Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp and Tomatoes

Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp and Tomatoes

FINALLY feeling normal after our 1 year wedding anniversary / belated honeymoon trip to Hong Kong and Japan, we had to take a break from sorting through the 3000+ photos we took, which I hope to share you with one day.  As much as I know we are going to sound like SUCH  snoots, we had a hard time ‘adjusting’ to the food in NYC after the incredible meals we had for 3 weeks in Asia, but honestly some home cooked meals are in order to begin our post vacation ‘cleanse’.

With that, what better place to get our groceries than at our neighborhood farmer’s market?  Check out these Komet tomatoes plump and glowing in red in the speckled sunshine! It was hard to resist buying them even at $5.49 /lb (gulp)….

Such as farmer’s market goes though, you never know what you might find. To make up for those pricey red beauties, we passed by Monkshood Nursery selling some amazing looking organic GIANT zucchinis ON SALE for $1 EACH!!!! Holy crap.

Komet Tomatoes

Komet Tomatoes

Giant Zucchini !

Giant Zucchini !!!!! Courtesy of Monkshood Nursery

After grabbing 3 of these mammoths, I had to figure out what to do with them. Wanting something lemony with shrimp, I stumbled upon this paleo zucchini noodle recipe. Subbing the cherry tomatoes with chopped up Komets, skipping the mushrooms, this dish still turned out fantastic.

Don’t have a spiraler? Don’t fret. I actually used the cheese grater plate on my favorite mandolin slicer and made perfect long stripes from the zucchini! The large zucchini made it super easy to grate, I ended up grating each “side” skipped the center, it is too soft to grate (waste not, cut that up in cubes and serve with tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar as a simple salad!).

Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp and Tomatoes

ingredients (Yields 4 servings):

– 1 huge (about 1.5 lbs) zucchini, noodled

– 1 teaspoon(s) sea salt

– 4 tablespoon(s) olive oil

– 2 medium garlic clove(s), minced

– 1/2 pound(s) shrimp, peeled and de-veined

– A Sprinkle of cayenne pepper, (adjust to your liking)

– 4 medium tomatoes chopped

– 1/2 medium  lemon, juiced

– 1 teaspoon(s) black pepper, freshly ground

Directions:

  1. Use a cheese grater or mandolin slicer with a grater plate or a julienne plate to make the “zoodles”
  2. Place zoodles in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt, and toss, make sure the salt covers the zoodles. Let it sit for 20-25 minutes, occasionally tossing. Drain and discard any excess liquid. <– DON’T SKIP THIS STEP, it makes your zoodles crunchy
  3. When “zoodles” are drained, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and wait 15 seconds.
  4. Add garlic to the hot pan and saute for a minute or 2. Toss shrimp with cayenne pepper add to pan. Saute, stirring frequently until shrimp are bright pink.
  5. Add tomatoes, saute for a few minutes until heated through. Then add zoodles and lemon juice and stir just to heat through.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Season with additional sea salt (if desired) and freshly ground black pepper.
Grating Grating Grating (2nd side)

Grating Grating Grating (2nd side)

GETTING WRINKLY

Getting Wrinkly and Crunchy – Don’t Skip this Step!

Bird is the Word

Even the birds know that winter in NYC is finally over and are joining the Spring fling that’s in full swing.  Bird migration season is here and Central Park is teeming with these incredible little animals!

This past Sunday alone (5/3) we saw 4 new birds we’ve never seen before just with a few hours of “casual” birding: Yellow Rumped Warbler, Blue Headed Vireo, Nashville Warbler, and the Prairie Warbler. Not to mention other visitors & favorite regulars: Black and White Warbler, American Goldfinch, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, White-Throated Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, Titmouse, Brown Creeper, Pine Warbler, Red Winged Blackbird, Cowbird etc. etc etc.

nashville_warbler_F5R4796

Nashville Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Blue Headed Vireo

Blue Headed Vireo

Black and White Warbler

Black and White Warbler

I never used to care about birds, a sparrow’s a sparrow and a pigeon’s just a flying rat, right? Well partially right, pigeons ARE indeed flying rats but a sparrow is definitely not just a sparrow.  In North America alone, there are at least 35 species of sparrows and now that I’ve been birding for a few years, being able to identify different kinds of sparrows have become somewhat of a holy grail.

Nerdy, I know, but bird watching truly brought about a whole new perspective on life for me.  It’s a great activity that will bring you outdoors, make you look up, and realize that NYC is not just about people and the latest restaurants.  It allows for the appreciation of the details in life that distinguish the “little dots” in the sky with incredible beauty.

Some tips for first time birders:

  • Get out there! Start with the birds that are easy to find in your area. In NYC those would be: Cardinals, Robins, Blue JaysEuropean Starlings, Grackles
  • Once you get the hang of identifying the more abundant birds and get familiar with their favorite hangouts, start listening to their songs!
  • When you’re ready to take your birding to the next level (bird nerds unite) get a pair of binoculars and check out this great video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • Download the free Merlin Bird ID app to help identify birds and ask what birds birders around you are seeing. We’re nice peeps!
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Perfect Chinese Dumplings – For The New Year & Beyond (Updated)

Happy Lunar New Year of the Sheep! Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays growing up in Hong Kong. A celebration of Spring’s impending arrival, we would fill our homes with fresh flowers (boy, do I miss the sweet scent of the Narcissus bulb!), see friends and family, and eat a lot of food that typically only gets served during this festive time of year.

While these precious gatherings are harder to come by these days, I hope to carry on this great tradition by making the foods that remind me most of home. Turnip cake is a solid staple, while it does take a bit of work, it’s so worth it to make your own – check out my recipe (and menu) here. This year, I’m going to dive into another gold star staple, the Chinese dumpling!

Ready to wrap and roll!

Ready to wrap and roll! 

Our household favorite savory dumpling recipe features some unusual ingredients like bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms (for crunch), and Chinese chives (more garlicky than regular chives). You can omit or substitute those ingredients and the dumpling would still be delish – this recipe is pretty forgiving. To learn more about wrapping, serving, and storing your dumplings, check out this great noshon.it post:

Ingredients (makes 50 dumplings):

– 7 – 10 Shitake Mushrooms chopped

– 10 – 15 pieces Wood Ear Mushrooms chopped (optional)

– 1 small can Bamboo Shoots chopped

– 2 small Carrots chopped

– 5 – 6 Napa Cabbage (or green cabbage) leaves, blanched, cold bath, chopped

– 8-12 stalks of Chinese chives (or 2-3 stalks of spring onions if unavailable) chopped

– 1/4 cup Cilantro

– 1 tablespoon Grated Ginger

– 1 egg, whisked

– 1 pound Raw shrimp (as binding agent for the vegetable mix) grounded into a paste using a food processor (or you can use 1/2 lbs Ground chicken and 1/2 lbs Ground shrimp)

– Soy sauce and sesame oil to season dumpling mix

– 50 Dumpling Skins (should be able to find Nasoya brand at Wholefoods or local grocery store)

– Soy sauce or Citrus dumpling sauce with a drop of seasame oil for dipping

Instructions:

1. Chop all listed vegetable ingredients

2. Mix all vegetables, whisked egg, and shrimp (or chicken) well with soy sauce and sesame oil 

3. Wrap a small spoonful of mix in a dumpling skin

4, Steam, Pan fry, or Boil your dumplings and serve hot with dipping sauce on the side

5. Have a dumpling party!

Chinese Dumplings

Wrapped up and ready to go!


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Boiled dumplings