This delicious post is brought to us by the very talented Scrumptious, creator of the beautiful blog, In My Box. Enjoy!
Hurray Vegan MoFo! I’ve been a very neglectful blogger for the last few months, so it’s both a delight and a good kick in the pants to be writing a MoFo guest post for you, my beloved xgfx-ers.
My blog In My Box originated as a place to catalog the contents of my monthly CSA box and what I made with all the fruits and veggies contained within. Although my purview has expanded into other fun arenas, I still consider it my primary mission to provide folks with delicious vegan & gluten-free recipes that use fresh seasonal produce. Most especially the produce that no one knows what to do with, either because it arrives in your box all new and strange or because you just get too darn much of it and run out of ideas.
Summer is especially challenging for me because my CSA box basically becomes an unending weekly font of tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, and basil. Meanwhile all my friends who grow veggies drop by to chat and then “accidentally” leave me with more bags of zucchini from their gardens. And of course the summer growing season in San Francisco lasts through September and into the beginning of October. That’s a lot of squash.
I’ve developed some reliable standards over the years, recipes I can turn to in times of squash overload. Recipes like Summer Gratin , Taverna Zucchini , and Pan-Seared Summer Squash With Garlic and Mint make the zucchini monsoon a pleasure to weather.
But I have to tell you – since I’ve started making these Zucchini Cakes, everything has changed. I actually got a little anxious at the farmer’s market today when I realized this might be the final week for summer squash. The cakes are a fair bit of work, but you can make up a bunch of batter which will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and then you can (if you’re me) devour your zucchini cakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s something about the mouth-watering combination of lemon zest, capers, and pine nuts that just makes me weak in the knees, and they’re so light yet filling and complex that I never seem to get tired of them.
This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s book, Vegetarian Suppers. There’s not a lot in there for the xgfx eater, but she does provide vegan variations for some of the recipes, and we’re a pretty creative bunch when it comes to recipe adaptation, so the book is definitely worth a look.
Zucchini Skillet Cakes (adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers)
Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are and what else you’re eating with them. These patties go well with quinoa, so I like to eat these with a big pile of quinoa and either a green salad or a tomato salad. (Gotta use up those tomatoes!)
Zucchini Skillet Cakes
- 4 cups grated summer squash (about 2 lbs, I like to use a combo of yellow and green)
- 1 t. salt
- ½ cup silken tofu
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- 2 t. dried marjoram (or 3 T. chopped fresh marjoram if you have it)
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I do the Karina trick with gf frozen waffles)
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup capers
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
1. Put the grated squash into a colander and toss with 1 t. salt. (The salt will draw out the moisture in the squash which will make the cakes hold together much better.) Set the squash aside to drain while you prep everything else.
2. Purée the silken tofu in a blender or food processor. (If you don’t have either one, I think the recipe would work with simply well mashed silken tofu.) Don’t wash the food processor yet – you may end up needing a bit more tofu purée in a minute.
3. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Shake the skillet frequently because those little pine nuts will burn if you leave them unattended for more than a hot second. They’re done when they’re fragrant and a bit browned, or when you get too paranoid about them burning.
4. Rinse off the grated squash and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
5. In a large bowl, combine squash, tofu purée, garlic, parsley, marjoram, and lemon zest. Stir in bread crumbs, pine nuts, and capers. The mixture will be pretty loose and crumbly (like an uncooked latke), but when you form a patty with your hands it should be able to maintain its shape reasonably well. If not, add a little more tofu purée until it does. Add a little salt and pepper, but you can’t really do “to taste” with raw squash batter, so you’re going to do a test cake and then season the rest of your squash.
6. Film a large skillet with olive oil. When your pan is hot, take a little dab of your mixture and fry it until lightly browned, then taste for salt and pepper. Adjust the rest of the batter accordingly.
7. Take about ½ cup of the mixture and, using your hands, form a flat patty and place it carefully in the hot pan. Continue to make patties until the pan is full. Flatten them gently with a spatula and cook over medium heat until lightly browned on the outside. Use a spatula to turn each patty over and cook the second side until the patty is lightly browned and cooked on the inside (you’ll have to taste one to make sure, oh no!).
8. If you want to keep them warm, stick them on a plate and put them in your oven on Low. Just remember to use a potholder when you get the plate out. Somehow I always forget.
9. Most importantly, enjoy!