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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Veggie "Pancakes"



We are moving into that season again, the time when the number of zucchinis in your garden may begin to exceed your kitchen creativity. Even if you don't have these in your own yard, friends may be ready to share, and the farmers markets are full of these shiny green summer squashes, from tiny fingerlings to bigger ones than you'll see any other time of the year.

Time for something a little different.

If you like potato pancakes or latkes, you may already have found that you can boost the nutrition of this dish by adding various vegetables in place of part of the potatoes. Moving completely away from potatoes and combining prolific zucchini with bright carrots, these little cakes are a perfect center for  a light brunch, lunch, or even supper dish. Add a tossed salad or fresh fruit plate, a tall glass of milk, and you have a fully balanced meal: lots of color, lots of nutrition, and wonderful flavors that even vegetable-evasive family members might be tempted to try.  Great for the budget too, especially in the middle of zucchini season.

Zucchini-Carrot Pancakes

2 c shredded zucchini
2 c shredded carrot
1/2 large onion (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 c dry milk powder (optional)
1/4 c yellow corn meal (preferably stone ground)
3 T to 1/4 c flour
1/2 t Italian seasoning or to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 t seasoning salt or to taste
basil (optional)
2 eggs
canola or olive oil

1.  Combine the zucchini, carrot, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients except eggs and allow to sit about 10 to 15 minutes.
2.  Stir in the eggs. The mixture should be very stiff. If all the vegetable mixture is not well moistened, you may need to add one more egg.
3.  Heat just enough oil to thinly cover the bottom of a cast iron or other heavy skillet. When the oil is shimmering, place small spoons of the pancake batter in the pan, flattening to about 1/2 inch. Allow to cook until golden brown, turn, and cook until the second side is also well browned.
4.  Continue cooking batches, adding oil only if needed to keep the batter from sticking.

Serve with yogurt, ketchup, or sea food sauce (ketchup/horseradish mix). Makes about 14 to 16 small pancakes, 2 to 3 servings. The recipe is easily doubled.

(Though I have not tried it, I think this could be turned to a gluten-free recipe with use of rice flour in place of the flour. I'd love to hear from any of you who might try this out.)

Quick Zucchini Hint:

If you or gardener friends have an overabundance of zucchinis, grate the extra and freeze in one or two cup portions. You will be prepared for this or many other zucchini recipes any time of the year.




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