The Gallo's were really nice people. I especially loved their approach to gardening; dig up the lawn and put something in the dirt that can produce food.
Mr. Gallo dug up his pristine lawn. I watched how he did it; for hours I watched him work as I sat on my front stairs drinking a coke out of a glass bottle. Watching him was entertaining and a bit educational. I was happy to learn from my new neighbor even if he didn't speak a word of English. I just watched and learned.
The one thing that he did that I found odd was the day he put up a smaller chain link fence inside the perimeter of his larger chain linked fence. He had created what looked like a moat around his garden. They got a dog, a German Shepard dog, it was mean to anyone who came near the large outer fence. Only once did I go up to the fence. The dog showed me his teeth, it scared me... I never went near the fence again.
The moat worked. No one bothered the garden and the produce that they got out of their small plot of land was amazing.
I became friends with Grace, she is younger than me. I remember saying hello to her when she first moved in and I freaked her out. She screamed, "NO SPEAKA DA ENGLACE" and ran home as fas as her little legs would take her. I felt so badly. I followed her home. I was about 10 and I couldn't imagine someone not liking me or worse, being afraid of me.
Eventually, Grace became my friend and I was over her house a lot. I loved watching her mom cook. Her mom didn't speak English but she seemed not to mind having me over her house, under foot in her kitchen. Mrs. Gallo was a big influence in my life and we never spoke. Looking back, I would imagine this is what my mom's relationship was like with her Italian mother. My mom never spoke Italian. Her mom never spoke English.
Fast forward to yesterday....
I was tending to my garden and saw all the male squash flowers covering my squash plants. I remembered Mrs. Gallo out in the early morning hours picking the squash flowers. She'd call me over and then she'd show me how to use the flowers.
Following is a version of the stuffed flowers, not exactly Mrs. Gallo's recipe, because I don't use regular flour anymore. I did look online for a recipe to remind myself how to make the stuffing and I found one here at Gastronomical Three - What to do with Squash Flowers .
I used what I had on hand. I had goat cheese and used it because the author of the article suggested it. Here's how I made mine using fresh herbs from my garden.
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese - grated.
1/2 cup goat cheese
2 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
2 Tbsp chopped oregano
Few sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves pulled off)
2 Tbsp chopped basil leaves
4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1/2 cup Coconut flour
1/4 cup olive oil
Mix all ingredients together until it looks like the picture.
Gently take the flower and put about a teaspoon of the mixture in the base of the flower. Fold the petals around the stuffing and then dip them in egg.
Dust in the flour. The stuffed flower should look something like the picture below.
Gently place the floured stuffed flowers into the hot oil.
Allow the flowers to turn a golden brown color, a few minutes on each side. I use tongs to help move the flowers and turn them so that the flowers cook evenly.
Remove the golden stuffed flowers and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Plate and serve.
I've thought of making a marinara sauce and using it as a dipping sauce.
NOTE: There's a small window of time where the flowers are open. If you wait to long to stuff them, they will be closed. If you find that this has happened to you. Skip the stuffing. Egg and flour the flowers and cook in olive oil until they are browned on both sides.