Bacon Optional

I’ve been doing OK lately at cooking and documenting healthy recipes. It’s true, two of my featured recipes in January came from Cooking Light. Then we hit Super Bowl weekend.

Along with Super Bowl weekend came the inspiration for a party menu theme: “wrapped or stuffed.” “Wrapped or stuffed” certainly leaves open the opportunity to use fruits and vegetables and grains, but one is much more likely to please certain crowds by using cheese and bread and…bacon. One of the dishes I served was cream cheese stuffed jalapenos with bacon topping (optional).
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These jalapenos were spicy, and a bit of work to clean out, so I ended up having a handful of extra ingredients this week. Somehow I came across a recipe for jalapeno corn fritters (yes, more fritters!) that could be made entirely with ingredients I had on hand. I don’t even remember what search terms I was using, or whether this was Pinterest, but I’d say I struck gold.

Jalapeno Popper Corn Fritters
From Closet Cooking

1.5-2 Cups corn kernels, frozen is fine
1/2 Cup flour
1 egg
scant 1/2 Cup cheddar cheese
, grated
1/4 Cup cream cheese, room temperature
2 jalapeno peppers (to taste, and depending on size), diced
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coriander seed
, toasted and ground
2 green onions, sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed

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Begin by toasting coriander seeds and then grinding in a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder, or with mortar and pestle.
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Prepare vegetables.

Yes, those are gloves! I recommend them for using with hot peppers.

Yes, those are gloves! I recommend avoiding direct skin contact with hot peppers.


Mix all of the ingredients (corn, flour, egg, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, jalapenos, bacon-if using, paprika, coriander, green onion, cilantro and lime juice) in a bowl.
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Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Form mixture into patties, about 1/4 Cup each. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.
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You could serve these with a creamy, buttermilk-based dressing, or consume them as is, like me. The recipe author even used a jalapeno popper flavored dressing.
These didn't even make it to the table before being consumed by my husband and me!

These didn’t even make it to the table before being consumed by my husband and me!

To add to the gorging, I also had some free bags of regular potato chips lying around and was thus inspired to make a potato chip cookie recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. It may be the copious amount of butter, but they were extremely delicious. Now that the week is over, I’ll be cutting back on the cheese, butter, and bacon…I swear.
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TGIF

Thank goodness it’s Fry-day!

Got you. Were you wondering why I wrote this on a Wednesday? It’s because I went on a frying kick on Monday night.

I found a recipe that uses broccoli and carrots, which had been flowing in from my farm share, in fritter form. And then I thought that I should make some latkes. It was the 5th night of Hanukkah, after all.

So I put on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, turned on the TV to have A Charlie Brown Christmas in the background, and got to it. (Can I just pause for a second and note how depressing that special is? And Peanuts in general. Poor Charlie Brown. Perhaps I should also pause to acknowledge the irony that I just mentioned making latkes for Hanukkah while watching a Christmas special.)

Broccoli Carrot Fritters
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

4 Cups water
2 Cups broccoli florets
1 Cup carrots
, matchstick-cut
2.25 ounces/1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1.5 ounces/1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 Cup something in the onion family
(green onions, white onions, leeks), chopped
1 large egg, add more egg as needed
2+ Tablespoons olive oil
1 Cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh dill (optional)
, or fennel fronds in my case (I knew saving them would come in handy!), chopped
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If using leeks, or if you are using white onion and want to make the flavor more mild, sauté them in your saucepan in a little olive oil first and set aside.

Leftover leeks, waiting to be consumed!

Leftover leeks, waiting to be consumed!


After your chopping and slicing is done, place water, broccoli, and carrots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook about 4 minutes to get the broccoli tender. Drain. Pat broccoli mixture dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels and chop as finely as you’d like.
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Place broccoli mixture and flour in a large bowl; stir to coat. Add cheese, salt, pepper, onions, and egg to broccoli mixture and stir to combine. If the mixture isn’t wet enough, you may need to add another egg or some egg white–I had to do this because I didn’t really measure the broccoli carefully so I think I had more than 2 Cups.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup broccoli mixture into a dry measuring cup. Plop pile into pan and press down with a spatula to flatten slightly. Repeat in your pan as space allows (I recommend trying to go in a clockwise circle so you know which ones hit the pan first). Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
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Combine yogurt and herbs in a small bowl. Serve yogurt mixture with fritters.
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Regarding the latkes. I have no grounds for giving you a recipe because I clearly have a long way to go to master the potato pancake. I learned my lesson that the step instructing me to squeeze the liquid out of the shredded potatoes should be taken seriously, and if, after mixing, it seems like the mixture isn’t holding together, I should definitely fix it BEFORE adding to the pan. I may have been losing patience at this point. Something about the fact that I was in such cozy clothing, and, oh yeah, I had just been to the dentist to have a major filling and the anesthesia was wearing off…

I based my pancake ingredients on this recipe, which uses sage (still alive in the garden!). I even had the clarified butter from a rare impulse buy at Trader Joe’s:
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Here are some pictures:

I substituted shallots for some of the onion.

I substituted shallots for some of the onion.


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Happy Holidays!

Hummus…fritters

I was in the mood for hummus the other day, and my husband asked if I wanted anything from Costco when he was making a trip. This is a bad combination. I should have simply made my own in a smaller quantity, but instead I ended up with the giant container.

Not that I’m complaining–I love hummus (don’t we all?). However, someone subsequently advised me that it says on the container to consume within 7 days of opening. I already weighed in about the news that “Best By” dates are subjective and unregulated, as reported by the NRDC. I’m sure that hummus tastes a bit better when freshly opened, but I’ve eaten from plenty of containers of hummus over much longer periods of time.
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It was great timing to receive the latest Cooking Light magazine and find a recipe that uses hummus in a different way, to make a composed entrée.

Hummus Rice Fritters with Mediterranean Accompaniments
From Cooking Light magazine
Makes at least 8 fritters

Fritters:
1 1/2 Cups leftover cooked brown rice
(could be from a pre-cooked packaged, made immediately before, or made a previous day!)
1 Cup prepared hummus (feel free to vary with flavored hummuses if that is what you have)
3 Tablespoons flour, all-purpose or cake
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg white
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad/Pita Accompaniments:
2 Cups baby arugula
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup cherry tomatoes
, halved
1 Cup cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 Cup thinly sliced red onion (optional; I did not use)
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled-about 1/4 Cup (optional–not as necessary if using the yogurt sauce)

I used a "brown rice medley"

I used a “brown rice medley”


Place first 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
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Does anyone have ideas, in general, for putting one egg yolk to good use, so I don't have to toss it?

Does anyone have ideas, in general, for putting one egg yolk to good use, so I don’t have to toss it?


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 4 (1/4-cup) batter mounds to pan, pressing each with the back of a spatula to flatten slightly (you may want to spray the spatula with oil or cooking spray so it doesn’t stick).
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Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden and thoroughly cooked.
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Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining batter. Sprinkle fritters with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
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Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and black pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and onion; toss gently to coat.

The reviews suggested a sauce, like one might have for falafel, and using pita. Turns out I had everything on hand. Feel free to adjust this to taste, of course, if you hate cilantro or find the lemon a little strong like I did. Greek yogurt is already tangy so I knocked the quantity down a bit. Otherwise, I find that garlic or garlic powder helps balance it out 🙂

Yogurt Sauce
from Food Network/Guy Fieri

1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
1 teaspoons parsley leaves, freshly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
, as needed

Serve salad, yogurt sauce, cheese (if using), fritters and pita halves on a platter. Stuff filling into pita halves as desired and consume immediately.

Sad arugula. Still delicious!

Sad arugula. Still delicious!