Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Squash Croquettes

This is the perfect summer side dish (or you can do like we did, and use these as the main course.) SO YUMMY! I never used to like squash much - mainly because the only way I ever ate it (unwillingly) was boiled to a mushy nothingness by my grandma. (Whose only method of cooking vegetables, apparently, was boiling. She missed out on SO MUCH GOODNESS.)


I found this recipe at work in a Cooking Light magazine laying around. I believe it's the June 2010 one. These things are so yum.

First, you get some squash.

And cut it up in chunks.

So that it measures 4 2/3 cups
(I know that's a liquid measuring cup. But it's about right. And I'm okay with unexactness in cooking ... just not baking.)

Then you cut up some scallions.

And then you steam those babies right up.
And if you're like me, and you don't have a steamer basket, you get creative.

The ghetto steamer.

Isn't that pretty?

So after they're nice and steamy and soft, you mash 'em up with a fork.
This is easier said than done. So I used a fork ... and then I used a big knife to help the process along.

After you've got a big pile of mush, you dump it in a bowl.

And then you crush up some saltines, and put them into another liquid measuring cup. Incorrectly. Martha Stewart is probably rolling her eyes at me.

Then you put those in the bowl with the squash mush, plus some eggs and a little sugar and salt, and stir it all together.

And then it goes in the fridge for a while.

Once that's done, you're ready to cook your croquettes!
Put some of the mixture in a mesh strainer and squeeze the liquid out.

Then (and this is also easier said than done), make a little squash patty, dredge it in cornmeal, and put it in a big pan with hot oil.

And cook those croquettes right up! We ate ours as our main dish with a side of salad. So healthy, so yummy! Mark loved them. 

Hubby stamp of approval: check!

Now, here's the real recipe (with my slight modifications):

Summer Squash Croquettes
  • 4 2/3  cups  coarsely chopped yellow squash (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1  cup  crushed saltine crackers (about 30 crackers)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/4  cup  yellow cornmeal (I ended up using more than this)
  • Cooking spray (I HATE cooking with PAM, so I just used oil)
  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil, divided (because I didn't use cooking spray, I increased this by a little bit.)
  • Sliced green onions (optional)

1. Steam squash and 1/2 cup onions, covered, 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Mash mixture with a fork. (And also a knife.) Stir in crackers and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Cover and chill for 3 hours; drain well in a fine mesh strainer.
2. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Divide squash mixture into 12 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. (Seriously, easier said than done...) Lightly coat each patty with cooking spray. Dredge in cornmeal.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Place 4 patties in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove patties from pan. Repeat procedure 2 times with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and 8 patties. Garnish with onions, if desired. Serve immediately.

Hope you all enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I am a terrible food blogger. I can't believe my last post was 9 days ago!! 

Oh well. Nothing I can do about it now...
Last night I made eggplant parmesan. Or, Eggplant Parmigiana, if you want to be correct and technical. It came from one of my mom's recipe files, and I have no idea who to credit the recipe to. But oh, it is yummy. Mark RAVED about it last night. He said it belonged at Leonardo's, "our" Italian restaurant. (Where we went on our first date, where we went the night we got engaged, etc. etc.) He literally begged for seconds.

So, you want it now? Here it is.

You start with eggplants. I soaked mine in heavily salted water for maybe 30 minutes? I've heard that helps get the bitter taste out, and also helps them retain their shape.

After they soak, you broil them in the oven
Till they're pretty and browned, like so
Then you take a 9x13 baking dish, and smear 1/2 cup of marinara sauce all over the bottom

Then you layer half the eggplant on top of that

Then more marinara

Then some cheese

And repeat!
Then you pop it in the oven
You're supposed to cover it with foil. I forgot, but that was okay, because Mark says he likes his cheese crispy anyway :)
 Et voila!

It's super easy, super yummy, and pretty darn healthy. There's a fair amount of cheese in it, but it's gotta have at least 2 servings of veggies per serving, maybe even 3. And what's better than that??

Here's the real recipe:
Make-Ahead Eggplant Parmingiana

You need:
2 eggplants, about 2 1/2 lb., cut into 1/2-in-thick rounds
nonstick cooking spray
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 jar (26 oz) marinara sauce, or you can make your own
(I was lazy, and used the jarred kind.)
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella (I kind of rounded up and used more like 2 c.)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan

To make:
Salt or soak your eggplant if desired. Heat your broiler, and place half the eggplant on a broiler rack. (Or my ghetto version - a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Hey, it works.) Evenly coat the eggplant with cooking spray, and sprinkle it with 1/4 tsp. pepper. (I estimated.) Broil 4 in. from broiler, 4-8 minutes per side, till lightly browned. Repeat with the rest of your eggplant.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread 1/2 c. marinara in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish. Line with half the eggplant. Spoon on 1 1/4 c. marinara, top with 1 c. mozzarella. Then repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and cover with foil. (I forgot that one... oops.) 
**NOTE: you can indeed make this recipe early, and stop at this step, keeping the covered dish in the fridge for a day. Just add 10 minutes to your baking time if it's coming straight from the fridge.**
Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Let rest for 15 minutes. (We're never good at the "let rest" part of recipes....)
Enjoy!! It's a good one :)