Squash Fritters

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These were seriously one of the best things I’ve ever had. Something about the lemon-sage-squash combo blew my mind a little bit and I am really excited for breakfast to come back around so I can have more. Knowing leftovers are sitting in my fridge is driving me a little bit crazy….just….waiting to be eaten….NOMNOMNOM…..

My neighbor has this wonderfully generous habit of giving me excess from her CSA veggie box, so when some squash appeared in my hands from her I couldn’t resist the call of the frying pan. A lot of recipes I came across in my fritter research called for a bunch of eggs and flour, which seems like it would just mask the glory of the squash. No thank you, internet.

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I would only maybe add a friend egg on top, but that’s only for frisky moments with adventure-seekers.

Go forth and conquer, foodies.

 

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Squash Fritters

makes 8 fritters

2 small or medium spaghetti or butternut squash (about 2 c cooked, in the end), seeds reserved
1/2 c bread crumbs
3/4 c shredded Gruyere cheese
1 heaping T chopped fresh sage
1 t salt
1 egg
1/2 c vegetable oil
Sauce
2 T finely chopped chives
1/2 c greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of one lemon
1/2 t salt

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and bake cut-side down at 350 for 30-35 min, or until tender. Remove the squashy flesh from the skin and mash in a bowl. Toast the reserved seeds in the 350 oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until slightly brown and crunchy. Set aside. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, sage, salt, and egg to the squash and stir until combined. Divide the mixture into 1/4 c patties. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat and cook the fritters until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 min per side.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Top the fritters with a dollop of the yogurt sauce, sprinkle with the toasted squash seeds, and serve immediately.

 

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Baked Eggs in Crispy Hash Brown Nests

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Here I am again with potatoes. My old friend. Loyal. Beautiful. Delicious. It’s hard to say no to something this sexy.

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Am I right? Can I get an AMEN?

And what better friend to pair with potatoes than an egg? There is no partnership in the universe that can top this dynamic duo (although Bert and Ernie do a damn fine job of trying).

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A crispy bed of hash browns, cheesy filling, and soft baked eggs make this a wonderfully indulgent breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, etc. The filling is really the key here– it nicely ties together the egg and hash browns with a salty kick from the Gruyere and a sweet slap in the face from the caramelized shallots.

Be sure to wring out your potatoes well to get out as much moisture as possible, or else you’ll have soggy nests. Yum. Soggy. A great word to use when describing food.

Baked Eggs in Crispy Hash Brown Nests
1.5 lbs Russet potatoes
4 T melted butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 c shredded Gruyere
1/3 c milk
6 shallots, diced fine
1 T butter
12 -15 eggs
1/4 c cream
Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Chives

You can either make this recipe into 18 egg nests or 12 nests and 1 small ramekin, about 6″ diameter (I chose the latter). Grease your pan of choice.

In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt the 1 T butter. When hot, add the diced shallots and reduce heat to low after 2 minutes. Continue cooking slowly over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until very soft and brown. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425. Scrub and peel the potatoes, then shred them in a food processor or with a box grater. You should have about 4-5 cups. Place into a dishtowel or cheese cloth and wring out over your sink. This is best done in smaller batches, to maximize the moisture expulsion. Mix the shredded potatoes with melted butter and press into your greased pans so that you have an even wall of potatoes up the sides and on the bottom of your nests. Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes or until brown.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375. When the shallots are good and caramelized, place them in a bowl with the cream cheese, red pepper flakes, pepper, milk, and Gruyere.  Mix thoroughly. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture onto the baked nests and smoosh down to flatten (for the larger ramekin I used about 1/2 c). Crack an egg into each nest (2-3 for the ramekin), spoon about a teaspoon of cream onto each one, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs are set (ie, they don’t jiggle when you shake the pan). Cool for 5 minutes, run a knife around the edge of each one, and then lift carefully onto plates. Sprinkle with more pepper and the chives, then serve immediately.

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Lemon Gorgonzola Risotto

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(This post is for Corin, who has discovered the joys of risotto and will (hopefully) love the choice of ingredients!)

Far be it from me to rub it in the rest of the country’s face that California’s generous weather system has graced us with summer a couple of months early, but I’ll go ahead and do it anyway: 80 degrees, baby.

Such brilliant gusts of warm, freshly-cut grass breezes brought me to lemons and lemons brought me to Deb and Deb brought me to risotto. Add in the leftover gorgonzola from a little wine and cheese party last night and the world just made sense again.

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I highly recommend investing in a bottle of lemon oil, which packs so much of a punch you only have use it sparingly and don’t need to purchase frequently. It mellowed out the gorgonzola perfectly (which was very strong) and was the perfect end to a warm day.

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Lemon Gorgonzola Risotto

1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced fine
1/2 c short-grain or arborio rice
1/4 c white wine
2.5 c warm stock
1/2 c grated parmeggiano
1/3 c crumbed gorgonzola
1 scant t lemon oil or 1 T lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
2 T diced chives (optional)

Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat and, when hot, add the oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add in the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until soft. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and reduce for 1 minute, or until absorbed a bit. Add in 1/2 c stock and reduce the heat to med-low, so that you have a high simmer going. Stir the rice frequently as you grate the parm, crumble the gorgonzola, zest the lemon, and dice the chives. Gradually add the stock into the rice as it absorbs and bubbles, approximately every 3-5 minutes. Remember to stir frequently and add enough stock along the way, or else the bottom of the pot will burn the simmering rice. After about 20 minutes or when the rice is at desired done-ness, turn off the heat. Stir in the parm, lemon oil, zest, and gorgonzola. Plate the risotto and add a sprinkling of chives on top. I served mine over a bed of arugula and spinach, which is pretty much how I eat everything.

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