Bozeman does not mess around with fall: September came and the weather promptly cooled off dramatically. Am I complaining? Heck no! I've yet to break out a sweater or my boots... but the low last night was 30 F, so it will likely happen soon! [EDIT: It was 28 F when I woke up: the boots are firmly on today!] The days are still warm, but the crisp hint of fall is definitely here.
This weekend was my debut half-marathon, and although the high on Sunday was 88 F, the cooler nights made my morning jaunt the perfect temperature! We started in fifty degree weather and finished in sixty degree weather — I couldn't ask for much better weather. I spent last week tapering like a champ, mostly by torturing myself on the roller (DEVIL DEVICE), eating more than I probably ever should, and making excuses to allow myself to sleep like a princess every night. Apparently it worked! I beat my goal of running 8-minute miles (would-be final time of 1:44:53) by running a 1:43:13 — which, excuse the TMI, included 60-90 seconds of roadside breakfast-losing at mile 11.5. Not particularly charming, or encouraging, but it does make me feel better to know that my time would have been closer to 1:41 without my cookie tossing. I'm definitely fired up about breaking 1:40 next time! I also had the best cheering squad EVER!
Unfortunately, cooler temperatures mean a dwindling garden — as was demonstrated by my attempt to protect tomatoes and peppers last night by draping sheets (and distributing hot water bottles) over all delicate plants. Hopefully it worked! It would be nice to enjoy some ripe tomatoes before the cool weather takes them!
I've been holding onto this recipe for a bit now, but figure I should share it before you're all out of zucchini (can you even imagine that day?). I'm not kidding you, I couldn't stop gushing about how these were the "best damn thing" I'd ever eaten. This while I was still cooking them, then popping them into my mouth hot off the press. Perhaps that's why I didn't bother with any sour cream or fancy end photos? Whoops! Seriously though: these are super tasty. I added a bit of cajun flavor with all of the spices — feel free to omit them if you're not a fan of spice!
The key part of this recipe is to salt the shredded zucchini, let it sit for 10 minutes, then squeeze out all of the excess liquid. ESSENTIAL. I used a cheese-cloth bag, and was able to squeeze out a surprising amount of liquid. You could also use a colander and just press out as much as you can. It will look pathetic and wilted when you're done: that's perfect!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
20 oz zucchini (2-3 medium zucchinis)
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
2 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Olive oil, for frying
With a large box grater (or food processor with a shredding disk!), shred your zucchini. Toss it with 1 teaspoon salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
When the zucchini is ready, squeeze the excess liquid out of it either by pressing it into a colander, wringing it in a cheese cloth, or devising some other liquid-extracting method. Return the significantly deflated zucchini shreds to a medium bowl.
Mix the egg into the zucchini shreds, then add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. The mixture should be cohesive, not dry, but also not drippy. If you need more liquid, add milk one teaspoon at a time.
Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is good and warmed up, drop large spoonfuls of the zucchini mixture into it. Gently flatten the fritters with the back of your spoon. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes: they should be a beautiful golden brown on each side. If this is happening too quickly, turn down the heat.
Keep them warm by transferring cooked fritters to a baking sheet in your oven, heated to 200 F. Serve with sour cream, if desired.