And a bottle of red and a plate of snacky poofs or a delicious cookie. As if you needed to ask?!?!
So that is why I was gleeful, stunned and a bit giddy when a recipe I rocked out from a cookbook by Teresa Giudice of Jersey Housewives fame was wonderfully tasty.
Yous guys. Seriously.
It was astoundingly fantastic. Or, if we're speaking in Jersey speak: It was freaking awwwwwe-some.
And, here I thought all Teresa was good for was botching the English language, gussying herself up in a totally tacky Jers wardrobe and holding lifelong grudges over sprinkle cookies.
I guess the awesomeness of her recipes should not be surprising. Because cattiness and jealousy aside, it seems that the broads on the Jersey sector of the Real Housewives franchise know a thing or 1,000 about the ways around the kitchen. If I had to dine in with any of these Bravo be-yotches, it would be with the Jersey girls. And of course if I was headed out on the town, dahling, it would be with the Bev Hills snobby snobs in a schi-schi restaurant or better yet, Lisa Vanderpump's closet, preferably with a view of the shoes, jewels and bags. (My name is Susan and I am an accessories whore ... and I need to read a good book. And maybe trash TV should be my sacrifice next year at Lent....Yeah, ok.)
Anyways, Teresa's Zucchini Spaghetti Salad from her Skinny Italian cookbook is a wonderful starter or side dish. It really lets the zucchini shine. So make this when the zucchs are in season, which is now, now, now in my lovely Garden State. Yay! It is light and refreshing and packed with flavor, all good things you should look for in a salad. Basically, you take an ordinary carrot peeler and peel the zucchini into thin strips. Don't go into the seedy part, because that will make the salad turn to mush. About a half hour before serving, toss with the lemon vinaigrette. As the strips marinate, they become wiggly and twirly like spaghetti glistening in the lemon juicy goodness. Love it! This would be great to serve on a night you're grilling since it involves zero cooking time.
And since this is my blog, I will now take a moment to boast: My 2-and-a-half-year-old son asked for MORE ZUCCHINI three times during dinner. In the words of Teresa, "Are you freakin' kidding me?"
More Apple Jacks.
These requests make sense to moi. But on this glorious night at din din, he ate zucchini, tilapia AND basmati rice.
"OK. Now, you're REALLY bragging," my sister Monica informed me via phone call after lamenting about her sons' current meal plan of McDonald's and pizza. (She's moving back to Hammonton in two days, so her cupboard is bare, people!!!!)
If it's any consolation, Monica, the odds are 90-10 that your No. 1 nephew won't want to touch any of the above-mentioned good eats the next time they are served. And, I'm pretty sure at our next family din he'll want to tap into my emergency stash of disgusting Perdue chicken nuggets, because he did declare last week: "Mommy. I love them... with ketchup. Ketchup. To dip. Yummy."
Zucchini "Spaghetti" Salad
From "Skinny Italian"
By Teresa Giudice
3 large zucchini (about 1 1/3 pounds) scrubbed well, ends trimmed
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Using a mandoline, plastic V-slicer or spiral slicer, cut the zucchini into long, thin julienne strips. Do not use the seedy center of the zucchini as it can be too soft and will ruin the look and texture of the strips.
Whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the zucchini and basil and toss well. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes so the zucchini can soak up the dressing and soften slightly.
Using a fork with long tines, twirl each portion of zucchini onto the fork so it looks like a little bird's nest and transfer to a plate.