Part of this stems from the fact that my food cravings are going wonky 6 months into my pregnancy. For someone who has never had a sweet tooth, I crave sugar with somewhat unnerving frequency these days. I’ve also been pretty lukewarm on meat, for some reason. I’ve heard about vegetarians or vegans craving meat during their pregnancies, but I’ve never heard of it going the other way. Huh.
Obviously, having a few meat-free days a week is also great for the environment. The resources it takes to produce 1 pound of meat vs. 1 pound- or even 10 pounds- of vegetables is, frankly, alarming. I know this should convince me to never eat meat again but… well, I’m not quite there yet. Cutting down on meat? That I can do. Every little bit helps, right?
In the end, one of the greatest side effects of cutting down my meat intake has been reducing my grocery bill by over half. Buying dried beans and lentils for protein as opposed to chicken breasts costs me literal pennies per portion, down from the usual $4-7 a serving. It makes a big difference!
I was chatting with one of my best friends, GG, about this the other day. GG is brilliant, driven, resourceful and, above all else, down-to-earth to the end. I love her dearly. If I ever need a pep talk or reality check, she’s my girl.
GG and her husband recently became casualties of the Alberta ‘crash.’ Resources are down, jobs are being lost, real estate is tanking. For two people who, last year, were at the top of their fields and starting to put down roots, this stings. Of course, if anyone could ford this storm, it’s them. I have never seen two people navigate the ups and downs of life- not just this one but all of them so far- with such resourcefulness, wisdom and determination. Every time I start to feel sad for the hand life has dealt them over the past 12 months, I just end up feeling deeply inspired… it’s weird but wonderful.
This week, GG and I, over our discussion of vegetarian food options, started negotiating a food swap. Since they’re trying to live frugally these days, she’s been going largely vegetarian as well. In addition, she’s also been making her own preserves, stocks, jerkies, etc. Now you’re speaking my language!
We’ve decided to get together for a food exchange. Sort of a like a clothes swap, where friends get together to swap clothes they don’t want anymore, but with homemade pantry delights! I love this idea.
GG: I’ve got heaps of crabapple jelly from our tree. I would trade 3 to 1 if you’ve got any marmalade.
Finn: DO I have marmalade? (always) I’ll give you a straight trade. 3 jars of crabapple jelly for 3 jars of marmalade. I’ll throw in a bottle of blackberry shrub if you’ve got anymore of that salmon jerky.
GG: I’ve got salmon jerky and moose jerky because- Canada. Want a selection of both?
You can see why I am so excited about this. Not only do I love sharing my own homemade edibles, but now I get to enjoy other peoples homemade preserves as well?? YES. Bartering, yes.
The trick with these fritters is to really squeeze out the cauliflower after steaming it. The more liquid you can squeeze from the vegetable, the crispier and lighter your fritters will be. Lightly seasoned, these are great munchables on their own, but you know how I feel about dipping sauces…
There has been lots of talk on the news recently about ‘ugly’ food, ie. fruits of vegetables that won’t win any beauty contests at the grocery store, but are just as delicious. I came across a bag of red bell peppers this week that fit this description- not the prettiest, by a long shot, but by no means past their prime. Considering the shop was charging $2-3 per pepper, and this bag of three was available for $1… I mean, that’s just good shopping. You know what ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables are good for? Preserves. Baking. Dips.
Roast up those peppers and whip them up into a lovely, light dipping sauce.
Got some mint that survived the winter? (thank you, temperate West Coast climate) Mix it up with some yogurt and a pinch of salt and there is sauce number two.
Excellent warm or cold, fresh or leftover. Yes, please!
|Cauliflower Fritters with Two Dipping Sauces|| |
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 6 large eggs
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 1 1.2 tsp baking soda
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip:
- 3 roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Minted Yogurt Dip:
- ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ tsp salt
- Cut cauliflower into large florets. Place in a large steamer and steam until tender, approximately 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- To make the mint dip, combine all ingredients in a bowl.
- To make the roasted red pepper dip, combine all ingredients in a blender or blend using an immersion blender.
- Place cooked cauliflower in a large tea towel and, over the sink, squeeze out all the excess water you can, crushing the cauliflower as you go. There is a surprising amount of water left in the cauliflower after cooking, removing as much as you can will help your fritters stick together and not crumble or become soggy.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, garlic, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Add cauliflower, flour and baking soda. Since baking soda reacts with liquid, you will want to make sure you cook the batter soon after making it. If you intend to make this batter in advance and cook it just before eating, add the flour and baking soda right before frying.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop batter into the oil one heaping tablespoon at a time. Cook each fritter for 2 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until both sides are deep golden brown.
- Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the cooked fritters from the oil and place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towel or a baking rack, so the excess oil runs off as they cool. Repeat this process with the remainder of the batter.
- Serve fritters warm or at room temperature alongside one or both dips.