Friday, April 20, 2018
Cooking

Five ideas for zoodle dishes

Swearing off carbs has never been easier. I mean, it still seems to me like the most cruel punishment one could voluntarily inflict upon themselves, but there are enough ways to approximate the texture of certain dishes like spaghetti that it's not the sad gluten-free bread party it once was. The most helpful kitchen tool in this regard may be the spiralizer, which turns vegetables into slender, slinky strands that can stand in for noodles. Technically, a "zoodle" refers to the zucchini noodle, but we're including others under that banner for this collection of recipes, which puts the mighty spiralizer to work on other veggies, too.

Michelle Stark, Times food editor

French Onion Zoodle Bake

This casserole is reminiscent of the classic French soup, complete with that ooey, gooey cheese effect. To make, prepare 2 ½ cups zucchini noodles using a spiralizer. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and melt 1 large thinly sliced yellow onion and cook for a few minutes. To the skillet, add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste, stir, then cook for another minute or so. Add ¼ cup beef broth and cook about 20 minutes, or until onions are golden brown and soft. Remove from heat, then add to a bowl. Add zucchini noodles to the bowl, then stir to coat the noodles with the onion mixture. Place in an 8- by 5-inch baking dish and top with 1 cup grated fontina cheese. (Asiago also works.) Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted and is bubbling. Serves 4. Recipe adapted from climbinggriermountain.com.

Kale and Sweet Potato Noodle Salad

This is a simple yet hearty warm salad that you can finish off with the dressing of your choice. This makes a great vegan dish, just make sure to sub the Caesar dressing called for with something dairy-free; hummus thinned out with some water and seasoned with salt and lemon juice works well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine ½ teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt, then add a 15-ounce can of chickpeas that have been drained, and mix well. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and mix again. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake about 30 minutes until crisp. Prepare sweet potato noodles using 1 large sweet potato, then heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add sweet potato noodles, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste, and cook for about 6 minutes until cooked through. Stir often, then place in a large bowl and wipe the skillet out. Add another splash of olive oil, swirl it around so it coats the pan, then add 3 cups chopped kale. Cook until wilted slightly, then add to sweet potato noodles. Top this with your favorite Caesar dressing and toss well to coat. Add chickpeas to bowl, toss lightly, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 4. Recipe adapted from inspiralized.com.

Bacon Breakfast Bake

Consider spiralizing a couple of zucchini at the beginning of the week and keeping the zoodles, which will last about 2 days, in the fridge. With your prepped noodles, you can put together this breakfast bake in just a few minutes. First, cook 2 slices of bacon in a nonstick skillet until crispy. Set aside when cooked, then return pan back to the heat and crack 2 eggs into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until set. Top eggs with bacon and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Place ½ cup zucchini noodles in a bowl and microwave until warm. Top with cooked eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 1. Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Zoodles With Pesto

This dish utilizes zoodles in their raw form, brightening them with an avocado-based pesto. To make, start by turning 1 yellow squash and 1 carrot into noodles using a spiralizer, and place in a bowl. Next, place 1 ripe avocado, a large handful of kale, a handful of fresh mint, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the juice from 1 lemon and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Blend until creamy, then add ¾ cup peas and blend again until mixed. Add to bowl of noodles and mix well to coat. Top with a handful of pumpkin seeds and serve. Serves 1. Recipe adapted from eastewart.com.

Zucchini Pad Thai

Pad Thai may be the dish best able to disguise the use of zoodles as opposed to noodles, the thin zucchini soaking up the many flavors. To make, start by turning 2 medium zucchini into noodles. Now, make the pad Thai sauce. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce. Set aside. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat, then add the zucchini noodles and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they are just tender. Remove from pan and place in a bowl. Wipe the pan out, then add another tablespoon of olive oil and 3 large cloves minced garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add ½ pound peeled and deveined shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes. Add ½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin, and 3 sliced green onions, and cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add 1 large egg and stir until cooked through. Add zucchini noodles back into the pan, along with the sauce. Cook for about a minute until heated through. Serve with roasted peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish. Serves 4. Recipe adapted from whiteonricecouple.com.

Comments
A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

BROOKSVILLEThey brought it in glass carboys, in jars, in 2-liter bottles. It stacked up at the entrance to the auditorium, some of it just slightly murky but most of it crystal clear.Water. For more than 15 years the members of Region IV Florida Sect...
Published: 04/18/18
Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Whenever I fly, I pay way too much for food. Iíve stumbled jet-lagged into fancy wine booths and nearly bankrupted myself with cheese plates. Iíve purchased granola bars that cost more than my plane ticket (okay, maybe it just felt that way). If youí...
Published: 04/18/18
Enjoy a slice of sunshine with Tangerine, Ginger and Chocolate Tart

Enjoy a slice of sunshine with Tangerine, Ginger and Chocolate Tart

There are chocolate people, and there are vanilla people. I am a lemon person.Show me a dessert menu, and Iíll choose whatever is flavored with puckery lemon or any of her citrus sisters ó lime, tangerine, kumquat, yuzu. Even as a kid, I went for lem...
Published: 04/17/18
Recipe for 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs

Recipe for 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs

As the name suggests, 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs is no substitute for the kind of meatballs simmered for hours in your nonnaís Sunday gravy. Strangely enough, the recipe doesnít even include oregano or basil or a dry Chianti. And yet I think t...
Published: 04/17/18
Re-create that fancy spa water at home

Re-create that fancy spa water at home

It was lunchtime in the middle of the workday, so although I sat at the bar at downtown St. Petersburgís Asie Pan-Asian, I opted for a water. The bartender poured a glass and I took an unknowing sip.Cucumber. It was definitely cucumber. Iím not the b...
Published: 04/17/18
Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Many years ago, I took a trip to Rome and learned enough Italian to find directions and order dinner from menus. I learned very quickly that if I didnít make it clear, I would get sparkling water rather than still water at every restaurant. My husban...
Published: 04/16/18
Hereís how to make shakshuka, the egg dish with the awesome name

Hereís how to make shakshuka, the egg dish with the awesome name

By Rick NelsonSuddenly, it seems like shakshuka is everywhere.Restaurant menus. Food Network how-to shows. YouTube videos. And on breakfast, lunch and dinner tables in homes across the country.Maybe the dishís ascendancy can be traced to cookbook aut...
Published: 04/11/18
Cooking Challenge: Making a bowl of fancy bacon-and-egg ramen at home

Cooking Challenge: Making a bowl of fancy bacon-and-egg ramen at home

My boyfriend, Ben, screws a nail into the cork of our Bread and Butter wine bottle. Iíve recently moved into my own apartment ó the first step in a fully adult life ó but apparently, Adult Me doesnít own a bottle opener. Tonight, Iím cooking my first...
Published: 04/11/18

From the food editor: Homemade biscuits make the meal

Raise your hand if you have leftover Easter ham in your freezer. Yeah, me too. Itís not every day I pick up a large cured ham at the supermarket, so when holidays come around that call for the pork centerpiece, I always try to think of at least three...
Published: 04/10/18
Spice up salmon with this tarragon vinaigrette

Spice up salmon with this tarragon vinaigrette

A good piece of fish needs very little to make it perfect. Here, the anisey-tangy flavor of tarragon vinaigrette is a wonderful complement to the lushness of salmon fillets. If you start with excellent salmon and super-fresh herbs, and donít overcook...
Published: 04/10/18