Zucchini Noodles + a Veggetti® Giveaway!

I have to admit: I’m a pasta addict. My favorite comfort food is macaroni and cheese, though I’m almost as happy with just a big bowl of linguine or fettucine with some good olive oil and a little seasoning. But carbs. So many carbs and calories. Which is why I’ve been meaning to get a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles for a long time, particularly since my friend, Leah posted this recipe for zucchini noodles with lemon cream sauce.

And then, as luck would have it, the folks over at Veggetti® asked me if I’d like to try it out. Please and thank you!

While my brand new Veggetti® spiralizer was on the way, I happened upon a cooking demo that my friend, Trish of Nutrisha was hosting at the West End Farmers Market. She was using a Veggetti®! She told me it was very important to not overcook the “noodles” (they’ll turn to mush) and to use a fresh, firm squash for best results (it’s a lot more difficult to spiralize a…not-firm squash). I learned that it’s also a good idea to get a long, slender zucchini with a decent-size stem that will make it easier to grip and turn.

It's best to choose vegetables that will easily fit inside the Veggetti without being too thin.

It’s best to choose vegetables that will easily fit inside the Veggetti without being too thin.

Try to find a good stem that will act as a "handle" when turning the squash.

Try to find a good stem that will act as a “handle” when turning the squash.

This spiral core comes out the other end. I just threw it in with the "noodles."

This spiral core comes out the other end. I just threw it in with the “noodles.”

Trish shared this recipe (I made a few minor changes) for a nice, light Veggetti® that is a great side dish or “salad.”

Summer Squash “Spaghetti”
adapted from Trish Marzella Mathisen of nutrisha.com
serves 1-2

1-2 cups spiralized zucchini (from 2 medium zucchinis)
1 tablespoon softened goat cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
¼ cup chopped onions or leeks (white portion)
1 clove/teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a spiralizer, create veggie noodles by twisting (no need to peel first) through as shown (on the “thick” side).

Combine the goat cheese and lemon juice in a large bowl and set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions have become translucent and the garlic becomes fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the “noodles” and cook for about 1-2 minutes, gently tossing to coat with oil until the noodles have softened (do not overcook). Remove from heat and scrape into the bowl with goat cheese and lemon juice. Toss to coat the noodles with the cheese sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

I’m not going to lie; nothing can replace a really good noodle, but with a tasty sauce like this one (or Leah’s), spiralized veggie noodles can be a really great substitute. You can use them in place of wheat noodles for just about any dish that would normally require a long, thin noodle. It’s particularly helpful when you want to make a light dish that’s healthy and gluten-free and/or diabetic-friendly (and vegan, too!). And not only can you use it for zucchini, but for carrots and cucumbers as well. They make a fun garnish or filling for spring rolls.

The Veggetti® is available at Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS and numerous other stores that have an “As Seen on TV” section. However, you can win a Veggetti® PLUS a $25 Visa gift card by entering my giveaway! To enter:

Leave a comment telling me which pasta recipe (the name is fine, but a link would be great) you’d most like to try with Veggetti® noodles.

For a bonus entry (leave an additional, separate comment), tweet about this giveaway on Twitter. Whatever you’d like to tweet! Just please include my Twitter handle (@lesleyeats) and a link to this post. For example: “I’m ready to Veggetti! Win a spiralizer and gift card from @lesleyeats http://ow.ly/z8fy8”

Limit 2 entries per person. The contest will be open from now until Tuesday, July 22 at 1pm CDT and is only open to residents of the United States. The winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email (please be sure your comment includes a valid email address) that afternoon and will have until Friday, July 25 at 1pm CDT to respond with a valid mailing (street)address. If there’s no response by that time, I will choose another winner.

Note: this contest is closed. Congratulations to commenter #24, Liz!

Disclosure: The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel.

Posted in Giveaway, Product Reviews | 75 Comments

Black and White Cookies

Just before Father’s Day, I asked Twitter to recommend some chocolate cookies for me to make for Father’s Day. I got some great suggestions (Love and Olive Oil’s Double Chocolate Chipotle Cookies, these Brown Butter Pecan Praline Oatmeal Cookies with chocolate chips and a chocolate glaze), but after I looked through Pinterest and saw a picture of black and white cookies, I couldn’t get my mind off of them. After looking through the first recipe that popped up in my Google search, I was struck by how easy they seemed to be to make, too. How could a cookie as good as this be so easy? And if it’s so easy, why aren’t more bakeries making good versions of them? (Really, the ones I’ve had outside NYC were meh, at best.)

black_and_white_cookies

These cookies are a favorite in the Eats household. Mr. Eats and I “babymooned” in New York City and ate lots of potatoes, bagels, and black and white cookies. But they’re only shaped like cookies; they’re actually small, round, flat cakes (vanilla, sometimes with a hint of lemon) frosted with vanilla-lemon glaze on one side and chocolate glaze on the other side. And they’re usually huge. Like, four or five inches wide.

Anyhoo, this recipe comes from Epicurious/Gourmet, which I trust, but I still read through several pages of reviews to get some tips. One of the best tips was to double the recipe because you are definitely going to want plenty of these cookies (the only part I didn’t double was the amount of cocoa for the chocolate frosting). I used a large cookie scoop that yielded cookies that were about three to three and a half inches wide and I got an even three dozen. Enough to snack on for a while and to put some in the freezer for a nice treat at a later date. But I left the measurements of the original recipe.

Black and White Cookies
adapted from Gourmet/epicurious.com
yield: about 18 3″ cookies
Please see the notes section at bottom before making these cookies.

For the cookies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon two-tablespoon-size dollops of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Dip fingers in a bit of water and tamp scoops down into a disk shape about 3/8″ thick. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack cool about 5 minutes.

Frosting:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons cocoa, adding more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing and more cocoa to taste.

Frost the cookies:
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half. Use a pointed knife to make a straight edge.

Let the frosting set completely before storing. Stack cookies on parchment in an air-tight container. Refrigerate after a few days

Notes:
1. Set the butter out overnight to soften. Cut it to size first!
2. Set out the egg about a half hour before starting to get it to room temperature, which will help with the texture.
3. For the buttermilk, I put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a 1/3 cup container and added milk until full.
4. Be sure to use plenty of butter to grease the cookie sheets. And it’s better to overcook than undercook because the flat sides need to be firm so that they don’t come up and crumble when you frost them.
5. When I doubled my recipe, I just made the frostings separately and substituted water for the lemon juice for the chocolate frosting so that it did not have any lemon flavor.
6. I did *not* double the recommended 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, which is why I suggest starting with 2 tablespoons and adding more if needed. I used Valrhona cocoa powder and the frosting was amazing. Use good cocoa powder if you can.
7. To frost the cookies, I used the pointy butter knife that came with my silverware and got a perfect edge with it. Be sure to spread in only one direction so that crumbs from the cookie don’t get mixed into the frosting (so start with just a little bit and at the edge). If your white edge isn’t perfect, don’t worry; the chocolate will cover it up.

Posted in Desserts, Recipes | 7 Comments

Herb Garden Potato Salad

This potato salad is based on a recipe suggested to me by a Twitter friend who works for the group that publishes FarmFlavor.com, which is affiliated in part with the Tennessee Farm Bureau. The website is full of great, well-tested recipes with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients. It’s got a nifty search engine that lets you search by meal type, theme, cooking method, or ingredient. So when I asked for favorite potato salad recipes, it wasn’t hard for her to find this one. The original recipe calls for bacon, but she mentioned that she’d made it without and it was still very good.

And she was right; it’s fantastic. Even better, I was already planning to use Yukon Gold potatoes and I could see that this would also be a good way to use the garlic scapes I’d just cut from my garden (though a couple of weeks later than I should have). Of course, you can make it as it appeared originally or use my recipe (with changes) below or get creative on your own. But do be sure to keep the lemon and basil; I think they were the key to making this potato salad unique and very tasty. It was so good that my mother-in-law asked for some of the leftovers!

ps–I decided to call it “Herb Garden Potato Salad” since I could actually use herbs grown in my own garden!

herb_garden_potato_salad

Herb Garden Potato Salad
adapted from FarmFlavor.com
serves 6-8

Ingredients:
3 pounds potatoes (we used Yukon gold, red and blue potatoes)
1 cups onion, finely chopped and lightly sauteed with a little olive oil
¼ cup fresh chives, finely minced
¾ cup fresh basil, chopped

Dressing:
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons garlic scapes, finely minced
¾ teaspoon salt (I used smoked salt)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Place unpeeled potatoes in a large 5- to 8-quart pot. Cover with cold water and place over high heat. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Once water boils, remove cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on size. Check frequently to prevent overcooking.

Drain potatoes and set aside to cool. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces, about ½- to ¾-inch chunks, and place in large bowl. Add onion, chives and basil. Toss very gently to combine.

In a separate bowl, make the dressing: whisk together mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic scapes, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over potato mixture and lightly toss with a large wooden spoon, taking care not to break too many potato chunks.

Chill in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container.

Posted in Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes | 6 Comments