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Zucchini 'pasta' for dinner

August 01, 2010|By LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER / Scripps Howard News Service

Dear Lynne: Is my sister imagining things when she says stainless steel gets rid of the smell of garlic and onions on her hands? She says she rubs her hands on a stainless bowl and the smell is gone. -- Deannie in Lincoln

Dear Deannie: Try it yourself. It works. Stainless steel can remove the odors of garlic and onions. One chemistry source speculates it's because the sulfur in garlic and onions (which gives them the strong aromas) is attracted to and binds with one or more of the metals in stainless steel, diminishing odors.

Dear Lynne: You know those dishes you can't get out of your head? Mine is summer tomatoes with olives, tossed with a zucchini "pasta." That is, the pasta actually was thinly cut zucchini. My attempt turned to mush. Your thoughts? -- Ken from Wilmington

Dear Ken: I wonder if you're channeling a certain little place on the road to Lyon, France. I'd tried its zucchini pasta decades ago; of course, that place is probably long gone. But talk about sounding like a clone. It was a raw tomato sauce with every Provencal ingredient you could think of and strips of zucchini -- so light and cool, you could almost forget it was 98 in the shade.

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Salt will solve your problem with mushiness. Salt the strips of zucchini, wrap them in paper towels and press them with a chopping board. No mush! This no-cook recipe is perfect for a steamy summer night.

ZUCCHINI "PASTA" WITH SUMMER TOMATO SAUCE



Serves 4

Zucchini Pasta:
6 medium zucchini
Salt, to taste

Summer Tomato Sauce:
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup pitted
Nice or Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
4 to 5 medium to large tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (do not peel or seed)
2 tightly packed tablespoons of minced fresh herbs (a blend of oregano, thyme, savory, sage, marjoram and basil)
2 tightly packed tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

Cut the zucchini into thin strips. Lightly salt the strips and spread them on a triple thickness of paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and weight with a cutting board and heavy cans. Leave for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the tomato-sauce ingredients in a large, nonreactive bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper and olive oil. (It should have the consistency of salsa. If it has too much watery liquid, drain it and save the excess for dressing salads.)

Toss the zucchini with the sauce and serve.

Dear Lynne: How do I keep my fruit pies from being soupy? -- Challenged in Sacramento

Dear Challenged: The best way is to sugar the fruit the way you normally would, put it in a strainer over a bowl and leave it for an hour. The sugar will draw out juices. Boil down those juices to a thick syrup, gently blend it back in with the fruit and add a little flour or cornstarch, too (about a tablespoon for 4 cups of fruit). Now bake the pie as usual.

The theory here is that you are giving the flavors back to the fruit, but they are intensified so you get more taste minus the explosion of liquid. Hope this helps.

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