Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms was the stretch vegetable this week.  They had them at the farmers’ market.  I’ve always wanted to think of myself as someone who knew how to prepare them.  And, with the help of Epicurious, I am.  Sort of.

Here they are.  It’s a delicious recipe, and not too hard (by Epicurious standards).  It took me about the 40 min they mention in the recipe.

The hard thing is actually getting the stuffing into the darn squash blossoms.  They’re fragile.  They’re floppy.  They lack structural integrity.  I would get one open and the leaves would flop back into place while I was pushing the stuffing in.  Or I would push too vigorously the leaves would tear.  And nothing I could do seemed to be able to get the stuffing into the very bottom of the flower.

In any case, Debbie thought they tasted great.  I could have used more stuffing.  Next time I’ll get a pastry bag or a big plastic syringe and do it right.

The Crummy Cook’s first improv!

Mara taxes me regularly with being too hung-up on following recipes.  She would have been proud of me tonight!

I had a yen for meatballs, and we had a bag of frozen turkey meatballs from Whole Foods sitting around, calling to me.  I looked up “turkey meatballs” in Epicurious, and the few recipes that came back were tough and demanding.  The last thing you want on Sunday night.

Well, I saw a number of recipes pairing meatballs with tomato sauce, and I looked in the fridge and saw leftover Harissa dressing from a previous Crummy-Cook exploit.  I thought, “let’s put the Harissa dressing on the meatballs”.  Then I thought, “that’s a bit intense, let’s cut them with something.”  Inside the fridge, the Greek yogurt spoke to me.  I mixed the yogurt with the Harissa and cooked it with the meatballs: a star is born!

Do I have to log each meal I cook?

Not sure of the conventions here, but I’ll err on the side of punctilio until I figure out the lay of the land.

Last night (still alone :-() I got hung up on tofu, but also sick of the usual stuff.  One of the few areas of cooking I knew something about pre-Crummy-Cook-vow was Chinese stir-fry cooking, and I just wasn’t in the mood last night.

A recipe for Spinach and Tofu from Deborah Madison (famous, in our household at least, for the her connection with Moosewood Cookbook and its progeny) caught my fancy.

I’m one of the few people in my zip code who has actually made paneer from scratch, so Saag Paneer, the ur-dish on which this is based, is a household favorite.

I cheated.  I made it with frozen chopped spinach.  It still tasted great.

Barefoot Contessa couscous… alone

Mara is off to Africa for six months, Debbie is in CA, I’m home alone with the animals.

Prior to the Crummy Cook Resolution, I would have gone out last night, might well have overeaten.  But, even by myself, the Cook calls, and I put together something simple which hit the spot.

Mary had originally directed me to Ina Garten (also at her own site), whose dishes are generally tasty and simple.

Picture of Curried Couscous RecipeCurried Couscous (that’s Ina’s version in the picture; I’m still routinely forgetting to take pictures of my food) is fabulous, and completely simple, great features for a cook-at-home-alone dish.  When Mary told me about this dish, she said that y0u could make any amount of it for a party and it would all be gone by the end.  I guess that was true of my one-person party last night. 

Spinach Salad with Grilled Eggplant and Feta

From Epicurious.  Pretty darn simple, really tasty.


The problem of making perfect grilled eggplant remains, but I got a little better at it this time.

Josh (my non-crummy cook friend, not my son) says you should salt the eggplant first (removing the salt before action, of course).  Salted eggplant is to oil as toast is to butter.  It absorbs the oil but doesn’t get all soggy.