Meatless Monday: Zucchini-Corn Fritters

Labor Day is the worst.

For me, it has always marked the end of summer. No more pool days, no more white pants, goodbye 9pm sunsets, goodbye barbeques!

I have had an epic weekend, however, which I will share pictures of tomorrow. Wine, grape stomping, college friends, Sunday Funday, Nutella…If I have to say bye to summer, I might as well send it off right…right?

These past few years, I’ve also begun to love summer produce. Tomatoes have always been one of my most hated foods…but between the months of June and September, I find myself popping fresh cherry tomatoes like candy. Every meal is accompanied by corn on the cob, and I can’t remember the last stir fry I made that didn’t involve zucchini.

Luckily for us in California we get summer produce year round! For a price 😉

DSC_0842

This summer, I’ve been trying to perfect the zucchini fritter. It’s such an easy Monday night meal – there’s minimal prep needed; just scoop together a bunch of veggies and fry ’em up! My ratio was always off, though…too wet, too crumbly, etc. Last week, I finally hit my sweet spot and they turned out delicious! But really, who doesn’t like fried food?

DSC_0835

So make these tonight, make them next week or next month, and enjoy the lingering produce of summer!

DSC_0841

DSC_0847

Unfortunately I learned that taking pictures of food isn’t super easy to do with a cast on your thumb…haha.

DSC_0846

#epiclyblurryfoodphotos

Zucchini-Corn Fritters
loosely based on Zucchini Fritters by smitten kitchen

makes 4 fritters

1 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil (fresh) or 1 tsp basil (dry)
1/2 cup corn, removed from cob
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)
oil, for frying

Shred zucchini with a box grater or, if you’re smart and lazy, a grater attachment on your food processor. Place in a strainer and sprinkle salt over the shredded zucchini. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then using a clean towel or thick paper towels, wring out all the excess water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

To the lump of zucchini, add salt, pepper, basil, corn, and egg and mix. Add flour and baking powder and combine until well incorporated.

Heat about a tablespoon (or more if desired) of oil over medium-medium high heat. One at a time, scoop blobs of zucchini batter into the pan. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until brown, then carefully flip to the other side. Once it’s on the other side, you can flatten it out a bit so it has a fritter shape. Let cook on the other side for another 3 minutes and remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately!

Advertisements

Turkey Meatballs

I’m proud to report that I have been killing it with the running! After 7 days of a horrendous cold and not exercising, I got right back on the train last week and have been running 2.5-2.6 miles per run. I’m slightly interested in doing this hilarious-sounding 5K at the end of the month…I’m gonna just keep chuggin’ along, increasing my distance at a pace that feels right, and we’ll see if I am up to 3 miles by then!

I was planning on running today, but I think I might have to give my legs a rest:

bruises

I feel like a broken record this season, but MAN can some dudes (and chicas) throw hard in our dodgeball league! Check out the bruising and redness on the left. Sidenote: I promise I’m not naked in this picture. Haha.

Last night was playoffs and we were seeded #3 out of 8 …our first game was against a bunch of our friends (it’s actually the team I played on the season I broke my hand) and they gave us a good fight, but we eventually beat them 4-2. Next, we played a team that upset the #2 seed…they did not upset us, as we beat them 6-0 :-P. However, in the championship game we faced a team with one of the best players (and hardest throwers) in the league. We lost the first 3 games, then won the next 3 to tie it up with no time left!

GAAAAHHH my heart was racing. It was intense, guys. {yes, I am aware I am calling a children’s game intense.}

So we played a tiebreaker game and it ended up being me and one other guy versus 5 of them. If you’re the last player in, you can try shooting the ball into the basketball hoop and if you make it, your whole team gets to come back in. So I stepped out and let CJ try for a shot, but he was unsuccessful. So 2nd place it was for us last night! It was an incredibly exciting game though, and I am so glad we came back to tie it!

Fireball shots for everyone!

Anyway, meatballs.

How’s that for a segue?

Since I’ve been running more, I’ve also been packing in the protein. On Wednesday, I made these meatballs with lunch the next day in mind…I knew I’d have to have a good protein-packed lunch to tide me over till dodgeball!

DSC_0358

These turkey meatballs have been my favorite thing to make the last six months. I usually brown them in a skillet, cook them in tomato sauce, and dump them over spaghetti squash, but squash is quickly going out of season…I decided to make the meatballs without it and see if they were any good on their own.

DSC_0367

Good? They’re grrreat! Yes, I just went there.

These meatballs aren’t typical. They aren’t loaded with breadcrumbs (gasp!). Selon moi, all you need for a great meatball is to load it up with fresh herbs. Plus, tis almost the season for me to start sneaking zucchini into everything…why not into meatballs as well? Plus, with extra lean ground turkey, these came out to just 46 calories a pop, with 2.4g fat, .6g fiber, and 4.7g protein…in each one!

DSC_0359

DSC_0362

I actually regretted using extra lean ground turkey to make the meatballs this time, however. Use regular or normal lean ground turkey, and rejoice in how juicy and flavorful your meatballs are. They’ll still taste good with extra lean, but they will be dry. Just add sauce!

I feel like there’s a Schweddy Balls joke in here somewhere…

DSC_0368

Turkey Meatballs
makes ~17 meatballs
Inspired by A Cozy Kitchen’s Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

1 package ground turkey (1.25 lbs)
1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini
1 egg
1 handful fresh herbs, chopped (about 1/4 cup once chopped)
spices, if desired (since I was using cilantro, I added a bit of chile powder and cayenne)
salt & pepper
cooking spray

Start by grating your zucchini. Put it in a strainer or colander, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F and spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Prepare the rest of your ingredients: chop the onion and garlic, as well as your herbs. Once everything is ready to assemble, squeeze out all excess liquid from the zucchini in a clean towel or sturdy paper towel. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl…use your hands! Shape the mixture into equal sized balls – mine were about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Place meatballs in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once. The meatballs are cooked when the inside is no longer pink, and when the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees.

Notes: See Adrianna’s recipe above for instructions on how to pan fry these. I used cilantro this time, but these are best with basil and/or rosemary.

Farmer Fresh Fiesta Friday

There are so many wonderful things about summer. Sunshine, swimming, bright colors, barbecues, vacation, weddings…just to name a few. But since this is my first summer of living on my own out of college, I’m learning there’s another great thing about summer: all the best produce is fresh, cheap, and bountiful!

This is the weekly Certified Organic Farmer’s Market at Capitol Park next to the State Capitol (and my office). Every other week, I usually stop by and get a few things like fruit and veggies for myself, or almonds and pistachios to share at the office. Pretty much every day of the week, there is at least one Farmer’s Market going on somewhere in Downtown Sacramento!

Normally I only need to stop by every other week, though, because I have another farmer supplying me: my dad! Check out how his garden looked a few weeks ago:

Doesn’t it all look great? I’ve pretty much stopped buying zucchini at the grocery store or farmer’s market because every time I go to my parents’ house, I come back with a zucchini the size of my face. No, seriously:

I have a feeling tomatoes and corn are next!

Check out some of the ways I’ve been using up all my Farmer’s Market finds:

Grilled Veggie Tacos that I showed y’all on my Day of Eats

After my Mexican Pizza recipe, I think you all know that I’m a fan of piling things on a tortilla and calling it a pizza. In lieu of refried beans, I often mash some avocado instead! Above is roasted veggies, below is steamed/sauteed (with my favorite coasters!).

Charred corny goodness.

OK this is not at all Farmers Market fresh, but I just wanted to share this tip I recently tried: add a touch of french vanilla creamer in your plain oatmeal! What?! Amazing!

Fudgey ZUCCHINI cookies from Two Peas and their Pod! The zucchini is perfectly hidden by all the chocolate!

Inspired by Edible Perspective’s Curry Zucchini Roll ups, I tried my hand at Caprese Zucchini Roll ups (they have basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella & a bit of avocado stuffed inside!), but kind of majorly failed. They wouldn’t stay together, but at least they tasted good!

Last night’s dinner: a kale salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and homemade balsamic vin all over the bowl. Kale isn’t exactly in season right now, but for some reason I keep buying it at the market…

Now, I’ve covered Farmer Fresh… Why the Fiesta in the title?

This week is Fiesta in Santa Barbara! A week of parades, carnivals, parties…….and confetti eggs.

I will use a few photos of my friends and I in 2010 as a demonstration:

They seem unassuming enough, right?

We thought so too…

But then…

…the aftermath!! (p.s. not my hair! Don’t worry, I didn’t turn into a brunette in a matter of minutes ;P)

And even though I don’t live in Santa Barbara anymore, I’m still feelin’ the Fiesta — the law firm I work for has their California headquarters in Santa Barbara, and gives all California employees a half day on “Fiesta Friday”! Ole! Have a great weekend!

Also, I’ll just leave this here.

Homemade Grilled Zucchini Pizza

Nothing is better than homemade pizza.

I’m talkin’ mixed-the-dough-yourself, waited-for-it-to-rise, then kneaded-the-crap-out-of-it-homemade.

That was a lot of hyphens, so you KNOW this must be good

Now, I’ve made pizza from scratch before. I’ve used this recipe for dough twice, and it served me well both times. This time, I tried a new dough, and after nearly an hour of rising, it looked like a rock. This was not correct.

So I went back to my tried and true How Sweet Eats and used what I thought was that trusted recipe above. Oh no, no. It was this dough, which is more of a pizza-ish flatbread. So when I rolled it and stretched it out to put on the pan, it looked fine, but after cooking, it turned into a monstrously thick crust. Which was okay, because I have a good relationship with my carbs. Plus, it was whole wheat, so, you know…health food.

Do as I say, not as I do, children. Read on for what I’ve found (through the aforementioned trial and error) to be the most successful way to make homemade pizza:

Continue reading