Category Archives: Thoughts

Oodles of Zoodles

Am I the only one who sometimes gets sucked into fads? No? Good! Because I’m hooked on a trend that I hope sticks around for awhile. Meet: the Zoodle (zucchini noodle)!

Spiralizer

Veggetti Spiralizer

Zoodles can be made in a variety of ways. I make mine using a spiralizer. The Veggetti spiralizer is a handy little tool that can take most oblong vegetables and turn them into ‘noodles’! The Veggetti is a more affordable option if you want to give zoodles a try. You can also buy a julienne peeler, which is like a regular vegetable peeler but has little ridges to cut thin strands.

 

Once you have your zoodles cut, the preparation options are endless. Tonight, I made zoodles with meat sauce.

Zoodles with meat sauce

Zoodles with meat sauce

Zoodles with Meat Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • pam, cooking spray, or olive oil
  • parsley
  • basil
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Spray pan with pam or drizzle with olive oil, and sauté mushrooms and minced garlic until tender. Add ground beef and brown. While the beef is browning, use a Veggetti (or other instrument) to slice zucchinis into zoodles. Once beef and mushroom mixture is well browned, add cans of petite diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste (I use a good amount of each because I like an herbaceous sauce). Turn heat down to low and let the sauce simmer; this allows the flavors to develop. As the sauce is simmering, heat another large sauté pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot, spray with pam and add the zoodles. Toss the zoodles and heat through for only a couple minutes. You want the zoodles to stay bright green and crisp; do not overcook or they will get wet and soggy. Once warm, plate zoodles and top with a heaping portion of meat sauce. Enjoy!

 

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Fall Fun

It certainly has been a while. Oops! Summer somehow came and went in a blink of an eye. In that time, I managed to do a good amount of cooking and not write about it. I’ll have to take the time to post a summer recap.

As for this past weekend, fall has come upon us and a few friends and myself decided to take advantage. We drove about 45 minutes outside of DC to Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD to go apple picking! The day was absolutely gorgeous.

There were endless rows of Sun Crisp, Fuji, and Cameo apples that we wandered through and filled our baskets with. At one point we found a ladder, which meant access to the untouched apples on top of the trees! And beautiful pictures like this:

We even found the perfect teacher apple!

I ended up with a beautiful bounty of 16 lbs of mixed apples, 2 butternut squash, and a box of the most delicious yellow grape tomatoes I’ve ever tasted (I had to stop my friends from eating them all in the car- they were that good!).

That night I wanted something easy for dinner, so I threw the tomatoes into a frying pan and added in some red grape tomatoes from the grocery (not nearly as flavorful as the farm-fresh ones).

This was a simple saute with olive oil, sprinkled with dried basil and ground black pepper, and finished off with some minced garlic. I topped some spaghetti with the colorful fresh tomato ‘sauce’ and chowed down. It was delicious!

I hope everyone has the chance to go apple picking at some point this season! All the produce was fresh and fantastic. Expect a lot of apple recipes to come!

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Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

Pizza…yum! I could go for some pizza right now. Then again, I could go for pizza anytime. You too? OK, good. This recipe is for you! Making pizza is easy, very fun, and yields fantastic results. You can put almost anything on a pizza, and for this pizza I was inspired by Jessica at How Sweet It Is. She crafted a red pepper pizza with a balsamic glaze, which I really wanted to try (she also used fancy cheese, but I am more of a classic mozzarella girl). I made this roasted red pepper pizza at the last wine night I hosted a while back. Admittedly, I attempted to make the balsamic glaze which did not work in my favor. Somewhat sadly I served my pizza sans glaze, but everyone still raved! It was the first time I used my new pizza pan and what a difference it made. The crust was evenly cooked and perfectly crispy throughout the whole pizza, no doughy spots in the middle. In the end I was very pleased with the results, as were my friends (they all wanted more!). This was a fun dish to serve because each person got one slice, which was a fun twist to serve as a side. Also note: I made my own dough which I think is worth the extra bit of work, but if you don’t feel like doing so most grocery stores sell balls of pre-made dough.

Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

makes one pizza

dough:

1/4 oz (1 packet) active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, combine yeast and warm water to activate the yeast. After a few minutes, add in flour, olive oil, and salt. Mix until just combined. Brush large bowl with olive oil, add dough, and cover with a damp towel. Let stand for about 2 hours.

pizza:

2 roasted red peppers, cut into strips (easy to do ahead of time)

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 jar of tomato sauce (put as much or as little as you like)

Block of fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

Handful of chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Once pizza dough is ready to go, roll/press into desired shape and brush the surface with olive oil and top with minced garlic. Spoon sauced onto dough, thinly layer mozzarella, then top with red peppers and basil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

*If you would like to try the balsamic glaze:

While pizza is baking, heat vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil, then let simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes until reduced to about 1/3-1/2 cup. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes to thicken. When pizza is finished baking, drizzle glaze on top and serve.

New Site!

Welcome to the brand new CityCooker website! Here you can find recipes, restaurant reviews, and anything else food-related that I feel like sharing. Due to life, I have not had the chance to blog in over 6 months. Having recently graduated from college, I am now dedicated to spending my free time working on this gem. First, I will upload previous posts. Then I plan to catch up on the past few months in blog posts. Lastly, assuming I successfully recount everything that has been missed, I will move forward and share everything new. I am glad to be back and I hope everyone is excited for everything to come!

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