My mother is mechanically minded and manually dexterous with these nimble, bony hands that love to pick wrong stitches out of a needlepoint and assemble a VCR just for the exercise. She has what my father calls "possum" hands. (He has "pancake" hands, as do I. "Pancake" is the vastly inferior type of hand, but fortunately there's more to life than hands.)
My mother had the mandoline julienning zucchini in under ten minutes.
You saute the finely cut zucchini in olive oil until soft, then toss with hot spaghetti and pesto.
Elegant bowl was also made by mother's hands.
The spaghetti was tasty, if not as tasty as traditional pesto-sauced pasta without zucchini. I know it is healthier and makes everything less fattening, but we all felt the watery, flaccid strips of zucchini got in the way.
For dessert: Wizenberg's vanilla bean buttermilk cake with glazed oranges and creme fraiche. She introduces this recipe with a story about buying too many oranges then having a vision of a white cake with poached oranges, "a little like a Creamsicle in cake form." After much experimentation, she finally settled on a buttermilk cake out of Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible as the perfect vehicle for glazed oranges and syrup. Excellent choice. What appealed to me was how the cake itself -- tangy from buttermilk -- tasted like cheesecake but was, in fact, cake cake. Even without the oranges, I instantly loved it.
So, here's the weird thing. I just pulled out my copy of The Cake Bible to see how much Wizenberg tinkered with the recipe (almost not at all) and noticed that I'd already baked this cake once before. On 2-11-01 I wrote: "Fluffy, golden, buttery -- but there IS a tang and I don't like it."
I can not explain.