My croquette obsession and a recipe that celebrates it

SoCali Vegetable Croquettes made with collard greens and Jersey sweet potatoes

Oh the virtues of the croquette.

I absolutely love them.

Croquettes were a staple menu item when I was a child. I grew up eating mackerel croquettes – probably because salmon was a bit pricey. Mom often made them for Sunday breakfast before church and she served them with buttered white rice.  That is a memory I will never forget.

While most of the time mom made croquettes from canned mackerel, I learned that they could be made of anything from minced meat, rice, potatoes and vegetables. Mom would pan fry her croquettes in a little Crisco shortening or lard. Perhaps that’s the reason they tasted so good.

When I look back,  my fondest food memory is perching myself beside the stove top and anxiously waiting until Mom scooped a croquette out of her well-seasoned cast iron skillet with a dinner fork. Once she placed the tester on a paper towel to drain, I would barely let it cool before picking it up because I wanted to devour it before my siblings came into the kitchen. That first, hot, tasty bite was moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. And for me, it was the perfect prelude to what was to come.

My Food Network Experience

Veronica Hendrix mixing up chicken croquettes on Food Network show “Clash of the Grandma’s.”

Late last year, you saw me make chicken croquettes on the Food Network show, Clash of the Grandma’s. And by the way, that recipe is featured in my latest cookbook.

The response from the viewers was amazing. A fried, crunchy, bite-size croquette made with chicken and vegetables made viewers drool. What viewers didn’t know at the time  was those croquettes were a composite of my childhood and family history. That’s why making them looked so effortless, and they were.

As a nod to my mom, my southern sensibilities and my love of croquettes, I developed a special croquette recipe that includes two of my favorite ingredients: collard greens and sweet potatoes. Just because it’s a vegan’s delight, completely dairy free doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with flavor and sheer satisfaction.

Carnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan? It doesn’t matter. This croquette is for you.

The croquette recipe

For this recipe, creamed corn and coconut flour are the perfect ingredients to bind it all together. The use of fresh tarragon enhances the warmth of the collard greens and Jersey sweet potato. This recipe is a tasty departure from traditional salmon, chicken or potato croquettes.  I call it “SoCali” to pay homage to my native Southern California roots and my Alabama family heritage. And one more thing –  these golden brown little beauties could be the talk of your next soirée.

Thanks to the great folks at Cut’N Clean Greens for providing the collard greens to make this recipe. I’ve said enough. The recipe is below. And as always in parting, cook fearlessly and eat well my foodie friends.

SoCali Vegetable Croquettes

  • Servings: makes 20-22 croquettes
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

A delicious vegan and dairy free croquette made with collard greens and Jersey sweet potatoes.


1~ 1 pound package Cut’N Clean collard greens
1 teaspoon garlic
1 1/2 cup chopped red onions
2 medium grated carrots
2 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
2/3 cup cream corn
2 cups baked Jersey Sweet Potato mash (I used the microwave in this recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black or cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon white sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons coconut flour
Corn, canola, peanut or Grapeseed oil for deep frying
Panko bread crumbs


  1. Prick Jersey sweet potatoes with a fork and bake or microwave them (which are white inside) until soft when skin is pressed. When done, remove skin and scoop out a total of two cups of Jersey Sweet potato filling. Place filling in a bowl and lightly mash, leaving lots of texture.  Note: Microwave time can vary between 7 to 15 minutes depending on size and density. Baking time is approximately 45 minutes in a 400° F  oven.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet set on medium heat. When oil is heated, add chopped onions and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly unit till translucent. Add garlic and Cut’N Clean collard greens. Season greens with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and sugar.  Mix well and stir constantly over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until greens are tender and bright green.
  3. Stir in chopped tarragon and carrots. Remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes.
  4. Once greens mixture is cooled, place on cutting board and give it a rough chop, just to break up the larger cuts of greens.
  5. Add chopped greens mixture to the  mixing bowl with the Jersey Sweet potatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut flour and 2/3 cups of creamed corn. Blend until mixture comes together.
  6. Using a measuring table spoon, scoop up mixture and form into round balls. Coat each ball in Panko bread coating.

Frying croquettes

If you use an electric deep fryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much oil to use. If using a sauce pan or small Dutch oven (as featured in this method) fill pan halfway with oil.

  1. Preheat your oil to somewhere between 350° F  to 375° F. Oil that’s ready for frying will bubble around the stick end of a wooden spoon when it’s inserted. If your oil begins to smoke, you know it’s too hot.
  2. With a slotted spoon or slotted spatula, carefully lower one test Panko coated croquette into the oil. Once it enters the hot oil, things happen fast.  Be sure to stir with the slotted spoon while cooking — this will fry your croquette more evenly. Use this single croquette as a test to see how much time it takes to achieve your desired brownness. Just 30 seconds may be enough or you may need up to 60 seconds.
  3. Remove the test croquette from pan when done and drain on a  plate or sheet pan lined with a paper towel.
  4. After your test croquette, lower no more than three Panko coated croquettes into the oil. Stir with the slotted spoon while frying.  After 30 seconds or more, remove from oil, drain and repeat until all are deep fried.
  5. Serve with your favorite ranch dressing. Or for a smoky and spicier dipping sauce, thoroughly blend a teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper or a tablespoon of hot sauce into a cup of ranch dressing.

TIP: Make sure to remove stems from Cut’N Clean Greens before cooking.


Baked Jersey Sweet potato, scooped out and ready for use.


Saute of red onions, garlic, collard greens seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and sugar.


Fresh tarragon and grated carrots are added to the greens mixture.


Greens mixture chopped and mixed with Jersey sweet potato, cream corn and coconut flour.


Croquettes formed and rolled in Panko bread coating.


Croquette frying in hot oil.

SoCali Vegetable Croquettes plated. Enjoy!

Yes its in there

Chicken croquettes anyone?

Now you can get my family recipe for those amazing chicken croquettes you saw me make on the Food Network Show “Clash of the Grandmas.” They are golden brown and crispy on the outside; they are moist and delicious on the inside.

So many have asked for the recipe, now you can get it  inside my new recipe book Collard Greens and Caviar eRecipe Pop up Book, which features my most closely held and coveted recipes teased on my social media sites. The recipe book is now available on in Kindle download and paperback.

What else will you get? Recipes for my  Tarragon Panko Coating Mix, and  my Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Praline Topping. As a bonus, I’ve include a section called “Pantry Basics 101” to  help you stay stocked and ready to magic in your own kitchen.

Enjoy the video below and see my inspiration for making the chicken croquettes on the show.

Now – go forth, cook fearlessly and eat well my foodie friends!

Los Angeles Based Food Blogger Launches New eRecipe Book Series With A Little Help from Samsung Galaxy S7

Los Angeles, CA – Since her appearance on the Food Network show “Clash of the Grandmas,” Veronica Hendrix has been very busy.

Writing her widely read blog Collard Greens and Caviar, developing recipes for Real Eats, working on an upcoming live food event, and writing a new recipe book series entitled Collard Greens and Caviar Pop up eRecipes  have keep her buzzing. The recipe book is now available on in Kindle download and paperback.

For those who have been following her,  this is exciting news because the recipe book contains what she calls her “most coveted and closely held recipes” teased on her social media sites – including her highly sought after SoCali Chicken Croquettes recipe debuted on the Food Network.

Featured Recipes – Top: SoCali Chicken Croquettes. Left: Tarragon Panko Coating Mix. Right: Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Praline Topping

But for Hendrix, what’s really exciting is pioneering and forging a new approach to create and deliver recipe content. Her latest project shatters the traditional publishing paradigm and delivers concise content using tools such as self-publishing platforms, social media and leveraging the power of her Samsung S7 dual–pixel camera – which takes pictures whose quality meets the high production standards for self-publishing platforms.

“The picture quality that results from the advanced features of my Samsung S7 is the depth and resolution I need to bring my recipes to life,” said Hendrix

Move over traditional cookbooks

Traditional cookbooks have their place. For most it’s on a shelf after the reader is overwhelmed after thumbing through one hundred or more pages of recipes after recipes.

Traditional cookbooks take time to publish. The average cookbook project can take up to a year or more to get it into the hands of anxious cooks.

As a self published, epicurean entrepreneur, Hendrix has not only taken on the challenge of creating and publishing recipe content faster but also in publishing content in digestible bites using the simple rule of threes. As stated in the introduction of her recipe book:

“As a food blogger I have an eclectic collection of recipes I’ve developed that have never been featured on my blog. Many of them have been teased on my social media sites and my followers have asked if the recipes might one day appear in an upcoming cookbook. I’ve always said they might. Publishing an anthology of those recipes is a great idea. But to publish them quicker, I’ve created an eRecipe book of pop up recipes.

This eRecipe book features three of my most closely held and coveted recipes. Why only three recipes at a time? Well, as the “rule of threes” purports, when information is presented and viewed in threes, it is more regarded, interesting and memorable.”

For interview requests or additional information, contact eXude Communications at (650) 822-7271.

About Veronica Hendrix

Veronica Hendrix is Los Angeles based journalist, cooking coach, recipe developer and Food Network finalist. She is the creator of the widely read blog where she shares recipes and tells stories featuring food enthusiasts and culinary experts in addition to her own forays into the kitchen. She was the project manager and co-writer of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper “Taste of Soul Cookbook” published in 2013.

Veronica has over 20 years experience in journalism, media relations and public affairs. Veronica was a syndicated columnist and feature writer of the column Veronica’s View in which she covered stories of the human continuum – from clinical trials of male contraceptives, to gang related violence. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Sentinel; Lee Bailey’s Electronic Urban Report; and the online interactive site The Root. She has been a feature writer for each edition of Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles. Veronica has produced radio and television shows in Los Angeles and is a Los Angeles Emmy nominated producer. Veronica’s career as a journalist has also included being a reporter for USA Today and KCLS Television in Los Angeles.

Veronica has launched a recipe book series entitled Collard Greens and Caviar Pop up eRecipes  that features some of her most closely held and coveted recipes teased on her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter sites.

Be a fearless Valentine

Love can be scary.croxetti-pasta-heart

Now that I have your attention, I’ll repeat it again – love can be scary.

It has frightened me many a time because it requires such vulnerability, compromise and dare I say surrender.

But to find love and experience love requires a bit of fearlessness not only in your pursuit of love but in your expression of love when you think you have found “the one.”

Why am I, a food blogger, talking about love?

Valentine’s Day has a way of making me think about the pursuit of love and more importantly, the preservation of love.

The way to the heart

We’ve all heard the adage that the way to the heart is through the stomach, right? Well actually you heard it this way; the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But I submit that this phase should be gender neutral because my heart has been enraptured a time or two by a gentleman whose  fearless culinary skills took my breath away with each bite of  a  wonderfully prepared meal he made for me.

Valentine’s Day is approaching and perhaps you had a fleeting thought of making a romantic meal then that thought vanished as quickly as it appeared. I say be a fearless Valentine and make that romantic meal.

My Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper Alfredo Pasta with Pan Grilled Shrimp is a fearless choice and Valentine’s Day worthy.

The pan roasted yellow bell peppers and the hint of nutmeg makes this creamy sauce warm and cozy. The grilled shrimp makes it decedent and satisfying. If you can find Croxetti pasta,  you will certainly elicit a “wow what an interesting pasta” response.  If you can’t get your hands on a bag of Croxetti, use Farfalle or Bow Tie pasta. Yes, this dish arouses the palate and the senses as well.

Here’s a suggested menu for your Valentine:


Salad featuring your favorite garden greens. Be adventurous and add some thinly sliced Asian pears or Honeycrisp apples brushed with a little lemon juice, walnuts, cranberries and a little roughly chopped fresh mint. Toss the salad with a delicate champagne vinaigrette you can purchase from most grocery stores or specialty markets.


Yellow Roasted Bell Pepper Alfredo Pasta with Pan Grill Shrimp – recipe below.


Pound cake (store bought or homemade) with vanilla ice cream drizzled with a Limoncello liquor and shaved white chocolate if you dare.

If you decide to pass on making this meal for Valentine’s Day, by all means plan some time to make it at a later date. The love shown in making a meal for someone who puts a sparkle in your eyes shouldn’t be limited to Valentine’s Day. Preparing a meal for that special  someone is definitely a way to their heart all year long.

Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper Alfredo Pasta with Pan Grilled Shrimp


1 large yellow bell pepper
1/3  cup chopped red onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoon butter
16 ounces half and half
3 cup Croxetti  or bow tie pasta (uncooked)
½ fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch of nutmeg
½ – 1  teaspoon salt to taste
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
Oil (canola, corn, grapeseed)
3 tablespoon pine nuts
cracked pepper
parsley, roughly chopped

To a non-stick skillet set on medium heat, add pine nuts and stir until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside in a separate dish.

Rinse shelled and deveined shrimp and pat dry. Add a little cooking oil (about 1 tablespoon) to a non-stick skillet set on medium heat. Add half of the shrimp, lightly sprinkle with salt and cook until medium brown on both sides. (Remember over crowding the pan will cause the shrimp to steam instead of cook and get a nice, brown color.) This may take approximately 2-3 minutes for each side until they are done.

Remove shrimp from pan into another dish and keep warm. Add more oil if needed and repeat with the remainder of the shrimp. When done, remove and cover with foil to keep warm.

Cut bell pepper into strips. (Note: for best results, steam bell pepper strips 3-4 minutes in a steamer basket before browning in skillet.)

Lightly coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray.  Heat pan on medium heat. Add bell pepper strips and brown on both sides. Color should be slightly charred. Remove from heat and cool.  Place bell pepper on a cutting board surface and chop into pieces. Set aside.

Begin cooking Croxetti or bow tie pasta accord to al dente directions.


In the same skillet used for the bell pepper, add butter. When melted, add chopped onion and sauté  on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

Add half and half, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and Parmesan cheese to pan with the onion and garlic mixture.  Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently about 2-3 minutes until sauce is thickened.

Remove pan the from heat and carefully pour sauce into a blender. Add chopped bell pepper to the blender. Place a towel over the blender top and hold it down securely. Blend the mixture until smooth.

Pour mixture back into a skillet. Add a little cracked pepper.  Heat about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cooked pasta and lightly toss pasta until it is completely covered with the sauce.  Add pan grilled shrimp to pan and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Serve with fresh chopped parsley and addition grated Parmesan cheese if you like.