Sunday, July 22, 2012

Farmer's Market Recipes: Day 1

Hey guys. Glad some of you liked my post from last week. So let me tell you about some of the stuff I made this week.

Now, I know dictated on Sunday that I was going to use apricots in my next recipe, but there was a snafu. My husband and son discovered them before I had the chance to tell them they were being saved. When I woke up in the morning they were gone! Oh well. That stuff happens on occasion. So I used to determine what I should do now. "Oh essence of randomness, what be-ith your all mighty plan?" No, not really. It did spit out a different option for me though. Zucchini. Well that works for me.

If you'll remember from last week, I said the worst part of a vegetable in which you get a large harvest is the repetition. Most people that get zucchini will slice it for a stir-fry, grate it for zucchini bread, or maybe throw a few on top of a salad. BORING! I was determined NOT to allow this to happen! I believe I have acheived this goal. During my research, I discovered a great website that I want to share with y'all. It's called "Not Your Usual Zucchini Recipes", and you can view it here.

While there were TONS of recipes that looked fantastic, (from zucchini soup to chocolate and zucchini cake), the first recipe really caught my eye. The author called it "Zucchini Mock Crab Cakes," but I like the term "Vegetarian Crab Cakes," or "Veggie Cakes" better. It's more true to what it actually is; crab-less crab cakes. Now, I'm not a vegetarian, but I loved these crab cakes. Keep in mind, they are NOT vegan because of butter and eggs. However, they are vegetarian so that should give you some peace of mind. And I think that they could be a great way to get your family to eat healthier. Here's the recipe for ya:

2 cups grated zucchini
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion. I used the bottled, dehydrated kind but fresh would work. 1/4 cup is about 1 small onion
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying. I used olive oil; just as good.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter or margarine. Stir in seasoned crumbs, minced onion, and seasoning. Mix well. Shape mixture into patties. Dredge in flour, and dredge WELL. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Fry patties in oil until golden brown on both sides.

Now, I didn't have Old Bay Seasoning, and you need it to make this taste like it's supposed to. So, I made my own seasonings. Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 TBS Paprika
2 TBS Salt or Celery Salt
2 TBS Garlic Powder
1 TBS Pepper
1 TBS Onion Powder or 1/8 - 1/4 Cup Dry Minced Onion, to taste
1 TBS Cayenne Pepper (optional)
1 TBS Dried Leaf Oregano (I used basil and if you half it, it's not bad)
1 TBS Dried Thyme

You want to put everything into a air tight, seal-able container. It will make about 2/3 Cup, but I found it makes 2 batches of Veggie Crab Cakes perfectly. I think I over did the seasoning just a little though.

Here's some tips for ya. Do NOT assume that you can put one crab cake on the stove while you form the others without it burning. It burns FAST especially on high heat. If you're going to work as you cook, put your stove on low-medium heat. My stove is electric, with a 9 max. To cook these right, I had it on a 4 or 5. That should give you an idea of how low you should go. 

Another tip is to keep a prepared plate with a napkin or paper towel near by. As is common with frying food, there was extra oil left over. I found that the napkin soaked up the excess oil so my kidneys didn't have to do it for me. I made this recipe twice, once with me preparing the veggie cakes and once with my husband. He didn't put a paper towel down and he didn't have the same problem. He also commented that my crab cakes seemed a little dryer than his. I couldn't tell the difference, so, to each their own.

If you don't know how much 2 cups of zucchini will equate to in uncut vegetable, I have a rule of thumb for you. If the zucchini is thicker than your wrist (and I'd say I have a pretty average wrist), you want about 6 inches or so of zucchini to grate up. That's about half the distance from your middle finger to your elbow. It's not terrible if you go over slightly though. If you go UNDER, you will have some issues as the zucchini is a basic building block to the entire recipe and your cakes WILL fall apart. You do have the option to compensate with more bread crumbs, but the result will be dry veggie cakes. Crab cakes in general are a little dry for my taste, so I would NOT go that route. 

Finally, I squired a dash or so of fresh lemon and lime juice on my finished veggie cakes. (Ha HA! Another ingredient from the list!) Personally, lime gave it a better flavor, but I do also believe that lemon juice and zest is over done these days. It helped to give it a better depth of flavor. Keep in mind that I would serve these as a side dish, NOT a main course. The reason behind this is that they were small, even when I thought I was forming them kinda on the large size. Also, they went FAST! If you are going to attempt to serve them as a main dish, double or even triple the recipe. Then, form the veggie cakes to the size of a pancake (my sides were about the size of two silver dollars), and you might want to adjust your cooking time a little. The small ones will literally take just a minute or two before their done.

Now, I did take pictures of this. Good ones. The problem is, my camera broke (you may remember this from an older post), and I took all my pics on my new camera phone. Can you guess where this is going? That's right; I haven't yet figured out how to get the pics off yet. DOH! As soon as I can, I will get them posted up on here for y'all to see. Until then, be patient, and try sending me any pictures you have of your own veggie cakes. The more the merrier. 

Before I end this post I want to answer one question. Would I make this again? Yes. 100% yes. I love the fact that it has the great crab cake flavor and no crab. My son is allergic to shell fish, and I haven't had crab, oysters, or shrimp in 3 years. I could give this to him without having to worry about a reaction. This makes the worried mom in me a little calmer. So go out and make your own and experience what I did first hand!


  1. I could be a vegetarian easily--love most of them. Hubs and sonny hate most of them. Zucchini and summer squash are near the top of their lists, of course the most abundant are the least liked!