Social Insecurity is not the first book I’ve been involved with. Many years ago, I edited a cookbook. One of those ones done for a fundraiser. Did well. Sold a lot. Besides the organization’s contributors, we had quite a few celebrities and local restaurants.
See, right there, besides being the Director of Development for the organization, Cookbook Editor. Anyway, besides editing I had a couple of recipes in there. And one of my favorite recipes every summer (and in the book) is squash flowers.
It amazes me every time I run into someone who doesn’t eat flowers. There are so many you can eat, this is just one of the more commonly known ones. I call them Tieri’s Squash Flowers because when I was little, we shared a back wall with a lovely old Italian couple, whose last name I could not pronounce. Mr. told me to call him Michael. Mrs. also had a first name I could not pronounce and somehow she became Tieri. Were it not for Michael and Tieri, my sister and I would have thought vegetables were horrible things that came in cans. When my mother left the farm behind, she left it behind. The only thing she ever grew were privet hedges. My mother was also a lousy cook. Great baker but children cannot live on breads and cakes and pies no matter how much they would like to. So Michael taught us a lot about planting and Tieri taught us a lot about vegetables and their preparation but my favorite was always the squash flowers. Just the concept of eating a flower, I suppose. I don’t always eat them this way (and sometimes I stuff them), they are yummy in salad. I rarely eat them this way as I have trouble with fried foods but every now and then it is worth it getting a tummy ache. So, for those of you who don’t eat them, and I’ve had people think I am pulling their leg, I will go through it step by step.
Pick the flowers in the morning when they are open and after the bees are finished. And only pick the male flowers as the females produce the squash.
It is easy to tell which is which. Just remember the male flower has a penis. Shake out any bugs and put them in a bag in the fridge. They will be closed and shriveled a bit when you are ready to work with them but that is not a problem. Rinse them gently and dry gently on paper towels.
Leave a longer stem. The stem makes it easier to dip in batter and when you eat, you pick up by stem and eat it all except the stem. I didn’t pick these. Gently remove those prickly green things – no idea what you call them. Then it looks like this:
Next step is to gently reach in and remove the penis, I mean anther.
Now they are ready to dip in the batter and place in the oil.
You will notice I don’t stick with the 6 TBS of oil, that was Tieri. Sometimes I even use my deep fryer. When they are done, drain on some brown paper and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt and serve with tomato sauce for dipping. (Okay, I heated it is microwave and it splattered. Sue me.) Yum.