I am making babies.
(It is true that Rob and I recently celebrated our “common law” status after a year of living together, but I am not talking about our eventual (not now) cute kids)
I am talking about squash babies!
It looks like my hand pollination of the kabocha squash was successful, with at least 2, maybe 3 baby squashes rapidly ballooning in size. This kabocha squash business is actually very high maintenance. Not only do I water them twice a day, I now inspect the blossoms to scout out the females. I am not leaving anything to chance and work my magic before the bees come a-buzzin. Seems to be working so far!
Just late last week, Melissa Clark at the New York Times had a post (and video) about eating squash blossoms. The best part? They weren’t deep-fried! Her recipe was for a simple cheese and tapenade filling that used the blossoms as a wrap. While Rob and I nibbled on a few male blossoms this weekend, we’ll have to see how I incorporate them into a bona fide meal. Somehow, I feel like it is more about the filling then the wrap, since it just tasted like a sweet veggie wrap!
I seem to be late with all my strawberry loving this year, but the strawberries keep coming! Looks like the second round might be knocking.
This, however, was my birthday cake from my brunch. I was inspired by Lisa’s raw strawberry tart, not only because it was topped by loads of strawberries, but also because the cream of the tart wasn’t based entirely on cashews. Instead, a frozen banana is whipped inside to create a creamy, looser filling, of which strawberries are nestled overtop. Although it seemed like just a simple garnish, the fresh mint and grated coconut added the extra dimension to make this a special cake. Because this tart is made with frozen banana, it is best eaten fresh. I swear the base was a more creamy yellow a few hours before I took the photos but I had problems with oxidation again! Arg! ;)
Raw Strawberry Cream Tart
Adapted from Vegan Culinary Crusade
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw Brazil nuts
1/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted, soaked and drained
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours then drained
2 tbsp water
1 banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups strawberries, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, thinly sliced
1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1. In food processor fitted with an S-blade, pulse to grind the almonds, Brazil nuts and salt until almost finely ground. Drop in the dates and vanilla and allow to combine. If it is too dry, add in some water. Press into a 9-inch springform pan or pie glass. Don’t forget the sides, too. Wipe the food processor clean.
2. In food processor fitted with an S-blade, combine the cashews and water until a thick paste is formed. Add the banana and lemon zest and continue to process until completely smooth. Spread evenly overtop the prepared pie crust.
3. Top tart with chopped strawberries, and scatter mint and coconut overtop. Chill until serving.