Oodles of Zoodles

zoodle collageI normally agree with Alton Brown in that a single use kitchen tool is a waste of space. However, there are times were an one-purpose tool is handy. I’ve been seeing alot of zucchini noodle (aka “zoodles”) recipes on Pinterest. I’m lousy at julienne slicing by hand and my grater wasn’t up for the challenge. But lo & behold, the Microplane Spiral Cutter was on discount at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for $4.99. Just the right price point for a fun gadget.

Instead of focusing on a specific recipe, I wanted to test out the tool and the zoodle texture. I went with a simple peanut butter-based sauce that I whipped together using what was in the pantry.

IMG_7338The first zucchini didn’t spiral easily because it turns out the wider side should go in first and then you can use the stem as a handle towards the end. I had chopped off the stem and slide the smaller end first, which then made it very difficult to spiral as there was less zucchini to hold on to. My middle-school sense of humor giggled at the extruded core and the spirals coming out of the bottom…

I’ve read posts where people cut up the core and other leftover bits to add to the dish, but considering my lunch was going to be two zucchinis as it is, I tossed them out. I added in some red bell pepper for color and crunch. Turns out I made too much sauce for the amount of zoodles as they don’t soak up the sauce like traditional noodles.

IMG_7340Time for the taste test – perhaps it was due to the amount of sauce, but I couldn’t tell the difference between the zucchini noodle and slightly over cooked noodles. There is a lack of al dente/QQ texture, but a decent compromise for the nutritional benefit. Looking forward to trying the zoodle tool again!

Surprising success


One of the reasons I enjoy cooking is the thrill of experimentation. What if I add a pinch of this and a dab of that?

After watching an episode of “Extra Virgin“, I was craving linguine alle vongole. Trouble was that it was a cold & dark night, I had no linguine, and definitely did not have fresh clams. But I did know the basics on how to make a white wine sauce so let the fun begin!

Going through the pantry and fridge, I had whole wheat thin spaghetti and a bag of frozen mixed seafood (scallops, shrimp, and squid). I let the seafood defrost while the pot of water came to a boil. When cooking the pasta, I started the sauce by sautéing some celery (I also had no parsley so figured celery was close enough…) with garlic in olive oil. I then added in the seafood. By then the pasta was almost done — I saved a cup of the pasta water before draining. I added white wine and some of the pasta water into the sauce pan to deglaze a bit before adding in the pasta to allow it to finish cooking in the sauce. And some pepper and voila! — a jury-rigged pasta dish that not only satisfied the craving, but was good enough to be desired in its own right.

Ginger Snaps

wine & chips pairing 

#snacks verdict: good savory chip that I can see pairing well with red wine

Watermelon Mojito

Although the temperature isn’t really warm yet, the sunshine is making me crave some summery cocktails.

Flushing or Bust: a Queens night market

I recently backed The Queens Night Market campaign on Kickstarter. It aims to open in the Spring of 2015 in Flushing, near the old World Fair site. It’s quite a fitting location due to the diversity of the borough.

Some of my fondest and tastiest memories of visiting Taiwan involve the night markets. I always thought of it as a distinctly Asian experience, until I visited some holiday markets in Europe. There was a similar air of excitement as people roamed the stalls and sampled goods.

I hope the Kickstarter campaign succeeds, even though I famously lost a bet that I could make it to Flushing from Lower Manhattan before a friend leaving from New Haven, CT. Evidently I-95 is much faster than the 7 train!