Stuffed zucchini flowers with cherry tomato and herb salsa… fresh from the garden I might add

On the plate. Looking tasty... but you can see that for yourself, yeah?
On the plate, looking tasty… but you can see that for yourself, yeah?

Our garden is being particularly nice to us at the moment. Not nice like helping out with the washing, or dropping the kids at school, or watering our pet carnies, but nice in a way that only a garden can; by producing an abundance of fresh vegetables that we get to use in our meals every day of the week. And what we can’t use now we will pickle or preserve for the impending apocalypse (I’m sure I will offer a recipe or two for those pickles and preserves later), but today… today, using my brand new “Vegetable Pick-o-matic 2013” aka. My hand (known for many other purposes I might add… none of which shall be shared with you today. But I’m sure you can guess… Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink), I have harvested a heap of baby zucchini with their flowers, a load of cherry tomatoes and a handful of fresh herbs. Times are tough when you’re going to be eating fried zucchini flowers stuffed with olive and feta mousse with cherry tomato and herb salsa. Very tough indeed…

A sink full of zucchini and tomatoes
A sink full of zucchini and tomatoes. Yeah, there’s some cucumber in there too. Nice spotto smarty pants
Now I've moved them into bowls
Now I’ve moved them into bowls
Crumbed zucchini flowers
Crumbed zucchini flowers
Fry my pretties...
Fry my pretties…
SAMSUNG CSC
I said fry…
Fry, fry, fry...
Fry, fry, fry…
Making its way to my belly
Making its way to my belly

STUFFED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS (for a light supper… A light supper? Who the fuck do I think I am?)

15 or so baby zucchini with flower attached

½ cup of feta

½ cup of ricotta

½ cup of pitted black olives, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 anchovy if you’re game, roughly chopped

2 egg yolks

flour, eggwash and polenta to coat (I’m using polenta because Jennee is gluten intolerant. Use breadcrumbs if you want)

  • Blitz everything, except the zucchini flowers and the flour etc douche bag, to form a puree
  • Remove the stamen (little bud looking thing inside the flowers) from the flowers
  • Stuff flowers with mousse
  • Dust flowers with flour, then egg, then polenta (or breadcrumbs if your dearest isn’t gluten intolerant)
  • Shallow fry in med-hot oil, turning every half minute or so, until golden brown
  • Eat with cherry tomato salsa (recipe follows), chickpea or cannellini bean puree or soft polenta, and some other things if you’re really hungry

CHERRY TOMATO SALSA

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or whole if you’re feeling lazy, or even if you are lazy)

½ red onion, bruniose

1 cup of mixed fresh herbs (Parsley, mint and basil is good… trust me), chopped

1 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar and olive oil, straight from the bottle is fine

salt and pepper

  • Mix it all together and shake it all about. Do the hokey pokey and you… turn… it… maybe just mix it together and serve it with the zucchini flowers…
The beetroots are next...
The beetroots are next…

The Standing Rib Roast

IMG_3869

The standing rib roast… a celebration of life… unless you are the cow it came from.

There’s nothing wrong with eating well, you know. Eating well is celebrating a task that we need to perform to live, taking it from boring or mundane and punch throwing into the realm of a ménage a trois with extremely attractive chicks… or guys… or whatever you fancy. PCfoodblogsarethebestshitever. For me there are certainly many ways to celebrate life… not unlike skinning a cat. But since I don’t work at a cat abattoir, I shall once again return to my place at the stove and cheekily moon life from there. I feel I am starting to drift (or maybe veer violently) away from the subject, so here is an account of what we made on one particular celebration of life… or food or eating or having a mouth or something.

IMG_3900

The beef
How long do you cook beef for? How long is the wait at the emergency room on dole day? How long can a cat survive under water? How long can a carnie survive with out eating cabbage? All valid and considerable questions but today I shall only answer one… Carnies must eat cabbage every day to live hence the famous carnie phrase; “any day the three faced dragon does not grant me cabbage, I shall wither up and die”. Not exactly the Shakespeare of our generation, but it gets them by…

The beef was in for about 1.5 hours at 180-200C. I didn’t time it or anything super smart like that, I just poked it every now and then and my nose kept alert for the beautiful smell of cooked beef. However long it was in there was just the right amount of time. It was super moist and tender. A bit like a… Nah. Even I’m going to leave that one alone.

And the stuffing gave it extra special flavour nom nom-ness a la gouche.

The pumpkin purée
Just like making dinner for your three-year-old child but not mixing every shitty vegetable in the back of the fridge together. Just a tiny bit more premeditation and panache. Heaps easy. Any idiot can do that…

1.
1.
2.
2.
3.
3.

If you want it to be restaurant silky smooth pass it through a mesh sieve. I just realised I don’t actually have one of these at home so it was just the stick wizz for me.

The red wine sauce
Milpoix of 1 onion, carrot and celery stick, all diced
1 tomato, diced
A glass or two of red wine (and the rest of the bottle is for you. Don’t say I never give you anything)
• Add the vegetables and tomato to the baking dish when you remove the beef to rest
• Roast for 15 minutes, or until it’s soft and starting to brown
• Bring to the stove top and add a tablespoon of plain flour. Cook out for a minute or two over a low heat
• Deglaze with the red and make sure you get all of the little crusty bits off the bottom of the pan
• Add a beef stock ice block if you have one in the freezer and simmer for a few minutes until recued a little and looking sexy (if it gets a bit to thick whisk in a splash of water)
• Strain sauce into your best old school gravy boat

Rocket, zucchini flower, pecorino salad
Use all of the stuff it says in the title, plus a little finely slice red onion. Dress with a splash of balsamic, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Or use my favourite salad dressing recipe that you will not be able to find here. That shall be my next post!

IMG_3886

What’s up with the zucchini flowers? Cut them some slack already! They’re just trying to make ends meet in this work-a-day-nine-to-five world we live in. They are certainly not essential to complete this salad but neither is the onions or cheese or the rocket, I think you just need hands. Anyway, zucchini flowers are abundant in our garden and no one will argue the fact that they add to the cheffy wankiness of the whole thing. Pull out all the stops to show life that you’re going to that extra effort.

And please remember, pulling out all the stops is heaps more socially acceptable then pulling out your bollocks in public!

some-kind-of-a-gumbo-type-thing

I made this for dinner not so long ago and Jen, my wife, really wanted the recipe… maybe she is having an affair and wants to make it for her other lover/s? At least I know they shall be eating well…

For the some-kind-of-a-gumbo I had a few of the ingredients that would go into a traditional gumbo and a few that I made up. Well. I didn’t actually ‘make them up’. I am not God. I just got cheeky and added them to my gumbo, sniggering like a twelve year old child the whole way.

Traditionally, a gumbo should start with a roux of fat of some description and flour, followed by the ‘holy trinity’ of Cajun and Creole cooking, capsicum, celery and onion.
Okra is another essential, but I’m not sure how readily it’s available from the supermarket. My wife happened upon some at our local farmers market (right beside a small gnome whittling some fine wooden clogs, she brought them home too)… maybe try and grow your own (okra that is, not clogs)…
A lot of recipes call for shrimp, or prawns as we would call them in Australia, and andouille sausage (a present from their French fore fathers who actually based the dish on the bouillabaisse of their homeland)
I have included prawns, and stuffed them into zucchini flowers (we have a lot of male flowers* on our plant atm), then braised them in the stew type thing. If you can’t get hold of zucchini flowers, or you just can’t be effed stuffing them, just chuck them whole prawns in for the same cooking time.

I’m sure there would be some people out there screaming bloody murders because this is not the gumbo that they make but fuck, isn’t gumbo one of those dishes that are meant to have a little give and take. If it pisses you off just imagine that I called it a kind-of-a-casserole or a stew or something.
I am not from, nor have I ever been to the great state of Louisiana. I have never even tried a traditional gumbo. So I am clearly just not the man for this job.

Try my stew. It tastes good.

The stew
A brown roux made from 2 Tbls plain flour and 2 Tbls butter
1 brown onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
2 capsicums (whatever colour you like), diced
10-15 okra
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tspn dried thyme
1x 400g tin crushed tomatoes
1x tin of red kidney beans, the same size as the tomatoes
500ml stock
seasoning

The prawn stuffed zucchini flowers
200g prawns
1 hobbit’s handful fresh parsley and thyme
Chives or spring onions
12 zucchini flowers

Method
In the same heavy based pot you must be using for all of your cooking now, cook out your roux over a med-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until it turns brown and smells like cooked flour and butter. Kind of nutty. This is a brown roux.
Add the vegetables,garlic and thyme, and cook out for a minute or two.
Add the beans, tomatoes and stock, and simmer for about half an hour.
While ‘the stew’ is doing it’s thing, you should make the stuffed zucchini flowers.
Peel and devein the prawns, pick the herbs and trim the chives or spring onions if they have any shitty bits. Now chop it up nice and fine, and mix it all together. If you are using a food processor just pulse it minimal times, because if you give it too much and it starts to heat up it will start to cook, thus making your prawns rubbery and unfit to serve to any top class chef that may be visiting.
Take the stemen out of the zucchini flowers, hobbit hands work well here, too. Or fish tweezers will do the job. Don’t worry if they tear a bit, the prawn farce will hold them together.
Now stuff those puppies.
Place the stuffed zucchini into ‘the stew’, and cook for a further 5 minutes, rolling them around gently to ensure even cooking.
TASTE AND SEASON.

Eat with rice or bread or whatever you damn well want.

*male zucchini flowers. These look the same as the female flowers, except the females grow on the end of the emerging zucchini, and the male grows on a long stalk. No zucchini included.