Zucchini Noodles with Sweet Potato Red Pepper Sauce

Zucchini Noodles & Shrimp in Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Sauce

Zucchini Noodles with Sweet Potato Red Pepper Sauce

I am SO in love with the new spiralizer I got for Christmas! (It’s this fancy-pants Paderno 4-blade variety… kind of complicated to put together at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s great.) I’m about to spiralize everything up in this kitchen. Well, within reason.

Obviously, one of the best things to do with a spiralizer is to make faux-noodles. I’ve been trolling Pinterest for some spiralizer inspiration and I happened upon this recipe from Shape. Instead of heavy dairy, it uses puréed sweet potatoes to make a creamy, thick sauce. (Thankfully I also received a shiny new Cuisinart food processor at Christmas this year!)

The original recipe also uses spiralized sweet potatoes to make the “noodles” and while I love me a sweet potato, this was a little too… overly sweet potatoey for my liking, so I subbed zucchini for that component. So technically you can call them “zoodles” but I haven’t fully given into that terminology yet. I also added some shrimp for protein, it went really well with the rest of the flavors and textures. If you’re trying to keep things vegetarian/vegan, you could omit the shrimp and add some firm tofu.

This meal was SO filling and satisfying while also managing to be extremely healthy and low calorie. Rob and I split this entire recipe, and I was wondering if it’s unhealthy/weird for adults to eat 1.5 zucchinis each in a single sitting, but I guess that’s just #spiralizerlife.

Sautéed Zucchini Noodles & Shrimp in Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Sauce

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Serious Savory Pie: Zucchini Meatball Quiche

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I”ve always loved quiche. Something about the cheesy, creamy, gooey and savory pie-like meal just keeps me coming back for more. Well, apparently I did not know just how good quiche is until my Italian girlfriend cooked up my new favorite: zucchini and meatball quiche.

When the idea was first mentioned to me, I was skeptical. Zucchini is not my favorite. It”s never something I crave or think “hmm, that sounds good!” Well, turns out, “the Italian” was on to something. I”m hooked and it is one of my frequent requests.

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Garden Fuck-Ups: What’s Eating My Squash?

Editor’s Note: New contributor Ali of Live for the Season is taking our long-standing Friday Fuck-Ups series in a new direction: out to the garden! Welcome, Ali!

Last year I found my green thumb and started my first garden. Each day after work I would rush home and check on my plants, and every time I saw something sprouting I would get excited. This is amazing! I’m going to grow my own food! Everything is wonderful! Until one day I went outside and saw a small crack at the base of my zucchini plant. Hmph. I looked closer and found a little pile of what resembled orange “sawdust” where the crack appeared. I didn’t think much of it — just figured that the weight of my zucchini plant had put pressure on the stem and as a result, it split. Still a bit curious, I reached down and touched the “sawdust,” and it felt mushy. But my plant was producing, so I wasn’t too concerned.

Fast forward two weeks. My zucchini production had decreased considerably. During the day the plant looked so sad and droopy that I considered yanking it out of the ground and putting it out of its misery. That tiny crack at the base of the stem had turned into a full-blown split, and it happened to all but one of my squash plants. A little research led me to find that my poor plants had fallen victim to “squash vine borers” — thick, worm-like creatures that burrow into the base of vines and eat their way inside the plant. They sit there inside the stems, like a chunky little kid stuck in a pipe at a water park, blocking all of the water and nutrients from getting past their thick little selves to the rest of the plant until the whole plant finally keels over and dies. And that orange sawdust I touched when I first noticed the issue? Yep — borer poop. Here is what my plant looked like after just a few weeks:

what the...?

Even worse was the fact that when the squash vine borers are finished killing the plants, they exit the stem and burrow into the soil where they “pupate.” They stay here throughout the winter, only to emerge in the spring as a flying, wasp-looking creature that will lay eggs at the base of next year’s plants and start the nasty-ass process all over again. Did these little bastards really think they could get away with living rent-free in my zucchini stems for not one, but two seasons? Apparently, yes. But thanks to some research, mama’s got a plan. Once I see the signs (droopy leaves, orange poop, cracked stems) I can supposedly stop these suckers before they wreak total havoc again by using a knife to make an incision in the stem until I find the culprit and evict him. Better yet, I can try to prevent him from even entering the plant by wrapping the base of the stem with material from an old stocking:

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Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know Taste Delicious With Chocolate

There’s nothing better than chocolate, right? Or is there? Foodies have figured out that everyone’s favorite candy gets even better when combined with some surprising ingredients. Here are our top 10 favorite crazy chocolate recipes.

10. Avocado

It might sound gross, but avo mixed with chocolate chips makes an amazingly rich filling for Russell Warnick’s chocolate avocado pie.

 9. Eggplant

No, this is not a joke. Just give it a try. Salted fried eggplant drizzled with dark chocolate, from What You Give Away You Keep.

8. Goat Cheese

Chocolate is great. Cheese is great. Why the eff not? Macheesmo makes goat cheese raspberry brownies.

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Sandwiches in the City

New Yorkers are obnoxiously proud of our lunchtime options. We don’t do chains because we don’t have to. Not when you can find everything from banh mi hot dogs to Brussels sprouts sandwiches for under $10. That’s exactly why I’ve been so bothered by the rapid proliferation of Cosi, Pret a Manger and the like across Manhattan in recent years. Are New Yorkers really lunching at these places now? Sure, these semi-upscale sandwich chains are better than Subway or Quiznos, but I’d still take a Boar’s Head bodega roll any day of the week.

Recently entering the midtown sandwich contest and blowing the chains out of the water is City Sandwich, a Portuguese-style sandwich shop from chef Michael Guerrieri. Now, you foodies may be noting that there’s not really any such thing as a Portuguese-style sandwich. This is true. Like most refined Europeans, the Portuguese prefer to sit down and eat their meals with knives and forks. So Guerrieri, who was born in Naples, raised in New York and spent 13 years cooking in Lisbon, has taken traditional Portuguese meals and turned them into an array of newly-invented sandwiches.

The crispy bread is brought in twice daily from a Portuguese bakery in New Jersey; the insides scooped out to make room for fillings and to ensure the sandwiches aren’t too heavy. Each one is spread with high-quality olive oil and built using unique ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other sandwich shop in the world. For example, the Bench Girl, pictured above, contains alheira, a smoky, spicy sausage that was pioneered by Portuguese Jews during the Inquisition. In an effort not to stand out among their pork-eating compatriots, the Jews invented this chorizo-like link that is actually made from chicken, but looks enough like the real deal that no one could guess they weren’t dining on swine. Apparently, back in the day on the Iberian peninsula, not eating pork was enough to get you burned at the stake. Today, a little bit of pork has managed to sneak into most versions of alheira currently produced in Portugal, but it’s still a superbly rich and flavorful sausage that’s not quite like any other. It’s paired here with an omelet, grilled onions, spinach, and melted mozzarella, for a savory breakfast-y sandwich that is appropriate any time of day.

For a look at City Sandwich’s other inventive, Portuguese-influenced sandwich creations, keep reading after the jump.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Boyfriend, Roommate, Sister, Dad, etc

You know when you find something that your boyfriend, roommate, sister, dad, etc…can do really well—and it totally shocks you—and then you make that boyfriend, roommate, sister, dad, etc…keep doing it? Well, I discovered Bennett can poach the hell out of eggs.

The discovery occurred over Father’s Day. We finished our annual Gary Poppa 5K and the family looked to me to create a festive lunch. I dreamed up a take on eggs Benedict with a mini savory waffle standing in for an English muffin. It was then topped with caramelized onion, a poached egg and a creamy roasted red pepper and basil sauce all with a side of crispy potatoes. I delegated the tasks: my dad took on the waffles (I know, it’s Father’s Day but my dad adores cooking so it’d be unfair to make him just watch), my sister helped me with the sauce, my brother mixed up cocktails and I turned to Bennett for the poaching.

It was his first time poaching so he read a few articles, stressed out, and then poached 8 eggs. And only 2 (the first tw0) were overcooked. The eggs we used that day were a bit older and through his research we learned that poaching with fresh eggs makes the whites stay together more. We vowed to poach the next batch of eggs bought from the farmers market.

This brings me to my next spin on eggs Benny.


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My Similarities with a Fox

My first meal on a weekend will never be a salad. Monday through Friday, sure, I’ll put together something healthy. Something with kale. Something with yogurt and berries. But all I want Saturday revolves around the difficult task of bringing eggs to the farmers market.

This Saturday Truck Patch farm only brought about 20 cartons of eggs; they usually have triple. I grabbed a dozen right away. Weeks earlier, when Brian the farmer didn’t show up with many eggs, he told me the reason was it was too hot. The chickens wouldn’t lay. And I was like, dude, I totally get it. I wouldn’t want to do much of anything in this heat, much less squirt out a fucking egg. I figured the same thing happened this week. But no. Another natural occurrence took place – a predator ate the eggs. Brian found broken shells.

I can’t blame that fox or coyote for lapping up all those runny yolks.

Luckily though, they saved some for me.

Yolky Sun with Zucchini Rays

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