Zucchini Carrot Potato Pancakes

Growing up potato pancakes were one of my favorite things to eat for dinner, perhaps it was because we always ate them with steak. Can you imagine a time when that was my favorite food? Long long before I became vegetarian. So while my eating tendancies have changed, my love of potato pancakes has not.

Traditionally, and by that I mean in my parents house, we always cut just a little carrot into the pancakes. I don’t know if this was for taste or just to sneak some non potato vegetables into our very picky diets, but it’s a trick that I have never strayed from. These days I think it adds a nice little pop of flavor as well as giving the pancakes a playful color.

This weeks CSA box came with some zucchini and absolutely beautiful Canela potatoes. Canela potatoes are very similar to russets, but about a third of the of the size of those giants you find in the super market. It was going to be a hectic week so I decided to make a huge batch of these to reheat throughout the week when I was too exhausted to cook.

Zuccinni Carrot Potato Pancakes
2 medium Zucchini
5 small Carrots
6 Canela Potatoes (~2 Russets)
1 medium Onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1/4 cup flavorless oil (I prefer grapeseed, canola always smells fishy to me)

I like to leave the skins on my potatoes, but make sure to give them a good scrubbing if you’re going to do this. Same goes for the carrots and zucchini, I do not peel, only trimming the ends off before grating. Using a box grater, grate the zucchini, carrots, and the onion into a large bowl. Grate the Potatoes onto a kitchen towel and wring or pat dry before adding to the bowl. Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl, and stir in the salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the bowl with the grated veggies and mix together. I find it’s easiest to do this with my hands, but it does make quite the mess. Once the eggs are mixed in, add the flour and mix again. This is the part that’s always a little up in the air, depending how moist your veggies are, you may need to add a little more flour, but rarely more 2/3 a cup total. You’re looking to have a very thin egg and flour “paste” on the veggies.

To cook, heat oil in a large skillet, I prefer cast iron above and beyond anything else for this kind of cooking, but whatever you have will do. Once the oil is hot, create you pancakes. Again, I like to make a mess and do this with my hands so I can squeeze out the extra “juice”, but each pancake should be about 1/2 cup. Once you pancakes are in the skillet, flatten them with a spatula and turn the heat down to low. Rotate the pancakes occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Once the bottoms have browned to you liking, give them a flip and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

If your making them in batches they stay crisp if you keep them in a low heat oven on a plate, and make a wonderful snack for days to come. I enjoy eating mine with apricot apple sauce, or plain yogurt with a little freshly chopped dill.

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Farmers Market Saturdays

It was a beautiful day at the farmers market yesterday, cool but sunny.

While stone fruit was nothing new this week, it was finally sweet enough (and cheap enough) to warrent a few peaches and nectarines. And I’ll admit it, I ate two of them standing over the sink first thing when I got home. Yummmmy!

Interesting cucumbers.

And no trip to the farmers market would be complete without some Adante Dairy cheese, and a mindless veggie lunch.

Mindless veggie lunch generally falls into two categories, leftover magic, or some variety of kale salad. Yesterdays lunch was the former. There is something very gretifying about bringing home a weeks worth of veggies AND clearing out last weeks odd and ends.

I almost always have some kind of cooked grain and bean in my fridge, which is a huge time saver, especially on the bean front, since soaking and cooking can take the better part of a day (or overnight if you’re smart enough to think ahead). Mix those together with almost any combination of veggies and you’re sure to have a decent lunch.

Mindless Lunch 

Farro

black beans

roasted beets

sauteted cucumbers

toasted, copped almonds

scallions

Dressing

olive oil

red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Indulgent White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut cookies

White Chocolate is not one of my favorite things, in fact, I sort of dislike it, but when it comes to white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies, I make an exception. Perhaps it’s the guilty pleasure of having a mouthful of sugar, who knows. My friend had just returned from Hawaii with a bag of macadamia nuts for me, so I decided it was probably time to pull this recipe off the shelf again and whip up some cookies. Because despite my reservations about white chocolate, the rest of of my house absolutely loves it. So whether you are a white chocolate lover, or skeptic, give these cookies a try, and perhaps you too will come to love them.

White Chocolate Macademia Nut Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tbls vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1  1/2  tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate
  • 1  1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and two sugars. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda together. Now slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the rest of the batter. once the dough is of a uniform consistency, add in the chocolate and macadamia nuts. I often opt to mix these in by hand with a wooden spoon.

Cover the dough with saran wrap, and place in the refrigerator while you pre-heat the oven to 375°. When the oven is ready, take the dough out of the fridge and create just smaller than golf ball balls and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

A box full of when will I have time to cook

WOW, the past two weeks have been hectic, between moving and midterms I’ve had absolutely no time to really cook. Last weekend was the big move day, and of course our CSA box arrived just days before. So while all the fruit was eaten, I still have a shiney new refrigerator of slightly wilted veggies. I wasn’t particularly inspired either, I was tired of chard, and pretty sick of broccoli too. Which brings us to… how to use veggies you’re not wild about, part 1:

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My Love Affair with Chard

Last night I made the great mistake of thinking that it would be a good idea to roast garlic to get the smell of the roommates fish out of the house. While the garlic smelled tantalizingly delicious, it slipped my mind that I’m allergic to garlic. There is nothing better to wake up in the morning with a half swollen throat. eek. I guess this is why I keep children’s benedryl stocked in all my houses. Dinner was a bit of a disaster, I decided to make beet linguine with chard and alfredo sauce, but by the time the kitchen was free, I was so tired and scatterbrained that I completely messed up the sauce. In the end it tasted fine, but was much richer than I had intended it to be. Oh well, live and let learn. The beet pasta came out beautifully though, there really is no substitute for home made pasta.

Lately I’ve been on a chard kick, I just can’t get enough of it. I think part of this obsession is that the three days a week I spend at home in Santa Cruz all I do is crave hearty vegetables, and chard seemed to fit the bill for being easy and delicious. Chard has quickly become my go-to vegetable, having been featured in risotto, soup, curry, pasta, quesedillas, and of course, on it’s own.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my bad days at school, I come home exhausted and hungry. So hungry I generally don’t feel like cooking anything that takes more than 30 minutes to make. This past year it’s been hard for me to muster up the desire to cook anything involved for just myself. It’s hard to cook for one, all that prep work and then you’re either saddled with tons of leftovers, or you just spent 3 hours making a super small portion, and have halves of veggies lying around the fridge. But my struggles of solo cooking are almost at an end, I will be graduating soon and could not be happier.

On days when I have no energy to cook, but my body is craving the vegetables, I like to make chard quesedillas. Now, they are super delicious, but inevitably get soggy on the bottom after eating the first piece. I have tired everything to avoid this, and have accepted that if I want to use whole beans and moist chard that there is no way around it. And since those whole bean and chard are what really make this quesedilla pop, I put up with it.

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One Sauce to Rule Them All

The search for the perfect tomato sauce, be it for pasta, pizza or anything else is quite daunting. Riddled with guarded family secrets and finding the perfect tomatoes, it’s no wonder that no one can agree on what is the best. I have recently been trying my hand at finding a good complimentary pizza sauce for my homemade pizza craze. In the search I have stumbled over some good and some bad, and some just plain unmemorable sauces. This particular sauce is a hybrid of the recipe my mother taught me for lasagna and meatballs, and some serious experimentation. I have finally landed on something that it’s too overwhelming when combined with whatever vegetables I find to throw on the pie, but can definitely hold it’s own on a margarita pizza.

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Fakin’ Lettuce and Tomato

Sometimes people ask me what I eat as a vegetarian, and while I’d love to list off all those great leafy greens, and impossible parsnips, the truth is, I cheat sometimes. No, it’s not what you think, the bacon is fake, but the cravings are just as real as any carnivore’s. Every once in awhile, and probably more often than I’ll ever admit, I indulge myself in the most amazing fake BLT ever, complete with mayo and a creamy avocado.

Now I was never really a fan of fake meats, and still find most pretty repulsive. But either the fake meat has improved, or my tastes have changed, probably a a bit of both. This past year I became familiar with a tiny but quite popular sandwich shop in San Francisco that made veggie BLT’s and since then have been on a quest to duplicate and improve.

DIY Veggie BLT

Everyone has their own opinion on sandwich order, and what to include, what not to include, to melt the cheese or slice the lettuce, but here is my version, top to bottom.

  • 1 Sourdough deli roll
  • French Yellow Mustard
  • Sliced Vine Tomatoes
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese
  • Morning Star Fake Bacon
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced Peperchinis
  • Thinly Sliced Red Onion
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Sliced Avocado (then smashed a little)
  • Mayo

I like to load up the mustard to the cheese and then stick the roll in the toaster oven on broil to melt the cheese (and heat the tomatoes that normally live in the refrigerator. Cold tomatoes freak me out). After the cheese has just started to melt I throw the rest of the fixings on and then slice in half. I have found that it can get pretty messy, so it’s a good idea to wrap this sandwich up before trying to consume.