Feta Stuffed Squash Blossom Summer Casserole

It was magical in the kitchen today. And it all started in the cool morning garden. 🙂

Take a quick peek:

 

 

Then I had to celebrate with all the vegetables I brought home.

As I said on my Garden Mandala post earlier today, “Point me to a garden plot in late February and I’ll be happy through November…”

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I was so inspired and completely energized today, I think mainly by these beautiful squash blossoms. But broccoli and two kinds of string beans helped!

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My idea was a Mediterranean style vegetable dish with the stuffed, batter and breadcrumb dipped blossoms nestled on top.

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Puree a can of organic diced tomatoes, pour them into the casserole, add herbs and chopped vegetable with a splash of balsamic vinegar, generous drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of chopped cured green olives. Cover and place in the oven to simmer into lusciousness.

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With some feta on hand and Greek yogurt too, plenty of basil, chives and parsley from the garden for the blossom filling.

If you’d like to make a vegan filling, I have a tasty mushroom and garlic option below, along with a vegan batter.

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A big pinch of smoked paprika makes the egg batter elusively fragrant.

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Extra breadcrumbs and a bit of egg get tossed together to top the saucy vegetables. If you have more blossoms use ’em! Now ready for the lid and a pop back into the oven.

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Twenty five minutes later, garden to table bliss.

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Take a peek at my first plate – the creamy feta filling and crispy breaded squash blossoms – herby tomato & olive sauced vegetables alongside.

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Room temperature awhile later, slicing with a knife, the stuffed blossom is just beautiful.

Ready for the recipe?

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Feta stuffed squash blossom Mediterranean vegetable bake

Feeds four for a vegetable side or light meal. Vegan option included!

  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 2 c. chopped fresh green and/or burgundy beans
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 c. fresh chopped herbs: basil, Italian parsley, rosemary, chives
  • 1/3-1/2 c. chopped olives – oil cured green, or kalamata, or your favorites 🙂
  • 2 tbsp. or so – a drizzle, a little more – organic olive oil
  • splash balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Puree diced tomatoes then pour into 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish. Stir in rest of ingredients, cover, and place in oven for about 20 minutes, until fragrant and bubbly, and the vegetables are nearly tender.

Meanwhile… the blossoms! (Filling ingredients for 4 blossoms)

  • at least 4 squash blossoms or up to 8 if you have them! (choose the male blooms with thin base where flowers attach to stem, leaving the female blooms with little nubbin at the base where the squash will develop)
  • Filling ingredients for 4 blossoms
  • 1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. traditional plain Greek yogurt
  • heaping tablespoon minced fresh herbs – basil, chives
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper

Vegan filling option:

  • 1 heaping packed cup finely minced crimini or other favorite mushroom (I like to do this in the food processor for a perfect stuffing consistency)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced along with the mushrooms
  • olive oil for saute – at least 2 tbsp.
  • heaping tablespoon minced fresh herbs – basil, chives
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper

Saute mushrooms and garlic in olive oil, off heat stir in herbs and pepper. You are making a version of the French duxelle stuffing. Let cool slightly before handling.

Wash blossoms inside and out, shake off excess water. In a small bowl, mix filling ingredients. Cup each blossom in one hand, petals opened, a stuff a rounded tablespoon of filling in. Portion out your filling before stuffing in the bowl – make it easy on yourself!

For the batter and breading:

  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. half and half cream
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • a big pinch of smoked paprika
  • 2 bread crusts, or slices (I used Canyon Bakehouse multigrain gluten free bread)

Vegan Batter:

  • 1 tbsp. ground flax or chia seed
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened, unflavored hemp or flax milk
  • a dash of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper
  • big pinch smoked paprika

Whisk first 4 ingredients (first six ingredients for vegan option) in a wide flat bowl. Tear bread into pieces and process into fine crumbs in Cuisinart. (Or use already prepared bread crumbs.) Gently twist squash petal ends with your fingers to seal the filling inside, roll in batter then breadcrumbs.

Pull casserole from the oven, lift lid and be transported into smiling bliss with the fragrance in your kitchen, then arrange blossoms on top of the vegetables and sauce. If you have extra breadcrumbs and batter, mix just a bit of batter at a time into the crumbs – so the mix doesn’t become soggy – then scatter as a topping in between stuffed blossoms. But if you’ve got more blossoms available, fill out a sweet pinwheel of them on top of the vegetables. Bake uncovered mid to upper levels of oven for about 25 minutes, until topping is browning up and crispy. Lovely hot or room temperature.

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Perfect summer garden party fare!

Wishing you lots of summer enchantment and really great fresh food.

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