and kisses from my mama will be mine!

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I can't wait. Even though work won't stop while they are here, I am looking forward to my mom taking over in the kitchen here and there. Her food is legendary good and she will have as much fun at the market as I do every weekend. I can't wait to see my dad's familiar frown and pondering face as he explores the art and exhibitions during the Spoleto festival starting up soon.

I'm just looking forward to just be with them and take every minute they give me. I know there will be a small period of adjustment. That's to be expected. I often found that those adjustment times are quickly solved with a walk on the dock to see the sunset, quietly making dinner together, having breakfast on the back deck overlooking the water. All these moments where we let distance and time apart quickly fade and find each other again.

Squash Blossoms

So many things have changed since they visited last March. More work. More accomplishments. More friends. We have many things to celebrate and many new friends to celebrate them with. I am thrilled for my parents to see some old friends again and to meet new ones. My day-to-day is often what makes my parents the happiest but that's often what I fail to talk about on the phone once we're done with everyone's news in the family.

So this trip, it's all about saying thanks for the big things and celebrating all the little things. It's about hugs. Growing up. Being my own and being their child.

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I realized how much a combination of both my parents I was this weekend while leading a workshop in Sante Fe on food photography. I had the seriousness of my dad and the "well, there's a plan, but it's ok if we change it" attitude of my mom. I realized how far I had come and how much I'd still had to go.

I will post a longer recap of the workshop once I go through all the pics I took and gather posts from the other attendees about their own recap of the weekend. In the meantime, you can check this portrait gallery I made of the attendees and look through Ace Camps Facebook pics. To say that I had the most incredible time would be an understatement. Everyone worked so hard during the weekend and all their efforts truly paid off. There were many a "ha ha" moments around and I am only glad I was able to help others enjoy food photography as much as I do.

Fried Squash Blossoms

When I got off the plane yesterday evening, B. asked if I wanted to grab a bite in town. Non, pas vraiment (no, not really) I said. I wanted to get home, hug my pups silly and be quiet for a while. The fridge was pretty bare but we had eggs and chives which turned into an awesome omelette for two. We had an avocado, a handful or radish sprouts and a couple of tomatoes. Paired with some bread chunks and we had an incredible panzanella salad.

I also pulled a tray of Brown & Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms that I had made the week before. I gave them a quick sautee in a hot pan and we sat down to an incredible makeshift feast. My favorite kind of meal.

Fried Squash Blossoms

Every Spring that the farmers market starts, I can't wait for squash blossoms to pop up on vendors stalls and they seem to be coming in earlier than usual this year. Obviously it does not bother me and we have enjoyed them simply sauteed with salt and pepper, crispy fried and stuffed with all sorts of delicious market leftovers. I have to say that this filling combination of brown and wild rice with feta, thyme, oregano, garlic and a touch of lemon is my favorite so far.

It made this "so happy to be home after traveling all day" meal that much more delicious. A nice change also to the usual quiche and salad tradition we have in the family when people travel. Although I might fix one for my parents tomorrow. Who knows...

I am curious though. What is your favorite meal to cook or eat when you get off the plane after a long day of traveling?

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms


Brown Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms:

Serve 4 as an appetizer

1 cup brown and wild rice blend, cooked and cooled
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
12-16 squash blossoms, washed and patted dry (some I get come with a squash attached which I cut close to the stem and stir fry separately)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Combine the rice, feta, herbs, garlic, lemon zest together in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
In a large saute pan, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
Delicately fill the inside of the squash blossom with about 1-2 teaspoons of the filling. When all the blossoms are filled, place half in the sautee pan and cook about 2 minutes per sides until golden brown.
Remove from the pan and keep warm under a piece of tin foil. Heat the other tablespoons of oil and sautee the second batch of stuffed blossoms.
Serve warm.

Crispy Fried Squash Blossoms:

Serves 4 as an appetizer

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup flour superfine rice flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white
3/4 cup beer or club soda
12 to 16 squash blossoms, washed and patted dry
canola oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt and pepper. Add the egg white and beer (or club soda) and whisk until smooth.
Heat canola oil in a medium deep pan (I use a 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cast iron skillet) until it reaches 375F.
Dip the blossoms in the batter and fry 2 or 3 blossoms at a time in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd them or it drops the oil temperature down which makes them cook longer, soak in more oil and get soggy.
Heat at once!

67 comments:

MikeVFMK said...

Helene, I'm so happy for you! I couldn't imagine being without my parents so tomorrow will be such a celebration for you!

On another note, these squash blossoms are incredible. It inspires me to cook with them this season!

Angela said...

I do LOVE cooking squash blossoms - thanks for the new idea...and thank you, thank you for coming to Santa Fe this weekend. It was truly incredible!

Anne Marie said...

Beautiful. Where are you getting squash blossoms right now!? Here in SF we have spring produce, but nothing of early summer yet. As for the return from travel meal....I would say an easy soup cobbled together from whatever is in the pantry and fridge, usually some sort of lentil soup, or a fresh salad plucked from our garden. I recently posted a new favorite of my with radishes, cilantro, and some pantry stuff (pepitas) that would work great.

Averie said...

squash blossoms! there are always tons of them at the local farmers market here in san diego and i never really know what to do with them. i want to buy them JUST to take pictures of them b/c they are so beautiful! now i know, i just need to fry them up (which is what i suspected I should do :))

erica said...

Lovely post as always--those squash blossoms look delicious! When I get home from a long day of traveling, I enjoy something light but nourishing, like a zuppa di verdura (with a nice tomato broth base) and some crusty bread.

On another note, my parents just gifted me a copy of your new book, and I have really been enjoying reading through it! Thanks to your explanations, I am starting to keep the f-stop number and aperture size straight. ^_^ And the book gets me inspired to learn more about my new camera and improve my food photography!

Have a wonderful time with your parents!

Kevin said...

I have been wanting to try squash blossoms for a while now. Both versions sound really good!

sweetsugarbean said...

In mid August my garden is full of squash blossoms. Most never turn into actual squash, but now I know exactly what to do with them. Looks glorious!!!

Selah said...

So excited for you...I always love time with my mom too! I guess we are always a "kid" when our parents are around :) I've never tried squash blossoms so I'm excited about these recipes and will try them soon-when I can find them!

Also...incredible weekend Helene...pretty much life changing. So thank you!

Lick My Spoon said...

I don't think I've ever seen squash blossoms let alone tried them. Thye almost look too pretty to eat. Have a wonderful time with your parents- I can't wait to see mine in summer!

Sarah said...

Enjoy the sweetness of your parent's visit! I don't have a favorite post travel meal but I can empathize with wanting to settle into my own home right away rather than going out.

Jessica said...

Super excited for you Helene! But these Squash Blossoms are completely distracting me! I just planted a bunch of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash...and now I can't wait for them to start putting out blossoms. Looks amazing!

féenoménale said...

squash blossoms are delicious, it is unfortunate that we find it anywhere

Martina said...

Good morning!

Oh, traveling! I am always so excited to go and come back home. When I come back I look for comfy food - fussilli alla amatriciana - usually we eat them all warm, but they taste so good when cold with some feta cheese and fresh basil too ;-)

Addtionally,I am so excited about your book. Someone with long fingers stole my camera last summer, but as soon as I can afford a new baby I'll look for your new book.

Lisa said...

Cherish every moment with your parents! I am sure they will enjoy our farmer's market. It truly is a sight to savor and enjoy!

Nenou said...

Oh my darling!
I am greek and I assure you that this meal is really mummy's. It means a lot to me, delcate taste and a lot of summer memories in the island i was having vacations. It can be also about hugs, like the squash's flower cuddles the rice in it. But mostly is about celebrating with the yours.

Hug and kiss to mummy.

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Ah the squash blossom ... they are so hard to find here in Boston. A rare treat. Better than gold. And your golden, edible nuggets look delicious.

James Brewer said...

Never heard of squash blossoms before - they look great.

My favourite sort of food when I get back, is Roast Chicken. It's comforting, warmly and great for coming home to.

Kelly-Jane said...

Have a wonderful time with your Mum and Dad :)

I like fresh food after flying, maybe a fish or meat quiche / tart and a big helping of vegatables or salad. Oh and a little mouthful of something chocolate-y!

Michelle Stiles said...

When I get home from travel I usually rush home, just to be home in my own space. I usually grab as many vegetables I can eat until my heart is content. I never get enough vegetables on vacation/travel so I tend to play a little catch up when I get home. Have fun with your lovely parents!

Heva said...

I can´t imagine one year without mi mom. I liked so much your´s today recipe!!!

keishua said...

oh wow, I love this. It just looks happy.

Squash Blossom Babies said...

Great pictures and fun recipe! I can't wait for squash blossoms to come out of my garden!! :)

Annika said...

Ha-ha, just as I opened this blog post, my stomach started to rumble. These look delicious and so dainty.

jacqui said...

I'm glad you'll get to spend some time with your family! These squash blossoms look delicious, I'll have to try when they arrive at my market. I don't think I have a fav meal to eat once back from traveling, but like you, I crave being home and seem to come up with some kind of make-shift meal of odds and ends. Always comes out yummy!

Shelby said...

I love squash blossoms! They are such a gift of nature and your variety of recipes look like a delicious way to savor their flavor.. Another lovely post. Enjoy your family time, oh so sacred!
Thank you!

Lea said...

It looks deliciouis!

meg said...

Summertime is good for lots of things: reconnecting with family and friends you haven't seen in awhile, finding treasure trove after treasure trove of beautiful produce at the market, enjoying long, late meals in the cool of the day...and squash blossoms are a perfect dish for pre-summer revelry. Lovely photos.

Umami said...

Yay for visiting family! My family is only 300 miles away, but you would think it was a whole ocean. My parents are so busy with grandbabies that they can't come out to visit very often. This year we are saving vacation up for my wedding so I can't visit them much right now.

I travel for work, and my very favorite dish when I get home is a salad. It must have dark green lettuce/spinach, green apples cut up, maybe some sweet onion, dried cranberries or golden raisins, orange vinaigrette (homemade with some nice olive oil), and finally soft goat cheese rolled in pine nuts and lightly toasted....mmmmmm....Pete and I literally sit there with two forks and devour the salad.

katescakesandbakes said...

Your post has just made my call my parents to say a big hello!

What a lovely treat of a month you're all in for! Particularly a visit to that lovely Market.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

My favorite meal after a long day of traveling is usually just a simple salad with a poached or boiled egg and a glass of white wine.

I usually feel like I need to detox a little after traveling.

Have fun with your parents!

Abby said...

I would never have known that you can do so much with squash blossoms! What a fun summer treat!

http://www.abbyeatinghealthy.com/

marla said...

Hi beautiful! I share so many of the same feelings when reunited with my parents. Amazing to bridge being both an adult and child at the same time.
Santa Fe sounds magical - wish I could have been there taking your class. Also wish I had me some squash blossoms.
Have fun with your mom & dad :) xo

Isa said...

Gorgeous squash blossoms, Hélène! They remind me of the beignets de courgette that my Mamie used to make. Isn’t it amazing how food is so linked to memories? Proust had it right. One more month here in Minnesota before the local farmer’s market opens. I envy your southern climate!
Profite-bien de chaque minute avec tes parents, Hélène. J’ai de si bons souvenirs des jours de marché avec ma mère et de nos promenades les soirs d’été. Même si elle n’est plus de ce monde, les marchés me font toujours penser à elle. Le temps passe bien vite : savoure chaque moment.

Michele Garcia said...

We started a garden this year, and besides the herbs, the summer squash, both zucchini and yellow straight-neck, are what we've been able to harvest already. We've battered and fried the squash blossoms a couple of times already, but this recipe looks even better! I'm looking forward to trying it on the next batch of blossoms we harvest.

Cynthia's Blog said...

I love your photographs and your excitement about your parents visiting. You are so right about the every day things. Your parents sound terrific.

Cynthia
http://coffeeonthepatio.com
http://www.cynthiasblog.com

The InTolerant Chef said...

I hope you have a wonderful visit with your parents.
Whenever we take the 18hr drive to visit them, my mother always makes a big pot of spaghetti bolognaise- it's become quite a traddition!

Sanctified Spaces said...

This is just awesome.Great clicks and unique recipe.

delphcotecuisine said...

Gorgeous photos and what a delicious recipe!
Delphine

kellypea said...

The squash blossoms have begun to show up here as well. They're always so lovely, aren't they? Congrats to you on all your accomplishments, Helen, and may there be even more in the coming years. Best to you and your parents. May you all have a wonderful visit.

Jess said...

Squash blossoms are a delicate and wonderful thing! So good... When I return home after traveling the cupboard is usually bare. Often it's noodles, boiled with butter and Parmesan. It may sound plain but noodles are my favorite comfort food.

DonnaD said...

How beautiful your squash blossom dishes are! I loved cooking with them during my chef days, but haven't done so in some time...your recipes have inspired me to hunt some down and make them again. Your posts are so wonderful.
The flight between Arizona and London is really, really long--when my husband and I come home again, much like yourself the first order of business is to hug the kitty cat--the second is to bake the lasagne I stashed in the freezer for just that moment. The soothing flavors of the pasta and bechamel with the flicker of brightness from the tomatoes just say "you're home" somehow.

Rose Fern said...

Squash blossoms are the best summer delicacy! We often have them in Greece, either fried with feta-egg-pepper filling or in the oven staffed with rice and a mixture of other vegetables.
Thanks for reminding me that summer is on its way and that I must plant a squash plant a.s.a.p.!!!

thetwicebitten said...

im such a loser i do actually fantasise about courgette flowers. lovely post and have a great time with the 'rents.

james said...

Fabulous photography; I want to consume everything right now!
We saw Julie Mautner's story re: you, on the Food Arts Magazine website and found you. Keep it up; terrific!
Take a look at my food website:
www.cafejondreau.com

Jim

melissa said...

Those blossoms look sooo good! And if you are getting them there this week, it means they will be available in the midlands soon! Enjoy your time with your parents! I so enjoyed taking my parents to our local farmer's market in Columbia last fall!

Minna said...

Thanks for such an huge inspiration! Your photos are awesome and I got so many ideas what I'm going to use when I next take photos of my foods. Thank you so much! I hope to get your book one day.

Minna from Finland

Rachael said...

Wow, I always love how your photos are so....fresh looking.

Your site is definitely one of my favourites, especially in the spring!

woman said...

Great recipe - thanks for sharing some of the culinary delights.

Gen said...

Que de belles couleurs!
Enjoy your "retrouvailles", ça doit être un moment important et apprécié!

Forty Cloves said...

My Sicilian grandmother stuffs the zucchini blossoms with herbed ricotta cheese. I've never tried them any other way. Looking forward to making this recipe...if I can find the squash blossoms. They are hard to come by in my area, but such a treat!

Karen@fortycloves said...

My Sicilian grandmother stuffs them with herbed ricotta cheese. I've never had them any other way, but look forward to trying this recipe...if I can find the squash blossoms. They are so hard to come by in my area, but such a treat!

Suitcase Sallie said...

Nothing screams spring like squash blossoms -- and oh how I have to try your stuffed blossom recipe -- grazie!

Ilke said...

I am happy that your parents are visiting. There is always that adjustment period!
But it is so much fun to let them observe your life here. My mom always says she goes back with a peace of mind knowing that I have good friends here who can help in the time of need. That is what they want to see!

I always love a cup of hot tea with a toasted bread, feta cheese and a slice of ripe tomato on top when I get home from a long flight.

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

I came across your blog via Bloglovin' today. I'm completely blown away by the wonderful recipes and the incredible photography. I've just added your URL on my Blog List (favorites) so that I won't miss a thing from now onwards.

Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes said...

I so hope that you are having fun with your parents as I am reading!

And I wish that I could have been in Santa Fe - it looks like such a wonderful time and I can't wait to see your further photographs.

With regard to your question, I sadly don't have any particular thing that I like to eat when returning from a trip - it just has be easy to allow me to unwind and enjoy the company of my husband and puppy.

Thank you, as always, for the lovely recipes!!

ChichaJo said...

This looks delicious! When we come back from travelling abroad my favorite thing to have is something Filipino (because we are usually craving for homegrown food!) - usually sinigang, our sour tamarind soup).

Mrs A in the Cove said...

Hello Helene - I just wanted to stop by and say as I have ordered you book through Amazon to be sent to me here in australia - I can't wait to get hold of it as food styling and photographer is something that I just adore. Congratulations on the wonderful success of your book and I look forward to reading more about your adventures - if only I were a little closer!! Leanne x

yummy supper said...

Stuffed squash blossoms are such a delight. I usually just fill them with herbs and cheese, never thought to add rice as a stuffing. Great idea. Thanks!
-E

Sharon said...

Love your name, so elegant. Recently I rubbed shoulders with your blog. Your book was just coming available and immediately ordered it! I love women photographers and especially their combination of word and picture. There is a serene sensibility. Your book is fabulous. The title is inspired and the cover is truly eye catching. Each night I read a bit more, learn a bit more, get ideas and better understand my own problems with photography. You have written in a very very clear voice, there is no mistaking your intentions, process or steps. This is all very well thought out. I will be posting your blog and book on my own blog and website in a few dats. I am a painter, but also very interested in photography...and always a student. I wish you the best as your book catches on and ends up in the hands of thousands!!!! The very best to you. Sharon

Michelle Benoit (Chocolate Central) said...

I'm lucky because the local farmers grow squash blossoms in the fields surrounding the town where I live in Central Mexico. I usually make a simple cream of squash blossom soup, but I'm ready to stuff them. I like the idea of cheese and thyme. Enjoy your parents.

Eka said...

Hello Hélène! I love your blog, your photos, your work and your recipes.. so I decided to buy your book!! I'm from Italy but I really couldn't wait to get your book so i ordered it and now i'm finally reading it!! I think it's a great book! I'd love to learn so much about food photography and style so I thought that you book was the right choice! And it's true.. it is perfect!! if you want you can visit my foodblog too even if I know that my photos are not soo good as yours ;)) (http://tanadelconiglio.blogspot.com/). Have a nice day ;) Erika

Mai Mai said...

You make those blossoms look so appetizing and you're food styling is so creative! I wish you could give a workshop in the Philippines.

Do you use mostly natural light? I'm finding it hard to photograph food since I live in a poorly lit apartment. :(I will definitely turn to your blog for inspiration.

y8 said...

Have a wonderful time with your Mum and Dad :)

I like fresh food after flying, maybe a fish or meat quiche / tart and a big helping of vegatables or salad. Oh and a little mouthful of something chocolate-y!

y8 games said...

I have been wanting to try squash blossoms for a while now. Both versions sound really good!

maduxcla said...

Gosh, i love you recipes! but what happened to metrical weights?I m Italian and on the net every converting chart has a different say about it and i have no clue of the real amount of ingredients necessary :/

Helene said...

maduxcla: "but what happened to metrical weights?" - cooking with cups here is standard and contrary to some believe, say or do - work just as well as metrics.
If you are not able to cook with cups, convert with www.gourmetsleuth.com

Thanks.

friv 2 said...

I have been wanting to try squash blossoms for a while now. Both versions sound really good!

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