More Zucchini Madness

As you may recall, I received a donation from my mother a little over a week ago. Generous offerings from her aren’t normal sized to begin with but this one was, without a doubt, the most gargantuan gift of all. Left with a zucchini the size of a small (wait) big child, I had no choice but to chop, dice, slice, bake, broil, steam, and saute. Am I forgetting something? Well, only the most delicious technique of all; FRIED.

 

 

Maybe it’s not the healthiest of choices but my most recent (and possibly most delicious) zucchini exploration involved eggs, flour, olive oil and a good ‘ol frying session. There were a few other ingredients I decided to throw in there in order to spruce things up, like Panko Bread Crumbs for a crisp factor, but I didn’t stray too far from Smitten Kitchen’s Zucchini Fritters recipe, a very favorite food blog of mine. As usual, Smitten’s photos are slightly more appealing than my own so try not to stare too long.

Although I always encourage using your own techniques and avoiding stress by skipping ingredients that you don’t have in stock, it’s very crucial to ring out the zucchini. If there is too much water in the mixture, the zucchini won’t fry correctly and it especially won’t last for leftovers. A major perk of this recipe is the “do ahead” factor so it’d be a shame if they didn’t keep. You can store them chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and/or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.

Smitten Kitchen suggests whipping up a sour cream based dip as the topping but, as an Italian, I say nothing goes better than a good marinara (homemade of course). My European roots also shined through when I decided to sprinkle the just finished fritters with parmesan cheese. Give it a try and you won’t regret it. I think my Nonna would have to agree, too.

Zucchini Fritters

1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying

Trim ends off zucchini and grate them using the shredding blade of a food processor.

In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes.

Wring out the zucchini in one of the following ways: pressing it against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water, squeezing out small handfuls at a time, or wrapping it up in a clean dishtowel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing away.

Return deflated mass of zucchini shreds to bowl and add a little more salt to taste.

Stir in scallions (I used a regular sweet onion here), egg and some freshly ground black pepper.

In a tiny dish, stir together flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.

In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet a few at a time and lightly nudge them flat with the back of your spatula.

Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more.

Drain briefly on paper towels then transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed.

Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter.

 

Until Next Time,

Mandated Zucchini Master

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Army Called, They Can’t Make It…Again

Sundays are often family dinner days. Whether planned or not, we tend to end up around the same table, over-eating the same meal. However, no matter how much the Corrado’s over-eat, there are always leftovers. Apparently “the Army” calls every time and cancels at the last minute, which my mother never seems too upset about because that means she’ll just send home stuff with me. You probably think I’m crazy to attempt and turn the delicious meals down but occasionally I do. It’s just in hope of preparing my own food for once. An independent thing. Simply put, if the crutch is constantly there, you’ll use it.

Even if I’m not there for a meal and just pop in to say hi she still sends unprepared goods in my direction. I’ll understand when I’m a mother but for now I’m convinced my mom thinks there are no farmer’s markets near me and…that I’m jobless, homeless and poor. I can honestly say I haven’t been grocery shopping in months! While I had full intentions of hitting the market this week, sure enough, Sunday rolled around and Pam hit me with a monster. Literally, a monster zucchini (see photo) from the Corrado garden behind our farmhouse was involved. Thankfully, she also sent a dozen eggs freshly laid by the pet chickens (yes, they all have names).

 

I had no choice but to craft the gigantic green goodie into meals, left and right. Since my favorite meal has always been breakfast, I started there. A few minutes of recipe sifting left me undecided so I just want back to the basics. I have to say that I was slightly inspired by the Don’t Eat Crap blog because 1) the title caught my attention (short, sweet, to the point) and 2) it did sound rather delicious.

My mother wasn’t completely incorrect about that “me being poor thing” and I still haven’t brought myself to shell out some decent dough for a top notch cast iron skillet. Instead, I manipulated the recipe here and there, swapping chicken sausage for Papa C’s self butchered pork links, using different cheese, leaving out the green pepper (they aren’t my favorite veg) and transferring from a pan to a baking dish to finish it all off. As you already know, I rarely follow ingredients so I would go with Don’t Eat Crap’s measurements if you’re into that sort of thing.

Also, after scanning through the blog post, I noticed she had potatoes on the side. I love potatoes. I love them so much, I just put them right in with the rest of the fixins’. To mix things up a bit and keep this different from a quiche or a frittata, I layered the different ingredients, meat first, then eggs/veggies and then cheese. I also thought this would make it visually appealing but, I’m not going to lie, it kind of broke apart once I set it on the plate anyway but mainly because I didn’t let it cool. My second (and maybe third) piece stuck together pretty well. Even so, lesson learned? You want pretty food? Follow recipes. Like this one.

Chicken Zucchini Breakfast Skillet

Serves: 6-8

  • 2 Artisan chicken sausages, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 c. zucchini, diced
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 c. fat free mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp milk

 

Heat oil in cast iron skillet. Once hot, add onion, pepper, garlic and zucchini and cook until soft.

In a small bowl, crack 6 eggs and beat lightly. Add milk and cheeses to egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into skillet and spread veggies out equally. Turn broiler on. Top skillet with diced chicken sausages.

Broil until golden and eggs are set. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until eggs are set.

MSI NOTE : If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, cook everything before hand and broil in a baking dish.

While I’m very flexible with how your variation of this delightful breakfast runs, one thing I ABSOLUTELY recommend is let the cheese crisp on top when broiling. It’s a perfect textured cherry for on top of this egg sundae. Now go ahead and give this zucchini adventure a try and let me know how it turns out. Share pics on our Facebook!

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out this interesting article from a Town Dish site AND return to the Pillow Talk Blog as we may attempt to tackle another zucchini infused recipe since Pam’s enormous pity gift could last a while.

 

Until Next Time,

Donation Resistant Daughter

Lemme Tell You About Lebanese

I’m a big fan of Mediterranean cooking. Probably because I’m a big fan of vegetables and easy preparation. I know from experience that most Italian cooking, although it tastes otherwise, derives from shorter recipes. The magic lies within good ingredients and not over-doing it. I think it’s safe to say the Main Street Inn follows that credo quite often. Don’t you agree?

With the end of Summer creeping in, gardens are exploding with ready to eat goods. As a result, a tenant in my building started leaving her produce overload near the building’s main entrance. Apparantly, 20 eggplants is too much for two people to handle? Their loss was certainly my gain after stumbling across this Lebanese recipe.

I have to be honest I was a little shocked to see multiple hits return from an “Eggplant + Eggs” Google search. Little scrolling, in fact none, was involved before entering the Taste of Beirut website. It was actually the second link on the page and the only reason I didn’t choose the first link is because there was a foreign word in the title I couldn’t pronounce. It’s funny how destiny works.

One of the first things I do when checking out a blog is examine the top banner or logo. I think, in a way, many of us use this technique throughout life. Have you ever chosen wine because the label was cute? Then you’re a label whore. Own it. So am I and everyone else in this country.

Needless to say, hook, line and sinker set in and I was convinced this recipe was the one. If I wasn’t over the edge just yet then the first line, “I love easy meals,” was a hard enough push to send me plummeting.

I used the Eggs with Eggplant recipe below but in smaller portions (only making 2) and I sprinkled a little panko bread crumbs (you could use Italian) to crunch things up a bit. Texture and color are key for a satisfying meal! There was roasted garlic left over from last week’s recipe so that took the place of regular cloves. I didn’t have pita bread but I crisped up a tortilla wrap with a little olive oil spray and oven time. Voila!

I will definitely return to this food blog to try more of the Lebanese recipes for home cooking. Stay tuned!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of eggplant
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic, mashed with a dash of salt
  • mint
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • pita bread

METHOD:

  • Cut  the eggplant in small dices and place on a sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Chop the onion.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Mash the garlic with a dash of salt.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and when it is hot, add the onion.
  • Let the onion get golden, which will take about 15 minutes.
  • Drain the eggplant, squeeze the extra moisture with some paper towels and drop in the pot with the onions.
  • Brown the eggplants about 15 minutes on medium high heat.
  • Add the mashed garlic and saute with the eggplant and onion a few more minutes.
  • Form craters in the pan and drop in each one an egg (do so delicately )
  • Place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes until the whites are firm.
  • Remove, sprinkle with mint, and serve with pita bread on the side. Sahteyn!
Until Next Time,
Voluntary Veggie Vixen