Friday, September 9, 2011

Zucchini Latkes

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $6/day.

I was working really hard before our trip to get the refrigerator cleaned out. Maybe that seems like an unpleasant job for some, but once I get started I always think it's kind of fun. It's almost like a puzzle in that you're piecing together different segments of something, only it's more creative than a puzzle because you don't quite know what that something is.

I had a couple fresh zucchini and some really sad looking potatoes that must have been a couple months old. And as I always say, "When life hands you potatoes with inch long eyes growing out all over the place, and most especially if life hands it to you with a needy zucchini, make latkes." Also, if life hands you lemons, (which would be very cliche of life and why would life do that when it can hand you alien-eyed potatoes) you should definitely make that ice cream we talked about yesterday.

Zucchini Latkes
adapted from smittenkitchen
Makes about 8 latkes
Prep time: 10 minutes with food processor
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cost: $1.00
(zucchini: .50, potatoes: .25, flour: .10, egg: .10, other stuff: .05)

1 small zucchini
3-5 medium sized potatoes, peeled or not (I used russets)
1/4 onion (or a good dash onion powder)
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
oil for frying

Put the grater thingy on the food processor. Send the zucchini through. (If the zucchini is seedy, first cut it in halves and scoop out the big seeds.) Then send the potatoes and onion through. As an alternative, you can grate these vegetables with a grater.

Transfer the vegetables to a colander or strainer and press the juices/waters out of them. You can also do this by wrapping all the shredded vegetables in a tea towel and then wring the tea towel out. You'll see how much water comes out of these vegetables. Let the vegetables sit for a few more minutes and then squeeze more juice/water out of them.

Put the vegetables in a bowl and add flour, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir.

Heat oil in a skillet (I used cast iron.) Use enough oil that you've got a millimeter or two on the bottom of your pan. Then, drop a blob of the mixture onto the pan and flatten it with a spoon. (You can shape them into patties beforehand if you wish, but I prefer the texture of the non-shaped latkes. They are less glutinous, though I can't tell you why.) The latkes are going to be about 1/2 inch thick or maybe just the slightest bit thinner. When you drop them into the oil, it should sizzle, but not go berserk.

Cook over medium high heat until the edges get golden (which means the bottoms are nice and golden). Have a peek here or there to be sure they're not burning. Adjust your heat if they're cooking too fast or if they're taking forever. When the bottom is golden, flip them over and cook until the other side is golden too.

Let them drain on a paper towel.

You can serve with sour cream, yogurt, this awesome cheater sauce, or--as you must surely have guessed is our family's favorite--ketchup.


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