Saturday, July 9, 2011

When The Males Let You Down... offense to any guys out there, of course I'm talking about male squash blossoms. :D

Anyone who has grown cucurbits has probably encountered this problem: male and female blossoms don't open at the same time. Well, at least not at first. It doesn't always happen in this order, but this year I've got lots of female blossoms while the males are lagging far behind! Come' on guys, get blooming! 

Male blossom (hubbard squash)                                       Female blossom (hubbard squash)
While we're waiting for the males to catch up, the squash on the female blossoms won't get pollinated and grow; they'll just fade on the vine. There's a yummy solution though--fried squash blossoms. 

There are more delicate and refined ways to prepare these little gems, but I really like them fried in batter...the blossoms are especially good (just check to make sure there's no little insects hiding in the buds before you get started).

I'm growing blue hubbard squash and zucchini this year, and we snacked on the unpollinated squash from both. The hubbards were a little bitter, but they were only a little bite each, so it scarcely mattered. The zucchini were quite nice, and the blossoms are toothier than you'd think they'd be. 

And to make up for being such a lazy blogger, here are some other eats we've had lately:

Portabella and green pepper fajitas with all the fixins'


I like to make homemade chips by cutting fresh corn tortillas into triangles, brushing them with a mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, and nutritional yeast, and baking them. They're yummier than regular old corn chips and, I guess they're a little healthier too because there's less fat. 

And now, for any vegan cheezsters that might be reading, here's a little vegan cheese interlude. I bought some Vegan Gourmet on a couple occasions lately, and I've been pleasantly surprised. (I always like to tell myself that I'm going to make my own nut cheese, but somehow, I rarely get around to doing it.)

We've tried this brand in the past and didn't like it. But, maybe they've changed their formula, or maybe our tastes have changed. At any rate, it's been pretty good this time round. It doesn't have as much flavor as Daiya, but when it's melted, the texture is nicer. I've always found Daiya to be on the slimy side when melted. There's no weird plastic-y smell from it as it heats up either, which I remember from my previous experience with FYH.

This was a particularly yummy batch of lasagne with some of Vegan Gourmet on top, which melted nicely. 

The filling was the star though: firm tofu, thick cashew cream, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, white miso, ume plum vinegar, lemon juice, and black pepper blended in a food processor, with chopped fresh parsley and basil stirred in at the end. Next time I make it, I'll try to record the measurements, because it had a serious yum factor going on.

Lucky says, "Have a great weekend, everyone!"

Roseann Marie Laponte
Rosanne Tobin
Roseann Laponte


  1. Rose -- I swear you are the Julia Child of the vegan world. Your photos belong in a magazine along with how to make all of the dishes.

    You are growing my favorite tasting squash -- Blue Hubbard. I have grown several kinds of winter squash but still have not tried Blue Hubbard. I hope you give us an account of how much room it takes up in your garden and how many actual squash you get from each plant. If it meets my space requirements I might try it next year.

    -- barbara

  2. That picture of Lucky is so adorable. <3

    What a great way to use the squash blossoms. I didn't know that they were edible!

    Making your own chips that way sounds really good. We'll have to give that a shot. Everything looks so good (as always!), but that lasagne is especially calling my name.

    I might try Vegan Gourmet again. The last few times I've had it I haven't cared for it (Daiya is the only one I can stand), but that was at least a few years ago. It looks like it melts very nicely!


    (I'm sure yours tasted much better!)
    Very fancy eats but I am mostly intrigued by those loaded nachos!
    I don't have vegan cheese often but I've never had a problem with FYH. I'd like to see if you make your own nut cheese, I'm sure it'd be delicious!

  4. That lasagne looks so good.

    In a fancy restaurant once I had stuffed courgette flowers still with the baby courgettes attached and fanned. It was an amazing presentation but I've never been able to duplicate it as the flower/fruit combination is so fragile. It remains an aspiration but frying is so good too it's no problem.

  5. A friend whose mother was Italian told me about dipping courgette flowers in batter and eating them, but we've never tried them yet. Of course! The perfect way to use up those non-performing males! John grows courgettes at the allotment and we're always disappointed when we spot a flower to see that there's only a stalk underneath. No longer!

    I had to call John through to see your food photos and we both 'Oo'ed and 'Ahhhh'ed at them! So delicious! I must experiment with your lasagne filling. We have Melting Cheezley in Scotland,which isn't too bad, but I know lots of Scottish vegans who are keen to try Daiya...

    Lucky is adorable! I want to rub that tummy! Wish him a happy weekend from me, too, please!

  6. Your squash blossoms do look delightful, as does everything else in the post. You may call yourself a "lazy blogger," but clearly you're not a lazy cook! I'll have to try your baked chip recipe. I'm with you on the cheese. I rarely use it, but when I do, I prefer Follow Your Heart. It tastes better and is creamier than Daiya.

  7. I forgot to mention how much I was laughing while reading the post - "The males usually catch up eventually..." not to mention I kept reading "the husband was bitter" not hubbard! Clearly my mind is elsewhere, hahah.

  8. I never knew there were male and female squahs blossoms...hmmmmm.
    Your use of FYH veg cheese looks delish. I've heard more people liking it now so maybe they have changed the ingredients. Try the Daiya Pepper Jack, it tastes soooo good.

  9. Barbara:

    Julia Childs Unbuttered! LOL Thanks for the encouragement!

    As for the hubbard squash, I didn't mention it in the post, but the variety I'm growing are a mini variety, so they won't need to grow so big before they mature...comes in handy around here because things get such a late start.

    I haven't grown it before either, and I will definitely post an update as the squash grow. They're growing up a trellis of sorts (or at least that's the idea) to save space...but it'll will still end up a squash jungle nonetheless, I'm sure. I'm with you on trying to gage how much you'll really get from a crop and whether it's worth the space...real estate in the home garden is dear! I'll keep you posted.


    Squash blossoms are so pretty, it seems a shame to eat them, but they are a fun treat. From what I've read, every part of the squash plant is edible...even green winter squash, though all the parts might not taste so nice as the ripe squash part. :)

    I had the same experience with FYH...we tried it before and really didn't like it, and it gave off a funny smell in the oven. I haven't encountered that this time. They changed their packaging, so maybe they changed something about the formula as well. If you do give it a try again, let me know if you find it better this time than before.

  10. Maud

    Bitter husbands and males that mature a little more slowly...the squash blossoms do seem like pretty typical males eh? j/k!

    Leathery squash blossoms! lol....That simply won't do...I know, I'm always put off by that at a party...:D


    I've seen the stuffed blossoms before too, and I was thinking of trying to stuff them...but it seemed fiddley and I'd probably bungle it with my clumsy you say, they are fragile. The restaurant dish sounds really beautiful... I'm with you, frying them is darn good too! :)

  11. What a helpful tutorial on squash blossoms! I've never eaten them, because I was afraid that picking them would prevent the squash from growing. Of course, I'm not saying if I did pick them that I'd be able to batter and fry them successfully....

    We had a cat that would loll in the grass, like Lucky is doing. We soon learned it was a 'trap' for any hands that dared to tickle a kitty belly.

    Gorgeous photos. The Lasagna is my favorite of all.

  12. Penny

    Definitely give those squash buds a go...even just using them in salad in salad is good, but I love the battered fried ones.

    Cheezly isn't widely available around here, but they do have it at a small vegan grocery and I've tried it once...I can't remember because it was a year or so ago, but I think I liked it. I like the Sheese too...have you tried it? I know it hails from Scotland. I like the blue sheese flavor, but it's quite costly here, so I only buy it once in a great while.

    I'll definitely give Lucky a little tummy rub! He'll love it! :)


    Definitely try the chips...I don't measure, but I use sort of equal parts soy sauce to lime juice...I'm sure you'll come up with your own tasty version. It's nice to eat a pile of chips without so many calories from fats.

    Also, glad to hear I'm not just imagining the FYH v. Daiya thing. :)

  13. JoLynn

    Yeah, it's pretty neat actually. The female blossoms have the little squash growing behind them and the males just have a straight stalk.

    I've been eye-balling the Daiya Pepper Jack...I'll give it a whirl. I'm beginning to be convinced that they changed something about that FYH too...


    Interesting point about the blossoms...I haven't tried picking the blossoms from the pollinated fruits, but certainly any superfluous males are game. I'm sure you could rustle up a few fried ones!

    You fell for the tummy rub trap too eh? His tummy is so rubbable, but he's such a teenager...he does bite me! Sometimes, I'll just be walking past him and he'll launch himself up to bite my hand as I pass...I think it's just his teenage way of showing affection.

  14. Oh, male and female squash are so like human beings. If only the males were a few days behind.

    This looks like a great roundup. I keep meaning to make my own corn chips (they are one of my guilty pleasures!) but I have trouble believing the homemade variety could be as tasty as the bagged ones. Yours look good -- what tempting looking nachos with the perfect scoop of avocado on top, and the green olives peeking through. Yum!

  15. I totally missed the green olives! Never seen those on Nachos before!

  16. Jessica

    I agree, squash and humans are a lot alike...who would have guessed?

    Fried homemade corn chips would be over the top good! The baked ones are tasty though due to the soy sauce and lime juice...sprinkling that over homemade fried ones would be really good! (I'd wager).


    It's all kinds of olives around here...actually I think I meant to use black ones, but I was out, so went with the green ones. V. good, I recommend.

  17. LOL - clever post title! Males showing up late, keeping the females waiting, catching up eventually - uh huh.

    Your fried squash blossoms photos brought back such great memories! My grandmother (who'd married into an Italian family and learned it from them) used to fry zucchini blossoms from my dad's garden all the time. She and mom and I would sneak down there to pick them, because dad would blow a gasket over the blossom heists. (Like the 4,783 zucchini we'd harvest every summer wasn't enough, he couldn't spare a few dozen blossoms?!) She'd stuff some with an unmentionable mixture and others she'd just dip in the batter unstuffed, and since we all preferred the unstuffed variety, that's what she ended up making exclusively. I miss very few things since going oil-free, but this is one of them!

    We left our garden minimalist this year (the future being uncertain and time being in short supply), but we did plant hubbard and zucchini squash, 2 each (plus two poblano peppers and a bunch of marigolds!)

    Your nachos look like they turned out great! And I seriously want those fajitas! Immediately!!!

    Everything looks great, as always... "Julia Child - unbuttered" indeed! LOL I see a best-selling cookbook in your future, Rose! :-)

    Lucky's precious, I want to loll alongside him, sitting up only long enough to eat my fajita. ;-)

  18. P.S. I was excited to read about how you make your own corn chips, because I cut up organic corn tortillas into chips and bake them too, but have never put anything on them first! I'm definitely going to try your soy sauce/lime juice/nooch mixture, it sounds fantastic!

  19. Laurie

    Haha, I remember you mentioning some zucchini capers that used to go on in your dad's garden! The fried blossoms are good aren't they? Surprisingly so, I think.

    I try not to fry stuff too often, but it's sort of a special treat this time of year. Maybe you could do a baked version...not sure how that would turn out, but the chips definitely turn out well don't you think? I don't miss the fried aspect of those at all. I thought the low-fat chips sort of balanced out the fried blossoms, hee-hee. :D If you try the soy sauce mix, let me know how you like it and/or any of your own tweeks and tips.

    We're garden twins in the squash world! I have a couple poblano peppers planted too, but not sure whether I'll actually get any. I hope you give us an update on your squash and peppers sometime over the summer.

  20. hahah a more "refined" way to prepare them. that was good:) those are something i want to try someday.

    that lasagna looks amazing. you pulsed the tofu with all the seasonings in a food processor? i love your ideas for flavoring the tofu. and brushing nut yeast on chips, a very good idea! i had never thought about using soy sauce either.

    enjoy that sun Lucky!!!

    michelle at dirty duck:)

  21. Hi Michelle!

    I think the chips would be right up your alley...tasty, but fat-free. Sometimes, I use Bragg's aminos instead of soy sauce...whatever I have on hand.

    And yes, I blend the lasagne filling in a food processor until it's all smooth...then I just stir in the fresh basil and parsley. Make the cashew cream first...just blending the cashew w/ water until you get the smoothness and consistency you want, then just bung in the tofu and all the rest. You can use garlic granules and onion powder instead of/or in addition to fresh garlic, which gives a great concentration of flavor.

  22. LOL - I was pretty sure I'd shared that story with you in the past, but couldn't remember where or when or why, so figured I could tell it again and maybe you wouldn't notice that I'm repeating myself in my dotage. ;-) Yes, I remember the fried blossoms being utterly wonderful ~ we liked them better than anything we made from the zucchini (except maybe the bread), which is how we justified pilfering the blossoms. :-)

    I think baking corn tortillas makes great chips! I could never find baked corn chips that were also organic, so that's why we decided to try making our own this way. I think I have a package of corn tortillas in the freezer, I'll get them thawed (and buy some limes tomorrow) so we can try them with your soy/lime/nooch coating and I'll let you know!

    I'll keep you posted on our garden too. We got such a late start planting because of our cold, wet spring that I don't know when (if?) we'll be harvesting anything. Actually, I'd like to report to you that I hope the new owners are enjoying the produce from the garden while we're walking to the Farmer's Market from our new house every Thursday evening! ;-) But, it's not looking promising... I think we'll at least be eating the poblanos and zucchini ourselves. *sigh*

    P.S. First she vanishes for weeks, then shows up as "Anonymous." Is Dirty Duck in the Witness Protection Program? ;-)

  23. Laurie

    I think I remember something about a car full of zucchini too...or putting some zucchini in every car with an open window...? Anyway, it all sounds like fun. I don't think I'll get nearly enough for those types of activities though!

    Sorry to hear the house selling isn't roaring, but hang in there, something's bound to come up. :)

    Lol about Michelle...yeah, sort of mysterious.

    Talk to you soon,


  24. LOL - yes, that's what would happen to any and all unlocked cars in BW's grandparents' town in Iowa during zucchini season! :-)

  25. What a garden! I really like fried zucchini flowers, they are so yummy! All the food look great in this post, and the cat Lucky is super cute :-)


  26. I love fried zucchini blossoms! Everything else looks great too!

  27. Laurie

    That is a good strategy...I'd like to go out to my car someday and find a load of fresh produce...even if they are sneaky zucchinis!

    Thanks Alessandra and VegSpinz!

  28. Me too!!! Guess we need to park our cars in small Iowa towns. :-)

    I've made your chips twice now, and they are so good! We ate the first batch with hummus, and today I made two more batches. The second batch I sprinkled with this (hate the name, but love it for seasoning tofu) before putting them in the oven. That was good too, but I think next time I'll sprinkle them with some extra nooch as well! Get me a healthy, vegan Doritos-sorta thing going on. :-) Thanks for the inspiration!

  29. Laurie,

    I'll keep that in mind next time I'm passing through Iowa...

    The perfect pinch stuff sounds good. Glad you like the chips, you'll have to let us know when you come up with the perfect vegan Dorito formula.

  30. I'm coming back to comment on this post I previously read. You've had me in the mood for fajitas. And I really love your chip recipe. I have only ever brushed them with olive oil and salt, maybe a couple of other spices. I just tried fried squash blossoms the other day. My MIL made them, dipped in flour and soymilk. We all thought they were great.

  31. My squash is all gone now and I never did try frying up any squash blossoms. :(
    I love making my own tortilla chips but they way you make them sound awesome. I have got to try that mixture on mine!
    Your lasagna looks so good. That cheese melted oh so perfectly. I need to try that brand.
    Love the picture of adorable!

  32. Jenny:

    I think the chip recipe is so versatile; you can tweak it so many ways according to tastes...and aren't squash blossoms awesome? I wish fried stuff wasn't so fattening, or I'd be eating these every day as long as they lasted.


    Definitely try the squash blossoms if you get around to it next doesn't seem like they'd be much of anything, but they are tasty and what a texture!! I agree about the FYH, I was very pleased how it melted this time around.


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