Monday, April 29, 2013

Green Fries, no Dr. Seuss

I don't know about you, but fries have always been a huge temptation for me. The classic Idaho spud fries, crisp from oil, sure. But lately, I'm more inclined toward wonderful variations, like sweet potatoe fries. And, because I'm always looking for more healthful options: baked zucchini "fries." Last night I cooked up a batch from a recipe in our local grocery store's "Something Extra" magazine. And they were FABULOUS. Crispy, fragrant, and coated in a crumb mixture that includes Parmesan cheese and a surprising measure of roasted sunflower seeds. This recipe is going to to be a keeper at the Calverts' house, for sure:

Crisp zucchini Fries

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds--very finely chopped
1/4 cup grated (not fresh shredded) Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
Ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
3 egg whites, beaten until foamy
4 medium zucchini, cut into French fry wedges 
Olive oil cooking spray

This is a stock photo, I cut my zucchini strips a bit longer (the length of the zucchini itself) by cutting each squash in half lengthwise, then slicing each half into about 4 narrow strips; so each squash yielded about 7 or 8 fries.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray
Stir together panko crumbs, seeds, cheese, thyme and pepper in a shallow dish
Place flour in another shallow dish
Beat together mustard and egg whites in a third shallow dish

Dip zucchini wedges into flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture.
Place on baking sheet and spray them lightly with cooking spray
Bake for 20 minutes (til lightly browned), coating fries with cooking spray again halfway through

Here's the finished photo of my fries:

We served them with ranch dressing--and left nothing but the crumbs. Okay, only a few crumbs . . .

I'll bet you think I can't come up with a book excerpt related to zucchini. Not true. Here's a short snippet from my debut medical drama, CRITICAL CARE, where Claire Avery and Dr. Logan "McSnarly" Caldwell visit my favorite Lake Tahoe restaurant:

Sunnyside Mountain Grill, a favorite with both locals and tourists, was casually upscale with men and women sporting trendy resort wear and sunglasses no doubt worth half a nurse’s biweekly paycheck. A jazz combo played at the edge of the deck, its bass-heavy music blending with soft laughter, tinkling glassware, and the crisp flutter of sails in the marina below. In the distance, the majestic Sierra Mountains, peaks white with snow, seemed to rise from the glassy blue surface of the lake itself. 
Claire closed her eyes for a moment, letting the sun warm her face and inhaling the wonderful mix of scents: pine trees, oiled decking, coconut sunscreen . . . and sizzling orders of burgers and fries. Her stomach rumbled and she smiled. This was not her typical day, for sure. She opened her eyes as Logan spoke.

“You’re from Arizona?” Logan leaned back as the waitress presented their plates.

“No.” Claire smiled, realizing he’d already beaten her to the punch in the get-to-know-you inquisition. “I’m a local. Sacramento. My dad took a job transfer to Phoenix after . . . my brother died.” She grabbed a fried zucchini stick, crispy and hot, and pointed it at Logan, determined to turn the conversation back to him

As a matter of fact (which has nothing to do with zucchini), right now Amazon is offering the e-book version of Critical Care for the very low price of 1.99.  I don't know how long this offer will continue, so if you're looking to load up your e-reader for the summer, now would be a good time to snatch this one up. 

So, what are YOUR favorite fries?  Do you have a favorite place to enjoy them?

Bon appetit . . . and happy reading! 


Kelli Jo said...

Forever and ever, my favorite fries were from McDonald's, but they've changed...something. I can hardly eat them anymore. So, I guess my favorite fries come from ShowMe's... :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I am soooo trying these! Sounds amazing!

Anonymous said...

Wendy's or McDonald's for regular fires. Sweet potato fries are a fave. I've only had them once at a local place.


Anonymous said...

Hee hee fires! Don't know about those!

Library Lady said...

The sweet potato fries from Smoky Bones are the best I've ever had.
Give them a try when you get a chance.
Janet E.