Thursday, August 9, 2012

Santa Monica Farmer's Market + Recipe for Low Carb Squash Blossom

I've never been to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market before.
(/ducks hurled insults and flying shoe).

I live East of the 405!! Besides, I live walking distance to a permanent farmer's market (even though I've never been impressed with their selections). I've always been dying to go but never managed to make the effort.

Anyway, yesterday was a good time as any to check out the Santa Monica Farmer's Market especially since I was being guided by a film professor and advisor of mine who is a long-time veteran of local food shopping and farmers market connoisseur.

I got there a little early so I had time to drive close to the beach to get my yearly dose of some waves. It was so hazy and gray though - the beach was barely visible.

My professor was saying that it's the beginning of apple season! What? I thought you could get apples year round! See, this is the kind of thinking someone does when they only shop at supermarkets that have fruits flown in from different countries.

There were little crab apples which I have no idea why they were so cute and delicious looking. This stall had over 6 different varieties of apples - ones I've never heard of before. My professor bought a bunch of fruits and veggies at this stall. They even had carrots of different colors and sizes.

Next we stopped by the sprouts stall. OMFG they had things sprouting that I never knew about. Thankfully because of working on The Raw Truth, I already knew you could sprout beans, seeds, rice, etc., but I didn't know people ate onion sprouts or broccoli sprouts. I got a handful of each. The onion sprouts had the essence of onion without the overpowering flavor of onions if you just need a hint of it in cooking. My professor busted out her German in speaking to the man - they seemed to know each other. When was the last time I talked to someone about where the food I was buying came from or what to do with it?

Next, after unsuccessfully looking for blueberries (the season is over) we headed over to the peach farm. Wow. They had at least 5 different varieties and they were SWEET. I'm currently on a low-carb diet so I only managed to taste a tiny piece. But, as we turned the corner, there was one berry farm that still had a few blueberries. I scored a container of it. They were so plump, huge, and sweet, unlike most blueberries I've been eating all summer (and I thought those were sweet and good before trying these).

Next, I found some squash blossoms that I never cooked with before and got so excited that it was only $2 so I bought a bunch. I had my own conversation with the lady selling it to me about how to prepare it. This was so much fun! I also got a handful of shishito peppers, some giant green beans, and some cute baby eggplants. There were a few things that I've never seen and if I had more time to cook this week, would have gotten to get creative in the kitchen (like cranberry peas? WTF is that). Sorry for not taking a final picture of my loot. I was too busy talking life/career with my professor. Hey, sometimes there is more to life than just food.

After a rewarding day at the Farmer's Market, I drove to meet my mom to give her the cute baby eggplants. They reminded me of her. She took me to Kobawoo House where we ate bulgogi and squid. I had leftovers to take home so I decided that for dinner, I would make stuffed squash blossoms with Korean beef and squid! I had to be creative because we were about to leave for vacation and we had to eat everything in the fridge lest they spoil.

First, I gently washed the squash blossoms. They weren't too bloom-y because I was carrying them around all over town before refrigerating them when I got home. I took the stems off and it's a little prickly where the stem is attached to the flower.

All I would use for this is 1-2 eggs, beaten (also got this at the Farmer's Market. They're delicious!!), squash blossoms (washed and kind of dry), and a whole tray full of leftover Korean food.

As you can see, I had about 1/3 squid, and 2/3 bulgogi complete with onions and scallions. The lettuce will be used as ssam (wrap). I cut up all the meat into little tiny pieces.

Then, I dipped it in the egg batter and fried it in my cast iron in delicious butter.

I have a habit of drenching leftover egg batter over the food. I don't know why I do this. They always come out a little too eggy for me, but I can't waste egg.

They stayed nice and stuffed though, without any spillage. While that fried, I washed the shishito peppers to try to grill these on my stove top. The lady selling these to me said that once in a while, they would be hot. I'm glad she warned me.


I skewered the shishito peppers and put it on open fire over the stove top (on top of a grill rack). They definitely flared up fast and if not careful, this could be pretty dangerous. I can't wait to have a house with a backyard so I can grill everything outdoors!!!

I decided to try the onion sprouts I got as well so I made an arugula salad with onion sprouts, sweet peppers, parmesan cheese, and some lemon juice.

I also made sriracha with kewpie mayo dip for the shishito peppers. I didn't taste a single hot shishito pepper so I should consider myself lucky! The squash blossoms were definitely a little eggier than needed but the egg was so delicious that I didn't mind.

My hubby loved the dinner. He's also trying to refrain from eating too much carbs. He thinks he's fat, which is hilarious to me.

The dinner was delish! Obviously, I'm not quite suffering on this low carb diet. It helps too, when you have amazing ingredients. Farmer's Market for life!

Low Carb Korean Meats-Stuffed Squash Blossom Recipe:

The Egg Batter:
2 eggs, beaten

The stuffing:
Honestly, anything you want. I had already cooked leftover Korean meats so I used that instead. You can use 1/4 cup ricotta cheese with herbs, spices, mozarella, or any variation of what you think sounds good. I think this is where you can get creative.
A bundle of Squash Blossoms, washed

Butter, for frying.

  1. Prep the batter first. Crack two eggs and beat them with a whisk. They do not have to be whisked too much. Just blended.
  2. Prep the stuffing. In my case, I just minced all the meats together into tiny pieces for easy stuffing. 
  3. Open the blossoms gently. They're very fragile. Mine were all men so I had to cut out their stamens with my bare fingertips. Make sure you don't pull too hard or you will rupture the petals.
  4. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the stuffing mixture into each blossom. Avoid overfilling the blossoms. You want the petal part to be nice and crispy when you fry it. Twist the top of each blossom together. 
  5. Butter up the cast iron skillet or any frying pan you have. I use my cast iron for everything. Heat over medium high heat until butter melts completely.
  6. Dip each stuffed blossom into the egg batter and carefully slip it into the buttered skillet. Do this with each blossom and cook on this side without turning for 1-2 minutes. Turn. another 1-2 minutes. Don't mess with it! It's done when they're golden. 
  7. Transfer fried squash blossoms to a paper toweled plate to soak up a little of that butter.
  8. Serve immediately.
Santa Monica Farmer's Market
Wednesday Edition

Arizona Ave & 2nd St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
(310) 458-8712
8:30 am - 1:30 pm
Cash Only
Street or Structure Parking