baked zucchini fries

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello darling people:)

We just returned from a decadent week-long Colorado mountain vacation. It felt so nourishing to be in that crisp mountain air and see such blue blues and green greens. And the trees! And the meadows! And the clouds! (Oh, how I wish Los Angeles could get itself some dreamy, cottony clouds. Can someone get on that?)

So now we're back to reality and business-as-usual. Case in point: DP and I said a teary goodbye to the gargantuan king size hotel bed and are back to slumming it in our queen. Last night I woke up in a panic when my foot ventured out .0001 millimeters from my side and hit a husband.

We're also (sniff, sob) back to not eating french fries every day. Which is a travesty.

I was Lutheran for a few childhood years (long story) and when I was 7 or 8, our church sponsored a Cambodian family of refugees who had escaped horrible conditions in their country. Somehow they wound up in Boulder, Colorado to attend our little church and I remember our family having a handful of social interactions with them. Once, we introduced them to McDonald's to show them how Americans eat (have you ever?). I will never forget the pained looks on their faces while they inspected and gingerly tried the food, trying to be polite. It was SO foreign to them and so small-minded of us to not only let fast food represent an entire country's cuisine, but assume they would be delighted by it. As a little girl, I remember showing the kids how to dip a french fry into a pile of delicious ketchup while they looked at me like I had three heads. Politely, they followed my lead and proceeded to hate it. One of them had to spit it out in a napkin. And as a 7 year old I could not wrap my head around the notion that a.) someone had never tried a fry with ketchup before and b.) they didn't like it.

That experience is so burned into my memory that I pretty much think of it every time I dip a french fry into ketchup. And seeing how many fries I ate last week, it's like that Cambodian family was right there on vacation with me.

So, okay. These baked zucchini fries aren't truffle-laden or even potato-laden but trust me when I say: they are seriously good. I think even new-to-the-USA Cambodians would like them.

Bonus: they smell SO good while baking--Like a pizza scratch-n-sniff sticker. Another thing that would be really odd to explain to Cambodian refugees. But you guys get it. I know you do.

Baked Zucchini Fries
serves 2-3

2 medium zucchini
2 eggs
juice of half a lemon
black pepper
1/4 t kosher salt
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (FYI: here is a great gluten-free version)
1 T flax meal (ground flax seeds)
heaping 1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 T salt-free Italian seasoning (like Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute)

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil, drizzle with olive oil and smear it around evenly. Trim the zukes, cut them into fry-size wedges and salt them generously. Set aside. In one shallow bowl, beat the eggs and add the lemon juice, a heavy dose of black pepper and 1/4 t salt. In a different shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, flax, parmesan and seasoning. In assembly-line fashion, dip the zucchini wedges first into the egg mixture, next into the bread crumbs, then onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes (no need to turn them) until golden brown. Taste for salt and then serve immediately with ranch dressing or warm marinara. (OR KETCHUP!:))


P.S. Shout out to the Cambodian readers of Joeycake!
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