A little over two months ago I began a quest for a greener, more sustainable kitchen and I have been successful in keeping canned goods out of my cooking, I squeeze my OJ fresh and my garden is thriving. I have not been quite able to stay consistent with the bread baking, but I do make some whenever I get a chance, and my Vitamix decided to quit on me once I was fully addicted to homemade almond butter. I also found a very easy recipe for yogurt and, though it requires some precise temperature control, it is really yummy! I do try to be diligent, as well, with buying as local as possible, which has become a bit easier now that the local farms are producing.

The most rewarding and fun project has been the garden. It really looks like a jungle and is actually producing way more than I expected, especially considering this is my first attempt at a proper vegetable garden! We have been eating arugula and lettuce for a month and the kale, if I can get to it before the critters, has been sooo good. My tomato plants are huge and even have some green tomatoes, which I am so excited to see ripen. I also planted broccoli, swiss chard, beets, carrots and pumpkin, not to mention the herb garden I have every summer.

Today, I decided to raid my zucchini of some babies with their flowers. They are so perfect for stuffing and one of my favorite summer dishes and really pretty simple to do, but always impresses. Stuffed squash flowers can be either fried or steamed/simmered and served plain or with a light sauce. Tonight, they will be stuffed with a ricotta-herb filling, steamed and served with a butter-sage sauce. When paired with a great salad and a whole grain, grilled bread or simple pasta these make a great light supper. Or, they can be served as a summery starter for a dinner party.

Ricotta-Herb Stuffed Squash Blossoms

The finished dish: Ricotta-Herb Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Ricotta-Herb Stuffed Squash Blossoms

8 Zucchini Blossoms, with or without baby zucchini
½ pound Ricotta Cheese
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, mint, tarragon, basil, etc)
1 Tablespoon Flour
Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
4-8 sage leaves

To make the filling:
Mix the cheeses, egg, herbs, flour and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

To stuff the blossoms:
Be sure the blossoms are clean and free of bugs before stuffing. The best way to stuff the blossoms is with a pastry bag, but a spoon will work. Fill the bag with the filling and gently open the flowers just enough to fit the tip of the pastry bag in. Fill about ½ to ¾ full and gently twist the tops to hold the cheese in when steaming. If using a spoon be gentle when filling the flowers.

To steam:
Fill the bottom of a steam pan with water. Layer the blossoms in the top of the steam pan, cover and steam until filling is firm through the flower.

Heat the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sage and sautee until crispy. Drizzle over the squash blossoms and squash, season with salt and pepper and serve.