Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dixie Swims!

Rosie Makes Gremolata.

Rosie is making gremolata today.
 What is gremolata, you ask?
Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment
 typically made with parsley, garlic, and lemon zest
and traditionally served with osso bucco.
 I'm stuffing tomatoes with it for a little appetizer.

Here's my mise en place:
1/4 cup parsley
2 TB basil
 zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove
 1/4 cup toasted almonds
 1 TB fresh rosemary
3-4 TB olive oil (ELBOO - That's extra light Bertolli olive oil!)
I grated my zest.
Minced my basil ...
... and my parsley.

I added the zest and minced herbs to my mini processor
 and put in minced garlic, ...
 (The reason I mince, chop, and zest things ahead of time,
even though they're all going into the processor anyway,
 is that I get a much better consistency and texture when I do it myself.
Processors are nice, but they can't do everything.
 Had I put everything into the processor to begin with,
 some things would be over-processed
 and other things would be under-processed
. You want a nice amalgamation.)
... a little red wine vinegar (Maxine's home made stash.), ...

... salt and red pepper , ...
... and toasted almonds.
Strip off the rosemary from the stem ...
... and add that to the mix.
Pour olive oil in while processing until you get the right consistency.
Like this.
Here are my little tomato appetizers.
The brightness and freshness of the gremolata
 is wonderful with the just-picked tomatoes.
 You've got a lot of flavors working together
 here to create a lovely fusion.
This is summer at its best.
 Stay tuned for another fresh herb delight - chimichurri sauce.

Fried Zucchini Blossoms.

On my previous post about zucchini roll-ups, my friend Marion commented:
Marion said...
Hey Rosie, do you ever fry or stuff zuke flowers?
I have wonderful recipes for them but can't grow/buy them.
Well, no, Marion. I've never fried or stuffed a zuke flower before ...
... Thursday evening. Here are some pics to pique your interest. I have two stuffed, battered, and fried blossoms on the left, freshly made tomato and herb sauce in the middle, and a delicious piece of fried onion on the right.
You must try this (or anything else fried for that matter)
with Rosie's Pig Shack Sauce
 and her Mango/Pineapple/Habanero sauce.
Blossoms and onions rings.
Early Thursday morning I went out and mowed the backyard.
 As I passed by the zucchini,
I remembered Marion's query
and thought to myself,
"Self? We're having fried zucchini blossoms for dinner."
I started rummaging through the sticky, picky, leaves and saw this juicy little yellow morsel. Oh, how cute! Look. There's a baby zuke in the back to the right of the blossom. You can see the spent blossom on the end. That reminds me of a funny story Mr. Hawthorne told me. A friend of his had a garden and she was so excited about her zucchini and squash plants. "They have so many beautiful flowers on them," she gushed! "I've been picking them for arrangements. But you know what? I haven't had the first zucchini yet." Heh. I'm literally going to nip this in the bud.
Early morning is the time to pick your blossoms.
 They've just opened up and are ripe for pickin'.
I picked a mess o' blossoms, (Leave long stem on.) laid 'em out on dampened paper towels, picked a couple of squash, and took it all inside. I immediately placed the paper towel-swathed blossoms in a plastic bag and put them in the fridge. These must be picked in the morning and they must be eaten the same day. Later that afternoon, I started on my filling.
Ingredients for my stuffing:
 Ricotta cheese
Greek yogurt
 Goat cheese
(Not pictured here, but I have a blurry pic of it later.)
 s & p
Mix equal amounts of cheeses and mince the basil and parsley.
Blurry dill.
Add in the fresh dill with a few seeds.
Gently unwrap the blossoms.
Open up the flower a bit and locate the stamen.
The stamen would be that little yellow penis in the center. You want to rip that sucker right out.
Add in a little of the cheese filling.
Add in enough filling so you can wrap and seal the petals around it.
Stuffed blossoms ready for battering.
The batter is very simple
and is an excellent batter for delicate flavors.
This batter enhances.
It doesn't overpower as so many batters do.
Fairly equal amounts of flour and sparkling water. That's it.
Sparkling water is fun.
In this picture, I've just poured it into my cup
 and it's foaming and effervescing all over.
Pour into flour.
Mix well.
I dipped the stuffed blossoms in the batter
 and fried about 3-4 at a time.
 Mr. Hawthorne sliced some onions, I battered them, and ...

... Voila!

Two fried zuke blossoms and fried onion rings.

This batter is perfect for the delicate blossoms.
 The batter is actually lighter than the blossom.
 One could say the petals were kissed by the batter.
Ever had an onion ring batter
 that's so bready and doughy you need to pull it off the onion?
Not this batter.
Come to me, my little Blossom.
 You are mine.
 (I've heard that line from Sandra Lee before
when she talks to her phaux phood.
But she didn't use the word "blossom.
 I believed she used the word "sweetness."
 "Come to me, Sweetness," is what she said and it icked me out.)

Slathered condiments on fried, stuffed blossom.
Ahhhhh. I liked these exquisite gems. Barely there batter and a flower and BOOM! cheese and herbs! It's a party in my mouth. I'm eating a FLOWER! Thank you, Marion, for being the gadfly on my ass to encourage me and challenge me to make this. (I know Marion will get the gadfly reference, but in case you don't I've linked it.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rosie, Maxine, And Carmen Take In The Danville Riverwalk Trail.

After a brisque walk-through of the Danville Community Market, Maxine, Carmen, and I hit the Riverwalk Trail.
I'll just shut up and let you enjoy the pictures.
Turtles sunning.
The Dan River.
I've never been on the trail in the fall but I bet this section is beautiful.
Throughout the trail, there are picnic areas and strategically placed benches where one can sit and enjoy the calm and the view and the peace.
What used to be Dan River Mills. An Indian company bought it. You can thank Clinton and NAFTA for that.
This is Danville to me.