Nick loves his new school, so much so that he was reluctant to leave at the end of the first two days. I am so happy he likes it.
But to be honest, I am feeling out of sorts. Being Nick's mommy has been a primary part of my identity for the last three years, so it's more than a strange feeling to suddenly have much of the day to myself. I knw every mother goes through this at some point, and I know, too, that I will adjust, but I'm happy to have plenty of work and cooking to distract myself.
I am working on number of different projects, but decided to put them aside this afternoon to make use of the beautiful zucchini brought by a good (and gardening) friend.
You may not be able to determine from the photo, but they were huge. I knew I would have more than enough for a couple of loaves of my zucchini bread, so put on my thinking cap for some additional uses. I had no dinner plans yet--hadn't even thought of it--so I decided to start with the side (the zucchini) and let the "main" follow.
This is one of my favorite dinner tricks: if I'm stuck on whether chicken, beef, pork or I focus on the side. Once I figure out the vegetables, beans, pasta, or grains, a sauteed pork chop sounds like perfection. And sometimes, the sides morph into the main.
That's precisely what happened with the zucchini. One look at all the grated zucchini and a food memory was sparked: latkes. I've made latkes with other vegetables besides the basic potato, so why not zucchini?
The end result was closer to a pancake or fritter, less so a latke, but they were absolutely scrumptious, especially partnered with a throw-together "relish" made with some cherry tomatoes from the refrigerator, mint leaves from the garden, and cojita cheese leftover from the tortilla chicken soup we had last week.
Zucchini Pancakes with Cherry Tomato-Cojita (or Feta) Relish
1 basket cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
2/3 cup cubed cojita or feta cheese
2 tablespoons small mint leaves (or chop, if large)
Juice & grated zest of 1 lemon
3 cups grated zucchini
2 large eggs
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (pimenton)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toss the cherry tomatoes, cheese, mint, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Let stand at room teperature while making pancakes.
Place the grated zucchini on two paper towel-lined plates. Sprinkle with salt, and let stand 5 minutes. Use the towels to squeeze out any excess liquid.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl; mix in the the zucchini and onion. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cumin, pimenton, and salt. Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture, stirring until just blended.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan set over medium-high heat. Drop in heaped tbsps of batter. Cook, in batches, for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Serve with the tomato relish. Makes 4 servings.