Member Diary Week #3. Lauren

Week #3 MimoMex Share

Week #3 belonged to member Lauren, who has started a pretty cool blog–these beets are bananas— to document her culinary experiments with the Southside CSA. She sent along some great recipes that she rocked with her  MimoMex goodies…

Her blog is looking to be a great source of cooking inspiration so be sure to bookmark it! (We are adding to our blog roll right now!) It is always fun to see what others are cooking, especially for those struggling to come up with fresh ideas to cook up our copious amounts of produce.  I have a feeling that Lauren will be a fountain of kitchen creativity for our Southside community!

Blossoms; a MimoMex delicacy!

OPA! Greek-inspired Stuffed Squash Blossoms

  • Setting out with Esther’s recommendation for easy stuffed squash blossoms, I thoroughly washed and dried the flowers.
  • She suggested I use a soft cheese –ricotta, for example– but I had some terrific feta on hand and used that instead, cutting it into small cubes and filling each blossom. I also included a pinch of fresh oregano inside each one.
  • Next I dipped each blossom in a bowl of one beaten egg, soaking them thoroughly and twisting the top a bit to “seal them”.
  • I then rolled them in a bowl with a mixture of white flour, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.
  • I fried the blossoms in a very shallow amount of olive oil (just enough to coat the pan) until they turned golden brown, turning them several times.
  • The final– and most important!– touch was giving each blossom a generous squeeze of lemon juice, giving it that distinct and bright Greek flavor.

Easy & wonderful! Enjoy!

Next it was time to make the most of those awesome, giant zucchinis!

I’m a big fan of stuffed vegetables… my Italian mother makes a mean stuffed green pepper, and my Lebanese mother-in-law has an amazing recipe for stuffed squash called Koosa.

Despite the intense heatwave, I decided to forge ahead and bake my own version using zucchini and quinoa; I considered “Could it be any hotter in our apartment?” to be a challenge, not a complaint.

The original recipe can be found here (Zucchini w/ Quinoa Stuffing), but I tweaked it a bit by excluding the almonds and adding fresh oregano from this week’s share.

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 medium zucchini (I used two large)
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
4 tablespoons olive oil
+ about 1 Tb chopped fresh oregano

Directions

1] Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
2] Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut-side up.
3] Fluff the quinoa and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, ½ cup of the Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.
4] Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and ¼ cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Verdict: The stuffing itself was delicious, even before it was baked. I had a little leftover and plan to eat it cold, like a bean salad with a hefty garlic kick. The finished project was delicious– so healthy and tasty– but admittedly dry. Made me think it could use some kind of sauce.

All in all, an easy and complete meal with quick preparation…. but next time I’ll think twice before running a 400 degree oven for an hour when it’s 100 degrees outside. The answer was: yes, my apartment could get hotter. Much, much hotter.


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