Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fried Zucchini & Squash Blossoms

Can I just say that fried squash flowers filled with goat cheese are so incredibly good that I crave them all the time!  Next year we are planting a ton of squash and zucchini just so I can harvest the flowers.  You can see that one of the flowers is getting the zucchini starting to grow.  Now don't kid yourself - fried squash flowers do not have the same nutritional value as raw squash.  However you might find yourself running out to the garden every morning  to pick the blossoms when they first begin to open.  That running should account for something right? 

Preparing the flower for frying was a bit more labor intensive than I expected.  I watch many videos on pulling out the stamen after confirming which part was the stamen.  This was particularly embarrassing because I taught tenth grade biology.  Luckily, I was right in that the part that I thought was the stamen was the stamen! Whoo hooo. Just recently I read that a zucchini plant produces both male and female flowers. The female flowers will eventually grow into a zucchini, while the male flowers will die off. I don't know if the squash plants are the same.  So if you are growing plants for the zucchinis, make sure to pick only the male flowers to make this recipe. Now I have to Google how to tell the difference between a male and female flower.  I bet my four year old daughter could tell me...

Making Mozzarella or Ricotta...

Addy finishing up her mozzarella

My first attempt to make mozzarella turned out a bit more like a mozzarella ricotta hybrid. My second attempt I threw out.  My third attempt was AWESOME.  The key for me was using distilled water. Here are the directions if you would like to give it a try. It is not difficult to do you just have to watch the temperature and make sure you use distilled water!  The other ingredients include whole milk (the less pasteurized the better), rennet and citric acid.  I have used the mozzarella I made on sandwiches, homemade pizza's and lasagna.  Here in Kanab a small ball of mozzarella cheese is a little over six dollars.  I can make double that for the cost of a gallon of milk (about four bucks).  Two years ago a friend was milking one of the local doctors cows and I am thinking that milk would have been perfect for making cheese.  If only I had started making cheese two years ago!
My first attempt

The Girls

Well I believe that our hens have officially stopped laying eggs.  It has been a couple of months since we have gotten an egg. Bummer.  We will still keep them as pets but we have been missing fresh eggs.  We just built an additional coop (I should say my talented husband built an additional coop).  It is smaller and on the side of the house where the girls really like to hang out.  We figured in the winter we might let the neighbors dog use the big chicken coop and heat lamp when it is really cold. When our dog Zeena was still alive she would go in the coop until we got home and let her in the house. What can I say we are worriers.  So now the girls have their huge chicken coop plus a little mini coop! 

We have talked about getting some new chicks but we are afraid we will get a rooster.  I do not want a rooster.  I know our neighbors do not want us to have a rooster either!  I am not sure if you can even have a rooster in the city.   A friend of ours has offered us one month old chicks (which are fairly big) but we won't know the sex til they hit 5 or 6 months. Daron said he would re-home them if they are roosters. I would rather not get them than try to re-home them! 

We also had a Cooper's Hawk (we think) checking out the hens the other day.  Addyson yelled "Those chickens are our family not your dinner" and the hawk flew away.  The girls just finished molting. Molting is a process chickens go through once a year to shed their feathers and replace them with new ones. Their new feathers are coming in and they look so pretty! 

Powder sports her new WHITE feathers

The mini coop