Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stuffed Squash Blossoms and Spinach-Artichoke Turkey Burgers

I didn't know why I planted a squash plant, since I don't really like squash and they're notoriously productive. Then I made these stuffed squash blossoms, and it's all crystal now. I don't think any of my squash blossoms and baby squash will actually make it to adulthood.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

4 or 5 blossoms per person
Herbed goat cheese
A tiny bit of oil

Pick your blossoms in the early morning or evening when they're closed. The male blossoms don't have fruit at the bottom; if you love squash, only pick these. The female blossoms can be fried with the tiny squash, and if you don't mind thinning your crop, go ahead and use 'em, because this is what squash was created for.

Clean them -- some people recommend rinsing, some say just brush them off. Whatever you do, make sure the bugs are gone. I found rinsing and patting dry just before cooking helped the cornmeal stick better. Cut out the pistil (the bit with pollen in the center of the blossom) or stamen. Fill the blossoms with the softened cheese. Try using a butter knife to cut a piece of cheese, then shape it into a little bullet with your fingers and stuff it down in the blossom.
Give the blossoms a light dusting of cornmeal, then flash fry them in a hot skillet and as little oil as you can get away with.

Spinach Artichoke Turkey Burgers (Rachael Ray)

1 lb ground turkey
Salt and pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2-1 c grated Parmigiano cheese
2 garlic cloves, 1 minced and 1 peeled
1 bag spinach, chopped and lightly wilted
1 T fresh thyme (1 t dried)
Olive oil
4 burger buns
sliced or diced tomato (canned works in a pinch)
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
8 slices provolone cheese

Preheat a grill, grill pan or skillet to medium-high. If using a pan or skillet, preheat the broiler also.
Mix the turkey, salt, pepper, lemon zest, parmigiano, garlic, spinach, thyme and olive oil. Shape into 4 patties and cook until firm and cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side. *If you're cooking for 2, you can wrap 2 of the uncooked patties in plastic wrap and freeze to cook later.
If cooking on a grill, place the buns alongside the burgers, grill and remove. If using a grill pan or skillet, broil the bread until toasted. Rub the toasted buns with peeled garlic clove.
Place the buns on plates, top with tomato, salt and pepper.
In the last 2 minutes of the burgers' cooking time, divide the artichokes evenly among the urgers, then cover each with 2 slices provolone. If cooking on the grill, drop the lid to melt the cheese. If cooking on the stovetop, tent your pan with foil.
When done, place a burger on top of each bun and serve immediately.

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