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Posts Tagged ‘salt’

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Showy zucchini!

Zucchini: an easy grower and over-achieving producer! Our garden zucchini plants are huge and loaded with blooms. I know Farmer Ray and Rose Creek Farms are having good luck with their plants as well. I’ve been searching for recipes because these green veggies seem to grow by the minute! Hubby must be diligent to check daily, or they will grow too big.

I ran across several recipes for zucchini pancakes. I was curious: are they truly “pancakes” to be eaten with syrup? Or are they more like savory fritters to maybe dip in a sauce? The answer is YES and YES. They can go either way!

Perhaps the best thing about zucchini is its mild flavor. It can be sweetened up or seasoned up – depending on your mood. And that’s exactly what you can do with this recipe.

The recipe poster describes them as “a great vegetarian pancake, easy to make and delicious. This recipe was passed to my mother over 100 years ago and has been a favorite of the families.”

After reading the reviews (58!)  with so many flavor suggestions, I had to give this recipe a try. I followed the posted recipe exactly with plans to try some of the flavor combinations.

The grandchildren love pancakes and always expect them for breakfast when spending the night. I was inspired by one reviewer who said, “With all the eggs and zucchini, we got a serving of veggies and protein, better than the average pancake. Plus it used up 2 whole cups of zucchini from our overproducing garden!”

WHAT YOU NEED:

2 cups finely shredded fresh zucchini (2 med. size zucchini)

4 large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash and shred zucchini on a fine grater. There’s no need to peel. Since I wasn’t sure how these “pancakes” were going to turn out, I decided to use one zucchini and halve the recipe; however, that one zucchini yielded 1.5 cups, so I did ¾ of a recipe which forced me to use those math skills!

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Finely grated zucchini!

Several reviewers suggested letting the grated zucchini drain, so I followed that suggestion.

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Draining grated zucchini

Look how much liquid seeped out!

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Almost 2 ounces!

While the zucchini drained, I preheated a non-stick electric skillet to 425 degrees as directed. That seemed high to me, but I followed directions, and they cooked up perfectly. If using a heavy duty frying pan, heat to medium-high heat; adjust heat if necessary.

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, and then add oil.

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Beating, draining, and heating!

Using a fork, add drained, shredded zucchini and mix well.

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Grated green-ness!

Stir in the dry ingredients, but don’t over mix. That will make your pancakes flat and tough. The recipe doesn’t state this, but I always let my batter rest a minute or two to allow the baking powder to activate.

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Let batter rest a minute.

Now you’re ready to cook! Before spooning batter onto the hot griddle, I sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray. Cook as you do for traditional pancakes – until bubbles appear on top. Flip! DO NOT press down on the pancake. Use a light hand, and you’ll be rewarded with light pancakes!

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Puffy goodness!

When done, brush pancakes with melted butter and place in a preheated 250 F oven to keep warm until the remainder are cooked, or serve immediately.

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Brush with melted butter.

I was anxious to taste these, so I broke one open for a bite. Naturally Hubby had to check out the progress in the kitchen.

I said, “I’m not sure if it is supposed to be sweet or savory.”

He took a bite and said, “It can go either way! It’s light and puffy like a pancake and will easily accept syrup, but I can see how you could add onion or garlic or jalapeno and go the other direction.”

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Green dots!

When I saw those green dots inside, I instantly thought of a favorite book of our children and now of our grandchildren. They often request it at bedtime.

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Favorite bedtime reading

It’s the story of a silly family who believes they are all seriously ill because the baby girl painted green dots on the bathroom mirror.

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When each family member sees himself covered with green dots, all end up in bed. Even the doctor who comes to treat them believes he has been infected and joins the family in the sickbed.

All is saved when Grandma is summoned and comes to help (Hooray for grandmothers!) She prepares her famous chicken soup and does a little “tidying up” while the soup simmers.

You guessed it. She mops the floor, dusts the furniture, and polishes the mirror and then serves the soup. Everyone instantly feels better! And the spots are all gone!

Our little ones love this story. Our little ones love pancakes. I see a new family tradition in the making: the book at bedtime; the green-dotted pancakes at breakfast the next morning!

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for breakfast, brunch or just as a snack anytime

REVIEWER SUGGESTIONS:

*  Serve with your choice of jams or syrups

* Use half applesauce and half oil to cut down on the fat; add a bit more sugar or cinnamon to the batter.

* Serve with sour cream or yogurt

* Replace 1/4th of the zuke with chopped/seeded/drained meat of garden tomatoes, 1/4 cup grated feta and some chopped crispy bacon. They taste like Denver omelettes and are very tasty

*  Add grated parmesan cheese

*  Serve with sour cream and ranch dressing as appetizers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘sauce-y Turnips!

 

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Turnips!

I never ate turnips growing up, so I’ve been on a learning curve to learn how to use these round, white veggies. Last year I chopped, blanched, and froze them to throw into pots of soup. They looked just like potatoes and absorbed the flavor of the soup broth. I had thought to do that with these until I remembered a recipe I saw pairing turnips with applesauce.  My pantry is full of applesauce I canned in the fall, so I decided to whip up some ‘sauce-y turnips!

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Ready to meet some turnips!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Turnip

Boiling water

Butter

Salt

1 c. hot applesauce

WHAT YOU DO:

This recipe is rather vague in its instructions and measurements. Notice it just lists “turnip” as an ingredient. I used four that I received in the CSA box this morning. It yielded right under 3 cups of cubed raw turnip.

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chopped turnips

Bring a pot of water to a boil while you prep the turnips.

Wash and peel the turnips. The recipe says to remove all of the thick peeling, leaving no sign of green since the bitterness is between the peeling and the vegetable. I actually could have just scrubbed them really well for the skin was very thin and tender.

Chop into uniform pieces. I used my vegetable chopper.

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Cut into uniform pieces.

Add the chopped turnips to the pot of boiling water, cover and boil quickly for 15 to 20 minutes. This recipe says to cover the pot; another turnip recipe states that to avoid that “turnip”  taste, leave the cover off the pot a bit when boiling. This allows gases to escape that would otherwise get trapped in the water and make the taste stronger. This same principle works for cabbage, a cousin of the turnip!

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Into the hot tub!

Since my turnip pieces were rather small, I checked for tenderness at 12 minutes, and they were done! Since overcooking always produces that unpleasant strong flavor, I wanted to cook just until tender. Drain well.

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Drain well.

Add “a good sized piece” of butter (I used 2 Tbl.) and mash until creamy.

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Butter adds richness!

I used an immersion blender, but even a fork would have done the job since the turnips were so tender!

Next, stir in the applesauce. The recipe calls for “hot” applesauce. I’m thinking that is to maintain the temperature, so I warmed a cup of my homemade applesauce in the microwave and stirred it into the mashed turnips.

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Hot applesauce is added to hot mashed turnips.

Since I used no sugar when I made the applesauce, it did not make these turnips very sweet at all. It just added an unexpected flavor that really paired well with the turnips. Even Hubby, who tends to avoid mixing “sweet” with “savory,” said it was not sweet at all.

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‘sauce-y turnips!

This dish of “‘sauce-y Turnips” was a nice addition to our supper of Crock Pot Brown Rice and Sausage, collard greens, and lima beans. I think I’ll be whipping these up again!

 

 

 

 

 

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The star of this post!

I pulled it out of the CSA box and thought, “Ok…..what do I do with this?” Are you with me? Since I’ve featured kale in the last few posts, it’s time to let another veggie have the spotlight! But first, I needed to know what I’m dealing with. A quick online search yielded this info:

Broccoli raab (also known as rapini or broccoli rabe) is related to both the cabbage and turnip family. The edible parts are the leaves, buds, and stems. The buds somewhat resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Small, edible yellow flowers may be blooming among the buds. The greens have a pungent, bitter flavor that is not particularly popular in America where, more often than not, they are used as animal fodder. Italians are particularly fond of broccoli raab, however, and cook it in a variety of ways including frying, steaming and braising. It can also be used in soups or salads. It is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron. Broccoli raab should be wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated for no more than 5 days.

I scanned several recipes featuring this leafy vegetable but decided to do a basic tutorial on how to cook it. Perhaps future blog posts will feature it as a main ingredient!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Broccoli raab

Garlic

Olive oil

salt

WHAT YOU DO:

Prep the broccoli raab by washing well. Fill a large bowl with cold water and put it in the sink. Take a stalk of broccoli raab and pull off each leaf and put it in the water.

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Tear leaves and rinse to clean.

According to Cooks Illustrated, chopping broccoli raab increases the bitterness because it releases more of the compounds (isothiocyantes) that cause the greens to taste bitter, so don’t chop – tear.

Next, break off the tough bottom of the stalk and save for your compost pile. Some references said that the tough stem can be peeled and used as well. Since the stems on my bunch were rather thin, I used them. I figured they would cook up to be tender. (Note: some did/some didn’t! In the future, I’ll discard the thicker stems.)

Put the floret top in the water. Repeat until you have trimmed all the broccoli raab. Swish it around in the water and then allow to sit for a few minutes. The goal is to allow any bits of dirt, etc. to wash off the leaves and sink down in to the bottom of the pot of water.

Next, pull them out by the handful and put them in the other large pot. You want to keep some water on the leaves to help them steam while cooking. This is also supposed to help cut the bitter taste.

Several recipes instructed to blanch the broccoli raab before cooking – anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes in boiling water followed by an ice water bath. It is supposed to remove the bitterness and speed up cooking time. My Cooks Illustrated version did not suggest this, so I didn’t. Maybe I’ll do a comparison test of both procedures sometime!

Pour enough olive oil in a covered skillet to just cover the bottom of the pot. Chop the garlic and add to the warm olive oil. Keep the heat low as garlic burns easily and becomes bitter. We already have enough of “the bitter” factor going on. 🙂

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Infuse garlic into olive oil over low heat.

Heat until the garlic starts to cook, a minute or two.

Add the broccoli raab to the garlic and oil. Salt lightly.

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See that yellow flower? Totally edible!

Cover the pot when cooking so the greens are being cooked more by the heat of the steam than by sautéing.

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Steam in covered skillet.

Simmer for about 25 minutes, depending on how much broccoli raab you are preparing, and how thick the stems are. I thought this time was excessive, so I checked at 10 minutes. All moisture was gone but stems were still very tough. I added more water and 10 more minutes to timer. At the end of that period, I added a bit more water and 5 more minutes, for a total of 25 – just as instructed! Some of the stems were still fairly tough, but the rest was tender and ready!

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Cooked!

I read that broccoli raab pairs very nicely with marinara sauce and Italian sausage. I had left-over pizza topped with both, so I decided to make a quick lunch out of these two foods. Delicious!

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Leftover pizza topped with broccoli raab!

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