September 15, 2004

can't bother

Saturday, September 11

We went to farmer's market today, and got just a bit of stuff, including these. What are they??

Well I took some pictures of them before cooked, but deleted them all by accident before transferring them to my computer. They are pumpkin flowers. I saw ones at my local farmer's market for the first time - in fact, I don't think I had ever seen them sold fresh anywhere. They looked very much like zucchini flowers, which I had eaten somewhere a long time ago, and the lady at the vendor said they're similar when I asked her about it. I got a bunch for home.

I remember the last time I had zucchini flowers they were fritters - it is a simple but nice way to enjoy their pretty appearance and mild flavor of squash. That was what I had in my mind when I bought the pumpkin flower, but let's face it - I don't deep-fry at home. I don't have a fryer or a deep pot, and I don't even want to. For thinner things I would be able to oven-fry them, but If flattened pumpkin flowers didn't sound very appealing.

So I (typically!) looked for recipes on the net and came up with several ones for stuffed zucchini/pumpkin flowers. One of such recipes used mozzarella cheese, anchovy fillets, and basil which I thought was great but sadly, he doesn't eat fish - rejected.

Then I ended up with this one (in Japanese), although I radically altered the ingredients.

Preparing the flours was by far the most painstaking part of all, I figured - it was just too difficult to remove the stems and pistils from the flowers while reserving the shape of the blossoms (for me at least). I almost didn't reach the stuffing part. Only thing that carried me through was the fact that I had already prepared the stuffing; chopped (some of the) pumpkin flowers, green and yellow zucchini, onion, mushrooms, parsley, and a bit of bacon lightly sauteed. So I did have some relatively less damaged flowers, and stuffed each of them with a small piece of mozzarella cheese and the stuffing, grated some pecorino romano over them, and baked just until the cheese melted and had a nice golden color.

The stuffed flowers tasted good, owing mostly to the mixture of bacon and vegetables along with the cheesees. Even so, I didn't think it was all worth it - it was too stressful to see the torn and broken remains of flowers piling up in front of me. Next time I see the flowers at the market, I won't buy them - I'd rather have some nice fritters at a restaurant, prepared by skillful chefs. Sigh.


Reid said...

Hi Chika,

I've eaten these before in soups. What you can also do is make tempura out of them. I eat them that way quite often. They turn out quite light and I love the crispiness. =)

chika said...

Hi Reid,

I didn't know about making a soup out of them, but sounds good! Tempura should be fine, too, but either way, I don't think I will be skillful (or more like patient) enough to try and prepare those flowers. :(

Anonymous said...

If you have the space, try growing the pumpkin plants yourself. Pumpkin flowers are much more hearty if they are picked shortly after sunrise, they only have a healthy bloom for an hour or two and if they are picked past their prime they become extremely fragile. They will hold in the fridge for several days after being picked and a healthy pumpkin plant in mid-late summer will get half a dozen blossoms per day, so you're guaranteed to have more blooms than you can use. Plus in fall you have your jack-o-lanterns! But be careful because the plants can grow to be incredibly large, from seed with no fertilizer I got a plant that within three months grew to about 30 feet in length.
There is a recipe online from Italy for baked, stuffed pumpkin flowers that is phenomenal. It's well worth all the work involved! 

Posted by LC