Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
In the early spring, when most people sign up for CSAs, I barely knew what CSAs were. I thought about signing up when I heard my partner was going to get one with his roommate, but I didn’t know enough about my options to actually commit. Happily, in May I spotted a groupon for a “Mini-CSA” from Silverbrook Farm; I could get some farm-fresh produce for just two weeks, rather than paying for several months’ worth!
In my first half of the CSA, I received cucumbers, chives, beets, broccoli, carrots, scallions, zucchini, and fresh eggs. Carrots, scallions, chives, and cucumbers are easy – both my roommate and I really like them. Eggs, of course, will last for a few weeks, and have a nearly infinite set of possibilities. The beets, broccoli, and zucchini were the tricky elements. My roommate likes broccoli, so I could just throw that into a stir-fry for her some night. The beets would have to wait until an evening when my partner came over, since he actually likes them and has experience with cooking them.
This left me with the zucchini. I’ve had zucchini sliced up and roasted or pan-fried a couple of times, and the taste and texture really didn’t appeal to me, especially the seeds. Pondering alternatives, I remembered that I’d seen a broccoli fritters recipe a few months ago; maybe if finely chopped or shredded, zucchini wouldn’t be so bad! It turns out, Smitten Kitchen didn’t just have a broccoli fritter recipe, but one for zucchini fritters as well!
I adapted the recipe a bit from Smitten Kitchen, but the basic principle is the same: Shredded veggies held together with egg and flour and the power of frying! I limited the amount of oil to control the calories, rather than just pouring a bunch into the pan. This still isn’t the healthiest way to get one’s veggies, but it’s fun and exciting, so I’d highly recommend it, especially for picky eaters!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 zucchini (8-10 oz)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp olive oil
Wash and gently scrub the zucchini to remove all dirt, but do not peel it. Cut off both ends and discard. Grate the zucchini into a bowl; sprinkle with some salt. Using a clean dish towel, squeeze out the zucchini. Paper towels will work in a pinch, but be careful since they may rip.
Add the egg, flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and cheese; mix well with your hands. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Pour the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl. Form the zucchini mixture into patties and dip both sides in breadcrumbs.
Cook the zucchini patties for about 2 minutes on each side, or until crispy on the outside and cooked through. Serve warm.
Makes two zucchini cakes, each roughly 5” in diameter.
Cost per cake: $0.81
Nutrition per cake: 215 calories, 9g fat, 2g saturated fat, 25g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 9g protein.