Note: I originally tucked this recipe, along with many others, in the “recipes” section of this site without posting about it. But I have recently had a bunch of reader questions about it and a whole lot of traffic leading to it, so I figure I owe you more detail, which comes along with a little kitchen love story.
Once upon a time, I met a very nice woman whose name is Gretchen. She worked with a very nice man whose name is Larry at a very nice company called Oxo. This was long, long ago, before the internet was bigger than magazines and in a time when blogs were nothing more than gnats in the media air. (If you can’t remember that time, you are either very old or very young and should therefore be cooking only when supervised.)
Oxo is an unusual company. It makes kitchen tools designed to be gentle on human bodies and make cooks’ lives easier. That is cool, but this is even better: Oxo grew and grew and grew based solely on the merit of their products, and never once advertised. Gretchen met regularly with food editors and writers at magazines and newspapers and explained the virtues of each and every new product. The editors and writers then did what they do and told readers about these great kitchen tools. So the company grew even more.
I was one of those writers and over the years, Gretchen and I became outside-of-work friends. But loving Gretchen doesn’t make me love her products. Oxo products seduce me all by themselves in a cheerfully straightforward way: they call out to me with a perky voice and say, “Check me out! I am über smart and I will make your life easier and your readers’ lives easier –and I am not too expensive and I am easy to find.” Not every product wows me, and some definitely thrill me more than others. Which leads me, finally, to my kitchen love story.
This is a julienne peeler. It is not a cool “chef” tool. Chefs are expected to julienne– that is, cut foods into the size and shape of matchsticks– using their chef’s knives. I can do that– but I would rather use this. I love it so much I get teased about it.
See those little teeth on the blade? They turn potato, carrot, parsnip, and zucchini into elegant long, thin strands. And that plastic top flips over the blade so a hand reaching into your drawer will not be julienned.
One day several years ago I brought my julienne peeler into a class I was teaching at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education). Students were as smitten as I was, which was geek-love validation. I told Gretchen about it, and she sent me a whole box (!) of julienne peelers to keep as my private stash at ICE. (My Oxo stash at school has since expanded to include other products. I’ll tell you about them as they come up.)
Julienned carrots make salads look beautiful; fried strands of potato atop a mound of mashed potato makes a dinner plate look restaurant-fancy. One Thanksgiving I cooked julienned carrot and parsnip together and glazed them with an orange ginger sauce, and even my imperious grandmother was impressed. But my all-time, absolute favorite use for my julienne peeler is Zucchini Spaghetti.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), cut in long thin julienne strands (4-5 cups strands)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grape cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute, or until just softened. Add the zucchini and salt and cook, tossing frequently, until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and cheese. Add the red pepper flakes if desired.
Makes 4 servings
78 calories, 4 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 235 mg sodium
Please note: Oxo and Gretchen have no idea I am writing this post: they are not compensating me for doing so. Oxo provides us with product to test and use. When I feel readers and students benefit by knowing about products, I write about and discuss them. My opinions are genuine and can’t be bought.