Zucchini Blossoms & Other Recent Obsessions

27 07 2009

I have been slacking on the posts big time. No excuse other than it’s summertime & I’ve been slacking on everything . . . except cooking! I realized that I need to overcome my fear of my new digital camera (THANKS JOHNNY!) and just start snapping. In fact, with the bi-weekly CSA pick-ups I’m so friggin busy washing vegetables  that I have little time for anything else! Although me & Johnny made a cooking video that will soon be posted if I can make a foray into the world of techNOlogy. In any case . . . BEHOLD THE ZUCCHINI BLOSSOM!

I'm beautiful & delicious!

I'm beautiful & delicious!

I bought a box of these at the farmer’s market because they were so beautiful PLUS they had been on the menu at my new fave Korean restaurant (more on that later) listed as “ho bak kkot twi kim:” stuffed & fried zucchini blossoms, but we did not order them b/c some among us were suspicious of Korean food they’d never heard of.  I wasn’t totally sure what to do with these when I brought them home but I had plans to make “daegu jeon” which are Korean-style mini fish cutlets (I used flounder, they came out GREAT!). This involves dipping the fish in flour & egg. I figured, hell, let’s put a couple of the flowers in & fry ’em up that way to test them out. I did nothing but dip them first in flour & then in egg & fry them in canola oil. They came out pretty good! Crispy but with a little softness to them and with a subtle, delicate squash flavor. I was scheming on how I would prepare the rest of them.

I came across a recipe in this book someone gave on cuisine from Rome. It involved stuffing the flowers with fresh mozz & 1/2 an anchovy and breading them in a flour & water batter. I happened to have fresh mozz in the fridge but figured, ‘why not beer batter the suckers?’ since the bubbles actually make for a flakier, lighter batter (you can actually use seltzer too). Here goes the recipe I came up with:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup beer

pinch of salt

16 or so zucchini blossoms

1/4 lb. fresh mozzarella, grated

olive oil

Okie doke. So I sifted the flour through a strainer & added the salt. Then mixed in the beer to form a batter. It was relatively thick. Then, with help from the lovely Rebekah, stuffed the grated cheese into the flowers just up until where the petals separated, and gently twisted the petals together to close off the blossom.  I poured about a 1/2 inch of oil into a hot pan (most recipes recommend more but I don’t think it’s necessary) and tested the heat by sprinkling in a pinch of flour- when the flour sizzles, your ready to fry. Then I gently dipped the blossoms in batter- if any of the flowers were torn, I simply rubbed some batter over the tear to seal it up. It worked quite well. I fried them,  letting them get a little brown then flipped them, gave them a few more minutes and put them on a plate with a paper towel to drain. They required no more than 5 min in the pan. They looked like this when they were done.

This is a random internet picture. Mine looked better!

This is a random internet picture. Mine looked better!

Wow. These knocked us out. I can’t say enough about how tasty they were. It might be tasty to include something salty inside to contrast with the cheese, like in the Roman recipe. I can’t say I’d jump at the chance to add anchovies, but next time I make these I might include half an olive or a caper inside for a little extra “somethin’ something'” if you know what I mean. These would go great with a very cold beer, crisp beer: Sapporo would be good, Pacifico or Sol would work too. A (freezing) cold Budweiser or Bud Light wouldn’t be the worst think you could drink with these either (but I wouldn’t recmommend tapping the Rockies). I might consider stuffing these with a tiny bit of jalapeno for kick, in fact simply using pepper jack instead of mozz could take the recipe in a whole different direction. They can also be stuffed with ricotta or goat cheese. So much room for creativity with these pretty little flowers.

These bad boys will only be in season for a few more weeks so if you see these in your farmer’s market, snap ’em up while you can!

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Fosters, Austalian for homophobia?

21 01 2009

I like to get my Daily Show & Colbert Report on via da innanet every now and then because that’s how I do. They make you sit through some 5 second ads which, while I loathe watching commercials, I can generally handle. However, recently I’ve had to sit through Foster’s new premium ale ad campaign which is really trying my patience. Beer ads in general lob a brand of juvenile humor at you that I’m generally cool with. I don’t even find gratuitous hooter and bikini use offensive (within reason) since beer ads pretty much are what they are. But this one particular Foster’s ad, with its vague homophobic notions just strikes me as offensively nonsensical.

Unfortunately I can’t directly link you to this ad (I hate to make you work!), but if you’re interested, use this link & follow these directions: go to “discover Foster’s premium ale” > watch premium tips >the spa > observe proper locker room behavior

The guys in the locker room weld the other man’s locker shut apparently because he used the word “yummers” to describe a beer. Am I missing something? Aren’t they on the same page because they all like the same beer?  The premise seems to be that this one guy, due to a combo of bourgeois (note tennis racket, sweater) and gay (?) (pink shirt, “yummers”) behavior is not down with them even though they like the same shitty beer. I thought they’re all obsessed with this beer! Or wait, are they punishing him because he doesn’t observe the arbitrary crappy beer code of behavior? Notice the “bro” butt grab after they weld the dudes locker shut. And who keeps beer in the locker room?! Wouldn’t it get warm and gross? Is it an Australian thing? But wait, they’re American . . . I’m lost. In any case, it’s nonsensical and offensive if only in its stupidity.  that My plea to Fosters is ditch the homophobia and BRING BACK PAUL HOGAN!!! That man’s a national treasure.

Recently a Snickers ad featuring Mr. T was pulled in the UK after it was decided that it was homophobic.

It might be residual affection for B.A. Baracus left over from the A-Team days, but I’m inclined to think the Foster’s ad is much more offensive. I personally don’t see what’s wrong with power-walking besides the fact that it looks dorky, but gay? I’m not sold. I don’t find the walker to be especially gay. I can see people’s concern about the potential gay-bashing undertones brought about by the Snickers machine gun (wow) but that’s assuming the walker is gay. I think there’s a racial subtext here in the form of trying to keep the black man down while it’s cool for white guys to pal around and clown on whomever they want. Thoughts?