the spiralizer

Okay I know this is has been trending for some time and I've nobly resisted the marketing and culinary media pressures but I finally gave in and just bought the damn thing: The Spiralizer Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer. The one everyone says is the best including Cooks Illustrated so if you're gonna do it, this is the one. Not terribly expensive ($30) and actually super easy to use and clean (I wish someone were sponsoring this but they're not.)

I watched a short video of how to use it (you can make curly fries!) then experimented on three zucchinis. It looks really cool but how does it taste? If you cook it properly, it's actually really tasty and not so far from the real thing. I think it's best not to think you are replacing spaghetti but inventing a new dish altogether. And with that in mind, I have to say I kind of loved this one way more than I thought I would. The "noodles" held up to the sauce and it was creamy but not mushy--really satisfying for a healthy dish. I didn't force it on the children yet but I"m already thinking about ways to trick Nate into eating it. (Green spaghetti for St Patrick's Day?) I think I could also peel the veggies and the result would look more like pasta. Hmmm....

Zucchini "Alfredo"

3 zucchinis
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated

Spiralize the zucchinis. Sprinkle with salt and sautee in hot oiled pan for 5 minutes. In the meantime, microwave other ingredients in medium bowl for 30 seconds. Add "noodles" to bowl and stir. Add extra cheese. 

bringing home the veggies

So Nate is now playing on a soccer team that Michael coaches and I "manage" which brings the entire family to Mccarren Park every Saturday morning around 10am. Which means, of course, we are obligated to go to the amazing weekly farmer's market there that we too often avoid out of sheer laziness.

Last weekend we hit it after a winning game and Michael and I separated, each buying way too much produce. When I told Michael that we could not buy any more vegetables because we didn't have room in our fridge and it would all go bad before we could eat and what was the point of buying it if it was going to go bad...he said, "I love you very much." And then proceeded to buy more carrots.

We are a good match because Michael curbs my neurosis with passion and good humor and I fulfill his culinary dreams often based on too much of a good thing. He is the dreamer and I'm the doer. And of course I made it my mission this week to eat, cook, serve or preserve all the many veggies we bought which started with Michael cleaning and cutting the carrots and celery. Huge help!! The only way the market load every really works is if you get home and do all the primary prep work so you see beautiful clean colors and not bags of dirt when you open the fridge.

Anyway, I was on a mission so every evening we had cut up veggies and dip to tide everyone over until dinner. Mack must have eaten 60 carrots this week. Next best use: soup. I made a beautiful zucchini soup which lasted us all week. And finally, this incredibly delicious spaghetti squash with garlic and cheese.

zucchini makes an easy soup

Basic recipe: Cook zucchini (and/or yellow squash which is what we had) in broth and then puree it. HERE is the recipe.

Notes: I didn't have creme fraiche on hand (who does?) so I used some Ricotta and a little milk but you could use cream cheese or plain yogurt. Or nothing--the cream just gives it a little richer taste. I added the sherry vinegar right to the soup but you can also serve on top of each bowl. It's a very mild yet tangy soup which any kid who eats soup would like. You could even throw in a few noodles! And it really can be served hot or cold. Make a batch and freeze half for November. 

There is another recipe for zucchini soup via Grant Achatz that I also love and is only a tiny bit more complicated but richer and better for a party. 

zucchini soup

This is seriously one of the best soups I have ever made.

Silky Zucchini Soup c/o Grant Achatz

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2/3 cup vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
  • Julienned raw zucchini, for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a simmer; cook until the zucchini is very soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Working in 2 batches, puree the soup in a blender until it's silky-smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Serve it either hot or chilled, garnished with julienned zucchini. The soup can be refrigerated overnight.

a gift from trader joe's that no one has to know about

I bought this sauce at Trader Joe's, along with a package of chicken thighs and two zucchinis. Here's the recipe: Cut up four chicken thighs and 2 large zucchini into chunks and sautée them in a bit of olive oil until chicken is not pink. Then dump in the sauce. Stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Hide the sauce container. Serve.