With January 31 looming ever closer, it's become obvious that I won't be able to use my $50 Maggiano's gift card before I begin my carb-free Taubesian regime (I emailed both of my brothers about a last hurrah at Maggiano's; neither responded). So today, I went on a Costco spree and bought a ton of meat: ground beef, pork sirloin tip (you'll recall the lovely pulled pork I made last time), Hebrew National hot dogs, chicken breastuses, and dingle-damn salmon. I also bought a ton of cheeses: American cheese, cream cheese (mainly for creamy, Stroganoff-style sauces), and bleu cheese.
Later in the evening, I decided to test out my new spiral slicer, so I went out again and bought (along with two super-cheap bottles of psyllium fiber) some spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, shrooms, and a package of "mixed" squash-- yellow and green. I ran the yellow squash through the slicer; most of the squash wasn't spiral-cut at all, but instead formed little Cs. There were a couple longish spirals, though, so it wasn't a total loss.
I gathered the sliced squash up in a plastic container and stuck it in the freezer while I worked on my spaghetti sauce. This involved removing the skins from the Italian sausage and breaking the sausage up into little pieces. I fried the sausage in my weird little wok-cum-skillet, added the shrooms, then added the sweet basil tomato sauce. Veddy nice, veddy nice. I set some water to boiling, then dumped in a mess of Montreal steak seasoning (it's mostly sea salt and heavy-grained black pepper, plus some other seasonings; thanks again, Hahna, for that huge-ass container!). I took out the now-cold squash and let it boil for about three minutes-- the recommended time I've seen on all the recipes for veggie pasta. The squash came out perfectly, but it was quite watery, as was the tomato sauce.
In the photo below, I've tried to minimize the wateriness by tilting the plate upward, away from the camera, so that the liquid would drain behind the food and thus not be visible:
All in all, the squash turned out to be a not-bad substitute for regular pasta. The long spirals behaved like fettuccine; I was able to twist my fork and wrap the "pasta" around it. The mouth-feel was satisfactorily al dente. I think I'll be able to live with this as a surrogate for regular pasta. I won't be fooled or reassured, of course; the squash still tastes like squash, not like pasta. But it's better that way: when vegetarian food tries too hard to simulate other types of food, that turns me off, almost as if my taste buds were experiencing a gustatory version of the uncanny valley.
Obviously, I won't be making tomato-based sauces once I start this diet. According to Taubes, cream sauces are just fine, but as any Atkins dieter knows, tomatoes are technically fruits, and as fruits, they're naturally sweet, which makes them carby and thus verboten.
So! Veggie pasta is in my future. Big time.