Lifestyle

In season: Zucchini blossoms

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Zucchini flowers: Though female zucchini flowers with the little squash still attached are cute, the best ones for cooking are the boys, which have nothing but stem. The problem with the girls is that by the time the squash has cooked through, the delicate flower has turned to rags. Zucchini flowers are terrific chopped up and added to risottos or pastas (stir them in at the very last minute!) or melted in the center of a quesadilla. But the very best way to cook them is frying. Make a thin batter of flour and ice water (it should be about the texture of heavy cream) and then stir in an egg. Dip the flower into the batter, slip it into sizzling olive oil and fry just until light brown and crisp. Or you can take it one step further and stuff the center with bits of fresh mozzarella or ricotta flecked with chopped fresh herbs.

$5 per pound, Valdivia Farms

Peaking

Green garbanzos: Fresh garbanzo beans have been showing up from time to time at farmers markets for a few years now, but these are something a little different. They're actually green garbanzos, not yet fully mature, and one food prognosticator has called them the "next edamame." They certainly have the same sweet nuttiness as the green soy bean, but with an earthy note that the latter lacks. Cook them in the pod as you would edamame, or shell them and add them to soups, stews and sautés.

$10 per pound, Barbagelata Farms

russ.parsons@latimes.com

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