Been too long since my last post.

It’s not that I haven’t been eating anything good, just nothing too post-worthy, but also I’ve just been busy. Working, occupying Wall Street, taking care of Grandma, studying Japanese. Even for me food can sometimes take a back seat. But not for long!

My slump changed on Saturday when a friend brought over last-of-the-season squash blossoms from the farmers market. The first time I had these babies was in Rome when I lived there back in 2003. I seem to remember they were something of a speciality in the city, especially stuffed with mozzarella (and sometimes anchovies), battered, and fried. In fact, that’s the only way I’d ever had them, from Rome to New York to Vermont.

But in a bold and unexpected move, my friend decided to serve them raw. She brought over a mixture of avocado and tomato and assembled them at the kitchen table, neatly spooning them into the cleaned blossoms. I was waiting for her to nudge me out of the way at the stove and start frying – I assumed they must be fried! – but she had us roll them up and bite in, unadorned by batter or copious oil. The avocado was a soft and creamy contrast to the somewhat sturdy petals of the blossom and the tomato provided just the acidic bite to round out the flavors.

So sometimes zucchini can get a bad rap. I’ve heard it referred to as a swollen ovary, immature fruit, and just plain nuisance. (My goodness, would you kiss your mother with that mouth?) It seems the supply and demand ratio is a bit off come August–September, with an over-abundance leading otherwise perfectly civilized folks to “zucchini” their friends, neighbors, and total strangers by leaving bags of the stuff in cars and on doorsteps. It’s a pastoral version of “ring and run.”

For those that don’t know, squash blossoms are  just that – the flower that blooms from both the male and female squash, and typically we’re eating the flowers from zucchini specifically. As I mentioned, they’re often served stuffed and then fried or baked, but you want to remove the pistils first from the female flowers and stamens from the males.  I mean, who wants to eat reproductive organs with dinner? And you can eat the whole flower but avoid the hard and fibrous stem.

(Here’s a recipe from Saveur that I like.)

We served the stuffed blossoms as a first course to a meal that included white beans simmered with turmeric, coriander, and chile; a pork roast with a rub of cumin, black pepper, and fennel seeds; and sauteed kale with cayenne, lemon and garlic. I think these may in fact have been the only swollen ovaries I had all summer, and according to signs at the farmers market last week, they will be my last, until next summer. Serves us right I suppose, for all the slandering of excess zucchini all summer long, that we should be denied any for another year. Who you calling swollen?

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