Squash Blossoms and Happy Boy Farms

Zucchini Salad and Fried Squash Blossoms

Zucchini Salad and Fried Squash Blossoms

Squash Blossoms and Happy Boy Farms

I look forward to Sundays. And not in the sleep in, relax, have a cup of coffee and do nothing kind of Sunday. I can’t even sleep in on Sunday. Why? Because I. Am. So. Excited. Sunday is Farmer’s market day at Fort Mason in San Francisco. My Sunday routine is flawlessly the same every week. Wake up. Eat eggs. Consider going for run. Don’t go for run. Walk to market. Walk around entire market and sample. Walk around entire market again to check prices, re-think about recipes and look for inspiration. Sample. Walk around one final, third time to actually buy items. And sample. Harass my favorite farmer for forgetting the tatsoi on his truck.  Walk home, curse the three flights I have to walk up because I just HAD to live on the top floor. FInally, lay out all my goods to use that as inspiration for my next post, which brings me to squash blossoms and Happy Boy Farms. 

Happy Boy Farms is a family run, organic farm in Watsonville, California (wherever that is). The darling girls who work each week at the market bring us city folk fresh, lovely, seasonal produce that is unique and ever changing from week to week. This week’s inspiration came from squash blossoms and edible flowers that they sold this week along with zucchini, radishes, and golden beets. So thank you, Happy Boy Farms, for having the same flawless Sunday routine of bringing me fantastic produce from Lordknowswhere, California so that I might lug it up to my 3rd floor apartment and fry up some squash blossoms. 


Produce from Happy Boy Farms (and some mushrooms I bought at Safeway, shhhh)

Squash blossoms and edible flowers from Happy Boy Farmers

Squash blossoms and edible flowers from Happy Boy Farmers

Fried Squash Blossoms and Shaved Zucchini Salad Recipe

For this recipe, you’ll need a mandolin slicer. And if you don’t have a mandolin slicer, you’ll need a vegetable peeler. You’ll also need a nice 1/2 bottle of inexpensive oil (vegetable or canola), a deep pan for frying, and all your fingers so you can afford to lose one or two between the slicing and the frying. 

For the Zucchini Salad
2 small zucchini
Small bunch radishes
2 small beets
5 stalks asparagus
Mixed Green Salad
Salt & Pepper
Goat Cheese (optional)
1/4c Hazelnuts (optional), sliced

Toast hazelnuts in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant. WATCH CAREFULLY as these suckers will burn. Once you smell them, take them out immediately. Set aside. Slice zucchini, radishes, beets, and asparagus (leave tops whole for the salad) and place in a ice bath. The ice bath keeps veggies fresh and makes the zucchini curl up and look purdy.

Placing the zucchini in an ice bath will cause the veggie to curl up and keep fresh

Placing the zucchini in an ice bath will cause the veggie to curl up and keep fresh

Add radishes and beets to keep fresh and give the zucchini some friends

Add radishes and beets to keep fresh and give the zucchini some friends

Set everything aside for final preparation, below.

For the salad Dressing
1/4c olive oil
1 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Whisk everything together rapidly. If you’re obsessive about emulsifying (process of separating the oils with all the vinegars), do this in a mini blender.

For the Squash Blossoms
4 large squash blossom flowers
1 4oz container of goat cheese, room temperature or slightly softened in microwave
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup seltzer water
2 tbs flour
2-3 cups vegetable or canola oil

Before I start, note that the basil/parsley/chives mix is not because of some magical genius mix of herbs. It’s just what I have growing out on my fire escape. Really, you can use most fresh herbs – tarragon, sage, thyme and oregano would all be fantastic. There are also plenty of recipes online for super fancy fried squash blossoms with roasted tomatoes, different cheeses, small bits of gold, etc, but I like my squash blossoms nice and simple. On to the recipe…

Mince herbs and mix in with goat cheese. Add S&P to taste. Stuff squash blossoms with goat cheese mixture, but do not over-stuff. These squash blossoms should look like they ate too many chips before their enchilada at the Mexican food restaurant. NOT like they were trying to get their money’s worth with fried chicken, potato rolls, mashed potatoes & gravy and the ice cream sundae bar at Old Country Buffet.


Simple fried squash blossom ingredients

Stuffed, not over-stuffed blossoms

Stuffed, not over-stuffed blossoms

In a medium bowl, mix seltzer water with flour and a pinch of S&P.

Heat oil in a fryer or deep saucepan over high medium high heat (meaning just below medium high, but not quite high). There should be about an inch of oil in the pan. Note, in the photos below I have TOO MUCH OIL in the pan. This caused splatter and a small, 1/2 second fire on my stove so don’t do that. Less oil, no fire. Ok?

The oil is hot enough when you drop in a tiny bit of the flour/seltzer mix and it sizzles.

Using thongs (for finger protection), dip each stuffed squash blossom in the setlzer-flour mixture, shake off excess, and GENTLY drop into oil. Let sizzle, turning gently using thongs, until browned. Set aside on a separate plate. Do each blossom separately so that the oil can re-heat after each one.



Assemble the salad

Dress the mixed greens with 1/2 the salad dressing.  Drain remaining veggies, pat dry, and dress with remaining salad dressing. Top with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and squash blossoms. Enjoy immediately with a glass of wine and a silent cheers to all the farmers that bring us fantastic veggies to your home (wherever that may be).


Special thanks to my lovely friend, Christina, who was patient and helpful enough to help me with all the photos. Including the ones where I asked her to wait 10 minutes after the food was cooked while I photographed on my (clean) floor.

Processed with Moldiv                       IMG_6322

Tonight’s Dinner: Fish, Beets, Turnips and Boxing


Seared sea-bass with champagne beurre blanc, truffled parsnip puree, beet strawberry turnip green salad

Seared sea-bass with champagne beurre blanc, truffled parsnip puree, beet strawberry turnip green salad

Tonight’s dinner starts with boxing with Kendra, has an pigeon capture in between, and ends in #seabassparsnipsstrawberriesandtruffleandwinethankyouverymuch. It was a very eventful evening! Kendra and I decided we’d challenge ourselves with Intermediate Boxing at the Polk Street Boxing Gym (don’t be impressed – I’m terrible and hid in the back) and then we assisted in the capture and release of a pigeon who was attempting to have coffee at the Blue Fog Market. Since it was such a big night and I literally saved the life of the rare and valuable street pigeon, I felt I deserved some delicious and semi-buttery food tonight.

Tonight’s dinner consists of:

Truffled Parsnip Puree 

4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp truffle oil
salt & pepper to taste

Boil parsnips in salted water until fork-tender (about 15 mn). Puree in a food processor with remaining ingredients and salt & pepper to taste. The best finishing salt here is Fusion Truffle Salt, which you can order online here or find in Washington specialty grocery stores.

Beet, Strawberry and Turnip Green Saute

Beet, Strawberry and Turnip Green Saute

Beet, Strawberry and Sauteed Turnip Greens

This was an idea I came up with after having a much more complicated (and, if I have to be  honest, tastier) version at Verbena SF. Their version is an incredibly delicious and delicate version involving juicing beets and using in-house fermented mushrooms. My version is the much easier version. While I recommend you go to Verbena for their beet & strawberry salad (and everything else on their menu), I recommend you cook this easier version.

3 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces, olive oil, salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch turnip greens, stems removed & lightly salted
1/2 pint strawberries, cut into quarters
1 tsp basalmic vinegar
Squeeze of lemon

Roast beets in olive oil, salt and pepper in oven at 450 degrees for approximately 30-45 minutes or until tender. I usually wrap them in aluminum foil for easy cleanup and great steaming.
Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add turnips. Mix quickly until wilted and remove from heat. Add strawberries, balsamic vinegar and salt and mix until ingredients warm slightly. Finish with a small squeeze of lemon.

Seared Sea Bass with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Seared Sea Bass with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Seared Sea Bass with Champagne Beurre Blanc

1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp butter
salt & white pepper
1 filet of sea bass
1/4 cup dry white wine or brut champagne
1 tbsp butter, COLD, cut into small squares
lemon zest
small bit of parsley, finely chopped
finshing salt

Ok, here’s where I get really controlling and tell you some instructions over and over until you listen. I’m not trying to be controlling (I am), but there are three steps to perfectly searing fish. Ready? Ok!

1. Dry, Clean & Seasoned
Salt & pepper your DRY, CLEAN fish and set aside for about 10 minutes. If it’s not dry and clean, water will get into the pan and steam, not sear your fish. And if it’s not salted beforehand, it won’t be seasoned all the way through the meat.

2. Freaking Hot Pan
Heat the grapeseed oil and 1 tsp butter in a pan until HOT. I mean like REALLY hot. I mean like put the burner on almost high, wait until the butter turns a flaky brown color and then wait some more. If the pan is not smoking it will not sear the fish like you want. I can not emphasize this enough. HOT HOT HOT. Like, worried you’re going to set off the fire alarm ok? Got it hot? Ok. NOW you may proceed post my controlling rant.

3. No Touchy
Add fish to freaking hot pan and NO TOUCHY. Don’t move it. Don’t shake or try to flip. Fish immediately sticks to a pan but once seared it will released because, duh, it’s all seared now. Let the fish sit about 5 minutes and shake the pan gently. When the fish moves on it’s own, flip, sear for another 5 minutes and shake again. If the fish is over 1/2 inch thick, turn down the heat and cover for another 5 minutes.

Wait until the pan is HOT HOT HOT and smoking before adding fish or it will not sear!

Wait until the pan is HOT HOT HOT and smoking before adding fish or it will not sear!

Remove fish from the pan and return to high heat. Add champagne and reduce (let steam off) until liquid has reduced in half. Add small bits of cold butter a little at a time until the sauce tastes slightly buttery. Season with salt.

Finish fish with lemon zest and chopped parsley. The best finishing salt here is Jacobsen Pinot Blanc Flake Salt from Oregon, which is spendy but worth every single penny.

Hope you enjoy tonight’s dinner! Let me know if you have any questions, corrections, or general comments on the meal. And yes, if you look at the first photo, I did enjoy this with two glasses of wine.