Thursday, July 12, 2012

Baked Zucchini Sticks and Sweet Onion Dipping Sauce

So many nights I have my dinner planned since the day before, my grocery list ready the second I get off work and my taste buds prepared for something new, but sometimes everything just sort of happens in a very different way.  

The other night I was making yet another grocery list and realized that Maggie had mentioned the zucchini in her garden was abundant so I thought I would add the fixins for zucchini bread to my list.  As I mentally mapped out my route in my mind (because I am odd and hate feeling like I am backtracking, so I plan every route I take) I figured I would start at Maggie's to grab the zucchini then I would loop back to the grocery and then home. 

Well I got to Maggie's, we cracked a beer because that is the only way to beat the heat, gawked at her recently cleaned/organized refrigerator (so 1950's I know, but this was no small accomplishment), commiserated about the oppressive heat and then sat on the couch discussing all the things we were getting ready to do.....and then we opened another beer.....and then we sat there some more and rehashed how hot it was outside....and then I was staying for dinner.  It was really that simple.  

It was really no hard sale on her part since she mentioned Salt and Vinegar Wings and I was sold!  Since there has to be a balance on the plate we tried to figure out what we should do for a vegetable and because there was copious amounts of zucchini available clearly we would be having zucchini in some form or fashion.  

Maggie pulled out this recipe and it was all over.  

You know it is good when my brother pleads that we do nothing different the next time we make them as they were simply perfect the first time around!  This dip, in all fairness, is serious the most amazing dip ever.  I would spread it on a turkey sandwich, dip raw veggies in it and probably eat it even if it was coating a lead was delicious!!!

Enjoy dear readers!

Baked Zucchini Sticks and Sweet Onion Dipping Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium sweet onion, about 1/2 pound, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Zucchini Sticks
3 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into 3"-long stick
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs
olive oil spray
1/2 cup egg substitute; or 2 large eggs; or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten

To make the dip: Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over moderate heat, and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, then caramelize. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. The lower the heat, the longer it takes, but the less likely you are to burn the onions.
Once the onions are a medium brown, remove from the heat and add the vinegar.
Place the onions and vinegar into a small food processor. 

Add the honey and mustard, and process or blend until smooth.
Add the mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. 

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
To make the zucchini sticks: Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Let the zucchini drain for 1 hour or longer; rinse and pat dry.
Combine the Panko, Parmesan, and pizza seasoning; set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.
Dredge sticks a few at a time in the egg, then roll in the crumb mixture. 
Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake sticks for 12 minutes, turn over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
Serve immediately, with sweet onion dip.
The dogs were clearly worn out from the heat as well....
Annie and Tess were so tired they didn't even realize they were sharing a bed!
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