Saturday, February 16, 2013

Recipe 12 of 100

It seems that there has been less working out and being active lately and a lot more eating! Last weekend was (finding) Nemo – the storm of 2013 here in Boston. The city shut down which left B, the puppy and I in the house. We played outside, went sledding, shoveled, shoveled more and cooked and baked… a lot. While inches of snow fell on the ground here in Boston, inches of food creped onto my waist line.

Between all the sweet and savory things cooked in this house B and I were more then fine.  While I loved the sweets made, B’s favorite were the Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Fritters. I had made a recipe for zucchini fritters a few weeks ago and while they were a big hit, I was missing some extra flavor in the wonderful fried goodness. So I adapted the smitten kitchen recipe to add a punch of flavor and a hint of spice.

These are so easy and yummy. I brought them to a friends birthday party and I think within 5 minutes the plate was done. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are more then 4 people.

Before you do anything take a head of garlic and roast it Directions here 

Once that comes out of the over you are ready to make—

Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Fritters
2 large zucchini
4 Roasted Garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
3 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or Grape seed oil, for frying

Spicy Roasted Garlic Yogurt sauce
1 cup full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 roasted garlic cloves mashed
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinches of salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a plate with paper towel to put the fritters on when you are done frying them – it will help absorb some of the oil used in frying.

Cut the Zucchini into 3 and using a shredding blade of a food processor. If you do not have a food processor – no worries grate them in the large holes of a box grater (watch your fingers)

In a large bowl, toss zucchini 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for 10 minutes. I put it in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. After 10 minutes push all the water out with a wooden spoon. The first time I did this I was SHOCKED at how much water came out. The more water that comes out the better, it will help keep the fritters nice and crispy on the outside.

Return zucchini shreds to bowl and add a teaspoon of salt. Stir in Roasted Garlic, scallions, egg and some freshly ground black pepper. In a tiny dish, stir together flour, Cayenne pepper and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.

In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet -lightly push them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful that the heat is not to high, you want a medium heat so that you get golden edges but you also want the middle to cook. After you have flipped them and the have cooked on both sides put the cooked fritter onto the paper towels. 

Keep cooking the fritters – make sure the pan remains well oiled. You will have to add oil between batches. Make sure before you put the batter in the pan the oil is always hot.

Before serving put the fritters on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees for at least 12 minutes.
For the yogurt sauce, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, zest, cayenne, roasted garlic, salt and adjust the flavors to your taste.

You can make these fritters ahead of time and either keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days or you can put them in a well-sealed package in the fritters for months. When ready to eat them bake at 350 for 15 minutes Flip mid way!

Monday, February 4, 2013

# 22 Learn to Surf!

I just got back from one of the coolest vacations I have ever been on - Rincon, Puerto Rico.  Not only did I somewhat learn to surf, get appropriately beaten up by the Ocean, and drink some awesome drinks, I also met some great people, saw amazing views and learned that we – American Civilization have it all wrong.

So surfing--  #22 on the list. One of the hardest sports I have ever tried. It’s not about getting up on the wave, honestly, that’s the easy part. Swimming out and passing the break, now that’s the hard stuff. I got pulled around by the Ocean, a very powerful force of nature may I add. But I conquered it and I even got to ride a bunch of waves. The thrill of standing on the board and riding the wave is just so awesome. It was a liberating feeling to see the ocean almost come around you.  Even when you are sitting and waiting for a wave to come being in the middle of the Ocean and feeling the sun on your skin, the waves between your toes, it’s pretty damn perfect.  Ok, I didn’t want to come back. I wanted to become a surf bum, change the pace of my life and stop sitting behind a desk. ( I mean surf bum with the highest regard and utmost respect. I say it out of jealousy.) But low and behold, I am sadly back to reality, sitting behind a desk and working on excel spreadsheets. I learned a few things though on this trip:

  1. The Ocean is not a scary place you just have to take it head on – literally and figuratively.
  2.  We here in America (or Canada) have it all wrong. We should not be working 9 – 5 days, we should see the sun, have fun everyday, and put our phones away.  
  3. You can live anywhere you want and find a way to do what you love to do.
  4. We talk about what we will do when we retire, have more money but why wait? We have every reason not to. 

That is a lot to take in and for the most part highly unrealistic, but at least they are thoughts I should keep in the back of my mind. In the mean time I will look for cheap flights that get me back to Rincon and out on a surf board sometime soon.

If you want a fun getaway and you have any desire to learn to Surf go to Rincon and check out the Rincon Surf School. While I may be biased, Travis and Lucas are great to work with and they will help you find things to do in and around the area to help make your trip is everything you were hoping for and more. Our teacher, Omar, was so patient, fun, and calm. He helped ensure that we learned a lot and pushed ourselves while remaining safe.  I am telling you it was just such an awesome trip and you should do yourself a favor and hop on a plane to Aguadilla, go to Rincon - surf, chill, and have the best time.