“Thanksgiving, Quit Busting My Balls!” Squash Croquettes

Aaah! The most stressful thing about this upcoming Thanksgiving, other than getting the people, ingredients, help, and timing organized, is trying to whip out these posts (the formatting is going insane, by the way, and I have quit fighting this battle!) in between it all and work! I’m scrambling to get things done and will have a few more fall/winter holiday veggie dishes to come after Monday (trying to post one more tomorrow morning before kitchen prep at my brother’s house), that American readers will be able to check out in time for Thanksgiving, and that everyone everywhere can have fun with for Christmas/New Year’s/any day you want something both funky and veggie.

I usually eat pretty healthy, but absolutely love love love fries, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams (especially in fry form!), so with inspiration from So.Cial at Le Magasin’s lovely potato croquettes with chicken crackling, I decided to go with a croquette of my own, and even try filling it: Butternut squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and sweet potato were seasoned and combined to encase little cubes of cheese.

When I think of dairy products going anywhere near a deep fryer, Lisa Simpson’s daydream about Homer’s funeral comes to mind (Marge cries, “I wish they’d never invented fried cheese!”). It was important for these to look adorable, taste crunchy on the outside, have mashed ingredients that could be fluffy on the inside, and a cheese that would become creamy, not greasy, so feta was chosen, because it’s firm and also gave a little saltiness to contrast against the sweetness of all the vegetables.

If you can believe it, I managed to hit all 4 food groups with this appy, and made a few for your viewing pleasure before moving on to the next treat. Hold on to your hats!

Cheese-Stuffed Squash Croquettes

(makes as many as you have patience for! This batch could have been about 15 )

2/3 cup Roasted spaghetti squash (see how to roast a squash below)

1/2 cup Roasted butternut squash

1 cup Raw, grated zucchini

2 baked sweet potatoes (medium-sized, de-skinned after baking)

1 brick of feta cheese, cut into 1 cm cubes (the brined kind is super-salty. Use with caution!)

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of bread crumbs

A dash each of salt and pepper

A pinch of cumin

Oil for frying (canola, corn and sunflower are good options)


Cut a squash in half, brush the insides with olive oil, and put them face-down in a foil-lined pan for about an hour at 375 degrees. Wait until it cools, and scoop it out, or if it's a spaghetti squash, rake it with a fork.

Cut a squash in half, brush the insides with olive oil, and put them face-down in a foil-lined pan for about an hour at 375 degrees. Wait until it cools, and scoop it out, or if it's a spaghetti squash, rake it with a fork.

Make sure to squeeze all 3 types of squash before putting them in the bowl, because they release a lot of water and you don't want everything falling apart because of the moisture content.

Make sure to squeeze all 3 types of squash before putting them in the bowl, because they release a lot of water and you don't want everything falling apart because of the moisture content.

Add the seasoning and mash away! Just get in there and make a big mess. Feel the consistency and add a bit more sweet potato if you think it needs to be thicker, but my mash was a liiiittle soft and I thought it would turn out kind of flimsy, but the coating and frying process sealed it all in and the insides were nice and fluffy.

Add the seasoning and mash away! Just get in there and make a big mess. Feel the consistency and add a bit more sweet potato if you think it needs to be thicker, but my mash was a liiiittle soft and I thought it would turn out kind of flimsy, but the coating and frying process sealed it all in and the insides were nice and fluffy.

Put a heaping tablespoon of veggie muck into your hand, push the cheese into it, fold the veggies over, and lightly toss the entire thing from palm to palm to round it out.

Put a heaping tablespoon of veggie muck into your hand, push the cheese into it, fold the veggies over, and lightly toss the entire thing from palm to palm to round it out.

The resulting little balls of veggies and cheese should then be dunked in the egg and then tossed or rolled in bread crumbs. If you want to get a little crazier (yes, please), throw some grated Parmigiano Reggiano and dried herbs (like basil or oregano) into the crumbs.

The resulting little balls of veggies and cheese should then be dunked in the egg and then tossed or rolled in bread crumbs. If you want to get a little crazier (yes, please), throw some grated Parmigiano Reggiano and dried herbs (like basil or oregano) into the crumbs. It's a good idea to use a bigger bowl for each the eggs and the crumbs. I was only making a few and figured it'd be fine, but no, I'm messy.

Iron Chef America was playing in the background and Alton Brown made a comment about "your typical Thanksgiving mess" and I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. My poor kitchen!

Iron Chef America was playing in the background and Alton Brown made a comment about "your typical Thanksgiving mess" and I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. My poor kitchen!

Make sure you're fully dressed (long sleeves and pants, no midnight snack-making in your underwear, kids), and carefully drop the balls into boiling oil. Make sure to watch carefully...

Make sure you're fully dressed (long sleeves and pants, no midnight snack-making in your underwear, kids), and carefully submerge the balls into boiling oil. Make sure to watch carefully...

...because as soon as you yell "shut up already!" at your smoke alarm, they will be toasty and ready to go. Let the croquettes drain on a paper towel, and don't eat them for about a minute or your tongue will get really mad at you. Serve with a yummy dip, like home-made pesto (shown), garlic aioli, or flavoured mayo (sun-dried tomato, curry, wasabi).

...because as soon as you yell "shut up already!" at your smoke alarm, they will be toasty and ready to go. Let the croquettes drain on a paper towel, and don't eat them for about a minute or your tongue will get really mad at you. Serve with a yummy dip, like home-made pesto (shown), garlic aioli, or flavoured mayo (sun-dried tomato, curry, wasabi).

This tiny treat was worth the mess. When I make a lot tomorrow with my team of slave boys, I'll make sure to put one of them on cleanup!

This tiny treat was worth the mess. When I make a lot tomorrow with my team of slave boys, I'll make sure to put one of them on cleanup!

Fun international ideas could include using Indian paneer cheese and throwing other curry spices (like garam masala or coriander seeds) into the vegetables, trying cheese curds broken into little chunks and having gravy as the dipping sauce (round squash poutine, whaaat?!), or using tiny bocconcini balls inside and dipping into puréed sundried tomatoes in oil with finely grated lemon zest. One day I’m going to buy a really loose pair of pants and try making all of these.

Until then, eat well!

Kari

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This entry was posted in Appies & Sides, Holiday, Vegetarian, Whole Wheat & Fibertastic and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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