Monday, September 28, 2009

Complete Beet Fritters

These came to be when we wanted to make Swiss chard fritters for a brunch potluck last month, didn't have enough Swiss chard, and substituted a grated beet for half of it. The beets worked beautifully with the warmth of the cinnamon and allspice and the slightly pink fritters were a big hit, even with self-professed beet-haters.

Beet greens get very muddy, so be sure to wash them extremely well before you cook them, since you don't want dirt in your fritters! If your beets come without greens, or if the greens are slimy and past their prime, feel free to substitute chard.

1 large bunch beet greens, rinsed well
1 beet, peeled and grated
4 eggs, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup peanut oil

In a medium stockpot, bring 1 inch of water to boil. Add the beet greens, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the beet greens thoroughly and chop roughly.

Combine the beet, eggs, onion, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well and stir in the beet greens.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil sizzles upon contact with a droplet of water, drop 1 tablespoon of the batter into the pan. Flatten the mound of batter slightly with the back of a spoon. Continue adding as many mounds of the batter mixture as the skillet will allow. Fry for 3 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain the fritters on paper towels. Repeat this process with the remaining batter.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Almond-Battered Veggies

The concept for this batter came from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe. Katzen only uses mushrooms, but guess what we added? That's right: okra! The batter doesn't stick to the okra as easily, but it's worth the trouble. Phoebe's sister substitutes nutritional yeast for the parmesan -- a tasty option for the lactose-intolerant among you.

3 cups vegetables:
portabello mushrooms, caps sliced into 1/2 inch strips and stems sliced into 1/4 inch strips
okra, sliced in half lengthwise
gypsy peppers, sliced into long strips
zucchini, sliced into 3/8 inch strips
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, chopped roughly
dash of salt
1 egg
oil (something that can withstand heat, like canola)

Grind the almonds, cheese and salt in a food processor until the consistency is a little thicker than cornmeal, then pour onto a plate. Beat the egg into a pie pan. Dip the vegetable slices into the egg, then press them into the batter -- you'll want a nice, thick crust. Heat a skillet on medium-high with just enough oil to keep the pan greased. Cook until golden brown, about five minutes on each side, and serve immediately, preferably with ketchup.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Skillet Okra with Parmesan

OK, it's official: we've got an okra addiction. Here's another way to zap the sliminess and convert okra-haters! This is an incredibly simple and delicious preparation--good enough to eat the entire thing out of the pan (which hey, we may or may not have done), and also lovely on top of pasta with tomato sauce.

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups chopped okra
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the okra and salt. Fry, stirring frequently, until the okra is slightly browned. Sprinkle with cheese and transfer to the broiler. Cook for just a few minutes, until the cheese is crispy.