Thursday, July 23, 2015

Breaded Zucchini Steak Fries

Our garden has all but taken off... but only in the zucchini section. I think we've eaten our family's weight in zucchini. Who else has been enjoying their zucchinis?
So far we've had zucchini eggs, zucchini gazpacho, zucchini scones, zucchini muffins, roasted lemony herb zucchini, zucchini noodles, chocolate zucchini donuts and I'm dying to make this Zucchini Firecracker Cornbread out of this cookbook My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season.
And we're trying zucchini pickles - naturally fermented. Let's see how that goes.
So it begs the question... what can't you make with zucchinis?
Here is the first zucchini from my garden. Yum! It was played with before we ate it. Our baby tried to nurse it, however that proved a rough error for him.

I've seen zucchini fries but they were always loaded with cheese. Why not a better version and why not something everyone can enjoy - vegan, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free. Let's just cover all the bases.
A great plant-based snack or side dish (we ate them as the main entree at lunch because who wouldn't want fries for their entire meal?). The flaxseeds, sesame seeds and buckwheat make for a healthy "breading". Sesame is a great source of calcium, iron and magnesium. Flaxseeds are a great source of omegas and fiber.

Serve with homemade ketchup or hibiscus ketchup.

Breaded Zucchini Steak Fries
1 medium - large zucchini
A little oil to dip zucchini in
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
5 TB Buckwheat groats
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of lemony thyme, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425. Layer baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. In a coffee grinder, grind buckwheat and flaxseeds until a flour forms. In a large shallow bowl or plate, mix seeds, flour mixture, salt, garlic and herbs. Set aside.
2.  Pour oil onto another large shallow bowl or plate.
3. Slice zucchini in 3-4" long rounds (1 zucchini only takes 2-3 cuts to do this) then slice those in half lengthwise. Now make 1/2"-3/4" inch cuts lengthwise for large steak fries.
4. Dip fries first in oil then coat in flour mixture. Place on parchment-covered tray. Bake 15 minutes then turn and bake another 10-15 minutes.

What garden produce are you enjoying? And have you had to find new uses for vegetables? Please share!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Raw 5-Minute Strawberry Chia Jam

One Friday morning, a dear friend and her kids invited us to go strawberry picking.

As we were picking - the royal "we" since the girls mostly frolicked through the strawberry patch - I thought of my Granny. She had passed away several years prior - old and wisened. A lot of life had passed by those wide blue eyes - that's where I get mine. But she always had a smile, the charm never deterred by life's wrinkles.

We would visit her at least once every summer. My Dad would always say "I don't think she's going to be here next year. This is her last year. We need to go visit her."

And so we would go... inevitably, she would always hold on another year. And my Dad would reiterate the previous statement. We can look at it as a cycle or life pattern but I like to think of it as a tradition. Being a non-traditional family, we were more flexible and our traditions far between.

But one summer, I remember Granny sitting in at her table - the same spot she sat in for the last 10 or 20 years. Back to the kitchen wall, facing the TV. She held her cup of coffee in her hand and she'd smile at me. I warmed to her a little more with each smile. She pushed a bowl of strawberries my way.

Of course, I ate all of them... she knew I would since she already deemed me Strawberry Mary.


And so as we picked the strawberries this last Friday and I watched my baby boy squish a strawberry all over his face and my 4 year old frolicking with her friend, holding their dolls, I wondered what "traditions" my children will remember. Will it be that we were always busy or that we took time to revel in each other's company?

Lately, we've been on the busy bus. Not something I particularly enjoy. I don't like to equate the word "busy" with my sense of self. So I'm using this as a reminder to myself to "not schedule " but to enjoy my day, particularly the time with my husband and children.

And here's something quick and easy to make and enjoy later (or now).
Raw 5 Minutes or Less Strawberry Chia Jam
4 cups strawberries
2 spoonfuls of honey (to taste, optional)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1. Blend in blender or with immersion blender.
2. Let sit to thicken.
3. Refrigerate and enjoy within one week (this does freeze well).

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