Saturday, May 26, 2012

Squash Puppies

Do you ever have food items hanging around the kitchen that you would not typically buy and you are not sure what to do with them?  I recently found myself in that position after winning a door prize at a lunch I was invited to at a friend's church.  I was very excited when they called my name and I won a beautiful basket full of kitchen goodies.  Among these goodies was a dish towel, a cute cast iron teddy bear pancake mold, a bag of pancake mix, and a huge bag of self-rising cornmeal mix.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against bagged mixes.  I just don't typically buy them because, among other reasons, I never use them quickly enough and they end up taking up too much precious space in my cabinets or fridge. Also, it is pretty easy to whip up pancakes or cornbread from scratch when you want some.  Despite all of this, I was excited to take my little basket home at the end of the lunch. 

My prize has been sitting on my table until tonight when I decided to use the cornbread mix for the first time.  I had been out in the garden and had picked two good sized yellow squash.  Trying to find a new recipe for summer squash (hopefully one my husband could get excited about), I found a recipe for a squash fritter which looked similar to a hushpuppy but had mashed squash inside.  I made the recipe, changing quantities and ingredients a little to suit my needs and ended up with a light and crisp treat with an almost creamy quality on the inside from the mashed squash.  After announcing that he does not really like squash, my husband proceeded to eat several back to back.  I took that as a good sign.   

The picture above is of a puppy with chunker bits of squash while the one below was made with a batch that had been mashed more.  You can see that the one on top resembles cornbread on the inside while the one below is a little creamier looking.

Squash Puppies- makes 12 puppies but can be easily doubled

This recipe calls for self-rising cornmeal mix.  You can mix your own or purchase it from the store, but make sure if you mix your own to add baking powder so that they puff up nicely.

2 medium summer squash, cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (I used Penzey's 4/S)
1 egg
vegetable oil for frying

Cook the squash until tender either by boiling in a little water or sauteing in a skillet.  Once tender, drain of any excess moisture and place in a bowl.  Using a fork or potato masher, mash the squash into a coarse puree, leaving some chunks if desired.   

Add the flour, cornmeal mix, and seasoned salt to the squash and mix lightly until almost combined.  Add the egg and continue to mix until combined being careful not to overmix. 

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet until hot but not smoking.  Scoop the squash mixture out by tablespoons into the hot oil and fry until brown and crisp on one side.  Flip the puppies and repeat until brown and crisp on the other side.  Remove the puppies to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Serve warm.

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