So, I’ve told you that son #1 is a professional chef, and the guy works all the time. Being in the restaurant business he never has a weekend off, and I suppose that just goes with the territory. Lucky for him he really loves his job. He did however have off the other day and decided to invite his buddies over to watch some football. They were just going to order some pizzas and drink beer, typical guy stuff. Now me, being the hovering mother that I am, felt it necessary to offer these guys a healthy snack. They’re grown men actually, and I probably should have just minded my own business, but I just couldn’t help myself.
I decided to make these zucchini fries for them. I think they’re the perfect snack for sitting around and watching football, all crispy and crunchy. It was just kind of funny when I walked into the family room holding a tray of these and said”hey guys, how about some zucchini!”, they all just looked up at me with this look on their faces like, yay, zucchini…
However, when I returned about an hour later, the tray was empty. Mom’s always right. I’m just sayin’…
- 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, trimmed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups panko or plain breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the oven racks in the lower third and center of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the zucchini into french fry size sticks about 3″ long.
- Arrange 3 shallow bowls or pie plates in a row. In the first bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. In the third bowl, combine the panko, parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Working in batches, first dip the zucchini in the flour, shaking of the excess. Transfer to the egg mixture and toss until coated. Let the excess egg run off, then coat the zucchini in the panko mixture.
- Arrange zucchini, without crowding, in a single layer on the prepared pans. Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pans. Continue baking until panko coating is golden and crisp, 7-12 minutes more.
- Serve right from the oven.
I guess it’s just human nature, but we humans tend to take everyday things for granted, and you don’t really appreciate something until you don’t have it. We just assume things we need or want will always be there, like they had nothing better to do. That would be the case for me with vegetables. Really, how much time in my life have I devoted to thinking about a vegetable? None! I’ve never cared about their well-being, or thanked them for their years of service. I just always assumed they would always be there, just waiting for ME. Oh, how self-centered.
I broach this topic because I spent the last week visiting a small island in the Caribbean that did not grow its own vegetables. We were told that all the island’s produce had to be flown in from different places. No matter were we went to eat, lettuce was brown, cucumbers were mushy, and tomatoes had no right to call themselves tomatoes. After about day 4, my body was going through a vitamin A withdrawal. Somebody help me, please, I need my soluble fiber!
Well, when I finally returned home I vowed I would never take one of my yellow, orange or green friends for granted anymore. I made myself a batch of these Roasted Carrots with Honey and Thyme, which by the way is a favorite annual side-dish on my Thanksgiving table.
Roasted Carrots with Honey & Thyme
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh, minced thyme
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped, crystallized ginger (optional, but I love the spicy sweetness it adds)
- sea salt and fresh, ground pepper to taste
- Peel and trim tops off carrots. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
- Lay carrots on a metal rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over. Toss to coat carrots completely.
- Sprinkle carrots with the thyme, crystallized ginger, salt and pepper. Drizzle honey over top.
- Toss carrots to completely incorporate the ingredients.
- Roast on the center rack in the oven at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until you can pierce the carrots with a sharp knife.
- Serve immediately.
Make sure that all your carrots are of equal thickness to insure that the vegetables roast evenly. If some carrots are thicker, just cut them in half.
To make your dish more visually appealing, see if your local produce market sells the multi-colored or rainbow carrots. They’re just more fun!
I guess you could say I’m a real “meat and potatoes” kind of girl. Actually I can do without the meat, so possibly it’s more accurate just to say I’m a “potatoes” kind of girl. I like to incorporate potatoes into every meal whenever possible. Scrabbled eggs in the morning must be accompanied by home fries, and if you know me at all, and you do, then you know french fries have to make an appearance at lunch. But what I’m here to share with you today is more of a dinnertime potato. Now mind you, I serve these whenever I have company over, and there’s nary a potato ever left in the dish.
For these Herb Roasted Potatoes, I like to use the Yukon Gold’s because they have a buttery, creamy texture and you don’t have to peel them. You roast the potatoes at a high temperature and they come out crispy and crunchy, almost like a potato chip, and I know how you all like potato chips. The addition of the fresh herbs just brings out the potato’s earthiness. But don’t take my word for it, make them for the family and see if there’s any left.
Herb Roasted Potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (I used the small ones)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
- Kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and spray rimmed cookie sheets with cooking spray. Using a mandolin, so that your potato slices will be uniform in size, slice your potatoes to about 1/8” thick. Place them in a large bowl.
- Add your fresh herbs to the bowl, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Drizzle enough olive oil over the mixture only to lightly coat the potatoes, and with your hands toss the ingredients until each potato slice is coated.
- Lay the potatoes out on the cookie sheets in one layer and place in the oven, on the center rack.
- About half-way through baking, using a metal spatula, flip the slices over so that the other side of the potato will brown
- Roast for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are nice and golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional salt (if desired). Serve immediately.