Zucchini Fritters

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I have found, through personal experience, that when a child claims not to like a certain vegetable, there are ways around it not involving tense standoffs. For example, if there is a way to turn that vegetable into a delicious little fried patty, said child is likely to change his or her mind. Now, I tend not to divulge the ingredients of my “fritters” when serving them – curiously, when children know the tasty little things in front of them are made of zucchini they  suddenly remember their dislike, so I suggest you do the same unless you have one (or more) of those rare creatures that eat vegetables willingly. Luck be with you…

Zucchini Fritters

2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons cauliflower rice (optional)
1 egg
3 tablespoons almond flour*
2 tablespoons tapioca flour*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for garnish

*Both flours can easily be replaced with regular wheat flour. Use 4 tablespoons (total) wheat flour if replacing.

Roll shredded zucchini into a thin dishtowel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You can do this with paper towels, too, but they tend to tear so an old dishtowel will work better. Once you’ve removed as much moisture as possible, add zucchini to a large bowl.

Add cauliflower rice (if using), egg, flours, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to bowl and stir to combine.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Working in batches, drop dollops of zucchini batter into hot oil using a large spoon. Use the back of the spoon to flatten the fritters into a pancake-like shape. Allow to cook, undisturbed, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve warm with lemon wedges. These little devils go very well with lamb chops and chicken, just don’t tell the zucchini haters in your circle what’s in them!

 

The Only Chocolate Sauce You Need

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There really isn’t much to say here. This is the only chocolate sauce you will ever need. Ever.
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Add powdered sugar and evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. Eat on just about anything. Or by itself.
Sauce will keep very well in the refrigerator for quite a while. You can either gently reheat it in the microwave or just spoon it out cold. Either way works and the only thing you will be thinking once it’s done is, “Why didn’t I make this sooner?” and “What else can I put this on?”
You are very welcome.

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Cauliflower Rice

caul.rice.1There are endless ways to make cauliflower rice. The internet is absolutely bursting with recipes. Some recipes are intricate with hand-ground spices, others are simple and contain almost nothing more than the cauliflower itself. My preference is for this version with onion, carrots, garlic, and ginger because the end result doesn’t taste anything like cauliflower, which I don’t really like. If you like it, that’s totally fine. I won’t tell you you’re wrong, but I admit you’ll have to go to some length to prove to me you’re right.

In any case, this dish keeps the wonderful earthiness that really is the only redeeming quality of cauliflower and pairs it with the savory spirit of fresh ginger and garlic. Use it as a base for stir fry, fried rice, tacos, or this wonderful, homey meal that I eat as often as possible. I also hide cauliflower rice (minus the carrots) in my child’s regular rice. He gobbles it up and asks for more, something that would just never happen if I fed him cauliflower in its natural state. Welcome to the world of cauliflower rice – where trickery is rewarded!

Cauliflower Rice
1 medium head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1″ fresh ginger, diced (optional)
1/2 brown onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into thin disks
1/4 cup water (or broth)
Salt, pepper, and lemon to taste

Chop cauliflower into large florets, discarding the tough core. raw.caul.ricedWorking in batches, pulse the raw cauliflower in a food process until it resembles grains of rice.

Add oil, garlic, ginger (if using) to a large skillet over medium heat. Stir. When the oil starts sizzling, add onion and carrots. Saute until onion is soft and translucent and carrots are nicely browned, approximately 10 minutes.

Add riced cauliflower to skillet. Stir to combine. Saute approximately 10 minutes. Stir, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan.

Add 1/4 cup water (or broth) and cover, letting vegetables steam approximately 5 minutes. Uncover, stir, scraping the pan, and combining vegetables well. Cook, covered, another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed.

caul.rice.2When the cauliflower is tender, add salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon to taste. Turn off the heat and use it as you would rice or any other grain.

PS – This makes quite a bit. Cooked cauliflower rice will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

What’s for Dinner?

My son walks up to me. “What’s for dinner?” he asks.
“Rice and veggies with poached eggs.”
“Great.” He walks away. Three minutes later he comes back and asks me again. I tell him, reminding him that he asked me that question mere minutes ago. He claims amnesia before walking away again. Five minutes later he’s back.
“What’s for dinner?” he asks. I stare at his beautiful face. His huge blue eyes look to have been cut from the sky. My friend’s aunt once asked him, in all seriousness, what he was going to do with eyes like that. I imagine that had he been older he might have responded, “Get a date,” but he was only 8 at the time so instead of smart-assery we got sweetness. He just smiled nervously, revealing his new, turquoise-banded braces. Then he laughed and said, “I don’t know” before running back to the merry-go-round.
“What?” he asks me, genuinely perplexed.
“Are you kidding me?”
“What? I’m hungry. What are we having?”
“I told you three minutes ago. For the second time.”
“No you didn’t.” And so it goes.
I should have given him boiled beets to eat, but instead he got a plainer version of this absolutely, unbelievably, satisfying and delicious meal.
Rice, Greens, and Eggsegg.green.rice
(serves 4)
1 cup cauliflower rice
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
10-15 cremini mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces fresh spinach
4 eggs, poached (or fried)
Salt, pepper, lemon, and Sriracha to taste
Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until browned and slightly crispy, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, add remaining olive oil and spinach. Saute until soft, stirring occasionally to keep spinach from sticking, about 10-12 minutes.
During the last 5 minutes of the spinach cooking time, prepare eggs to your liking.
Assembly
Into each bowl, add the following in the following order: brown rice, cauliflower rice, spinach, and mushrooms. Top with an egg. Garnish with salt, pepper, and Sriracha, if desired.
PS – I often utilize this meal as a way to use up leftover rice and/or cauliflower rice. It comes together WAY faster if you’re using leftovers. Also – you can totally make this with only brown (or white or wild) rice or with only cauliflower rice. I like the combination, but you can do what you like best, obviously!

Cinnamon Sugar Bombs

cinn.sug.bombsThe other day my son asked me for a cookie. It was 7:30am. I said no. He countered with the argument that since he is allowed dessert after lunch (cookie, etc.) and dinner (ice cream, etc.), it makes sense he should get something after breakfast, too. “All the meals, Mom!” I held firm and denied him the cookie, but an hour later, when he wasn’t looking, I popped a Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mint Cream into my mouth. Sometimes we need a breakfast treat. It’s the cold, hard truth.
For your breakfast treat needs, I offer you the following:
Cinnamon Sugar Bombs
1 cup + 2 tablespoons white rice flour
3/4 cup + 1  1/2 tablespoons almond flour
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk (whole is best here, but 2% will do fine)
Cinnamon Sugar Crust
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Using an stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. (I know that sounds like a long time, but it will make your muffins better so set the timer and let it beat itself into fluffiness, scraping down the sides as needed.) Add egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.
With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition of flour and/or milk. After the final addition of flour, let batter rest 30 minutes.
While batter is resting, butter and flour muffin tins. (Don’t use cupcake papers as they will make the final step tricky.) Once the batter has rested, divide among muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 28-30 minutes.
While muffins are baking, combine cinnamon and sugar for crust in a small bowl.
Remove muffins from oven. Melt butter in a small bowl. Working with one muffin at a time, dip muffins in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. You can coat just the crown of the muffin or the whole darn thing. I tend to coat the whole thing because why not?
PS – The original recipe for these muffins came from Bon Appetit. They’re called Dirt Bombs, which, admittedly, is a catchier name, but they aren’t gluten free. You can find that recipe here. The gluten free adaptations are my own.