A new thing

August 5, 2015

Zoodles. Oodles of zoodles. With my new toy.

Zoodles. Oodles of zoodles. With my new toy.

I have a new kitchen toy.

Zoodles in lemon cream sauce, with lemon-poached fish. A bit too much lemon.

Zoodles in lemon cream sauce, with lemon-poached fish. A bit too much lemon.

And I had “zoodles” for dinner last night.

This contraption is a spiralizer, a cutting appliance designed to make thin sliced ribbons or noodle shapes, or even slices of a vegetable or fruit. Said vegetable can then be cooked, or served raw, as a replacement for pasta.

Pasta. White flour. Starch. Carbs. Weight gain.

Vegetables. Healthy. Vitamins. Minerals. Weight loss.

This is not a difficult choice to make. And what’s more, once you get the hang of cooking the “zoodles” to the right level of al dente, I’d defy you to tell the difference in them and pasta. After all, when you’re eating pasta, you don’t talk about the taste of the noodle, which really doesn’t have much of one. It’s about the sauce.

It’s the same with “zoodles,” or noodles made from zucchini. Zucchini is, let’s face it, pretty bland. Its greatest attribute is that it’s an excellent vehicle for whatever coating, seasoning or sauce it’s served with. Like, well, pasta. A cup of sauteed zucchini with onions has 90 calories, no carbs, 52 mg of potassium, 35 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, and 5 percent of your Vitamin A. A serving of pasta, on the other hand, has 210 calories, 41 grams of carbs, no vitamins (though it does have 10 percent of your daily iron rquirement).

I feel so healthy.

Anyway. I spiralized two zucchini, the recommended starter veggie for spiralizer newbies. That gave me an impressive salad bowl heaped with the zoodles. I mashed up some garlic confit in the skillet, added a bit more olive oil, and sauteed that; in a bit, I added the kernels from two ears of corn, and a handful of roasted tomatoes from the freezer. That sauteed a minute or two, and the zoodles went in.

I started to cover the skillet, decided everything might get soggy, and opted not to. I just tossed it all around over medium high heat until the zoodles started to give off water and shrink a bit. At that point I added a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and 3 oz. of cream cheese, cut in half-ounce chunks.

The cheese melted fairly quickly, helped along by some judicious stirring, and created, with the lemon juice, residual olive oil and the lemon juice, a nice silky sauce. I tasted, added some salt and pepper, and just let the zoodles poach in the sauce with the heat turned down.

Meanwhile, I melted some butter in another skillet over medium high heat, threw in a couple of frozen tilapia fillets (those things are LIFESAVERS to have in your freezer for quickie meals when you don’t want to cook much), and salted and peppered them. Cooked about three minutes on the first side, flipped, and salted and peppered that side and added 2 tbsp of lemon juice to the skillet. I let them poach in that for about three minutes, then turned the heat off and covered the skillet. Boom.

Dished up zoodles in a bowl and plopped a piece of fish on top.

Very nice. A bit too lemony; Child A and I agreed next time we’d either go with lemon sauce or lemon fish, but not lemon both. Broth clung nicely to the zoodles, and helped flavor the fish. It would be a nice sauce to do with white wine and maybe some rosemary or thyme. It would be phenomenal if you flavored it with dill and used salmon. I can see this taking off in all sorts of cool ways.

Two decent sized zucchini made enough pasta for three people. I’m anxious to move on to yellow squash noodles (in a carbonara sauce, the book recommends), and butternut squash noodles, which ought to just be To Die For with sage and brown butter and goat cheese. Sweet potato noodles with chili powder and brown sugar would be good. And of course, cucumber “noodles” in a salad with a nice sesame-ginger dressing and sesame seeds.

Yeah, I think I can get all up in here and excited about zoodles. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em stand by for new adventures.

 

 

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