One of the great benefits of volunteering in Macedonia is the prevalence of internet access.
Sure it goes out sometimes. We unplug it during storms. Most of the time my school has it. The point being, I can get online.
And what do I use the internet for most?
Not for Netflix, though thanks to the Hola extension, it’s an option outside the U.S. Not for Facebook, though that has become my primary messaging method. Not for seeking out lesson plan ideas and new games for my students, though that takes a ton of time too.
Nope. I look at recipes. (I’m a hungry hobbit at heart.)
I have a favorites folder where I save all the recipes I want to try, have tried successfully, or think I can tweak to work with the ingredients I can find here. (Lots of cabbage, FYI.)
Realizing that I spend a ton of time online cruising for recipes and din-spiration (see what I did there?), I’ve decided to start featuring my favorite Macedonian meal successes. (Because everyone likes food, right?)
First up: zoodles.
Zoodles are noodles made out of grated zucchini. As a card-carrying vegetarian, I probably should have tried them before I came to Macedonia, but I didn’t have a really cool spiralizer (gadget that turns veggies into long strings that you eat like noodles). There is no alternate universe that exists where I have the patience to slice off individual noodles with a veggie peeler.
But then zucchinis showed up in the pazar and I had to try.
The problem is, I still don’t have a spiralizer or the patience to veggie peel my way to a full meal. Whenever I have any kind of problem in life, I go straight to the smartest person I know: Google.
Brilliant Google led me to a cooking blog where a genius made zoodles using a box grater! No spiralizer required! Bingo.
The trick is to turn the box grater (or circle grater as is the case for me) on its side and then run the veggies across long ways. It didn’t take that long and it was super easy. I’m hooked! I’ve included pictures of the process and the finished dinner. I dressed up my zoodles with sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flake, and Italian seasonings. After I heated them together for 5-8 minutes, I added the zoodles for an additional 3-4, until they were heated through. Then I gorged myself, because it’s a big bowl full of vegetables and I can.