Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Last week, Jeff and I visited his family in LA. It was a great trip, and it was fun to get away from the daily cares of our lives. Plus, Grandma loved caring for Junior Chef (age 6 mo.) so I was off the hook for a few days, which is always nice.
When we got back, though, we had driven for two days (in order to make it easier on Junior Chef) and returned to an empty refrigerator. Which I reason is better than returning to a smelly refrigerator...but there is still the problem of what to eat when you're tired and hungry. Part of the problem is that when you have returned from vacation, you have theoretically gotten your fill of fast food and restaurants, rendering those options less desirable.
So, I did some quick brainstorming. While we were in LA, we bought a cup of salsa from LBJ's, which, if you haven't been, has really great salsa. And they sell it to you for only $4 for a 20 oz cup (I think it's 20 oz...). It's really a great deal and I think you should check it out.
Anyway, we had all this salsa, and I know full well that it will not be good in a week. So I figured we could eat some of that. And then a quick trip out to check on my garden beds yielded one zucchini ready to eat. Wahoo! Our first garden vegetable.
And I decided to make my old zucchini standby. Zucchini pancakes.
Don't get me wrong; these weren't always my standby. I had real trouble actually figuring out how to get them cooked properly! The texture was never right, they never looked like the pictures, and darn it, they weren't cooked through! Eventually, though, after trying several recipes, I realized that most of my problems stemmed from one oversight on my part.
I am so accustomed to grating everything on a medium grater that I didn't even think twice about it. However, upon closer inspection on one of the recipes, I realized that all the recipes had probably specified a course grating, but I had ignored it. Shame on me. That attempt proved to yield a much better product and I have been basically satisfied since.
We love eating these in the summer because, even though they are fried, they feel light. And when it's threatening 100 degrees outside, you need light! These are wonderful served with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, and I'm sure you could also dress them up with other condiments if you chose. I was actually quite surprised when Jeff did not try them with the salsa we had out!
Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home
3/4 pound of zucchini, grated.
2 tablespoons grated onion. I'm sure chopped would work equally well
2 eggs, beaten
6-8 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Stir zucchini, onion, and eggs together. Add the four, baking powder, and salt. If it's too thin, add more flour.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil to coat the bottom. Drop the batter into the pan, spreading thinly with a spoon. Cook until the top looks dry, making sure the bottom hasn't burned, and then flip to brown the other side. You can keep the pancakes warm in the oven at 300 until you're ready to serve.