Last week, I finally got back to blogging and let’s hope I’m finally back on a roll…
Let’s talk about Fall! It has been glorious here - cool nights, warm days. I bring all of my house plants outdoors every Spring and keep them out until the first hard frost. I think they are hardier and it allows them to luxuriate in the heated house during the late Fall and winter months. For all of you plant lovers, I also bring my orchids outdoors! That may seem crazy in Northern New Jersey, but I’ve been doing it for years and it seems to work, they re-bloom year after year.
A long walk or a hike on some of nearby trails, alone or with a friend or small group can be exhilarating. Sometime I’m a little ache or someone twists an ankle. I’ve even worn a backpack that’s too heavy and had regret in my shoulders. That’s where I’m turning to the new relief kit: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/wellness-programs/relief and its goodies.
We have tons of deer in our yard in the morning and at dusk. There were deer munching on my neighbor’s ornamental cabbages (literally tearing them to shreds!) and I got a great photo of a buck with antlers on the street next to ours on Monday.
As it gets cooler, I’m thinking about warmer foods like soups and stews. I made a terrific lentil soup yesterday and added a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar at the end to “finish” or balance out the flavors at the end. You could also add a drop of cilantro essential oil https://bit.ly/3lvdqCs for a more Mediterranean flavor or a drop of lemon essential oil as your finisher (with or without lemon juice) https://bit.ly/3nxWmxo.
After a long walk or a hike soup & crackers or grilled cheese is my favorite. This time I made zucchini fritters to go with, so if you’re gluten free you could try this recipe which is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen:
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), trimmed
1 teaspoon table salt
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups)
2 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or 1 drop black pepper EO
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose or gluten-free flour
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)
> BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Be sure to squeeze the zucchini until it is completely dry, or the fritters will fall apart in the skillet. See my favorite skillet here: https://amzn.to/3jbPDWt . Don’t let the squeeze-dried zucchini sit on its own for too long or it will brown. These fritters are great warm or at room temperature, and can be served as a side dish or as a meze with cocktails. Serve with Tzatziki Sauce (see recipe below) or plain with lemon wedges.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Following the illustration below, shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let it drain in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl for 10 minutes. Wrap the zucchini in paper towels and squeeze out the excess liquid.
2) Combine the dried zucchini, feta, scallions, dill, eggs, garlic, and pepper together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until uniformly incorporated.
3) Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Drop 2-tablespoon-sized portions of the batter into the pan, then use the back of a spoon to press the batter into 2-inch-wide fritters (you should fit about 6 fritters in the pan at a time). Fry until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
4) Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels. Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm or at room temperature with the lemon wedges.
> Tzatziki Sauce
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt, Greek or Greek-style (see note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves and/or dill leaves (or one toothpick swirl of peppermint or spearmint EO)
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Using Greek yogurt here is key; don’t substitute regular plain yogurt or the sauce will be very watery. FAGE Total Classic Greek yogurt is the most widely available brand in this country. You can also make your own Greek-style thickened yogurt (see procedure below) to use in place of the Greek yogurt.
Shred the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater. Whisk the yogurt, oil, mint, and garlic together in a medium bowl. Stir in the cucumbers and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)