I have heard of people eating squash blossoms. I looked this up on the Internet and found recipes for frying them and stuffing them but I can’t find any information on when they should be picked (before the squash has grown at all, or when they are big?), which ones to pick (I found references to male and female blossoms).
Given the popularity of squash plants in Sacramento-area gardens, I bet there are other people who would be interested in different ways to use these plants.
Cheryl Fuller, Carmichael
Alas, the cheesecake recipe
Over two years ago the Bee showcased a recipe for a blueberry cheesecake that was absolutely excellent! I made the recipe several time, always to rave reviews. Unfortunately, I lost the recipe before I could share it with others or make a permanent record for my own file. I have tried other recipes but nothing comes close. I do remember it required the use of a standing mixer and included blueberries in both the cake and the topping. I would appreciate any help in locating this recipe. Thank you.
Betty Sundberg, Fair Oaks
How to contact the mailbox
If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (916) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.
Squash and spinach salad
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Serves 2 as main course salad, serves 4 as side salad
Mary Keating of Fair Oaks lost her recipe for butternut squash spinach salad.
Cynthia Gibbs, formerly a 32 year resident of Sacramento, now of Seattle, shares this recipe that she has adapted over the years.
2½ cups cubed winter squash or sweet potato (Gibbs likes Kobacha)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pecan halves (or walnuts)
3 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups fresh spinach (add some arugula, if desired)
1/3 cup feta cheese (or soft goat cheese if feta is too strong for you)
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
Toss squash cubes in 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet in single layer. Roast 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Add pecans to squash and roast another 10 minutes.
Dressing: Sauté bacon til crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and brown bits. Saute shallots in remaining fat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add vinegar, mustard. Simmer 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Whisk in olive oil.
Put spinach in salad bowl. Toss with warm, but not hot, dressing. Place dressed spinach on individual plates. Distribute squash, pecans, bacon, cheese and onion over bed of spinach.