I blame my mom for this. Growing up, she was always clipping recipes from Sunset or Better Homes and Gardens and trying new dishes on us. She was, and still is, a superb cook. But the other day she said to me "You know, I have recipes older than you that I never tried." Better get cooking!
Tonight Jordan and I were sitting at Burgerville enjoying some fast food. (Yep, even a devote cook-your-own meals person like me has to hit the burger joint every once in a while.) Next to us was a man with his three daughters talking to an older, grandmotherly-looking, woman that seemed to be of no relation. Naturally I listened in on their conversation. They were talking gardening and the seeds that the man's girls had planted in the garden. The youngest, who was about 5, said that she planted the squash. The woman asked if they were pumpkin seeds. The girls said no, zucchini. The women turned to the man and ask if he'd every eaten the blossoms. He replied "My grandma use to fry them up for us. She dipped them in some batter and just fry them right up. It was so good. I wish I had that recipe."
This got me thinking about all the recipes that my grandma and great grandma made back in the day, before Food Network. A few of their recipes have been handed down to me. My Grandma Charlotte's potato rolls and my Great Grandma Vashi's candied yams, which are a must for Thanksgiving dinner. But there are those dishes that we talk about and always end with "I wish I had that recipe." Like pickled watermelon rinds. Not a summer goes by my parents don't reminisce about pickled watermelon on a hot afternoon, yet no one has the recipe. (Picture - Four generations: Grandma Charlotte, me, my Mom and Jordan)
I've decided that this summer's mission, should I chose to follow through, will be to hunt down old-time recipes. Primarily, those that my family use to make, but also from other families. I'm sure it won't take much to get my friends talking about what their mom, grandma, great grandma use to make for them. To start me off, here is a recipe for fried squash blossoms. As soon as my zucchini start blossoming, I'm going to make these and let you know how they turn out.
Fried Squash Blossoms
1 dozen squash blossoms
2/3 cup flour
1/2 c water
1/2 c milk
salt, mint, dill or other herbs
Wash blossoms in cold water and gently pat dry. Trim, leaving about 1 inch of stem on each. Fill a frying pan with oil to 3/4 inch deep and place over medium heat. Whisk together flour, water and milk until it is the consistency of sour cream - adjust flour or water if need. Dip a blossom into the batter and carefully place in hot oil. (Suggestion - wear gloves because the oil will splatter.) Turn blossom when golden brown. Work with as many as you can, turning until each is brown on all sides. Lay on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt and other seasonings.