Sometimes old age is a blessing rather than a curse. At 90, my grandmother enjoys mealtime more than any other part of the day. Breakfast gets her out of bed, lunch up from her morning nap and dinner beckons her from her reading chair. My sister and I devote entire afternoons to designing menus and cocktails to suit her daily whims. Nana relishes a well-made cocktail. In fact, recently, Nana emerged from the bedroom at two o’clock in the morning to find my sister, my cousin and me playing poker. Her request was priceless: “Girls, where’s the scotch... Nana can’t sleep.” We got her a short glass and poured her a stiff one. She looked up and said, “Well, aren’t you going to join me?” So we poured a round, clinked glasses and Nana exclaimed, “May you all live as long a life as I have.” The following day, she noticed squash blossoms shooting off the ends of the baby zucchini in our little garden and explained that she hadn’t had one since she was a little girl. Our mission was clear: For dinner we would prepare fried squash blossoms stuffed with herbed goat cheese for the lady of the house. At our 5pm ritual cocktail hour, my sister and I had a beer, sill nursing our hangovers. Nana was ready for a little scotch, neat.
Squash Blossoms Stuffed With
Herbed Goat Cheese (Serves 4)
8 squash blossoms
2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup goat cheese or farmer’s cheese
1 tablespoon each of chopped chives, mint, basil, parsley
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup flour
Combine herbs, cheese, lemon juice and zest and 1 tablespoon salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Clean the squash blossoms by removing the stamen and looking carefully for any bugs that reside within. Fill each with a heaping tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture and close the tops. Slowly incorporate the flour and 1/2 tablespoon of salt into the eggs until it’s a little thinner than pancake batter. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Gently roll the squash blossoms in the batter and drop them into the frying pan once the oil is hot enough. (They should sizzle but not crackle.) Once they are golden brown on the bottom, flip them and cook until golden brown again. Serve hot and sprinkle with additional salt if needed.