Gluten Free Zucchini Pancakes

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My friend, who has a city garden, was relishing her bumper zucchini crop. (Is there anything BUT a bumper zucchini crop?) When she said she would bring me some gifts from her garden, I kept an eye out fun ways to use fresh zucchini. King Arthur Flour posted a wheat flour version of this pancake, which I converted to a healthier  Gluten Free version.

So here ya go. These savory pancakes are delicious plain or with a scoop of my ‘healthy’ version of sour cream, (Plain greek yogurt, or, in this case Quark), garnished with chives, parsley, and/or additional cheese. You can even add ham or bacon bits. (Oh yes, I’m adding bacon bits next time!) Leftovers can be frozen. I think they would make a super easy, quick-dinner, topped with a fried egg and a savory tomato sauce.
I used Duck Eggs, because I am fortunate to have a dear friend who shares them with me. I love duck eggs, they are creamy, full of good fats, and work fantastically well in baked goods!
If you are looking for a tasty ‘To Go’ cake for a snack or breakfast, this is your answer. They are flexible to suit your tastes, so get your ‘creative’ on and whip up a batch!

Gluten Free Zucchini Pancakes

3 Large Duck Eggs. (or 3 large chicken eggs + 1 yolk)
1/4 Cup Avocado Oil (or EVOO)
4 Green Onions, white parts, sliced into rounds
2 tsp dried herbs: your choice here. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor would be yummy, or oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon. You can also add fresh herbs, just bump up the amount. Any combo that sounds good to you!
4 cups Zucchini, grated coarse. (I used a food processor for speed)
1 cup grated or shredded Cheese. (I used 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 cup pizza mix shredded cheese)
1-2 tsp salt, depending upon your seasoning (is it salted?) and the saltiness of the cheese.
1 3/4 Cup Gluten Free (or regular wheat if you are not GF) Flour, or mixture of Gluten Free Flours.
I used 1/2 cup of White Rice Flour, 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour, 1/2 cup quinoa flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour. I really liked the nutty qualities this combo provided. Hearty but not overly heavy. The quinoa adds protein and fiber, the buckwheat an earthy quality.

Mix the dry ingredients with the zucchini and toss together.  Whisk up your eggs and add the oil, then combine with the ‘dry’ mixture. It will look rather like this, don’t be put off by the color, they cook up golden!

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Heat your griddle to medium heat, grease it with your choice of fat: butter, coconut oil, red palm oil, olive oil. Then drop about a 1/4 cup dollop, flattening into a cake if the batter is thick, and cook until you begin to see bubbles burbling up through the crevices. Adjust the heat if they start to over-brown. Flip, and cook until throughly cooked through, with no doughiness inside. They take about 5 minutes per pancake, a little longer than breakfast cakes.

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Voila! Delicious, hearty, healthy and flexible breakfast, ready to go!

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I found these quite tasty all on their own. If you whip up a batch, tell me what you think, and what your modifications were. I hope you like them!

(If you have questions, leave them in the comment section!)


Sunny Summer Salad

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Try this yummy, refreshing and healthy salad when produce is at its’ peak during the summer. It’s a snap to put together, and stores well for a few hours, or is delicious served right away. The only special tool you need is a good sharp peeler. I prefer a Y style peeler, and I think Rösli is the best brand, it stays sharp. I love zucchini this way. It has such a different flavor than when cooked. If you don’t think you care for squash, try this recipe, you just might change your mind!

This serving size is for a generous 2, so double it for more servings.

Sunny Summer Salad

1 Yellow Squash, small
1 Zucchini, small
1/4 a medium sweet onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla)
1/2 each of 1 Red and Yellow Roasted Bell Pepper, sliced into ribbons. (store bought or homemade)
Parsley, minced
1 large clove of Garlic, peeled, minced

Dressing:
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice (about a 1/4 of a lemon)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Salt, Pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 tsp of any mediterranean style spice mix

Optional: Fresh Ricotta Cheese.

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1. Cut the top and bottom off the squat. Using your vegetable peeler, ‘peel’ it into ribbons working from top to bottom. I peel down just to the seed core, then rotate it 90 degrees and slice the next side, working your way around the vegetable. Toss the core.
2. Cut your whole onion in half, then in half again. Lay on its cut side and holding one of the root ends, slice into thin quarter rings.
3. Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice, add the garlic and seasoning.
4. Toss all the ingredients together.
5. If desired, top with a dollop of ricotta, fresh as possible.
Tip: If storing for longer than a 1/2 hour, do not salt it until serving. Squash has a lot of water. Salt will pull that water out and your salad dressing will be diluted and weak tasting.

This is one of those dishes where there are very few ingredients, as such, buy the highest quality produce you can find. And if your store doesn’t carry fresh Ricotta, any decent Italian Deli will carry it.

Summer in Minnesota is short, so I don’t like to dawdle in the kitchen. Toss this together, pair it with a protein and head outside for a picnic!


Protein & Veggie Packed Light ‘Alfredo’ Pasta (Gluten Free)

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When the temperature hovers at -10 degrees outside, with wind chills pushing that down to -30, the last thing one wants to eat is rabbit food. ‘Rabbit food’ is what my father called healthy, low-fat diet food, usually associated with salads. No, during these bitterly frigid periods, we turn to warm, comforting foods, which tend towards the fattier side. It’s really hard to get excited about a chilly, crisp pile of veggies when it’s a struggle to keep warm. This brings me to a weeknight dinner dilemma – fresh zucchini, a couple of ripe tomatoes, and a couple of defrosted chicken breasts stared back from the opened refrigerator. What to do? What to make?

Many times when searching for a meal to make, I get inspired by a quick google recipe search, or a ‘mental walk’ through my pantry.. After so many years of experience, I can usually spot a dud recipe vs a winner just by reading and envisioning how it would taste. One of the advantages of keeping a well stocked pantry is the ability to create a meal without having to dash out to the grocery.

This meal is a product of a decently stocked pantry, freezer and fridge.

*From the Pantry: Noodles, canned evaporated milk, cayenne, tomato, garlic, olive oil. (keep tomatoes & garlic at room temp, they lose flavor in the fridge.
*From the Freezer: Boneless/skinless chicken breasts, roasted red peppers, parmesan cheese. (peppers are cheap in late summer. Blacken them on your grill, sweat in a ziploc bag, peel-seed and freeze individually before packing into ziploc bags for long term storage. Parmesan can be bought in bulk at the wholesale club and stored in the freezer)
*From the Fridge: Butter, milk, zucchini, parsley, thyme

Below is the recipe I came up with. As you have probably noticed, I am not a formal recipe writer. I lay out the process as I do it, so read through the entire recipe before starting. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I’ll do my best to resolve them.

I tried to make this as easy as possible. I hope you enjoy it. This is an easy, healthy and flexible dish when you have the whim for ‘rich’ comfort food. An added bonus is you only dirty one pot, one pan and a cutting board!

(This recipe can be made with wheat or gluten free noodles)

Protein Packed Veggie ‘Light’ Alfredo (serves 4)

4 Zucchini, 2 sliced in half longways, then sliced in to 1/2in half medallions, 2 julienned (long thin strips like spaghetti)
1 whole Roasted Bell Pepper, sliced in to ribbons
1 Tomato peeled and chopped in to 1 inch dice (peeling is not necessary)
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded to even thickness (put chicken in between 2 layers of saran wrap and use a rolling pin), seasoned with salt and pepper
Fettuccini (GF)  Noodles- 1 small handful uncooked, cooked al dente in boiling salted water. (Cooked equivalent of a generous 2 cups cooked. Make a circle out of your index finger and thumb, the pasta should fit in that circle)
1/2 cup Non-Fat Evaporated Milk
3/4 cup Low-Fat Milk
1 tbsp GF Flour (or all-purpose wheat)
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp chopped Italian Parsley
1.5 tsp fresh Thyme
3-5 cloves of Garlic (depending upon your taste)
grated Parmesan Cheese
Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil

Put a 4-5 quart pan of water on to boil. Cook pasta to Al Dente according to directions. While GF noodles benefit from a rinse, in this dish you need them hot to ‘cook’ some of the ingredients.

1. In a small bowl combine milks, add flour, and whisk to blend evenly.
2. While water is heating, begin by heating your large skillet over a med-high heat. Peel and mince all but one clove of garlic. When the pan is hot, add approximately 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan, then garlic and immediately layer zucchini medallions in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Toss and flip over to brown both sides as best as possible. Do not overcook and do not burn the garlic. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, put zucchini on a plate and set aside. 3. Return skillet to heat, but reduce to medium heat, add another tsp of oil. Swirl pan. Season the chicken breasts on both sides, and brown, cooking until just done. (about 5-8 minutes, depending upon how thinly you pounded them) Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to a plate that will hold any juices that accumulate, and set aside to rest. When chicken has rested for 3-5 mins, slice and chop in to bite sized pieces.
4.  There should be a ‘fond’ or browned bits in the bottom of the pan from the chicken. Add butter to melt, add last clove of minced garlic and briefly cook until fragrant. Add any juices released from the chicken. These are tasty and will help loosen the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add milk/flour mixture and whisk to combine, scraping up any remaining browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle in cayenne to taste. Bring to a simmer, then add noodles and let cook in hot sauce for 1 minute. Then add chicken, both cooked and uncooked zucchini, pepper and tomatoes. Heat to warm, tossing with tongs gently. Add herbs and parmesan to taste. (about 1/2 cup)
5. Toss and serve warm.

I pared this recipe down to serve 3, two portions to eat plus leftovers for Big Man to take to work for lunch. Wintertime produce brings lovely, cold-sweetened beets, which is what I made into a side salad to accompany the creamy pasta. I dressed the greens with a simple dressing made from fig vinegar and grape seed oil and added some goat cheese.

***Note: Recipe Modifications
If you don’t have fresh herbs, you may substitute dried. Other herb alternatives are basil, oregano, marjoram or thyme. Don’t have garlic? Substitute shallots or diced yellow onion.  Need to feed hungry teens? Add more pasta and double the sauce. Need to cut carbs? Use very little pasta and add in another julienned zucchini. Don’t have a handy little tool? Hone your knife skills or use a mandoline. Don’t be limited by the recipe, use your imagination and personal tastes.