Flor de Calabaza

After making a batch of Italian-style fried and stuffed squash blossoms, I still had quite a few remaining, including four female blossoms with teeny tiny green pumpkins attached to them, so I decided to go Mexican with the next night’s meal and make quesadillas de flores de calabaza to go with some flavorful roadside chicken and gussied-up rice. I’ve made the chicken before—it is from a Rick Bayless recipe, and this time I cooked it in my 12″ cast iron skillet for a change, with some of the seasonings rubbed under the skin. Jeremy is always so happy when I butterfly a whole chicken before roasting it, since it is easy to portion out.

The rice dish was a little improvisation, thanks to the fact that I have an overabundance of green tomatoes from the community garden (some of which I am still hoping will ripen up for donation to the local food bank). I sauted onion and garlic with a green tomato, and stirred it all in with some rice before firing up the cooker. What came out was mildly flavored and a little more interesting than plain rice; I could hardly taste the green tomato, and imagine that an addition of mild green chiles or some Mexican seasonings would really punch up the flavor.

Once the chicken was roasting and the rice was cooking, it was time to work on the star of the show: squash blossom quesadillas, a traditional Mexican snack. This meant a batch of homemade tortillas, of course, and I decided to try my hand at corn tortillas this time for the sake of authenticity.  I mostly followed the instructions on the bag of masa harina, using 1 1/2 cups masa to about 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Once the dough was hydrated, I experimented with flattening methods, and discovered that without a tortilla press, my best bet was to simply roll out the balls of dough with my rolling pin, sandwiched between plastic wrap to prevent sticking. We ended up with a dozen 5-6″ tortillas shaped like amoebas, but at least they came out thin and delicate.

To fill my little quesadillas, I sauted more onion and garlic with the green mini-pumpkins that came attached to my few female blossoms—these walnut-sized baby squash cooked up very much like zucchini. Once everything was tender, I threw in a handful of halved blossoms to wilt up with a pinch of salt at the last moment. I had hoped to use Monterrey jack cheese to glue everything together, but the closest option we could find at the store was colby-jack, and it served nicely. Although Jeremy greatly prefers flour tortillas to corn ones, we made short work of the batch, and had just enough leftover for migas the next day (made with diced onion, garlic, and green tomato in place of salsa). I didn’t even use up all of the squash blossoms—we are going back to the tried and true, stuffed and fried, for the last handful!

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