With a crispy crust and a creamy center, these fried zucchini flowers are a stunning Italian appetizer. A budget-friendly, delicious and simple yet elegant treat. I first tried this recipe about 5 years ago and I remember it was love at first sight. Since that particular moment, I’ve been preparing this recipe at lest once a month. When I’m in my veggie garden, admiring my zucchini bush, it fills my heart with joy the fact that I’m able to create something extraordinary from an ingredient that I’d otherwise throw away. Regarding the batter, I’ve trying a lot of recipes that required whether baking powder, sparkling water or cold beer. Hands down, my favorite version was this simple three-ingredient one. It requires only flour, water and yeast, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. These ingredients create a incredibly crunchy crust which hides a delicate and creamy filling.
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
15 zuchhini blossoms
150g all-purpose flour
220ml lukewarm water (38-40C)
15g fresh yeast
- Activate the yeast. In a small bowl combine 1/3 of the water, sugar and yeast and whisk until well combined. Let aside for 5 minutes.
- Form the batter. In a large bowl sift the flour. Add the salt and a pinch of nutmeg and make a well in the center. Add the remaining water (2/3 of the quantity) and whisk until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Cover with cling film and let it proof in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- Clean the flowers. Meanwhile take each flower and remove it’s center, as well as those tiny outer leaves. Clean under cold water and place them in a colander to drain.
- Cook the blossoms. After 30 minutes heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. One by one, dredge the blossoms in batter, shaking off the excess. Gently lay them in the oil, without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes total.
- Serve. Transfer to paper towels to drain and serve warm.
- Source: www.giallozafferano.it
One of the main problems I face on a daily basis is the waste of food. I usually buy more than I need, I cook more than I consume and I often throw away perfectly good food just because I’m simply not in the mood for having the same dish two days in a row. And in this case I’m not throwing away only some leftovers, I’m also throwing away money, time and energy. This is when recycling kicks in, the art of transforming something undesirable into something attractive.
Maybe the best example of undesirable leftover are mashed potatoes. When still fresh, mashed potatoes are a delicious and creamy side dish. But when they are cold, they become dry and tasteless and not once did I have to throw them away. To prevent food waste, I discovered a wonderful way to recycle them: potato cups with cheddar cheese and chives. These cups are so easy to make, they are budget-friendly and they taste divine. They have a crunchy crust and a creamy and flavorful filling. These adorable cups are as fluffy as a cloud and they are ready in about 30 minutes. You won’t believe how some flavorless leftovers can turn into something so delicious!
Ingredients (for 12 cups):
- 500g leftover mashed potatoes*
- 100g grated cheddar cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 5g chives **
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 – 3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
* This recipe can be made for dinner with mashed potatoes from lunch. You can also use day old mashed potatoes.
** Instead of chives you can use finely chopped scallions, parsley or dill.
- Preheat the oven at 220°C / 425°F (gas mark 7).
- Take a muffin tray and coat each cup with a thin layer of butter and then sprinkle some bread crumbs. Shake off the excess (picture).
- Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl. Add the eggs, chopped chives, a pinch of nutmeg and about 75g of grated cheese.
- Stir with a spatula until well combined.
- Sprinkle each cup with the remaining 25g of grated cheese (picture).
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
- After they are baked, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a vegetable knife to gently release them from the pan.
- They are delicious hot, while the melted cheese is stringy. They are also tasty cold, for breakfast.The source: www.thekitchn.com
French toast (or Pain perdu) is an absolutely divine breakfast. It’s nothing else but day-old bread soaked in a milk and egg mixture flavored with cinnamon and than fried in butter and served with honey and berries. I make this wonderful treat everytime I find myself in the position of throwing away stale bread. I find it fascinating how an unappealing slice of bread metamorphoses into something sublime.
For French toast I’ve used all sorts of bread, from plain white bread, to whole – wheat, focaccia, or ciabatta, from Romanian sweet bredt, babka or challah. I often use whole-wheat bread soaked in a flavorful egg, milk and brown sugar mixture. The fact that the bread is old gives the final product its fluffiness and keeps the slice together when soaked. If you have only fresh bread, you can always toast it in the oven for 10 minutes. Continue reading Whole – Wheat French Toast
Cream of pumpkin soup is one of my favorite soups. I know I say the same thing about almost every soup I try and I’m also aware of the fact that I might have a problem. I wouldn’t call it a problem, though. I would rather call it an affinity for everything that’s nutritious, delicious and hydrating.
Pumpkin-wise, this year has been extremely productive and rewarding. I harvested some huge pumpkins from my own veggie garden. And when I say huge, I mean huge-huge, that’s-the-biggest-vegetable-I’ve-ever-seen kind of huge. If last year I had two semi-decent looking pumpkins (who am I kidding, they were a cross between a melon and a tennis ball, to be more accurate), this year I had about a dozen giant ones. And they were so incredibly tasty! Sometimes I looked at them and I felt it would be a shame to cook them, and then I remembered their perfect flavor and their addictive sweetness. And that was the nudge I needed to get things going! Continue reading Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Swedish meatballs (svenska köttbullar) is a delicious dish of Swedish origin (doh!), served traditionally with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. These exquisite meatballs are bathed in a delicate yet flavorful broth-based white sauce. Continue reading Swedish Meatballs with Homemade Dumplings, Zucchini and Cranberries
Mushrooms stuffed with spinach and cheese, served with béchamel sauce – a warm appetizer which is both delicate and hearty. This dish can be easily made suitable for the vegetarian diet, only be skipping the bacon.
I stuffed my mushroom caps with hard-boiled quail eggs and spinach cream, seasoned with fresh thyme and garlic. For the spinach filling I used frozen spinach, 3 types of cheese (feta, cream cheese and parmesan and sauteed mushroom stems).
Continue reading Mushrooms Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese, Served with Béchamel Sauce