Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baby pattypan squash, vegetable pancake redux, and a teaser

Gosh, aren't they cute?  I found them at Costco, so they can't be all that strange, but I'd never cooked with or eaten them before.  Each one's about an inch across, and they're like little tops or flying saucers.

Last night I was tired and not feeling very adventurous, so after reading a few recipes, I ended up following the package directions and doing a simple saute.

Start by blanching the pattypans whole in boiling water for one minute, then rinse under cold water to stop them cooking.  You can leave them for a while now, while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Then, just before you're ready to eat, put them in a medium-hot skillet with a little Earth Balance or olive oil, and saute just until they're hot again and beginning to brown in spots.  It's a nice, uncomplicated way to have them.  Now, less tired after a night's sleep, I'm wondering what they would look like in a clear soup or a stew...

What do they taste like?  Pretty much exactly like young zucchini, only the texture is a bit crisper.  Raw, they have that same slightly creamy-bitter aftertaste that zucchini has, but if you like zucchini, you will like these.

Over the last few days I've again accumulated bits and ends of things, including some leftover Vegan Brunch omelet mix, not enough for a whole omelet, though, so what I ended up doing was adding some flour, water, and (thanks, Katharine) a pinch of baking powder, and trying the vegetable pancake again.

Here are the vegetables in the pan:

Beech mushrooms, the last of the mo qua, orange sweet pepper, one serrano chili.  Lightly stir fry just until they begin to soften:

Pour on the batter and cook covered on medium heat until the bottom is golden and the top is set.  This was one large pancake so I used the inverted plate method to flip it (wear oven mitts, as I have learned to my cost in the past).  Now continue to cook, uncovered this time, until the bottom is golden too, and you're done.  The batter mix worked well; as you can see I used more vegetables than last time, so unless I had actually deep-fried it, crispy all over would be too much to ask of it.  It was a big soft fluffy delicious pancake, though.

I was so clever and on the other side of this pancake, the one currently frying, I had placed thin slices of lotus root just before the batter was set.  Maybe you can see some of that lotus root action in the finished plate (yes, I know, it would have been easier to see if I hadn't topped the whole dish with blanched snow peas, radishes, sweet millions, and green onions, but I can't seem to resist vegetable sprinkles); it's the slice nearest the top.  Anyway, that was fun and I'll be trying for better photos of it in the future:

A yummy, healthy meal.  Pancakes and frittatas, or a bit of a mix like this one, are a wonderful way to use leftovers.

Now, lest you're thinking, "Busy day, all tired, sure--she's run out of ideas/nerve/enthusiasm," let me tell you that my friend Fi has caught the spirit of my MoFo project and yesterday brought me various items she doesn't know the English names for but that she uses all the time and that look, to me, awfully strange.  We had a big talk about Chinese herbal soups and a dish called Buddha's chicken that her Buddhist Japanese mother-in-law used to make with sheets of yuba and sesame oil, so my quest for today is to identify all this stuff if I can and find some way to use it:

...and see about that "chicken" recipe.  Wish me luck!


  1. Looks great! That kind of vegetable pancakes is called in Korean, "pajeon" (pah-junn).
    The literal translation is green onion pancake, but you can also add lots of veggies like you did! It's really great to dip it in a sauce with soy sauce, a little bit sesame seed oil, minced garlic, minced green onion tops, and sesame seeds.

  2. Anonymous, thanks! I did do exactly that in October, and my pa jeon there was what I was making further experiments on in this post. I've added a link to that post above for future readers, but it's at

  3. PLEASE make Buddhist Chicken! I've been wanting to see how it's actually made for years. It's a deep dark secret! I won't even make a comment about how complex your "tired and lazy meal" is (but seriously, a lazy meal is a bowl of cereal or a pbj sandwich)!

  4. I think Bryanna has a recipe for Buddha's chicken made with yuba sheets. At least I think it's her. I know I've seen one. I'll look around for it, but I'd love to see a version that you prepare.

    I've used pattypan a lot but have never blanched them — I just use them in the same ways I'd use zucchini. (Don't know if that's right or wrong.) I just love the way they look!

    Your photos are so vibrant they make me want to run down to the kitchen and start shredding things. :D

    About the shredder — I remembered later that when I was in a kitchen shop looking for a particular spiralizer, the saleswoman showed me an OXO shredder like yours, but I had never seen one before and didn't buy it. Now I'm intrigued.

  5. They do look like tops or spaceships! I think they would make pretty door knobs too.

    So much color on those plates! Looks fantastic. I'm looking forward to Buddha's Chicken! Anything with yuba always looks so appealing to me.

  6. That veggie pancake looks really good. I don't have tofu but maybe I can make something similar with a regular pancake batter. Not sweet of course. And I've never seen such small patty pan squashes either. So cute!

  7. Okay, I've made my field trip, acquired the fresh yuba, and nailed the items in the last picture. Plus of course bought a whole bunch more stuff. I'm going to have to set up a temporary depot in the basement and a good Christmas gift for me, family, would be a little fridge I can keep down there for some of my bottles of sauces & things.

    Shenandoah, I have two pairs of shoes (for inside and outside), buy my clothes at Superstore, cut my own hair, and mix my own makeup out of rejects from my mom and sister, and whatever other people may think about that, I really don't mind; I hardly think of it at all. But not having a good cooked meal at the end of the day would truly mean I was either sick or depressed. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be new, it just needs to have a little effort put into it and contain an acceptable number of my own personal food groups (orange, green, chili, pickles, flatbread, you know the kind of thing; the number is growing all the time). If I'm not allowed to cook because I'm say, away from home, it's hard on me psychologically. Usually the people I'm staying with give in and let me cook for everyone...or I just can't help myself and take over...

    Andrea, I'm going to use Bryanna's recipe, I think, with a variation in the technique suggested by my friend. Get that Oxo thing and start shredding. That's the kind I have and it shreds nearly everything.

    Rose, how cool would that be, to have all the little doodads, doorknobs, kitchen cabinet handles, and the like, all with a colorful vegetable theme! You have great ideas!

    Falovi, of course you can use a regular pancake batter, and I'm sure your version will be delicious. That's basically what I would have done if I hadn't had the omelet mix already. It seems like with these pancake things, anything goes.

  8. Please share the details of your 'indoor shoes', what is 'Superstore' and how you got to be so proficient at creating your beautiful meals!

  9. Indoor shoes, Shen? Those are the shoes I wear inside, at work, because the dress code is unfairly prejudiced against runners.

    Superstore? It's like WalMart, only Canadian, and way more ethnic. If WalMart sells white bread, Superstore sells that, and also naan, pita, tortillas, and matzo. I don't hate WalMart, but WalMart certainly doesn't make an effort to cater to vegans, while Superstore actually does. Like WalMart, they also sell clothes, but mostly they're the Superstore brand, and pretty recognizable. For the fashion conscious, I must be like a walking ad. The woman who buys her clothes at the grocery store.

    And the meals? I'm old. Lots and lots of practice.

  10. Ah. I thought you meant indoor shoes are shoes you wear in your house.
    You're saying you have sneakers and work shoes. I hope I get to Superstore one day.

  11. Ooo, I like that pancake/frittata.