Monday, July 28, 2008

Deep Fried Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Here are the blossoms... Kate painstakingly filling them (next time we will use a pastry bag)... and the finished product!

Squash Blossoms, stuffed with cheese and deep fried-

This was a team effort inspired by a recent trip to Salvation Cafe in Newport, RI. They were serving up a salad on special that featured a stuffed fried squash blossom in mesculun greens.
We used summer squash blossoms but you can use zucchini blossoms as well.
Also, for the filling, Kate made homemade ricotta using Ricki's Cheese Making Kit and milk from Shaw Farm in Dracut, MA...

Here's the recipe we used:

Battered Squash Blossoms
(With or Without Stuffing)

The Batter:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat-free chilled milk, beer or water

Cheese-Mushroom Stuffing:
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoon mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, minced
16 large squash blossoms, washed
Canola oil for frying

1. Prepare the batter first. Sift together dry ingredients, then whisk in milk, beer or cold water until smooth. Cover and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Leftover batter can be stored for up to two days. If it is too thick after refrigeration, add a few drops of water to return to original consistency.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. In a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, mushrooms and basil. Open the blossoms and spoon about one 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into the center of each. Avoid overfilling the blossoms. Twist the top of each blossom together to close. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Pour the oil into a skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over high heat until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown within seconds.

4. Briefly dip each stuffed blossom into the batter, then carefully slip into the hot oil. Cook until golden on all sides, about three minutes total cooking time. Add only as many blossoms at a time as will fit comfortably in the skillet. Transfer with a slotted utensil to paper towels to drain briefly.

5. Sprinkle with salt, if desired and serve immediately.

NOTE: In place of the cheese-mushroom stuffing, try another of your favorite bread or meat stuffings.

Source: University of Illinois Cooperative Extension


You only need Half of the batter that this recipe calls for. I used water, but I think beer would taste the best!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chocolate Cake made with Guinness Beer...

Legend has it this recipe is from a restaurant in Great Barrington, MA.

Chocolate Stout Cake:-D
2 cups stout (Guinness)

2 cups unsalted Butter (4 sticks)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened Dutch coco powder...(preferably Dutch-process..Droste)

4 cups flour

4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sour cream


4 cups whipping cream

2 pound bittersweet chocolate or semi sweet chopped

For cake: Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans with 2 inch sides. Line the pans with parchment paper, butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to a simmer in a large heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add coco powder and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly. This is very or the hot/warm mixture will start to cook the flour mixture.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl. Add stout coco mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and briefly beat slowly. Using rubber spatula fold mixture until well combined. Divide batter evenly into cake pans. Bake until tester comes out clean about 35 minutes. Cool on racks for 10 minutes...turn cakes out on racks and cool completely.

For icing: Bring cream to simmer in heavy sauce pan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently about 2 hours. Make sure to whisk this in the refrigerator.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over cake. Refrigerate for a few minutes between each layer.. Top with second layer, spread 2/3 icing on cake. Top with final layer and spread remaining icing on cake. Refrigerate to set icing. You will have a bit of the frosting left....enjoy..but it is important to really spread the frosting on the layers and of course on top and sides..really lay it on..also DO NOT USE A STOUT BEER IN A CAN WITH A WIDGET. It ends up way too frothy and will overflow in oven...a real mess!!!