Friday, June 21, 2013

A zucchini mint fritter, & a goat cheese giveaway!

[UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to AnnaZed, lucky winner of the goat cheese basket!]

Sometimes, parenting feels like being an optimistic, wild, very patient gardener (as all gardeners must be), just walking across a fertile field and throwing seeds out there, trusting something good will grow. Or something useful. We don't know what will grow first, or when, or how.

And so last night, Pablo was being particularly charming by saying 'merci' to us every time we handed him something, and absolutely sensing this little inner satisfaction any parent probably feels when they hear their kid say "thank you" spontaneously. As if it were proof of good parenting. Wish it were that simple!

Feeding off our validation, he happily went on, "Merci, maman. Merci, papa. Merci, mamette." Then he paused and looked down at his plate (which happened to contain a warm plum chards goat cheese salad he really likes). And he said, "Merci, miam miam." Thank you, yummy food.

It took me a couple of seconds past the cuteness factor to realize what Pablo had just expressed: he was grateful, for the food, for dinner.

Gratitude, that's definitely one of those wild seeds to throw in the wind with no clue in what form it might grow in our children. I certainly wasn't expecting it then. Made me feel so warm within.

One of the things I've been trying to do since the very beginning with Pablo, is create good food associations. Food equals pleasure, family connection, laughter, friends, interesting smells, discovery... And beyond that, hopefully, food is generosity, love, harmony with the body, with the world.

And gratitude and appreciation of a wonderful, ordinary moment of the day.

I heard the sprouts of that food association when Pablo said it. Now it's just keep nurturing it and watch it grow more.

Speaking of gratitude, I am most grateful to Vermont Creamery for giving me an opportunity to come up with some recipes, using their wonderful goat cheeses, as part of their Kid & Kid Campaign, like the cherry gazpacho with herbed goat cheese I shared last week.

If you know this blog, you probably know that I don't do kids' foods. Pablo eats what we eat (or we eat what he eats!). Past 12-15 months, nothing's off limits as far as I'm concerned. So these fritters are as close to a kid's food as I'm ever going to get, and our whole family enjoyed them thoroughly.

I posted another fritter recipe last year and was so surprised at the response it got! People really like fritters! These zucchini mint goat cheese fritters are not only good, they're good for you (thank you, coconut oil!), and they're easy... But I shall rest my case now, because I bet I had you at "fritters" ;-)

And with one treat comes another: presenting now my first giveaway! So, for a chance to win a Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery gift basket, with three different kinds of goat cheese and some vanilla crème fraîche, use the Rafflecopter tool below to enter in a variety of ways. The giveaway ends next Friday night.

And scroll below for the fritter recipe!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zucchini mint goat cheese fritters, with smoked salmon, dill crown & red pepper creamy goat cheese garnish

Makes about 10 fritters

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min approx

Age for babies: 10-12 months, great finger food.

1 pound of zucchini
1 tsp coarse salt
1 onion
1 egg
1 tbsp chopped mint (= 2-3 sprigs)
3 oz fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup of spelt flour (AP works too)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup milk (goat or cow)
Coconut oil for frying

To serve (optional):

10 small slices of smoked salmon
Crown dill (or dill) for garnish 
Roasted red pepper creamy goat cheese

Cut off the ends of the zucchini, wash them, and grate them by hand or in a food processor.
Pour in a bowl, add the coarse salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and mint. Lightly beat the egg. Crumble the fresh goat cheese with a fork.

Put the grated zucchini in a thin dishtowel (or cheesecloth), and wring the heck out of it to get rid of the excess water. Quite a bit of green liquid should come out.

In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Add the egg, coconut milk and milk. Add in the zucchini, chopped mint and onion and stir. Gently incorporate the crumbled goat cheese.

Preheat the oven at 200°F.

In a frying pan, melt 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil on medium/medium-high. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter in, pressing on top to flatten a bit. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the edges are golden. Flip them and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Cook in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of your pan.  I had to add about 1 tbsp of coconut oil with every batch.

Set on absorbent paper, then transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 10 minutes to keep warm and increase crispiness factor.

Serve warm with a slice of smoked salmon on top, and garnish with a bit of roasted red pepper creamy goat cheese and some crown dill.  

Or you can skip the salmon and just spread some of the creamy goat cheese on, Pablo enjoyed that part very much!

(The fritters keep well in the fridge, reheat in the oven at 350° for 5-10 min).

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  1. Oh my goodness, he is precious! And I'll be buying zucchini at the market Sunday!

    Thank you for this blog, it is truly heartening and inspiring. :-)

    1. Thank you so much, Emily! Hope you enjoy the fritters :-)

  2. The only goat cheese I've ever had is feta... In a Greek salad. I'm sure I'm missing out!

    1. Then I hope you win this prize, and give other goat cheeses a try, they are so delicious! :-)

  3. Loooove the smoked salmon garnish and I can't wait to try this recipe! Goat cheese is the bomb.

  4. I love goat cheese with pasta, with cherry tomatoes sauteed just until they pop. So yummy!

  5. Merci pour les recettes! We love goat cheese in our home! I have a 3 year old that eats everything we give her. She didn't care for goat cheese at first, but I didn't stop giving to her and used it in different ways and she now eats it with no problem!

  6. I love goat cheese! Being lactose-intolerant, goat cheese is one of my favorites. I mixed it in with quinoa and herbs this week. Goat Brie baked with berries is also delicious!

  7. I make an open faced toasted sandwich with ham, goat's cheese and radishes 9sounds horrible but is great!); I had one today!

    {in the contest I am Margot Core on the Rafflecopter}

  8. I confess: I love to be in the kitchen & have access to tremendous food (we are pesticide-free produce farmers & sell at a farmers market in Florida every Saturday). The lady who sold next to us yesterday sells raw milk & cheese. And yet...I have never tried goat cheese!! But, I will be buying some this week.

    I enjoy your blog very much. I follow a couple other food blogs but I love your European twist which exposes us to much more variety than some of my American bloggers. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Heather, I'm glad you-re enjoying the blog! Let me know what you think of the goat cheese when you give it a taste! :-)

    2. I got to try goat cheese -- the best kind -- straight from the farmer. One of our vendor friends are farmers. We went out to their farm. She milks the goats & then makes fresh cheese. She made feta for us & it was hands down the best I've had. Makes me want to get a goat (save for the 6am/6pm milkings!)

  9. I love goat cheese on a yummy salad!

  10. Goat cheese on a toasted piece of bread with chopped (fresh from the vine) tomatoes drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper perfect summer meal!
    Love goat cheese, love goat milk too.

  11. I j'adore goat cheese. With a little herb, it i s wonderful by itself.

  12. I love goat cheese on a beet salad. It's also great warm, smeared across crusty bread.

  13. I love goat cheese with cranberry relish (on crackers!)

  14. Wow, I love goat cheese but my favorite way would have to be goat cheese and sun-dried tomato stuffed pork tenderloin. So good!

  15. I LURVE goat cheese (who doesn't?) and as usual, your recipe sounds sublime!

    I have a little question - what does the coconut milk do? Is it for taste or does it change the texture, too? Can't wait to try it!

    1. Thank you kindly! The coconut milk makes the batter less runny and the fritter holds together a bit better. You could try with all coconut milk too. The flavor change is very subtle, though I really like the coconut milk/goat cheese mixture, works wonders for vegetable custards as well.

  16. I commented above, but apparently it didn't register for the giveaway... trying again :)

    1. Hi Emily, let me know if the second attempt didn't work... Sorry about that :-(

  17. Thank you everyone for all these wonderful suggestions! I want to try them all! :-)

  18. I like it in scrambled eggs.

  19. On a crusty baguette or a bruschetta rubbed with garlic, topped with roasted red peppers, fresh basil, and crumbled goat cheese.

  20. Fritters are just fun, it's no surprise they're popular and these look delicious

  21. Great blog,interesting recipes. Love goat cheese.

  22. Mmmm, goat cheese and zucchini. MUST make this!

  23. I like goat cheese with crusty french bread!!

  24. I have only tried an aged goatsmilk cheddar style before (awesome!!!) and need to try more varieties- i love that vermont creamery has such a high quality product

  25. Goat cheese with pears and toasted almonds. The best!


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