Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mom, did you blow up my dinner?

The word is ‘on’ instead of ‘up.’ But when you’re two years old, all that matters is that there are pancakes on your plate and you’re worried about scalding your mouth.

Tonight we made Zucchini Pancakes from one of our favorite old Molly Katzen recipes. A couple highlights to share:
• When we grated 3 large zucchinis in about 1 minute flat using the food processor, the same two-year-old shouted excitedly, “Mommy, it’s zucchini spaghetti!” as she watched the shreds shoot out of the whizzing grater.
• My girls ate four pancakes each before I even got the sour cream or applesauce on the table. (I was still back at the stove flipping hot cakes.)
• Since we were out of feta cheese, we found that cottage cheese works great – maybe even better than the recipe-called for feta. The cakes are lighter and really moist; and if they’re really hot when you cut into them, you sometimes get a string of melty cheese all the way to your mouth.
• A flavor profile: The pancakes have crispy edges and insides that are light and fluffy; the salty cottage cheese brings out the sweet mint flavor which is all mellowed by the earthy onions. Yum!

Here’s my adaption to the Zucchini Pancakes recipe:

4 large eggs
Dash of salt
Lots of ground black pepper
4 cups (packed) grated zucchini
1/2 cup finely minced scallions (I used fresh white baby onions from the garden)
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (I used more since it grows like a weed)
1 cup cottage cheese; drained for a couple minutes through a colander (or 1 cup feta cheese)
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Oil for cast iron skillet
My favorite Toppings:
Sour cream

1. Separate eggs and whip up the whites until stiff.
2. Combine egg yolks, salt, pepper, zucchini, scallions, mint, cottage cheese and flour in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Fold in egg whites.
4. Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. After 1 ½ minutes, swirl in oil to coat the bottom. When hot, use a 2 tablespoon scooper to scoop batter onto the hot pan, and fry for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp.
5. Serve hot – plain is best – but you could slather on sour cream and applesauce for those folks wary of anything zucchini.

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