The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Stuffed Squash Blossoms 
with Tomato and Pluot Marinara 
First, Happy Labor Day to all of our friends out there :)

So above you can see the final result of my farmers market finds from Friday...
This past Friday,I met my Foodie Friend Priscilla of She's Cookin'.
We had lunch and Farmers Market plans for early afternoon. The Farmers Market
is our local one here in Huntington Beach California, and my first visit. No I did not just
move here, but I am a nerd so exploring my own back yard takes some prompting.
 If you are not already familiar with her site, I encourage you to promptly get acquainted. From her weekly obsessions to her delightful recipes, there is always something to savor. As far as the farmers market went...not so impressed,
 but I did have a few lovely finds...

There are also a couple of other Foodie Friends that I will be mentioning here...
First is our friend Chef David of Chef's Resources. For my dear David, I am preparing
a mini series of "Classic Sauces with a twist". Now this sauce is not part of the series, but is
most certainly is a classic sauce with a twist...?  (P.S. He challenged me :)
Second is our friend Chef Dennis of  More Than A Mount Full. You see our friend Dennis
has a wee bit of an obsession with squash blossoms... If you have not been keeping up, he I believe, has gone so far as talk of group therapy and rehab... But as the food loving friend I am, I am saying No to treatment, and yes to fulfillment... So dear Dennis, I thought of you while preparing this dish, in hopes that it will bring you back amongst the squash blossom fanatics :)

What you will need:
For the squash blossoms
8-10 Squash blossoms
15 Ounces ricotta cheese
2 Cups quattro fromage cheese
(blend of provolone, mozzarella, parmesan and romano)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Pinch of flake salt, or fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons juniper berry, dried and ground
(I used in place of pepper for a more floral light peppery flavor)

For the sauce
8-12 tomatoes (depending on size)
4-6 pluot (hybrid plum/apricot)
1 large bunch fresh basil, chopped
 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon agave (omit for less a sweet sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
Note: The sauce is simmered over a 4-5 hour period stove top
or overnight in a crock pot.

Let's get cooking:
For the sauce
To start with we are going to take our tomatoes and pluots, placing them in a large stock pot of water. Bring water to a boil and allow to a rolling boil. Reduce heat just slightly to prevent an over-boil at this point. Continue to gently boil until you see the skins of your fruits begin to wrinkle and peel. Remove your fruits now and place in a large bowl to cool to touch. Meanwhile take your butter and oil and place in a sauté pan, heating until butter has melted. Now add your shallot and garlic, allowing them to come to a nice deep golden brown. Once you have peeled your tomatoes and peeled/seeded your pluots, place them in a medium to large French/Dutch oven (or crock if cooking overnight). Now add your basil, wine, agave, salt and pepper. Then allow to simmer for several hours or overnight in your crock pot. Note: we are starting from scratch, so we want to allow our flavors to meld into one another, the slower - the better :)

For the filling
Now get your blossoms ready - gently clean in chilled water and pat dry. Now you will want to remove the squash that is attached to the bottom (for this recipe), by cutting just above the base of your flower. You will also need to remove the stamen (the small pod inside the flower), by gently opening up the blossom and reaching in to the stamen, then just pinch off....
In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients for your filling. Blend with a large wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth. Now take a blossom and gently stuff filling inside, doing this with each blossom. Now place each prepared blossom in a baking dish, pour over a small amount of your marinara sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees (f), until the cheeses have just begin to bubble. Serve with the zucchini or other squash if they cam whole :) Note: for the baby zucchini I  drizzled with a lemon peppered garlic butter.


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