lemon basil zucchini fritters

lemon basil zucchini fritters

I have had zucchini fritters on my radar since before zucchini started to arrive in my CSA box (and they are yet to arrive in my garden…) I have been very lazy about making them, though, since there are so many other ways to prepare a couple zucchini and I am trying not to fry vegetables when I run out of ideas. I felt that I couldn’t hold out any longer, though. Zucchini had not yet gotten the fried treatment this summer. We wanted a smaller dinner one night this week. I had a couple of zucchini kicking around and this idea that a fritter could be made to taste light and fresh and wonderful with some herbs and lemon zest mixed into the batter. The idea panned out (ahem… frying pun), but I was a bit heavy handed with the lemon zest when I made these, so I have changed the recipe to a more appropriate amount. I used a mix of breadcrumbs and flour in the batter, as I wanted the breadcrumbs for flavor. You could certainly use all flour or possibly more breadcrumbs; just make sure whatever blend you use equals a half cup.

lemon basil zucchini fritters

lemon basil zucchini fritters

  • 2 zucchini, grated coarsely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 T basil, finely chopped
  • 1 T parsley, finely chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 C flour
  • enough breadcrumbs to top off flour and make a 1/2 C, about 3 T
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • olive oil for frying

Place grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Let this rest for about 10 minutes to help draw water from the zucchini. After 10 minutes, rinse the zucchini off, remove it to a tea towel, and wring it out. Squeeze it out well; you will lose over half the bulk, but that’s OK. You don’t want soggy fritters that break apart when you fry them. Heat a quarter inch of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the zucchini in a mixing bowl and stir it together with the green onion, garlic, lemon zest, basil, and parsley. Season with a tiny bit more salt, some black pepper, and the cayenne. When well mixed, pour in the beaten eggs and stir to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flour, breadcrumbs, and baking powder. When they are well mixed, stir them into the zucchini. Make sure they are well combined to from a thick batter. When your oil is hot, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Mash the batter down a little with a spatula, spoon, or fork. Fry for 3-4 minutes, until you see the bottom edges start to turn golden. Flip the fritters over and finish frying for 3-4 minutes. Remove the fritters to a rack lined with paper towels and sprinkle with just a tiny bit of salt. Serve hot with lemon wedges and seasoned tomato sauce, tzatziki sauce, or sour cream for dipping.

Makes 12 fritters.

okra creole

okra creole

With the first of the summer’s okra arriving in my CSA, and my own first few pods ready from my okra plant, I was at a loss as to how to cook them. Fry them? Put them in a curry? Stewed them with tomatoes? Make gumbo? I ruled out the first two, as we’ve eaten several curries and a good share of fried vegetables so far this summer. Gumbo takes so long to cook that I didn’t find that very appealing in the heat of summer. That left stewed okra and tomatoes. Instead of playing it straight, I decided to give them a spicy treatment in a dish that resembles a vegetarian spin on shrimp creole. This can even be made vegan if you leave off the butter and increase the olive oil. Now, if that’s not your thing and you want to be truly decadent, you could always skip the butter and olive oil, render fat from a little bacon, and cook the vegetables in a couple tablespoons of that, then crumble the bacon over the top before serving.
okra creole
  • 1 T butter
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lbs okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes or 2 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 T sugar, optional if using fresh tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T cayenne pepper sauce; Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce, if you have it
  • sea salt and pepper
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • a couple tablespoons minced green onions

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat until the butter is melted and the oil is hot. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook this until they are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce the flame a little and add the garlic. Saute all this together until the garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes more. Then add the okra and turn the heat back to medium high. Season with the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper, and cook another 5-7 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, and add the sugar, bay leaves, water, and cayenne pepper sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then taste and check your seasonings. Add more salt, sugar, or hot sauce as needed, until sauce tastes full-bodied and well-rounded. Let simmer another few minutes, then stir in most of your chopped parsley. Serve over white or brown rice, and sprinkle each dish with a little more parsley and some green onions.

Serves 4-6.

Iron CSA: Week 6

csa week 6

Our box felt a little light this week, which left me feeling a little uninspired. I ended up kicking the zucchini and the pattypan to the next week in hopes of getting more. These were the best peaches yet!
Week Six
Here’s what we got (and what we did with it):
  • 3/4- 1 pound of new red potatoes (panfried smashed potatoes – I basically made these, but steamed the potatoes rather than boiled them.)
  • 2 ears of corn (corn on the cob)
  • 1 bell pepper (sliced and eaten)
  • 3 tomatoes (sliced and eaten, on sandwiches, on burgers, etc)
  • onions (used in various recipes and on burgers)
  • 2 peaches (eaten out of hand)
  • 1 pattypan squash (kicked to next week in hopes of getting another)
  • 1 cucumber (sliced and eaten)
  • 2 zucchini (kicked to next week)

Leftovers From Last Week

  • Nothing! 

From My Garden 

  • 6 cucumbers – (some we sliced and ate, and some are leftover)

Iron CSA: Week 5

csa week 5

This week was a major catchup week. We used all the veggies in our box as well as all the leftovers we had– even all the onions! Each day is bringing us closer to having veggies from our own garden, as well. The tomatoes can’t come in soon enough.
Week Five
Here’s what we got (and what we did with it):
  • 3/4- 1 pound of new red potatoes (about half of these used along with last week’s leftovers in this tempeh curry, and the rest went into the summer squash soup below.)
  • 2 ears of corn (corn on the cob)
  • 1 bell pepper (sliced and eaten)
  • 2 tomatoes (sliced and eaten)
  • 2 onions (used in various recipes and on burgers)
  • 2 peaches (eaten out of hand)
  • 1 pattypan squash (stuffed and grilled)
  • 2 yellow crookneck squash (used along with the zucchini in the summer squash soup recipe from Super Natural Every Day)
  • 2 zucchini (summer squash soup)
  • (not pictured) a half pound of green beans (green bean salad with fried almonds)

Leftovers From Last Week

From My Garden 

  • 1 cucumber (sliced and eaten)

Iron CSA: Week 4

CSA Box Week 4

This week, the constant rain kept us from grilling. That coupled with the small amounts of a few key ingredients in our box prompted me to kick several ingredients to the next week so they could be better used. I know I could have just boiled the potatoes or green beans, but I didn’t really want a pot on the stove for very long since it gets so hot in the house during summer when I cook. I am hoping to get more green beans, another pattypan, and some more potatoes in next week’s box so I can make something more substantial with those things.
This week also marked the first harvest from my garden, outside of a few strawberries here and there. It was only a single jalapeño pepper, but it had to be worked into a meal. While it is far ahead of anything else growing, in another couple of weeks we’ll have our own vegetables to contend with along with our CSA box. I’m curious to see how my own harvests will mesh with our box; I’m growing several things that we already receive, so it should help flesh out some of the veggie quantities nicely, I hope!
Week Four
Here’s what we got (and what we did with it):
  • 1/2 pound of new red potatoes (kicked to next week, in hopes of getting more)
  • 2 ears of corn (corn on the cob)
  • 1 bell pepper (sliced and eaten)
  • 2 tomatoes (one was far too green in the center when it was sliced, the other was left to ripen for a week)
  • 2 onions (1 added to the ever growing onion stash, 1 used in pico de gallo)
  • 2 peaches (eaten out of hand)
  • 2 cucumbers (sliced, with salt and pepper)
  • 1 pattypan squash (kicked to next week – hoping for another)
  • 2 yellow crookneck squash (used along with the zucchini in Nigella’s Pappardelle with Zucchini, Sultanas, and Pine Nuts – one of my favorite recipes)
  • 2 zucchini (Pappardelle with Zucchini, Sultanas, and Pine Nuts)
  • a half pound of green beans (kicked to next week)

Leftovers From Last Week

From My Garden 

Pico de Gallo

pico de gallo

I had one jalapeño come busting out of the gate, far ahead of any of my other vegetables this year. I needed to pick it and use it, so I decided to include it in pico de gallo where it could be a major player. I served this pico as a condiment to pair with tempeh tacos and a lime and peanut coleslaw. The tempeh tacos I made much like I make my chicken tacos, although I did come up with a seasoning blend for them. Still, your favorite taco seasoning can be used, and they will turn out delicious. I used about 8-10 oz of tempeh for the tacos in place of the pound of chicken breast.

Fresh pico is supereasy to make – just a little knife work, really – and so much better than anything out of a jar or even sitting in the produce department pre-mixed. The ratios are pretty simple, although I will say to be mindful of the size of your tomatoes vs. your onions. If you have a huge onion, you may want only to use part of it.

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper or ancho chili pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with tacos or fold into a bowl of diced avocado for easy guacamole.

Serves 4-6 as a condiment.

Iron CSA: Week 3

CSA box, week 3

We had a decent amount of leftovers from the previous week, so this week we had to be pretty aggressive in our vegetable consumption. Not a problem, really! We have really enjoyed exploring new recipes for things we don’t normally cook and creating new recipes for things we do to keep from getting into a rut.
Week Three
Here’s what we got (and what we did with it):

Leftovers From Last Week

  • 1 pattypan squash (stuffed and grilled, with this week’s squash)
  • 1 head of cabbage (half made this Asian Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds and Peanuts)
  • 2 crookneck squash (these went into the mexican squash)
  • 2 onions (1 went into the squash stuffing, 1 skewered with the Curried Tofu Kebabs)

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Grilled Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Grilled stuffed pattypan squash


I was so excited that I held off grilling the single pattypan squash in my CSA box a couple weeks ago, because the next week yielded a couple more. Finally, I could stuff them. The one problem with stuffing them, though, was that I would have to bake them. I am endeavoring not to use my oven at all this summer, because our A/C can’t compete against the double whammy of summer heat outside and oven heat inside. What to do? Well, the week prior I had roasted some veggies on the grill in a foil packet. Why couldn’t I do the same with stuffed squash? After I stuffed the squash, I drizzled them with olive oil and wrapped them in foil. I arranged the foil so that it could be easily opened over the tops of the squash so that they could be opened for the last few minutes of cooking to let the tops crisp up a little. They turned out beautifully, so I’m sure we’ll experiment with more roasting and baking on the grill this summer.

For the stuffing, I used my basic, vegetarian stuffing recipe. This is delicious and can be used in anything from these squash to mushrooms (which is what I usually stuff with this), peppers, or zucchini. All you have to do is sub the chopped squash with some of the vegetable you are stuffing chopped up.

Grilled Stuffed Pattypan Squash

  • 4-5 medium pattypan squash
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 large shallots or a small onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 10-13 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 C plain bread crumbs, toasted
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 C pine nuts, toasted
  • sea salt and pepper

First, prepare the squash. Slice a little off the blossom ends of the squash so they will sit flat. Cut off the stem end of the squash, so that you can scoop out the seeds. Remove the  seeds and discard, then scoop out some of the flesh, chop it, and set it aside. You want to leave about a 1/4″ of flesh so that the squash will hold its structure after its cooked. You may need to supplement what you’ve scooped out with a small squash chopped up, depending on how meaty your squash are. You’re looking for about a cup of squash.

Next, prepare the stuffing. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions, garlic, and red pepper to the pan. Saute until the onion is soft and clear, then add the chopped squash to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the squash is tender. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any stuck bits. Reduce the wine until it is gone, then add the basil and parsley. Stir to wilt the basil. Add bread crumbs and stir to combine and absorb liquid. Mix in the cheese and pine nuts, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the squash liberally, packing the stuffing down in each one. Mound the stuffing up over the tops a little.

To ready the squash for the grill. tear off pieces of foil that will wrap around the squash, but not too far. You want to be able to open the foil packets easily. Put each squash in the center of the packet, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Seal them up, and grill them for about 15 minutes. Open the packets, and grill for another 3-5 minutes to crisp the stuffing.

Serves 4.

Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Our farmers told us we’d be seeing potatoes pretty much every week in our CSA box, and I knew at some point I would want to make a simple potato salad. This was the week. I detest mayo, so I knew we would be making something with either mustard or a vinaigrette dressing the potatoes. (As an aside, doesn’t everyone have a particular way they want their potato salad made? Some must have mayo, others pickles, some no mayo, some no mustard, so on and so forth). In the end, I decided to combine both the mustard and the vinaigrette, and keep the ingredients fresh and simple so that the dressing and the potatoes would really shine. This was truly delicious.
Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
  • 1-2 pounds new red potatoes
  • 4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 T basil, thinly sliced
  • 2 T parsley, chopped

mustard vinaigrette

  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1  clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Quarter the potatoes, or cut them all into equally sized pieces about an inch in size, maybe a little smaller. Place the potatoes in a steamer basket, sprinkle liberally with salt, and steam for about 15 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender. While the potatoes are steaming, whisk all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a bowl. When the potatoes are done, remove them to a serving bowl and immediately pour over the vinaigrette. Shortly before serving, fold in the scallions and herbs. Serve warm.

Serves 4-6.

Mexican Squash

Last summer, my great-uncle gifted me with a “mess” of yellow crookneck squash. To those that don’t speak Southern, that’s a lot of squash. I fried some and made a handful of different recipes before I ran out of ideas. At that point, I pulled out an old Southern Living cookbook that my Grandma had bought in the 60’s titled “Vegetables.” I browsed through it and found a recipe called “Mexican Squash.” It sounded intriguing, particularly since it called for an ingredient called comino seed.  A little Googling led me to discover that it was actually cumin. Even better. I tweaked the recipe a little, and what you see below is my version. This has become our favorite squash preparation; it’s savory and substantial, and it’s delicious served over rice.

Mexican Squash

  • canola or other neutral flavored oil
  • 2 pork chops, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds of summer squash (approximately 4-5 medium), seeds removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 10 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes and chilies (I use original, but choose according to how much heat you want.)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried ancho chili pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 C water
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Season the pork chops with a little salt and pepper, and fry the pork chops until they are golden brown. Add the onion and let it cook until clear, about 5 minutes. When soft, add the squash, garlic, Rotel, cumin, oregano, ancho chili, and the water. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and simmer until the squash are tender. This can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, depending on how mature the squash are. Add the jalapenos for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Serve hot, over rice.

Serves 4-6.