Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Go Buy a Spirooli

Guys, guys, guys! I have found the best thing ever and OMG IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

One thing a lot of people notice instantly when they go gluten-free is that their pasta choices are suddenly limited. Those 59 cent boxes of macaroni and that five-pack of Ramen that you lived on in college are out the door, never again to find their way down into your belly. You can buy some gluten-free noodles, sure - and there are some good ones out there, like the Tinkyada and Schar brands - but for the most part, pasta seems like kind of too much effort sometimes.

Here's my pasta secret. Don't tell anyone, it's too embarrassing. Here goes: even before I had to go gluten-free, I didn't really love pasta at all.

I know, I know, how can a suburban midwesterner not be a fan of pasta, right? That and bratwurst is practically all we eat here! No, really, I have just never liked pasta that much, because it made me feel so full and bloated. Not gluten-reaction bloated, but gotta-put-on-the-yoga-pants-and-skip-dessert bloated. So while I *occasionally* ate pasta, usually I'd pass on it, because it just wasn't something I enjoyed.

Anyway, all that was backstory. Last week I'm noodling around on Pinterest (see what I did there?) and I came across this recipe: Zucchini Noodles and Grilled Shrimp. My friends, it was like the skies opened up, the clouds parted, the sun shone upon me and a chorus of angels began to sing. ZUCCHINI NOODLES. Turning a vegetable into a pasta-like shape! WHO KNEW???

Then I had to figure out how to make it happen, and because the Google-fu is strong in me, within about 12 seconds I discovered I needed to get a spiralizer. Now, there are a ton of different ones out there, but because I'm poor (and because I often lose interest in gadgets after I've paid for them) I decided to get the least expensive, but still decent-looking one I could find.

Ladies and germs, The Spirooli.

For $24.99 (actually, it was $20 because I had a 20% off BB&B coupon), I got a gizmo that is kind of fabulous. It's made of very basic plastic (hey, it was twenty bucks!) but it works perfectly to crank out little spirally ribbons of whatever vegetable you want to put in there.

One and a half medium sized zucchini gave me a huge pile of noodles full of ribbony green goodness.


Anyway, I tossed them in a ceramic pot with some butter, garlic, salt and a handful of Parmesan cheese, and microwaved it for about four minutes to warm it up.

It was a giant bowl of heaven.

And then, just when I thought my zoodles couldn't be any more amazing, I went out to the garden and grabbed some fresh basil and a tomato for topping, and served it all up with a plate of Greek chicken.

The Spirooli washes up easily too - I had it cleaned and dried in the time it took me to nuke my zoodles.

Seriously, guys, I'm going to Spirooli the hell out of any vegetable that gets near me. Potatoes = curly fries. Cabbage = coleslaw. AND MOAR ZUCCHINI NOODLES.

Go buy one. It's going to make you rethink the way you look at pasta.

Review: Schar Deli-Style Bread

So, I haven't blogged for a while, because I got this crazy idea that I should go back to school back in the spring. It's going well, but even with just two classes a semester, it's a bit of a time-suck, but I promise I'm going to try to get better about sharing recipes and product reviews more on the regular. For now, though, I wanted to jump back into things with an absolutely amazing gluten-free bread I've found.

Back in 2012, I checked out Schar's White Bread Rolls, and they were pretty darn tasty. As I mentioned then, I don't really buy a lot of pre-made GF bread things, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because a lot of times they're terrible. If something tastes like a cardboard box, putting chicken salad or ham'n'cheese ain't gonna make it taste less like a cardboard box. It's just going to taste like a cardboard box with toppings.

Anyway, I decided to treat myself to something nice (or at least, so I hoped) and bought a package of Schar's Deli-Style Bread. It looked interesting. It looked like it had texture. It looked like - dare I say it? - a soft rye. Color me intrigued.

Now, a quick aside - you only get five slices per package. It doesn't sound like much, but they're pretty good-sized pieces of bread. Deli size. You could easily make five meals out of them, if you use one slice per sandwich.

I was hungry. I used TWO slices and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

In fact, I made an absolutely lovely grilled turkey and cheese sandwich with pesto mayo on it. The bread has a great flavor, it's soft enough that you could eat it without toasting or grilling it, and it holds together beautifully. Did I mention it has a great flavor? Seriously, guys, it tastes like a light rye (the company's website says it's sourdough, but I'm not really getting that sourdough vibe at all).

Anyway, go try some Schar bread. It's seriously yummy, and it's so soft you'll forget you're eating a gluten-free sandwich bread.