CSA Veggie Pancakes with Yogurt Sauce

That moment when you return home from a wedding weekend….a weekend in which you ate a lot of wedding cake, had a few gin and tonics, and then attended the after party in which unlimited free pizzas were materializing on tables in front of you….

I was looking to detox a bit.  I also came home to CSA produce in various states of peril.  In particular, the zucchini was staring me in the eye saying now or never (actually not sure if it is zucchini or some lesser known variety of summer squash.)  I decided to make zucchini pancakes and began perusing around the web to see what recipes to use for inspiration.  The key points seemed to be:

  • grate the zucchini (and other veggies too)
  • wring out excess moisture
  • add binding agents of eggs and flour
  • fry or bake

Since I was feeling the health vibe, I went the baking route.  I improvised a recipe using what I had, and they were a really yummy Sunday dinner that came together quickly.  The leftovers also made an excellent lunch the next day.  I plan on making them again with the next truckload of squash I will get on Thursday.  Viva la CSA!

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Vegetable Pancakes

  • 5 small unidentifiable squash varieties, grated
  • 10 tiny, delicious, farm fresh carrots, grated
  • one red onion, grated
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4ish cup of flour
  • 3 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grate your squash, carrots, onion, and zest into a bowl.  It looks like a healthy rainbow!

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All of these veggies have a high water content.  You can mess about with cheesecloth or what have you, but I just took fistfulls of veggie glop and wrung them out in my hands over the sink.  It was actually very soothing, like a vegetable stress ball.  An astonishing amount of water will come out of these veggies.

Next, add flour and egg.  Whenever I make patties or pancakes I always fret about the consistency of the batter- you want it to hang together and not be too wet, but you also don’t want to taste too much flour.  I googled veggie pancake consistency and found nothing helpful.  I decided to go for a consistency that reminded me of muffin batter- very wet but sticks together when you shape it.

I oiled baking sheets and plopped the mixture into circles.  I then cooked about 15 min, flipping over mid-way through.  If you are lucky and have a broiler, you can use it to brown the top and bottom, but I actually got a pretty nice crust just from the oven and we have a weird broiler drawer that only fits things the size of playing cards, so….

I combined greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and basil to make a sauce to eat atop each pancake. 

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Planned Happiness Via Garlic Toast with Rabe and Onions

ImageWe signed up for a CSA and it started this week.  Our kitchen is flooded with every green thing imaginable: spinach, scallions, green garlic, rabe, several varieties of lettuce….you get the idea.  I’ve been a pretty uninspired cook lately but I found that heaps of pre-paid produce snap you into gear whether you feel inspired or not.

The other thing that has helped is a book my dear friend Emily recommended called The Everlasting Kitchen.  It’s a lovely, lyrical little book that gives loose instructions about how to minimize waste in your kitchen and make the most out of all your ingredients.  It’s more full of suggestions than recipes, which appealed to me as a more advanced home cook, and it’s full of time- and money-saving ideas.

Therefore, today I present you with a very simple recipe.  The trick of it is not in the ingredients or the technique- it’s in the fact that I threw it together in 10 minutes on a Thursday night and was still able to enjoy the flavors of roasted garlic and caramelized onions, which usually take at least 45 minutes.

At the beginning of the week, I roasted batches of vegetables that like to roast, such as sweet potatoes and broccoli.  I threw in 5-6 garlic cloves on the baking sheets (no oil, in their skins.)  When all the roasting was done, I stored the veggies in containers and saved the garlic to the side.

Two days later, when making a frittata (tasty, recipe to come), instead of using just the one onion I planned to use, I sliced all three of the ones we had and spent a good leisurely hour talking on the phone and getting a skillet full of melted gooey and brown onions.  I placed those in a plastic bag with the garlic in the fridge.  I wasn’t sure of my plans for them, but roasted garlic and caramelized onions are never a hardship to have on hand.  (PS: I caramelized the onions in butter and I’m not sorry.)

 The Everlasting Meal also reminded me of the simple beauty of toast as a centerpiece of a meal.  Sometimes I forget that you can heap a bunch of vegetables on a good piece of bread and that can be it.  So that was it: no recipe, just toast a piece of bread, rub roasted garlic over it with a fork, pile caramelized onions on top.  Rinse and chop broccoli rabe and wilt it in a hot pan with some roasted pepper flakes.  Then add it to the toast and enjoy the fact that you planned for your own happiness (in the form of garlic and onions) earlier in the week, and you are now able to reap the rewards.