I just read an article about the damaging effects of dividing time between a computer, phone, tablet and TV. It apparently shrinks the brain. So I’ve decided to put my phone away while I bounce from laptop, TV and kitchen while I type this post. I already feel smarter.
Earlier this week the mail delivered a treat. I’m now the proud owner of a spiralizer. Oh sure, many people have been using this for years, but since it’s new to me dear reader, it’s now new to you. This gadget has already changed my life. It transforms veggies into ribbony strands and curly shapes. And trust me, this isn’t just cool, the shapes allow for dressings and sauce to cling.
I spent my weekend enjoying this amazing east coast ‘pre-fall’ weather, bike riding, doing yoga and spiralizing everything I could get my hands on. On Friday I made a spiral cucumber, carrot, red onion salad. I added a bit of my lemon tahini dressing and tapped my toes as I chomped away. And since I’m pretty real with you when I write, I’m not ashamed to say that when I woke up at 3am for water, I had a large bite. I may or may not have had said salad for breakfast on Saturday.
Or do. I can take it.
No matter what your feelings, I’ll still share this easy Meatless Monday recipe.
- squash zoodles (you can also use a mandolin- but I can’t really be trusted with one)
- cherry tomatoes
- red onions, very thinly sliced
- mushrooms sliced (I used shitake, but hey grab whatever you have)
- garlic minced (3 cloves)
- spinach or any greens that are handy
- olive oil- three tablespoons
- splash quality balsamic
- salt, pepper and white pepper
- lemon juice from one lemon
In one pan sauté all of the veggies and ingredients except the zoodles.
- Heat the pan (with 2 tablespoons olive oil) over medium heat first add the onions, then garlic, then the mushrooms.
- In a second pan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and quickly toss the zoodles for two minutes.
- Combine the sauce and zoodles
- Serve immediately
Fair warning. Stay tuned for spiralizer recipes. If you see me running through the farmers market with loaded down with veggies and laughing with crazy eyes, keep movin’. It’s safer that way.
- Stult’s Farm in Plainsboro, NJ. New Jersey is the Garden State!
My trip to Stult’s farm in Plainsboro, NJ was fruitful indeed. This family owned farm has been around since 1912 and they only sell what they grow. In addition, there are a ton of items you can pick yourself. Strawberry picking as a kid seemed like such an adventure!
- Middle Eastern zucchini
- Tomatoes (Jersey tomatoes are THE BEST)
My haul in tow, I got home and looked at my goodies and decided to pass on my orginal plan and go with making Ratatouille instead!!!
Oh the deliciousness that awaits! Ratatouille originated in Nice, France. It comes from the verb ‘toiller’ which means to toss. It started out as a peasant dish made by farmers in the summer. True Ratatouille only had tomatoes, zucchini, green and red bell peppers, onions and garlic. A bit later eggplant was added in.
I like the rustic aspect of this dish mostly because it means that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. At least that’s how I interpret ‘rustic’. This dish does take some work, but boy is it worth it. It’s perfect for a casual dinner with friends or a Sunday meal. The leftovers make an easy Meatless Monday lunch!
- 1 eggplant
- 2 summer squash or zucchini
- 3 tomatoes roughly diced and seeded
- 2 peppers roughly chopped (I used red and yellow)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 3 springs fresh oregano removed from stem and chopped
- 1 c mushrooms roughly chopped
- 1/4-1/2 c olive oil
- 1/4 red wine
- 3/4 c vegetable broth or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise sprinkle with salt/pepper and grill 4-5 minutes per side
- Simultaneously, in a large dutch oven saute onions, peppers, garlic, oregano, mushrooms and corn
- Turn down the heat on dutch oven when the onions become translucent
- Roughly chop the eggplant and zucchini and add to mixture in dutch oven
- Add tomatoes, broth and wine.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes
- Garnish with fresh basil
You can serve over quinoa, rice or couscous. A crusty 7 grain bread would also be lip smackingly perfect.
- This is before liquid and tomatoes were added. I know, someone needs to bust out the bigger dutch oven.
Enjoy… And for a little dinner music I included Kool & the Gang’s Summer Madness…
Be cool Jack.
I wish I had a garden. I just know that I have a green thumb. It’s genetic. My mother has a green fist and my Dad is a scientist so c’mon that’s got to mean something. But all this city livin’ has left me without a backyard. That’s okay, I’ll get my garden one day.
As a kid my mom grew a bunch of things but I remember zucchini. Any kid who had a garden with zucchini remembers it, because it grows easily. It can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to do with the glut of squash you may have on your hands. Let’s face facts there’s only so many ways you can sauté it. So try this stuffing. It’s perfect for Meatless Monday! And the stuffing freezes nicely.
Check out Patrick’s video on zucchini! He has a beautiful garden- and he shoots the whole video with one hand.
- 2 zucchinis halved lengthwise scooped out (save pulp for filling)
- 1 pint mushroom package
- 1 cup of fresh spinach
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion
- roasted red peppers 1/2 jar (I used Cento’s tri-color)
- 1/2 cup plum tomatoes (I used Muir)
- 3-4 scallions
- 1 T oregano (dried)
- 1 T basil (dried)
- splash of red wine
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 t salt
- pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 325
1. Put the following in a food processor 1/2 of the mushrooms (roughly chop first), 1/2 of the roasted peppers, garlic, onion (roughly chop first), spices, scallions, olive oil and zucchini pulp.
2. Pulse until combined (don’t turn it into mush)
3. Place a pan on medium heat. Add 1 T olive oil.
4. Cook stuffing mixture from food processor in pan.
5. Add remaining mushrooms and roasted peppers. Cook for two minutes.
6. Add sauce. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add wine. Cook for 1 minute
8. Add spinach cook until wilted. Remove from heat
9. Gently spoon filling into zucchini ‘boats’
10. Cook for 40 minutes
Serve immediately and enjoy!!!