Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Fridge Drawer Croquettes: Eggplant Parmigiana meets Zucchini Fritters

So creative! Enjoy...
Fridge Drawer Croquettes: Eggplant Parmigiana meets Zucchini Fritters While I was pondering how to make lunch using half an eggplant, the kids were emptying out the produce drawers of my refrigerator in preparation for today's farm pick-up. Turned out we had a squash hiding in there, and a lot more carrots than I knew about. Still had a bit of that tasty summer onion, too. We chopped those veggies all up and fixed some croquettes, loosely following a recipe at All Recipes for eggplant croquettes.

I served them with leftovers of last night's balsamic caprese salad. I ate more than I should have, and even the one year old cleared his plate. I'm not sure these are technically croquettes, since I think the breadcrumbs go on the outside for those. I also don't usually use store-bought bread crumbs, but I happened to have some and they sure were tasty!

I'd like to try an Asian flair version with some water chestnuts and mushrooms, and maybe some with corn for sweetness.

Vegetable Croquettes

4 cups finely diced vegetables (I used 1/2 eggplant, 1 large squash, and 2 small carrots)

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)

salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano to taste

oil for frying

Microwave (or steam) the diced vegetables for two minutes, then stir and cook another one to two minutes. Drain off liquid. Add the onion, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, and seasoning. It will be messy!

Heat a very thin layer of oil in a nonstick pan. I imagine you'd need more oil in a regular pan, but I got away with not even covering the bottom of the pan.

Drop tablespoons of mixture gently into the pan, and immediately reshape into pancakes using the spoon or (carefully!) your fingers. Cook until golden to medium brown, then flip and repeat.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BLA and Gazpacho

Wow. This was my favorite of the week, and the hubs loved it. He loved it so much that he asked for another sandwich once we got home from a tumultuous Ikea trip. Picture desk top strapped to the top of a VW flapping in the wind. Yeah, it was fun. I have been wanting to make gazpacho all summer and finally got a good crop of tomatoes from the farm to make it, though luckily I had some cucumbers left over from the previous week because they did not arrive in last week's box. Add some jalapenos from the garden, nice. Now, this is not a traditional gazpacho, it is a "what do I have in my cupboard and fridge" gazpacho. The hubs is not entirely fond of gazpacho, though was willing to give it another shot as I had not made it in a couple years. I knew that he needed a hearty dish to go along with it, so I put my thinking cap on and got to work. We had some crusty french bread leftover from our french cheese and pear night a couple days before, generally always have guacamole in the fridge, and a nice head of lettuce from the farm. Throw in some fake bacon, and voila! This meal was so light and refreshing, and the best part: no oven! And i only used the stove top for about 3 minutes to cook up the bacon. They always say on the cooking competitions I watch that adding bacon to something gives you an unfair advantage...


4 slices of bacon (we use fake meatless bacon from morningstar, still pretty tasty and cheaper)

2 large sections of french bread

2 pieces of lettuce, washed

few slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese

6 T guacamole or a couple slices of avocado (hence the A)

Melt the cheese on top of the french bread by placing it on a flat frying pan as you cook up the bacon. It helps if you put a lid over them.

Spread the guacamole on to the bread opposite the cheese, top with lettuce and bacon, enjoy!


5-7 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered

2 medium cucumber mostly peeled and quartered

3 T white wine vinegar (or more to taste)

3 T cilantro, chopped

1/2 onion, halved

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/4 c olive oil

2 jalapenos, seeded and quartered

salt and pepper to taste

Blend ingredients in blender in batches, then mix together in a bowl and chill for several hours. Makes a great dipping sauce for the BLA's! Or as a fresh salsa with a cuke coolness!

Dissapointing Recipes

I thought I would post some dishes that I was not too fond of, but something to get the ol' noggin''s juices flowing for future ideas. Lots of people who have mentioned reading my blog say that they enjoy it for new ideas to spice up their weekly rotation. I have never really been a weekly rotation kind of person, though I did grow up in a house like that. I do not have kiddos though which probably lends itself better to exploration menu planning. So these dishes are posted to serve as more of a jumping off point, not a "make this for dinner" type post.
With my abundance of beets I thought the sweetness of beets would go nicely with the spicyness of curry. So I googled beet curry, which only brought up about 3 recipes. I kind of freestyled it, throwing in an onion and garlic, added curry paste, then my veggies and some powdered ginger (out of the real deal). It came out flat, a bit too one note, and the sweetness of the beets were not highlighted. If I make this again, I may likely add some apple juice or try it with coconut milk, though I think the apple juice or a cider may work best.
The next meh recipe I made this week was a Swiss Quiche. I made up the name myself because I used swiss chard and swiss cheese. I used a pre-made crust which was too small, and used up 8 egg whites that I had leftover from making french vanilla ice cream. I added half and half, thyme, salt, pepper, and rosemary. The flavor was fantastic, the cheese was a great compliment, and the beet greens I threw in were tasty. The texture however was another story. I always have a hard time getting a cohesive texture in my quiche, I have tried changing the milks to include a higher fat content, refrigerating it for a few hours, etc. and I still get a quiche that falls apart and is kind of mealy. Anyone have any suggestions? I have had much better quiche so I know it exists out there, I have even been to a tart restaurant in France where they were parfait!
The next few posts will have actual recipes that worked. Not always exciting, but I try to be different.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guess What's in the Box

Woohoo! The box is going through some changes, and I must confess I am quite glad of it. Once the dreaded, "I am sick of vegetables" came out of my husband's mouth 2 weeks ago I became a bit apprehensive about the remainder of the summer. There are MANY more weeks left of food boxes, so we have a lot of vegetables to go through. G lovingly told me to remind my husband that he is in fact a vegetarian and so being sick of vegetables may prove to be a problem. Good thing he was really only talking about squash. And good thing the following box contained only 2 1/2 squash (that I still haven't used yet and we get another box tomorrow!).
This week's box was so colorful and fun I decided to take a photo of the contents. My favorite part: blackberries! Bigger than a quarter! I took a photo of the hubs eating one of them for a frame of reference.
In addition, tomato season has begun! I am excited about it, though the hubs will be much more apt to be sick of tomatoes long before he would ever be sick of squash. Good thing he practically drinks salsa and I have a jalapeno plant in my back yard bursting with jalapenos! I love to roast my tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers and then blend them. Recipes for that are sure to follow.
Now, looking at these contents, imagine them times 2! G and I have talked about photographing our entire box one day before we divide it up, it just has never happened. And yes, you do see a cantelope there! We got swiss chard, beets, cantelope, blackberries, green beans, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, escarole, lettuce, carrots, and I think I missed an item or two.
Wonder what is going to be in the box next week?

Zucchini Parmesan

More Zucchini! And More and More and More! This may be one of the last zucchini recipes for a bit, except for the ratatouille in a few posts. I have so many recipes I am so far behind in posting. Attempting a different approach to posting, we shall see if it works. We love eggplant Parmesan, and had such an abundance of zucchini and summer squash that the hubs and I pondered making zucchini parm. Because Why not? After thinking up this grand idea and looking later in the week for recipes, I came upon the fact that it was not such an original idea after all. I should have known.
I sauted the escarole again, using more garlic this time and a bit of olive oil. It was disgusting. After two times I am hesitant to try it again. The hubs wants to give it a go if we get more, though I can't stomach that bitter taste again. Any suggestions would be welcome. It is a minor crime I think to dislike a vegetable that much. I mean, even brussel sprouts are bearable and even good with the right seasoning. Hopefully this is the case for escarole.
Well, I went about the task about the same as with eggplant and it was tasty, I may have even liked it better than with eggplant. Zucchini Parmesan 2 c Italian bread crumbs 2 medium sized zucchini, sliced into 1/4" discs 2 eggs 1 T water 1/2 c flour 1 t cornstarch 1-2 c spaghetti or marinara sauce 1 c mozzarella or Parmesan cheese Get 3 shallow bowls and in one place the breadcrumbs, another the egg and water, and the third the flour and cornstarch. Slice the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and let sit at least 1/2 hour. Blot dry with paper towels. Heat 1/4 inch or less of oil in a frying pan (i used our large electric to keep the heat at bay) to 3530 degrees. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees as well. Dip the zucchini into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (for extra crispy dip into egg again and then bread crumbs again). Place in the frying pan. Repeat. Repeat. Flip the zucchini when browned, about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels when done. After all of the zucchini is fried, place into a large baking dish. Cover with sauce and then cheese, bake for 20 minutes. To get cheese crispy, broil for no longer than 1 minute, keeping a close eye on it. Bon Appetite!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Food Blogs, Websites, and Recipe Storage

I am running out of good resources for healthy and seasonal recipes. Especially for some of the more odd/less popular vegetables like beets and escarole. What is your favorite recipe website or book?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oatmeal Carob Chip Pancakes

I have been craving pancakes, and I know there are NO vegetables in them, and they are pretty dang sweet, but I thought I would mix it up a little bit.
I mixed up some oats and milk last night for my oatmeal pancakes today. Lovely Saturday morning treat. I have a few friends who make them every Saturday morning with their family, it sounds like such a great family tradition memory, though I rarely do it. Perhaps I can start...
Oatmeal Pancakes
2 c rolled oats 1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 1/2 c low fat milk
3 large eggs (feel free to use 1 banana in place of each egg, or one egg if desired- or 1 T of flax seed meal in 3 T of water in place of 1 egg)
3/4 c unbleached flour
3 T honey
2 t vanilla extract
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c carob or chocolate chips (optional of course)
Mix oats and milks in a large bowl, refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.
Whisk remaining ingredients into the oat mixture.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 batter onto skillet, cook 3-4 minutes or until the outsides appear quite set. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes more. Be patient, they take longer than normal pancakes, and if you don't allow enough cooking time, they will be ooey-gooey in the middle, not a nice texture for a pancake.
*I upped the flour in the recipe to 3/4 c because I found the batter to be too liquidy with the 1/2 c called for. Up to you, but I made the recipe the way I do it. Based on a recipe from Vegetarian Times*

Zucchini Fritters

I accidentally posted these out of order, hence the "sick of zucchini fritters" post before the actual zucchini fritters recipe. I was hesitant to make the fritters because I pictured them being made in a vat of oil, adding to our week before of fried in a bit of oil falafael week. Well G told me about making some zucchini fritters using a small amount of oil and it tempted me to make some myself with our abundance of zucchini and summer squash.

They turned out ok, needed more salt and perhaps a bit more spices. But they we so so tasty the one morning my husband made them topped with a lightly fried egg and some feta cheese. As I have said before, I think feta makes everything taste betta. And they were tasty made the same way with some parmesan cheese. The cheeses helped to balance the need for more salt in the fritters.

Zucchini Fritters

1 large zucchini, finely chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1 cup 2% milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

onion powder to taste

dried parsley (optional)

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, onion, eggs, Romano cheese, milk, and flour. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of shortening in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter into the skillet, and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. Turn fritters over when the center appears dry. Cook on the other side until golden brown. Set aside and keep warm. Add more shortening to skillet as needed, and continue with remaining batter.

Tex Mex Squash Casserole

The night before I made this the hubs made a dreaded announcement: He was sick of vegetables.
Now this is an amusing statement as we are vegetarians, we eat A LOT of vegetables. Especially now that we have our CSA box delivered weekly thanks to G and her kiddos. Upon further review, he was really just sick of squash and zucchini, or even more specifically, zucchini fritters. We had zucchini fritters for dinner two nights in a row, and then for breakfast for about 4. And there are still 4 in the fridge that may very likely be tossed. I do confess, I have tossed some vegetables that I just never got to in time, or forgot about, or got shoved behind the eggs in the fridge.
Anywho, this recipe passed the "sick of squash" mentality, mostly because it was mexican themed, or "mexican inspired" as they so often say on Top Chef. I took a recipe from Living Well on Food Network, and added some of my own pizzaz to it. It was very tasty, and we used medium salsa so it had a nice kick to it.
Tex Mex Squash Casserole
10 c of summer squash, halved and then sliced crosswise
2/3 c finely diced onion
1 can green chilies
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 c grated cheddar cheese (divided)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c salsa
4 scallions, sliced for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine squash, onion, chiles, beans, salt and 3/4 cup cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour; toss to coat.
Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the squash is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Spoon salsa over the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until golden and heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and red onion (optional).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our First Guest Blogger: Salads

Please welcome our guest blogger, my farm share share-er, G. She has some great, kid-friendly recipes to share with us.
Wow, am I ever thankful for the wonderful harvest this year, and for kids who have been cheerful about trying new vegetable recipes. With three small kids underfoot, our trips to the farm and my time in the kitchen have been a challenge, but the enjoyment of eating good, fresh food is a piece of cake... or maybe I should say cucumber! Here are two busy-mom-proof, kid-friendly salads, but I'm pretty sure other people would like them, too! Cucumber & Watermelon Salad Several cups chopped watermelon Several cups peeled and sliced cucumbers (remove seeds if they are large) 1/4 cup or less balsamic vinegar with sugar and salt to taste Combine melon and cukes gently. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar mixture to taste (perhaps less for kids, more for the adventurous). I think a sprinkle of feta on top would be tasty, but I skipped that idea as this salad was making the trip to a picnic in the heat. Also, I wouldn't make this TOO far ahead since the melon and cukes both expel LOTS of their water over time. "Duke" (Dill + Cucumber = a salad version of tzatziki sauce) 2 Peeled, sliced cucumbers 2 Sliced green onions, just the white and light green parts Lots of fresh dill Sprinkle of salt About 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (or sour cream) Mix & serve!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Mmmmm falafel's! I love falafel's, and I made dinner without touching my oven/stove! I used my electric large frying pan, which is great for 105 degree days. I went to the farm today with G and the kiddos, and let me just say it was hot. The kiddos and I picked raspberries and ended up drenched in sweat when we were done. We were offered another woman's 1/2 pint if we wanted to pick them and it was so hot we opted not to. It was that hot.
Tomatoes are finally here! I am sure in a few weeks I may be sick of them, but for now, I am stoked. I whipped up a semi- Greek salad with a cucumber (imagine that!), 2 heirloom tomatoes, 1/4 of an onion, and feta cheese. I topped it with the dressing I used on the beet salad a few posts ago. Mmmm.
I used a box mix for the falafels. For the tzatziki I free styled it, it came out tasty. You are supposed to drain the yogurt with a cheese cloth, but I did not take the time to do it. I also served it atop of a flatbread instead of a pita, it stayed together much better than a pita would.
2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 container greek yogurt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon juice
2 T dill
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
Dinner was so light and refreshing, a great meal for a summer night.

Unique Stir Fry

We had a hodge podge of veggies not delegated for the menu already, and so I made a unique stir fry with a recipe I adapted from an Ask Aida recipe.
Stir-Fry Sauce
1 T chilie garlic sauce
1 T sweet chili sauce
1 t honey
2 T orange juice
2 t sesame oil
2 t cornstarch
Whisk ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
15 oz tofu, cubed or 1 pkg tempeh, cut into 1" pieces
2 T veggie oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T ginger
veggies, I used:
2 carrots, sliced
4 turnips, sliced
1 summer squash, halved then thinly sliced
a handful of green beans, sliced into 1" pieces
beet greens, roughly chopped
Saute veggie oil and tempeh until brown. Add ginger and garlic, saute for 1 additional minute. To get some nice crisp on the tempeh, add a t or so of the sauce to the veggie oil.
Add turnips and carrots, saute for another 2 minutes. Then add green beans and squash, saute for another 2 minutes. Stir in beet greens and saute until wilted.
Stir sauce into veggie mixture and enjoy! The turnips added a nice crunch and flavor, reminded me of water chestnuts with a bit more flavor. The odd mixture was not very odd after all ;)

Refrigerator Pickles

Our farmers graciously forewarned us that we had a ton of cucumbers and sent out a few recipes for pickles. I decided, why not? And then...I got 15 cucumbers. That finalized the decision, pickles it is. And even after making the pickles, I had 8 or 9 leftover. I gave away 2 jars and brought 2 to a picnic, and still have 3/4 of each left. What can we eat with pickles? Looks like some veggie burgers this week!
Refrigerator Pickles (from myrecipes)
Yield: 7 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup) Ingredients 6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds) 2 cups thinly sliced onion 1 1/2 cups white vinegar 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Preparation Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.
Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.