Every morning for the past few weeks I wake up in my new nest energized to open windows and doors to welcome the cool ocean breeze in and everyday I have been disappointed. Hot, heavy, damp stagnant air seeps into our nest and stifles us. It’s not particularly fun when pushing, pulling and moving items around. This is not why Southern Californians (at least those nesting nearby the ocean) pay scaling rents and ridiculous mortgages. We are lucky to be shaded by regal Torrey Pines, however, once the fierce afternoon sun arches toward its westward evening destination, it feels like our nest is located where we just visited…a muggy summer in Manhattan. In fact, NY had the perfect temperature while we were there. Athens had its share of humidity, but at least it had a fair share of rain. I keep hoping it’s going to rain with all the unfathomable moisture in the air…so extraordinary around this neck of the woods. Indeed a couple of times it did, but not nearly enough to measure up to our unscrupulously frivolous agua needs. My car looks like it has been doing donuts in the Sahara; its entire surface is blotted with grit from the tepid southern atmosphere. But until we are blasted with the El Niño we have been forewarned about, I will continue to drive my scabby car with a film of dirt. From the likes of it, we may restlessly be waiting well into another season or two before El Niño comes riding into the rescue.
Today I felt a cool breeze indeed; however, it was short-lived. Immediately, I leaped into the kitchen to fry up some zucchini blossoms that have suddenly infiltrated in the garden. It’s not fun to cook over your stove top when you’re uncomfortably hot. These are great alone as a sweet snack (no sugar added) or rolled into a wrap along with tomatoes and avocados preferable from the garden as well. My intention was to make them as a side to street tacos the night before, but street tacos are always a hit in our nest and I new they would fall by the wayside. Instead, I waited the next day and quickly whipped them up while I enjoyed the dreaminess of a cool breeze and sensed my petulance melt away. I had some leftover meat sauce from a pasta dish that I added to the fried blossoms after I made them (I usually am the one stuck eating leftovers in my nest) and I actually preferred the blossoms with meat. If you like more of a savory flavor, I would suggest adding a little ground meat to the stuffing—in fact, it’s how I will prepare them with the next bloom.
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Caramelize a large onion with dried and fresh apricots and figs and coconut oil (Be patient this will take about 20 minutes to caramelize to perfection.)
Add a soft cheese like Gruyere. A hard cheese will work if thinly sliced. Simply turn off heat and place slices on caramelize onion mixture with lid on until it melts.
Place all ingredients in food processor. Season to taste. I added salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and sprigs of parsley and chives.
Stuff the flowers with the mixture. Soak the flowers in cold water to help them open.
Dip stuffed flowers into egg and a touch of coconut milk mixture, then coconut flour and finally pan fry.
Drizzle with orange balsamic and enjoy!
What’s blooming in your garden this season? Did you know that playing in the dirt exposes you to the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae which activates neurons in the brain that contain serotonin (lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to cause depression in people.) Such a primal activity, why does it take a neuroscientist to provide us with facts to prove this? Take a peek at a previous post of mine furnishing the same conclusions in Thyme Out.
When did knowing where our food sources originate or how they were prepared slip away from our normal realm of attention? Why does it seem incomprehensible to seek pleasure outdoors with Mother Nature when we see children so content to scale hillsides and overturn rocks out of shear curiosity. Will you sit back and wait for a vaccination of Mycobacterium vaccae that will help you regulate your well-being or will you forage for that something that will balance your lifestyle and make your soul sing? I am always scouring my grounds for dead foliage and take pleasure in removing stagnant energy to enjoy abundant beauty of thriving petals and silken leaves. It’s my nature to clear and tidy up even in the gardens. All of my boys on the other hand, favor the seeding and nurturing part of the gardens.
Unhappiness has grown to become a serious problem in our lives, an experience many of us are familiar with and would be tempted by just about anything to eradicate the discomfort. Whether the heat is getting you down or other heaviness in your life, try digging in the garden even if it’s a few pots on the balcony. Wishing you happiness in your garden or whatever dirt path transcends your senses and feeds your soul.