Zucchini noodle trial and error

Before I get started with this week’s Foodie Friday post, I want to take a moment to say how much I love fall! One of the many things I’ve missed while I was living in Hawaii was the seasons, since in the islands there’s really only two: “warm verging on muggy hot” and “slightly less warm but with some precipitation depending on what side of the island you live on.” But as the temperatures start to cool down and the leaves change here in Virginia, I can’t help but get a little excited. For one, the “Christmas is coming for the next several months!” phenomenon seems slightly less ridiculous in non-tropical weather (which I just complained about over on my other blog.) For another, it no longer seems weird to drink a pumpkin spice latte. I don’t know, I love PSLs as much as the next person, but for some reason it just seems wrong to drink one when it still feels like summer. And that isn’t limited only to Hawaii – I was excited when Starbucks announced they were bringing back PSLs early this year, but drinking one in September when it’s still warm enough to wear tank tops and shorts was, well, weird.

...but only if it's close to Thanksgiving and the weather is brisk

…but only if it’s October-December and the weather is brisk

Call me a snob, but in my mind pumpkin spice = the holiday season = cooler weather. Kind of like how tropical drinks = summer = tropical weather. And now I’m going to out myself as a hypocrite, because I picked up some snickerdoodle-flavored coffee creamer that I’m now enjoying in my latte as I write my snobby blog post. Flame away, but we all know that snickerdoodles are baller and deserve to be enjoyed during all months of the year, not just December.

You know you want me

You know you want it

Anyway, on to food. I recently returned from my family’s home in Idaho, where I went to pick out a wedding dress among other things. (I plan on writing about this soon, because WEDDING PLANNING IS SO RIDICULOUS.) Now, I love my family dearly, and my mother is a great cook. But we’re an Italian family, so that means home cooking includes a lot of cheese, wine, and processed carbs. Delicious? Of course, and I did my best to enjoy myself in moderation. But I knew when I came back I’d need to hop right back on the health wagon, especially with the holidays around the corner. (Or here since last month, whatever.) So, I went looking for healthy versions of some of my favorite meals, and came across Kelly Senyei’s site Just a Taste and her recipe for Skinny Shrimp Scampi.

Yes, please! (photo credit: justataste.com)

Yes, please!

I was immediately sold because I, too, refuse to give up wine. Also, I’ve recently discovered zucchini noodles as an alternative for pasta, and have been trying different recipes to see where they fit best. This recipe worked out great; the scampi flavor was delicious and replacing two ounces of pasta (=200 calories) with two zucchinis (=80 calories or so) made me feel healthy and not deprived. However… I should have heeded the instructions and used a mandoline to cut the zucchini noodles. With our sailboat’s limited kitchen storage, we have to be pretty choosy about what cooking gadgets we decide to keep on board. Mandoline slicers are pretty large, so of course we don’t own one. We do, however, have a mini julienne peeler, and I thought that would be good enough. Wrong.

What zoodles are supposed to look like...

What zoodles are supposed to look like…

The peeled strips were far too thin, and in the saute pan turned into a green mass resembling a ball of yarn with some shrimp on the side. (I really need to start remembering to take pictures of my cooking efforts, even if it means I’ll end up on “pinterest fails.”) It still tasted okay, but I later read that if you make your noodles with a peeler, you shouldn’t cook them because they’ll become mushy and fall apart. Oops.

Peeled zoodles are fine if you like thinner, softer pasta. Just be careful if you cook them!

Peeled zoodles are fine if you like thinner, softer pasta. Just be careful if you try to cook them!

So, the zucchini noodle experiments continue. My next venture, I believe, will be this recipe for Pad Thai by the White on Rice Couple. I freaking love Pad Thai, about as much as I love snickerdoodles. Also, I think I’m going to ask for a spiralizer for Christmas, if I can convince Chuck that it will fit on the boat… somewhere.

brb, gonna go make some delicious Thai food. (photo credit: whiteonricecouple.com)

brb, gonna go make some delicious Thai food.

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