that's right! The big leaf maples are in bloom (a month earlier than last year - further proof that this spring is definitely warmer and nicer than last year)! Monday night we visited a couple of pedestrian bridges over a ravine where the big leaf maples grow, so that we could harvest the flowers. The blossoms are at the top of the trees, some 50-80 feet above ground, so this was the only way I could think of to get at the blooms.
We gathered a small basket of them and I called our foodie friend to "come play!" in the kitchen with us. We threw together a pot of sorrel vichyssoise (a creamy potato-based soup, with lemony sorrel from our garden) so we'd have some real dinner, and got to work. Recipes for traditional native American fried squash blossoms abound, but we found that mix a bit too thin. We ended up making a lot more batter than we needed, as we figured out the proportions. If you'd like to try this, here's the mix:
whisk together 1 egg yolk with 1/4 tsp baking soda until smooth. Add 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1.5 c. flour and 1/3 c. sugar (or use a bit more maple syrup and a bit more flour).
Heat a few inches of oil in a deep saute pan. Dip maple blossoms into the batter. It's quite thick, so you need to use your hands to kind of pick up the batter and pull some of it over the top of the blossom (the goal is not to break the blossoms off the stems). Once you have it coated, ease it into hot oil, and use tongs to turn it every 30 seconds or so, until golden.
Set on paper towels to drain and sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar or drizzle with maple syrup.