By Lisa Kivirist, Green Options
Every mid-July, I hit a culinary rut. An odd confession, I realize, given that right now fresh garden fare is edging on peak abundance and gifts me with a daily cornucopia of seasonal produce for ingredients. But as the zucchini harvest piles up on the kitchen counter this time of year, I feel a bit overwhelmed and uninspired. I crave a fresh cooking groove.
However, I’ve learned that just like any artist needs to at times rekindle a creative muse, we foodies too need a dose of cooking inspiration, especially during this time when we have a bounty of fresh fare to savor.
Here are three tips I’ve discovered for shaking up a peak summer cooking rut, followed by a summer breakfast classic we serve at our Wisconsin B&B, Inn Serendipity: Zucchini Feta Pancakes, that will cure any summer cooking rut that ails you:
1. Flip Savory and Sweet
Twist the expected menu and serve a familiar item category a new way. For example, most folks expect pancake to be bread-like and sweet, swimming in a pool of syrup. These Zucchini Feta Pancakes provide a savory alternative to traditional pancake fare, served “naked” with no syrup or toppings needed. While we serve these for breakfast at Inn Serendipity, you could easily serve them for a quick supper.
2. Add a Strong Companion Flavor
Adding in a distinct, unexpected flavor to a dish also perks up the palette. The feta cheese in these pancakes enhances the flavor in an unusual, distinct manner.
3. Blend in Fresh Company
Just like you sometimes need a fresh recipe, add a dose of newness around the table. Share the summer garden abundance by inviting someone new over to share a meal. Living in a B&B environment, I’m blessed with a near daily dose of new, interesting and inspiring people coming through my kitchen, providing the ultimate in keeping life fresh.
Next: Zucchini Feta Pancakes
These Zucchini Feta Pancakes are from our B&B cookbook, Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity. Be sure to make these during the summer, when zucchini is fresh. The taste is much better.
Zucchini Feta Pancakes
4 eggs, separated
4 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. finely crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped green onions
1 T. fresh of 1 t. dried mint
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
Oil for frying
1. Combine everything except egg whites, toppings and oil. Mix well.
2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter mixture.
3. Heat oil until very hot. Drop about 1/8 cup batter for each pancake. Cook on both sides until crisp.
4. Serve immediately.
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