The Patron Saint of Gross Recipes*

I love to cook.  A lot.  But even more than I love cooking, I love recipes.  It’s nothing for me to hit several recipe websites in a given day, or read a new cookbook cover-to-cover, even if I have no intention of cooking what I find therein.  In fact, most of my own cooking usually doesn’t involve recipes — I have this theory that only Type A types require recipes, and if you knew me, you’d know that I’m definitely not Type A (I know logically this is silly, a sweeping generalization, most likely untrue, and possibly a little insulting).

Anyway, when I was probably about 12 or so, my mom and I found this awesome cookbook from the Fifties at the Goodwill or a yard sale, called something like 101 Ground Beef Recipes, and there was a recipe in there for (I kid you not) Banana Meatloaf, complete with banana-bread-style spices.  I did not know it then, but it was the genesis of the Gross Recipe of the Day/Week/Month email.   

At this point I would like to make the following disclaimer:

            These are recipes for finished products that I believe to be inedible, or that I believe the lucky recipient of said recipe will find inedible.  There are foods that eat that my friends won’t, and vice-versa.  Gross recipes and any commentary thereupon are not meant to pass judgment on anyone to whom such recipes may seem appealing.  SohelpmeGod.

Anyway, that was a really long lead-in to today’s doozy of a gross recipe, courtesy of Bobby Flay (who, in my opinion, mostly looks at basic recipes as merely a blank canvas just awaiting the addition of more chilies).  I found it buried in my recipe bookmarks, and immediately emailed it to my mom with the subject line “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.”

Crispy Squash Blossoms with Pulled Pork and Ricotta

Original Recipe Here I don’t recommend clicking, as the FoodNetwork website is clogged with adware and popups and general annoyances.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
Braised Pork, recipe follows
Salt and pepper
20 squash blossoms
Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying
Rice Batter, recipe follows
Black Pepper Vinaigrette, recipe follows**

Directions

Place the ricotta in a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl and let drain in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Discard liquid.

Combine the strained ricotta and shredded pork in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Fill each squash blossom with the pork-cheese mixture and twist the top of the blossom to secure the filling while frying.

Fill a large, heavy saucepan halfway with oil and heat on the stove until the temperature reaches 360 degrees F.

Dredge each filled squash blossom in the rice batter to coat completely. Fry the squash blossoms in batches until lightly golden brown, turning once. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Drizzle some of the black pepper vinaigrette in the center of a serving plate and place 2 squash blossoms on top for each serving. Serve hot.

Braised Pork:

1 (2-pound) pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce
2 cups rice vinegar
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place pork cubes in a medium roasting pan. Stir together the BBQ sauce, vinegar, and onion and then pour mixture over the pork and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Let cool in the braising liquid, then drain the liquid from the meat and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Rice Batter:

2 cups cold water
2 cups rice flour
Salt

Whisk together water and flour until smooth and season with salt. Let sit 10 minutes before using.

Black Pepper Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons honey
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and honey in a blender. With the machine running, slowly add the oil until emulsified.

**To be fair, I think the black pepper vinaigrette looks pretty good.

Another disclaimer: as I type this post, my coworkers are eyeing me somewhat askance because I am drinking a smoothie made with yogurt, spinach, cherries, and a banana – something I think is quite yummy that they think is gross.  Just proves it takes all kinds!

*The closest I could come was the Patron Saints of Cooks/Chefs – Lawrence of Rome, Macarius the Younger, Martha, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and Pascal Baylon.

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