September 1, 2009
Last night I got to participate in a panel discussion on the endangered species that is the home cook. The event was sponsored by the Chicken Farmers of Canada and if you didn’t get a chance to attend, you can read the lovely Sandy Kemsley‘s account of the evening over on her blog.
By the way, one of the reasons why Sandy is lovely is because she was one of the volunteers who resurrected the St. Andrews Farmers Market in our Queen West neighbourhood. Thanks Sandy!
So, about last night. What the conversation boiled down to was we become dysfunctional when we are unable to feed ourselves. Very interesting food for thought (pun totally intended) and I was there in my official capacity as “food blogger” to share my perspective as a busy professional and a passionate home cook.
During the discussion it was revealed that I plan my menus out one week at a time and shop accordingly. Thanks to my ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ personality, this is essential if we’re going to eat a decent meal through the week. I’m just not a go to the market and see what looks good kind of cook; it’s overwhelming and I never know where to start. Either I come away with nothing or too many odds and ends. Hence the alarming number of nights I’ve had a bag of popcorn and baby carrots for dinner.
Taking the time to do this each week takes discipline and let me tell you, most Sunday mornings I’d rather be watching Corrie than flipping through my cookbooks or sifting through Delicious tags. But on a Tuesday evening when I’ve worked late, waited forever for a streetcar and felt so hungry I could faint, it was nice to know I’ve got everything for a Thai beef salad and a side of zucchini fries waiting for me in my fridge. That may or may not have been my day today.
After 26 years I know my body well enough to know that I need good fuel to do good things. If I don’t eat right, my body breaks down — literally, it makes me sick physically and mentally. I truly become dysfunctional. You know, that’s probably true of most people in the world, they just don’t know the difference a home cooked meal makes. And that’s really, really sad.
(Sorry if you thought there was chicken, the chicken part was the event, get it?)
Serves about 4
Cooking spray, olive oil or otherwise
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 medium zucchinis
2 large egg whites, whipped until frothy
1. Preheat over to 425F. Coat a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut zucchinis into four chunks, then each halve each chunk (if your chunks feel big to you, just cut them smaller — as long as they’re about the same size).
2. In a small bowl, mix together Italian seasoning, flour and salt. Place bread crumbs in another small bowl. Whip egg whites using a whisk or fork until frothy.
3. Dredge a piece of zucchini in flour mixture and then dip in egg whites, letting excess drain off. Dredge in bread crumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients and give the fries a liberal coat of cooking spray.
4. Roast, turning once, until desired crispiness, about 12-14 minutes.