November 19, 2009

Whole baked squash / Bean and corn fritters /microwave popcorn

My son thinks it's amazing and stupid (amazingly stupid?) that I've never made microwave popcorn; it seems perfectly reasonable to me since I've never owned a microwave. This has come up because lately I've been thinking about, and wanting popcorn, and our hot air popper was left at our house in Wisconsin when we came to Seattle. I assume the renters are using it, and we don't have a popper here, nor do we have an appropriate pot to use for popping corn on the stove. I don't think I can use a pot belonging to the people who own the house we're renting as it could get wrecked by popping corn in it. At least that's been my experience. After half-heartedly looking for a used air popper at Goodwill (though truthfully, we don't really want to accumulate more "stuff" since we have to move again in July), my son pointed out we have a microwave, and could make microwave popcorn. But that stuff is expensive and usually has flavorings and chemicals I don't want to eat. After doing a little Internet research, I've learned you can make your own microwave popcorn in a paper bag. I'm curious to try this to see if it works for me. Obviously it works for others but ya never know until you try it yourself. Has anyone tried this?

So I've learned a new trick this week. Actually it was the second new trick. The first was learned by my husband this past weekend — he learned to bake a squash whole. That's right, no grunting, groaning, teeth gnashing or cursing while trying to cut open a winter squash that seems to be made of steel. He just put the whole thing into the oven and took it out an hour later all soft and easy to open. It happened to be a spaghetti squash which we served with artichoke spaghetti sauce and steamed kale. (I think my husband would eat artichoke spaghetti sauce every day, whereas I prefer a little variety.) You can find more complete instructions here. I found this post after my husband had learned the trick elsewhere, and it's a good description of what to do.

Rambling on, I saw a recipe in Vegetarian Times for chickpea croquettes. I was particularly interested in making this recipe because it contained a whole cup of chickpea flour, and I'd just recently purchased a bag. Once in the kitchen, of course, I realized that yes, I had the chickpea flour, but almost none of the remaining ingredients. Since I changed the recipe so much, I think it will be OK to print it.

I didn't love the croquettes the first night I made them — the taste was good but the texture was weird — almost sandy. I cooked a bunch and served them with the leftover artichoke sauce (not a good idea), a wok-full of a bok choy-related greens with garlic, and steamed rice. I wasn't planning to blog about them because they just weren't up to the standard I adhere to for blog posts. I put the leftover, uncooked mix into the refrigerator.

The next day I took the leftover mix, added frozen corn, and fried the fritters in a small amount of oil in the wok. I don't know if it was the overnight rest in the refrigerator or the addition of the corn, but they were FANTASTIC. Perhaps the steam from the frozen corn changed the texture, or maybe the batter just needed more solids in there with all that garbanzo flour. The corn definitely improved the taste and texture. If you make these, eat them hot off the griddle, when they're at their prime. I ate mine unadorned, and they tasted great, but I can see them topped with a sauce of Veganaise and salsa. I'm posting the recipe with the corn included. I know I'll be making these again.

Bean and corn fritters
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (I tend to use less salt)
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 15-ounce can canellini beans, rinsed, drained and partially mashed
  • 4 to 6 green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • a large carrot, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  1. Whisk together the chickpea flour, chili powder, salt, chipotle powder and dehydrated onion. Whisk in the hot water.
  2. Stir in the green onions, carrots, cilantro, corn and beans.
  3. Form into fritters and cook in a small amount of cooking oil on a medium-hot, non-stick pan or griddle. You could also use well-seasoned cast iron. You can use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to mold the fritters, if desired. Fill the measuring cup about halfway. (You don't want them to be too thick.)
  4. Cook until the bottom is brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook until the fritters feel firm and done, about 3 to 4 minutes. I like to press them down a bit as they cook.
I ate mine plain for breakfast but I can see them rolled into tortillas with lettuce and salsa, or even stuffed into pita for lunch or dinner.


Head over to One Frugal Foodie to enter a one-day only giveaway for "1000 Vegan Recipes" by Robin Robertson. This contest ends at midnight, Nov. 20, 2009.


  1. Are you kidding me!? Artichoke spaghetti sauce AND chickpea fritters? Yes, please! Both sound *amazing* and I cannot wait to make them...yum :-)


  2. I have made microwave popcorn in a paper lunch bag, and it's fine. (If you search for "Alton Brown microwave popcorn" you can find his nicely detailed recipe. And yes, the staples are safe; you will not blow up your microwave.)

    It's especially nice to have control over the seasonings and the amount of oil, and to not have to wonder what is the source of that strangely vibrant yellow color, or how people die of popcorn lung by working in microwave popcorn factories. It's also dirt cheap.

    The fritters look awesome.

  3. Yum... those look soooooooo super yum!! :)

  4. Courtney,
    It's hard to go wrong with artichokes. :)

    Thanks for the confirmation. The chemicals and lung disease are a little off-putting, I agree.

    Thanks for your comment!

  5. Oh Yum!!! The fritters look amazingly delicious. I can't believe that you created these yummy fritters from the leftover mix, you're awesome! Oh, and your husband is more awesome that he put the whole squash into the oven to create a fantastic meal, haha!!!
    I'm wondering what happened to the squash seeds???

  6. Hi, Andrea,
    Great looking blog - this is my first time here, I think. Isn't it funny how something that is not up to par at first, can be delicious with a slight tweaking? And, of course, anything with salsa on top can only taste better. Good job.

  7. I've heard about microwave popcorn in a paper bag before but I haven't actually tried it myself. I had no idea it was even possible to bake a squash whole. I always learn something new on your blog. :-)

  8. Oraphan,
    My husband threw the squash seeds away. He said they looked just the same as uncooked seeds. I didn't see them but next time I'm going to get the seeds and toast them. (If you bake a squash whole you have to poke it a few times with a sharp knife so it doesn't explode. And bake it in a pan to catch any juices.)

    Thanks for reading my blog! I agree with you about salsa.

    Chow vegan,
    I'm going to try the popcorn thing soon. I hope it works. And, I didn't know about the whole squash method before, either. But, when you think about it, the squash isn't really solid - it's got a hollow inside, so the part getting baked isn't that thick.

  9. Those fritters sound fantastic! I seem to be craving corn in everything these days as well (though never tried popcorn in a paper bag--I love my air-popper!) ;)

  10. Ricki,
    I keep thinking about the fritters and wanting to make them again - they were really good. I just tried the popcorn thing. On the first round only 5 kernels popped. I ate them and tried again. About half popped, so we ate those then popped the rest.

  11. That looks scrumptious. I grew up with corn fritters. I will have to try these. Thanks for the great tips and recipe.


    Some great recipes:
    Amazing healthy bran muffin recipe

    Great chicken and rice recipe

  12. Hey, thanks for checking me out, too! I'm adding you as a link. Keep cooking!

  13. What a clever hubby you have and what a delicious meal to enjoy :)

  14. Jacqueline,
    If he had asked me if he could bake the squash whole I probably would have said no!

  15. These fritters look delicious! I agree they would make great taco or pita filling.

  16. I decided to make these last night, and take them to work with me for lunch. FYI, they taste great the day after, heated up in the microwave. I use grated zucchini instead of carrot, because that's what I had in the fridge. They hold together reasonably well, although they are a little fragile. I didn't notice any sandy or gritty texture. I love the taste. They are a little spicier than I'd anticipated, so I ate them with a dollop of sour cream, which again, is what I had in the fridge. I probably would've used Greek yogurt if I had it instead, but either way it helped cool down the heat a little. One thing I noticed, they soaked up a LOT of oil while cooking. I had to keep adding oil to the pan. Next time I might see how it goes with just cooking spray. But overall, these are very tasty and filling, and I'll definitely add them to my "good lunch recipes" file. Thanks so much for sharing!


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