Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just Close Your Eyes And Pretend

Hers (under 200 calories.....His (under 300)

So, in the Spirit Of DiSpirito (recent post "Food For Thought..."), I hit the local Asian market for some Wonder Noodles. While there, I ordered some fresh veggie sushi-to-die-for... of course! Their selection of just about everything is vast and expensive; but surprise, surprise... only one shape and type of noodles. So, it was the spaghetti, tofu style, I left with. Practice began.

Now, mind you, Rocco's book shall still be purchased in the spring. For me, any cookbook is worth its purchase price if just one new recipe or idea is elicited from it. That prospect is months away, though; so, why not take the challenge now? These funky noodles lend themselves well to lots of ideas....

...the operative word being "funky". The first and most important step to using Shirataki noodles is to rid them of their smell. Not an aroma; a smell. Forewarned is forearmed; and I was, as I had read of this drawback online. Open the package over a strainer and running water, immediately pouring them into such designated area and rinsing thoroughly. Meanwhile, put empty bag into a baggie; seal and toss... just safeguarding here against the spread of further grossness! After you've rinsed them, nuke for 90 seconds and pat off excess water with paper towels.

Even real-deal Barilla Spaghetti #8 is never my choice; and this product resembles that cut. I think it has something to do with a Ragu association... those ads, when I was a kid. Yuck. Please understand that the mere mention of Ragu in front of my Italian Gran could justify the threat of a soapy mouth-washing. Just kidding :-); but, you get the gist. With that in mind, the dish pictured here would have held more appeal with a skinnier noodle, for this amica...

Entire dish 275 calories

Yep, first crack was the ole quick sauce. One 8-oz package of "pretend" took lots of rough-chopped garlic; one scant tablespoon of EVOO; and only half a box of my precious tomatoes... you know the drill... add whatever else you like to jazz it up with. Instead of relying on Pecorino Romano, over which I have little control, I added one light wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, to melt in. That whole pan came in at an extremely low calorie count, as you can see.

Next dish, pictured at the top of the page, splits one package, tossed (after the cleansing routine) into a chicken salad, dressed with a combo of low-fat, plain yogurt/apple cider vinegar/mustard. Use a touch of Supra (if you indulge) or maple syrup to sweeten, if you need to. I love "tangy", and shall even serve with a wedge of lemon. Thinking that Joe would not buy into this, I had only fixed one plate to refrigerate for a late lunch. Hmmm... must be the aesthetics, 'cause it appealed to him; a more lavish portion was arranged. Check out the calorie counts! Joe shall enjoy his with a side of something, such as toasted pita wedges.

The Message:
It is with confidence that I assure you these words shall never be uttered:
"Shiratake noodles are a great pasta replacement."
Having confirmed such fact, I will say:
"Not bad to stretch a few calories a long way, as they pick up whatever flavor you introduce to them."
As for consistency, it doesn't change much, regardless of what you do to them; but it does take a bit of getting used to. After all, there is nothing like
Barilla Al Dente!