Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Frittering Away Some Time

A friend was asking about good vegetable recipes for kids. She joked, "If I could just put the vegetables in pancakes!"

I had to think a moment. Then, I remembered that you CAN. I sent her the link to sweet potato pancakes and pumpkin waffles for starters. It wasn't until later that I realized just how many things you can do with a pancake batter — even vegetables. So I took a look in the bag of produce from our CSA this week, and took a shot at a vegetable pancake that could be a fun side dish for kids and big people, too.

I found a summer squash left from the week's produce. It’s a challenge to cook not just because it has little flavor, but it can also be soggy. I had some quiet time to play in the kitchen after we wore out the kiddo at the park. I was ready to take on the squash.

The summer before I turned 16, I started work in a rest home a few nights each week and most of the weekends. The weekend staff, all two of us, also got to cook since the regular cook was off. This being a rural area, any vegetable is generally mashed, boiled or fried. Sometimes all three. It’s old school farm food. So, along with how to roast cheaper meat and make gravy, and make yeast rolls from scratch, I learned how to make zucchini fritters. Fried. I liked them, but nothing feels quite like a rock in your stomach more than oil-soaked squash. The spongy texture just drinks up the frying oil.

There had to be a better way. Sure, it took me the last 25 years to get around to it, but here it is. The following is a lighter, more flavorful approach to this old school standard. No frying allowed. This is a great one for summer since it uses a lot of the staple veggies from the farmers market or the family garden.

Summer Squash and Vegetable Fritters
Honey-Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Looking for these recipes? They will be included in my upcoming book co-authored with Ali of Cleaner Plate Club!

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