Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Memory Revisited: Italian Zucchini Fritters

 I was able to squeak out a few vegetables this year from my small 4' x 6' raised bed garden.
I only had two zucchini plants, one died the other produced enough zucchini 
for me to keep and to give a few away.  I used my last one to make these flavorful fritters.

I remember growing up in an Italian household, having these fritters "frittata" 
during the summer months when the relatives' gardens were
abundant with zucchini.  Making them brought back fond memories.
Hope you make some memories in your kitchen with your family.

The recipe for Italian Zucchini Fritters

3 cups shredded and drained zucchini
6 eggs well beaten to a froth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. fresh basil (optional)
1 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup of each
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour - add a little at a time.
Makes about 30 three inch round fritters.
These are good cold too!

Using a Presto Salad Shooter, or a box grater; grate one medium (9 inch) zucchini.
Put the shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl, put a plate on the zucchini 
and weight the plate with a heavy can - we use a 28 oz can of tomatoes.
In about 15 minutes or so some water will drain out.  
You can do this step the day ahead and refrigerate the bowl of weighted zucchini.

In another bowl add seasonings to the egg mixture, add cheese, 
add the drained zucchini, slowly incorporate the flour as needed to form
a firm batter (much like a pancake batter).  Make a test fritter to see
if your batter is firm enough.

Set an electric skillet set to 375 degrees.  Add 1/4 cup olive oil.
Test oil to see if it's hot enough to add your test fritter by 
putting the handle end of a wooden spoon into the oil
If bubbles come up around the wooden post, oil is hot enough.

Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil.
If your test fritter puffs up and gets firm, like a pancake you are good to go.
Taste it for flavor. Add salt and/or pepper if needed.
Continue cooking fritters by dropping tablespoons
of the batter into the hot oil.
Flip when the bottom gets lightly browned. Cook another two minutes.
Remove to paper towel covered plate, pat top with another paper towel.
Enjoy hot or cold. 



Presto Salad Shooter, zucchini - whole and shredded in the bowl.

Shredded zucchini draining in a colander. 

Ingredients

Oster Electric Skillet & Tupperware batter bowl/measuring pitcher.
Test fritter: One tablespoon of batter in hot oil

Browned fritter, ready to take out.
I used two forks to flip so I don't have to dig one fork
into the wet batter.

The lightly browned tops.
You can make your fritters bigger, but be sure they are
flat enough so the insides cook thoroughly.











Friday, August 17, 2012

Awesome Homemade Ice Cream Cones!

On a recent visit, my Mom & I were outside enjoying a nice summer day.  The subject of ice cream cones came up. My Mom mentioned  how terrible her store bought ice cream cones were. I said 
"Let's go in and make some homemade ones."  So we did!  I don't know why she was surprised that I had a gadget that made ice cream cones, but she was.

After the cones were done and cooled, we enjoyed some maple walnut ice cream in our tasty cones. My Mom just loved the cones and how light and crispy they were.  I made sure she took some home to enjoy later.

You can use this recipe with a pizzelle machine for tiny cones, or use the skillet method mentioned in the recipe below. The results will be delicious no matter which method you use.

Recipe taken from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Directions

  1. Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in the butter, milk and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the flour and salt until smooth. The batter should be thin; you can stir in more milk if needed.
  2. Heat a small skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush the pan lightly with oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet and turn to spread out the batter into a thin circle. When the underside is golden brown, flip over and cook until golden on the other side. Remove from the pan and form into a cone while it's hot, squeezing the end to seal. Place on a wire rack to cool and harden completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.



                                                               




Waffle Cone machine from Amazon.
I put a Camel, Camel, Camel price alert on it
and got it when the price dropped to $29.
I also have a Bella brand electric ice cream cone machine from Macy's that my sister & family gave me:
http://reviews.macys.com/7129/470163/bella-cucina-13468-waffle-cone-maker-reviews/reviews.htm
Both machines turn out great waffle cones.


Simple ingredients you should have on hand.

Light, foamy batter.

About 1/4 cup batter.
As soon as the green light goes on, open and quickly
wrap the cookie around the plastic cone (included) to
shape it, remove when cool (about a minute).

Tried different heat settings. Went from #1 to #4. #4 gave
the darkest and crispest result.
Makes 10, six inch tall cones.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quick Sauce & Quick Pizza Dough, No Rise, No Fail & Grilled Pizza


If you've ever wished to have pizza for lunch or dinner, but don't have store bought or homemade dough on hand, this is a great "go to" pizza dough for a quick pizza.  It's delicious, but does not have the same texture as a dough that has had time to rise.

Gadgets you'll be using: food processor, rolling pin, BBQ grill (I have the Weber Q), or cast iron stove top grill, cutting board, pizza cutter.





Dough: (makes two rectangular pizzas - approx size 9" x 14")

3 cups all purpose  flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 package dry active yeast or 2 1/4 tsp. yeast granules
1 cup warm water (100 - 110 degrees)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Put all the above ingredients in the order given into a food processor, mix/pulse  flour, salt, sugar, yeast together.

Divide dough in half. Roll each piece of dough into a thin rectangle.
Heat grill to 400 degrees. (High)
Oil grates with olive, vegetable, or canola oil.
Have a tray two long spatulas and with your toppings* close by the grill.

Put one of the pieces of dough onto the oiled grates.  Let it cook until the bottom shows nice, dark grill marks.  Get your two spatulas, put them both underneath the pizza dough, lift and flip.
Reduce heat to Medium.
Quickly add your toppings.
Close the grill lid, cook for approximately 2 -3 minutes.
Check to see that the cheese is melted and that the bottom crust has dark grill marks.
Remove to a cutting board, let set for a minute, cut and serve.

*Toppings:
Shredded or a cut up whole ball of mozzarella (and parmesan if you like).
Any toppings you happen to like on pizza.
Homemade Quick Sauce* or tomato sauce from a jar

I had a video to go with the above recipe. My camera angle was a bit off and, sadly, the end result was not blog worthy.

*Homemade Quick Sauce:

1 28 oz. can kitchen ready tomatoes
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cut onions or shallots
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. Italian seasoning, or Basil (dry)

In a medium saucepan, add oil, saute onions over medium heat.
Add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 15 minutes.
Note:  If you have time, add 28 oz. water to the sauce  (just fill the empty tomato can) with the remainder of the tomato paste cook for about 30 minutes, and you'll have a bigger batch of sauce for pasta or more pizza.

Not the best video, but hopefully, you'll get the idea.

video

Can opener that I've used in other Kitchen Gadget posts. I've had this one for a few years and use it as my primary can opener. The batteries seem to last a long time.  If you have a Tuesday Morning nearby, they have them there.