Tomorrow marks the halfway point of my summer school chemistry class, which I (perhaps foolishly) figured I could “knock out” over the summer and put behind me as I progress in my nutrition degree. Whoa, did I have another thing coming. As it turns out, “Fundamental Chemistry” is no hippety-hop down the primrose path of the periodic table. The last four weeks have been a brain-bending blur of memorizing chemical nomenclature, struggling to recall math principals I haven’t used since high school, and spending my mornings doing things like decompose potassium chlorate. Gradually my comprehension has caught up with the material and I finally feel like I get most of what we’re doing……for now.
In the meantime–and when you’re in an intensive 8-week chemistry class, there’s not a whole lot of meantime–at least cooking serves as a stress reliever. And it’s especially a boost when what I’m cooking takes wholesome ingredients and turns them into something delicious. Which is its own kind of chemistry, right? Making these zucchini cheddar fritters the other night was a simple pleasure that went a long way toward shaking off some of the stress of summer school. Their soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside texture, plus the yin-yang balance of sharp cheddar with mellow zucchini is is one of those food gestalts that is more than the sum of its parts. My only concern is whether to call them fritters or pancakes. Or pitters or francakes.
Well, it’s been a nice little break–now back to molecular mass and stoichoimetry! Maybe someday I’ll be able to share about the chemistry of cooking. After all, that’s the best kind.
Zucchini Cheddar Fritters
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 c. grated zucchini
1/2 c. grated onion
1 1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
Additional vegetable oil for pan-frying
1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add 2 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil and mix with a fork. Texture should be slightly lumpy.
2. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, onion, and cheddar. Stir in eggs, paprika, garlic powder, and flour mixture until evenly distributed. Season with salt and a few grinds fresh-cracked pepper.
3. Heat additional vegetable oil (about 2 tsp.) in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, scoop batter by 1/4 cups into skillet, smoothing the tops to flatten to about 3/4 inch height. Cook 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook 3-4 minutes on the other side. Repeat with any remaining batter, using additional vegetable oil if necessary.
Serve with ketchup, sour cream, or any other dipping sauces you enjoy!