From R. Kirk Guy.
Winter Squash and Polenta Fritters
You'll need about two cups cooked winter squash. I've used delicata and butternut, and acorn or pumpkin would work, but my favorite batch used part of an enormous banana squash. Unless I'm using leftovers, I cook the squash in the microwave. Cut it into halves or quarters, scoop out the seeds, and either wrap with plastic or put in a covered bowl. Microwave each piece about four minutes or until completely soft, then cool and scoop out the flesh.
Blend the squash with two eggs, about a cup of ricotta, a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, maybe half a cup each of breadcrumbs and uncooked polenta, a pinch of salt, and—if you like things a little spicy—some kind of red chili. (I use Piment d'Espelette from Viridian Farms.) Some winter squash can be a bit watery; if your batter looks runny, add a bit more polenta or a little flour.
Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with extra virgin olive oil and put it on a medium flame. Drop smallish spoonfuls (roughly walnut-sized) into the hot oil, gently flattening the tops as you go. Don't crowd them too much, and let them cook undisturbed for a few minutes. Flip carefully using a spatula and fork and cook a bit longer.
Sprinkle with flor de sal and top with a dollop of Romesco sauce and a bit of crème fraiche.
From Jim Dixon. More of his fritter recipes can be found here.
Okra in Tomatoes
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds fresh okra, washed, stemmed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper, to taste
Dash crushed red pepper, or to taste
Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp and fat has been rendered; drain well on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. Add the chopped onions to the skillet; reduce the heat to low. Cook onions for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced okra, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper; stir well and simmer for about 20 minutes, until okra and tomatoes are just tender. To serve, spoon okra into a serving dish and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serves 6.
From Joni Marie Cruz.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon light coconut milk
2 tablespoons diced mango
1/4 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 (6-inch) piece rice paper (available at Asian food stores)
1 plum tomato
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 dried currants
2 thin carrot matchsticks
Combine the avocado, brown sugar, coconut milk, mango, chicken, lime juice, and soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Let sit for five minutes. Fill another bowl with warm water and place the rice paper in the bowl. Let it sit until the rice paper is soft and almost invisible. Remove the rice paper from the water. Let it sit on a clean plate for one minute. Don't worry—it should be kind of sticky.Place the avocado mixture on the lower center of the rice paper. Fold the outside in so it touches and roll the bottom of the paper up to form a log shape. Carefully slice the log into five equal pieces. This is the caterpillar's body. Place pretzel sticks around the body for legs.To make the caterpillar's head, carefully slice off one-third of the tomato. This piece will be the bottom part of his head.Balance the other side of the tomato on top to make a goofy grin. Use a toothpick to poke eyeholes in the tomato head and press in the currants for eyes. Poke two more holes on top of the head and push in the carrot sticks for the antennae.
Adapted from Kelly Parthen and Shannon Payette Seip's Bean Appetit: Hip and Healthy Ways to Have Fun with Food.
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