My hubby has only a few, minor pet peeves. These include—
• finding used tissue stuffed under my pillows when he makes the bed;
• finding dishes stacked in front of his coffeemaker, thus barring easy access to his java;
• finding that someone has taken out the kitchen trash without fitting a fresh trash bag onto the waste can;
• being unable to locate a pen or pencil when he's on the telephone and needs to scribble something;
• running out of paper goods (i.e., finding the paper-towel holder empty without any spares).
(He's easily pleased, don't you think? And you'll notice I didn't even mention the ubiquitous direction-of-the-toilet-paper thingy. He's cool on that one.)
But one irritation can spur him to a major meltdown. His PETTEST PEEVE of all has nothing to do with the genre of the above irritations: it's finding the kitchen oven on with me baking something on a hot summer day. Hubby believes this is the highest waste of energy; it heats up the house and causes the air-conditioner to pump more. Thus it drives up the fuel bill. He believes a ban should be enacted on all summer baking and that we should turn to more energy-conserving types of food preparation. (Of course that would eliminate the peach cobblers and peach muffins and all the other peach baked goodies I rhapsodized over yesterday, wouldn't it?)
His penchant for the un-oven baked caused him to be ecstatic over a meal one night this week; it had Sauteed Zucchini and Fettuccine as its main course. (Since our Texas temps already are nearing the triple digits, concern about heating up the kitchen makes excellent sense.)
From our May visit to the Chickasaw farmer's market we had just a handful of items unused; a tad bit of zucchini was one of them, but that tad was plenty for a recipe I'd been wanting to try. Sauteed Zucchini and Fettuccine (which I borrowed from Family Circle magazine) called for only two large zucchini, trimmed and shredded.
This light summer meal was absolutely perfect for a sultry summer evening. The toasted pine nuts (toast them in a countertop toaster oven to avoid the forbidden "oven-baking") add a perfect touch and make the pasta dish feel substantial. Parmesan cheese lends texture and, of course, flavor. We served it as an entree alongside a stir-fried vegetable medley dish (more on that tomorrow). As my hubby remarked about the meatless main course of Sauteed Zucchini and Fettuccine, "This was enough--very filling."
He can expect to see more of it on the table before the summer ends. That giant vegetable plant in the corner of his garden--the plant he thought was yellow squash? Turns out to be zucchini, with tiny zucchinis bursting forth all throughout its massive leaves.
If I only could find a way to "un-bake" zucchini muffins. My cousin Jana's recipe in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, makes the best use ever of that healthy vegetable.
Sauteed Zucchini and Fettuccini
8 ounces fettuccini pasta
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 large zucchini (1 pound total), trimmed and shredded
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 teaspoon salt (we used salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
Cook fettuccini according to package directions. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, and shredded zucchini. Saute for 1 minute. Add zucchini to pasta in bowl along with pine nuts, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to combine. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.