I am a night owl… in the worst possible way. The minute the clock turns midnight, it’s like magic happens and I’m suddenly motivated to do work. Most nights, you can find me in my apartment with the lights blazing, soft music, and me…. in my underwear puttering around geting work done. I spend most of my days falling asleep in lecture, and lying on my futon watching tv shows on hulu.com… and letting my books sit by the door. But the minute everyone else is tired and falling asleep, I’m alert and working. As a kid, my mom used to pad out to the kitchen in the middle of the night and find me by the rounded light working on something or another. The quiet of the night has always agreed with me.
The past few weeks have been challenging in terms of getting work done for me because I’ve been on and off battling a semi-cold. It’s one of those bugs that you just kind of don’t feel good…. and are just kind of okay. My sister thinks it’s because I’m stressed… but with the inordinate quantity of sleep and vitamin packs I’ve been consuming… I’m convinced I’ve kicked it. Plus my insurance carrier really sucks and the doctors give me dates in March for a check up. It’s ridiculous… who makes appointments because they don’t feel good a month from the day they don’t feel good? No wonder healthcare in the USA fails so miserably. Anyway, until I go in for the “emergency” appointment on March whatever, I’m convincing myself I’m okay. (Did I mention I fell down the stairs on Saturday and sprained my ankle? The good one too…)
Anyway. In the dead of the night, I make little things. Most of the time it’s stew or something hearty for the next morning. A couple nights ago I took the very neglected grilled sirloin in my fridge and made a stew. Last night I made heaps of coleslaw. And tonight? I made little carrot fritters. My mom used to make these amazing vegetable pancakes. I remember her turning on the hallway fan and opening the windows and frying these little pancakes… the cross breeze would freeze your fingers and feet as you tip-toed to reach those delicious pancakes. I’ve asked her before, but she always says the same thing, when I ask for the recipe. “A little of this…. a little of that… maybe a fistful of that… cut like that… you know….” She always laughs when people ask her for recipes… she told me once that all she did was follow recipes on the back of boxes. Hah! I doubt that very much Mama… I know there is more to your magic than the backs of boxes!
So true to my mama, this is how I made my little carrot fritters.
I shredded 1/2 a white onion with my mandoline. Then I sliced 2 medium/large carrots on an extreme bias on my mandoline. I stacked those slices and cut them into thin strips. In a bowl, I tossed the white onion and carrot with a couple teaspoons of cornstarch. Since I recently discovered I bought 2 huge containers of cumin… I added a generous shake of cumin. Salt and pepper because I like grinding them. Then I added about 1/2 a cup of flour and about 1/2 a cup of water. I stirred until the carrots were coated in a batter… the consistency should be like pancake batter. I then dropped little bunches of the battered vegetables into hot oil and fried until crisp.
I ate them all and didn’t bother to take pictures… but I thought I’d share this little midnight snack with you.
Obviously, these fritters will taste good in the light of day too… but I’m partial to the little pools of light and cooking in my underwear in the middle of the night. (And the lawyer in me is telling you that when frying foods in oil that it is best to wear an apron that sufficiently protects you because oil splatters and you shouldn’t be wearing next to nothing when handling hot oil. Please use common sense peeps!)