Guess what! It’s been a week of life in the Bronx, and we’ve lived to tell the tale! This may have something to do with the fact that, according to Josh’s Internet research, the neighborhood surrounding the campus is the safest in the borough (listening, ma?). But beyond survival, we’re evolving and on our merry ways to even thriving.
One pleasant feature of this evolution is that we discovered our new go-to grocery stop. It’s a bit more of a hike, but the route is definitely better than walking the sketchy train underpass to Pathmark. Now, we meander west on Morris Park past townhomes with modest side yards, a small garden of fig trees, tomato vines and squash blossoms in full bloom. I found this gem on Yelp as Rosa Frasca Grocery, but the bright green overhang on the building reads BIG DEAL SUPERMARKET. Whoever you are, little market, I’m thrilled you’ve come into my life.
Based on the abundance of pizza and pasta joints in the area (and the parking meters painted to resemble skinny Italian flags), we’ve determined that this new supermarket sits cozily in the middle of one of the Bronx’s Italian neighborhoods, although Arthur Avenue, the tri-boro’s version of Little Italy, we’ve heard has a more affordable, down-home feel than Manhattan’s. Correspondingly, BIG DEAL is smaller and homier than Pathmark and boasts healthy-looking produce, cheeses and even freshly prepared pizza dough (which will hopefully be included in a future post!), as well as a pretty impressive beer selection considering the size of the store. We even walk straight up to the register each time (we were told to avoid Pathmark like the Ebola virus during peak hours) and overall, this locale is much more what we’d envisioned as a grocery home in our new city.
Anyway, the reason for the trip was to pick up some zucchini, mozzarella and breadcrumbs for a meal I’ve had a hankering to make ever since the Allrecipes.com Daily Dish recipe popped up in my inbox: Ms. Sherlie A. Magaret’s Zucchini Patties.
In short: Yummm.
These simple and comforting crispy, gooey rounds will surely make it into your rotation and are a great way to use up a mish-mosh of cheese that’s on its way out.
I halved the recipe for eight nicely sized patties that we split between the two of us and accompanied them with warm marinara, fresh garden salads and a smooth tempranillo (Campo Viejo Crianza 2005). Here’s my tweaked version of the recipe for two:
- 1 large zucchini (or 2 small), grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup white flour
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. veggie oil
- 2 white mushrooms, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce, warmed for dipping
Grate zucchini, skin and all, toss with salt and place in a strainer over a bowl for at least half an hour to draw out the liquid. (I let mine sit while we made a second run to the store for red sauce and vino.) When I returned, some green liquid had already drained, but I used my hands to wring out the remaining juices. Note: The goal is not to squeeze the life out of the zuc, just to reduce the amount of water so your patties fry up nice, not soggy.
In the meantime, combine egg, onion, garlic, cheese, flour, pepper and half the breadcrumbs in a medium mixing bowl, adding drained zucchini and mixing until well blended. Pour the remaining breadcrumbs in a small bowl next to the stove.
Heat oil on medium heat in a wide-based pan, coating the bottom. Use a spoon to form two- to three-inch balls. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs to coat before placing them in the pan and flattening them with a spatula to form patties. Cook on each side about three minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm marinara or sour cream, and savor.
This vegetarian recipe makes for a homey and surprisingly filling meal for two (the cayenne pepper gives them a nice zip, so if you’re not a spicy food fan, skip it). I look forward to experimenting with different cheeses, spices and add-ins next time.
Entertaining a crowd? Double the recipe and make smaller patties or balls for quick and easy finger food that’s sure to disappear.
Okay, fellow food-lovers, time to hit the gym before my trial membership expires.
Until next time,