Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Fix.......Vegetable Fritters.....

These Zucchini Fritters remind me of the Cauliflower Pancakes that are a staple in our house. My Italian father has been making them since I was a kid. Follow the recipe below but use cooked Cauliflower instead of the zucchini. We make with parsley and serve with sour cream. (I only use about 1/2 cup flour. See how wet the batter is. If too wet add more.)

image courtesy Grist

Zucchini Fritters (recipe from Grist)

4 cups grated zucchini (1 ½ to 2 pounds), squeezed dry
About 1 ½ cups of bread crumbs, flour, or cornmeal
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
4 scallions, chopped including the greens
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped herbs—any or a combination of parsley, cilantro, basil, mint
salt and pepper
A splash of milk or buttermilk, if needed, to give the batter a spoonable texture
Olive oil for the pan

Sprinkle about 1 ½ teaspoons salt over the grated zuchinni and set it aside in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together except the oil. After 15 minutes squeeze any excess water from the zuchinni and then mix it with the batter. Season with a big pinch of black pepper. Film a large skillet (or two) with 1 Tablespoon or so olive oil. When the pan is hot (on medium heat) drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the skillet. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook the second side. Eat while hot with sour cream, yogurt, or salsa verde.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



If my neighbors don't already think I'm nuts, I'm sure they do now. After I grabbed the mail out of the box the other day, I was literally jumping up and down in the street.



The fine print reads:

WARNING: This hamburger may be hazardous to your health. Why the American food system is bad for our bodies, our economy, and our environment--and what some visionaries are trying to do about it.


I urge you not to miss this amazing, eye-opening cover story. Here's how it starts:

"Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped of so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than 2/3 of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and town into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon--circa 2009."

Also, did you know that $1 can buy 1,200 calories of potato chips, 875 calories of soda, 250 calories of vegetables, or 170 calories of fresh fruit? It's no wonder there's an obesity epidemic!

That's just the start. There's a lot more great information, including a cost-comparison of conventional vs. organic food.

Triumphantly, I read the begnning of this article to my husband, who (uncharacteristically) had no comment. Happily, I don't think he'll give me the hairy eyeball any more when I inform him I'm going to the farmers' market, or proudly explain the local origins of items that appear on his dinner plate!!

I know we can't all be visionairies, but we can do our own small part to change our food system. Buy local and organic whenever you can, and support brands that have a committment to sustainable agricultural practices. PEOPLE, GET OUT THERE AND ROCK YOUR FOOD WORLD!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Swine Flu

CNBC reported today on swine flu, media hype, and vaccine risks........
Great Video Watch it!
Click to Minute 2:10 in video. The ending puts the media hype in perspective!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FRIDAY FIX..........oops, make that Tuesday.....

Ok, I know I fell down on the job last Friday, and I apologize profusely. Stuff just got in the way, y'know??

Well, the dog days of August are upon us, and everything in my garden is looking pretty sad. Everything but basil, that is. In fact, I have a bumper crop! (At least SOMETHING grew. Apparently the cool, wet summer was to its liking.) Wow, it's absolutely gorgeous--deep green, and incredibly fragrant. It makes me happy.

But what to do with an overabunance of this green delight? Make pesto, of course. So, today I took a machete to it, brought a big bunch inside, and whipped up a batch. Don't let the picture worry you (my lovely daughter says it looks like puke). It looks better on pasta.

If you've never made your own pesto, think about giving it a whirl. (I use my trusty Cuisinart, but I suppose a plain old blender will do the job, too, although I've never made pesto with one. ) Just think of all those wonderful phytochemicals you'll take in--that is, plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties--hidden in such a delicious treat!

Here's my favorite pesto recipe. Serve it on pasta (I like Barilla Plus farfalle or rotini), spoon it on sliced tomatoes, use it a topping for grilled salmon....I think it's good on just about anything (except ice cream...although I've heard of basil being used in fruit sorbets, so why not??)


2 large garlic cloves, peeled

3 ounces imported Parmesan Cheese, cut up into 1-inch cubes

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (you can also use part Italian parlsey or spinach leaves)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (great source of Omega 3's!!!)

1 cup olive oil

With the processor running, mince the garlic by dropping it through the feed tube. Add the cheese and chop it by turning the machine on and off about 10 times. Add the basil, salt, and nuts, and mince them by turning the maching on and off about 8 times. With the machine running, drizzle the oil until it is well blended. Makes enough for 6 servings of pasta.

Note: Pesto sauce will keep for months if covered with a thin coat of oil and refrigerated. You can also freeze it (nothing better than garden-fresh pesto in the middle of January!)

TIP: Pesto sauce will oxidize when exposed to air. Adding a zap of fresh lemon juice helps. Also, using part spinach will help keep the color nice and green. Be sure to add sauce to pasta right before serving, not ahead of time, to avoid oxidation as much as possible. (Even if it turns brown it still tastes great, just doesn't look as pretty.)



Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday Fix........

On Saturday, oops!! Well it is summer and it's easy to skip blogging.'s finally SUNNY! Here's a really good Zucchini Gratin recipe from

Here's my Gratin.....

I've made this twice. The second time I made it I didn't have the fresh oregano and I really noticed the difference, so if you want to wow your friends get the fresh herbs! I also cheated and used Croutons because I was in a hurry and didn't have time to make the fresh bread crumbs. It was still delicious. Give it a try, there's lot's of local zucchini to be had.

Summer Squash Gratin Recipe

Be sure to slice your potatoes as thin as possible. They get all melty and creamy. Slice them too thick and you'll have trouble cooking them through because the zucchini cooks up more quickly. I use a box grater to shred the cheese here (as opposed to a micro-plane) - you get heartier, less whispy pieces of cheese which is what you want here. I'd also strongly recommend homemade bread crumbs here (see asterisk below).

zest of one lemon
1 1/2 pounds summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/6th-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups fresh (whole wheat) bread crumbs*
1/2 pound yukon gold potatoes, sliced transparently thin
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, grated on a box grater (or feta might be good!)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees and place a rack in the middle. Rub a 9x9 gratin pan (or equivalent baking dish) with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, and set aside.

Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes (to drain a bit) and go on to prepare the oregano sauce and bread crumbs.

Make the sauce by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.

Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is wonderfully fragrant, and has turned brown. Wait two minutes, then stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.

Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano sauce. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half of the bread crumbs and toss again. Taste one of the zucchini pieces and add more seasoning (salt or red pepper) if needed.

Transfer the squash to the lemon-zested pan, top with the remaining crumbs, and bake for somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes - it will really depend on how thinly you sliced the squash and potatoes - and how much moisture was still in them. You don't want the zucchini to go to mush, but you need to be sure the potatoes are fully baked. If the breadcrumbs start to get a little dark, take a fork and rake them just a bit, that will uncover some of the blonder bits. Remove from oven, and drizzle with the remaining oregano sauce.

Serves about 8 as a side.

*To make breadcrumbs cut the crust off 2-3 day old artisan bread. Tear into pieces the size of your thumb, and give a quick whirl in the food processor. I don't like my breadcrumbs too fine - and tend to leave the pieces on the large size - more like little pebbles than grains of sand.

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