This week it feels more like we live on a roller coaster than we do a sailboat, so have been the emotional peaks and troughs.
We finally made some long-term sailing plans (HIGH), only to discover a broken pressure plate in the transmission (LOW). In a strange twist of fate, Jim, a fellow sailor we met in Palau and recently reunited with, happen to have a spare transmission onboard. Although not an exact match we all had hope this particular part would be the same, or at least close enough (HIGH AGAIN). Steve and Jim spent a whole day taking the transmission apart- they had to completely disassemble it to actually see the plate (LOW). Only to discover it was close, but not close enough (REALLY LOW).
Another fellow in the anchorage happened to walk into the shed and casually mentioned he had the exact same transmission on another island (HIGH). We had to wait a week, but it arrives here this afternoon and we don’t know what kind of condition it is in (LOW & HIGH & LOW AGAIN). We don’t know if it is the exact same model (POTENTIALLY REALLY, REALLY LOW).
In the meantime, our regular weekly provisioning run to town for laundry and groceries got pushed down the list of important things to get accomplished. Going to town from our current anchorage is an all-day affair involving some seriously unreliable public transportation, lots of waiting around and usually a fair amount of disappointment. Last week neither of us could muster the courage.
Suddenly it had been two weeks since we’d been shopping.
I was feeling rather like Old Mother Hubbard trying to make lunch the other day – not only could I see the bottom of the fridge, I was having a hard identifying anything vegetal. Then I remember one of my favourite recipes that never fails at times like these; Veggie Fritters.
My recipe for veggie fritters uses whatever leftovers and bits are in the fridge and a simple batter to hold it all together. I fry them in a pan like a pikelet/pancake and in less than 15 minutes have a healthy meal on the table that feels crammed full of vegetables.
On this particular day all I had for fresh veg was half a carrot and zucchini. Then I found a little bit leftover rice/quinoa in the fridge. (We often cook rice and quinoa together in a 2:1 mix, both to make the hard to find quinoa go further and because both grains can get a bit boring on their own.) To fill things out I added some onion and opened a canned of corn. Other times I have used the last of a head of broccoli, some sweet pepper, even a bit of jicama.
Whatever you have works.
The trick is too get all the vegetables grated or diced to about the same size, this allows for both even, quick cooking and a pleasant texture. I prefer to grate veg like carrots, jicama and zucchini but finely dice onions, broccoli and peppers.
So, into the bowl goes the vegetable and grains, a quick toss to combine and then time to build the batter. I like to break the eggs in to the bowl and get the vegetable well coated before adding the dry ingredients, it just seems to work a little better. Pull everything together a few quick strokes, kinda like making muffins. The mixture should have a thick, spoonable consistency but should not be dry. The water content of the veg can affect the batter, so if you feel it looks too thick you can add a little milk or an addition egg.
Then I heat up my favourite cast iron pan and add a good slick of oil, waiting until it gets shimmering hot before dropping the batter in. To maximize pan space, I use a soup spoon to measure out the batter, making 2-3” fritters which will cook in 4-6 minutes.
Not only can you top these veggie fritters as you like – curried tomato relish, hummus, mayo, a fried egg – they make great leftovers that can be reheated or eaten cold. What more could you ask for from a practically empty fridge and a recipe?
As for the transmission repair…
We’ll let you know if the evil carnies let us off this crazy ride tomorrow.
Difficulty: Easy Yield: 12-15 Fritters 2-3”
- ½ Cup grated carrot
- ½ Cup grated zucchini
- ½ Cup diced onion
- ½ Cup canned corn, drained
- ½ Cup cooked rice/quinoa mix
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 Cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt & pepper
In a medium bowl combine vegetables and grains, breaking up any clumps and mixing all together well. Add 2 beaten eggs and stir to combine. Add flour, baking power, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a few quick strokes.
Heat a large pan on medium high heat. Add a thin slick of oil to the pan and when shimmering hot drop the batter by the soup spoonful, flattening each fritter slightly. Cook first side 3-5 minutes, until bubbles appear on surface and pan side is evenly browned. Flip and cook another 2-4 minutes.
Cook in batches of 3-4 fritters, making sure to leave 2cm between each fritter for even browning and easy handling, adding more oil if pan gets dry. Place on cooling rack after cooked. Serve hot or cold.