Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spaghetti Squash.


I'm having a very sweet, golden moment right now. What this means is that it's time to introduce you to my new love. And no, for once, there's no men involved. I really can't be bothered with those right now. I have more important things on my mind... like Spaghetti Squash.

Just in case you didn't already think I was crazy, y'know. Ok, I'll quit being cheesey, and instruct you to go and buy a Spaghetti Squash the second it becomes available at your local market. This is some come-uppance for the 50-odd blogs I read, whose authors are still enjoying the golden throes of Summer, while here in Northern Germany we've been into Autumn for at least a month. Take this, all you horrible people, still canning glorious berries and complaining about the heat in your kitchens! I have Autumn vegetables, and squash and pumpkin are patiently waiting in my kitchen. Little do they know, that I'm going to take to them with giant knives, but I'm not going to tell them that yet.

Oh. And I thought I wasn't going to be too crazy on this post. Anyway, the above photo shows what happens when you take a blunt knife (I live in a kitchen full of those) to a spaghetti squash. All those beautiful photos from online tutorials with their golden squashes and cleanly-carved pieces, they lie. I'm the sort of person who can disembowel a hefty winter pumpkin in a matter of moments, but this spaghetti squash was so hard that even I had difficulties. Thus, the knife above, jammed into the squash, retrieved after a few frantic moments of struggle.

Thankfully, as you can see, I did manage to hack off enough to provide me with a bowl of spaghetti-like strands. The squash is quite light in colour until it's cooked, by which time it's lovely and yellow. The seeds are easily scraped out, and I wouldn't recommend cutting it into smaller pieces than this. Most sites say that you'll get longer strands, but I found that all of my strands were very short. So, I'm telling you not to cut it smaller simply because it's not worth the effort of hacking into that solid monster of a vegetable. I steamed mine in a microwave, because I was ravenous, and didn't have the patience to roast it, but I can only imagine that roasting would be fabulous. (For my second attempt, I steamed the remnant of the squash without cutting it at all, and it worked out fabulously. Also, it was great fun to thread it with a fork and pull out the pieces from inside the hard shell, which stayed perfectly intact.)

It never ceases to amaze me, how ugly one's tablecloth can be. But hey, I don't own this place, and I certainly don't own the table (or the cloth) so you're going to have to put up with those awful dasies for a while longer. Anyway, dasies aside, you can see the basil that I've chopped. I know, I know, I'm supposed to tear it. I got lazy, because I was only feeding myself, and because I had limited basil with which to work. That meant that I wanted it a little finer than I can tear it, so that it would distribute itself more evenly throughout the squash.

As you can see, flaking off the squash with a fork is an enjoyable task, and definitely something I'll be doing more of in the near future. Sure, it looks a little like spaghetti in the photo, if you're the type that overcooks your spaghetti and puts it through a meat grinder. All of the recipes that I'd sussed out for this particular squash recommended it with a normal spaghetti sauce, which is what I did. But, honestly, it just drowns the light flavour of the squash. My first sauce, a tomato and basil sauce, was much too rich, and I could barely taste the squash. So today, i developed a lighter sauce recipe, with red lentils and lots of vegetables, and it was perfect. I'll post it tonight, so that I can get some photos... my lunchtime bowl was down the hatch before I even thought about taking a shot. Yep, it was that good.

In the future, however, I'm also going to eat the Spaghetti Squash as shown above. Yep, I'm going against everything the websites told me. Don't listen to them, they tell you lies! Spaghetti Squash is not bland! It's wonderfully sweet, soft and comforting. It tastes like pumpkin, in a lovely mild way, and you don't want to drown it in some industrial-strength sauce. Honestly, it's delicious tossed with a touch of salt and a light-tasting olive oil. If you're of the lactose-tolerating variety, then by all means, toss it with a little butter. I'm not, so I'm going to stick to the olive oil. I'd drink it if I could, but seeing as how that would probably wreak havoc on my digestive system, I'm going to have to stick to enjoying it as a condiment.

So, there you have it: the most fantastic thing to grace my beautiful green Envirosax this Autumn. Except that it's technically not Autumn, and Germany has had the wettest August since they started keeping records. But, really, with discoveries this good, I'm willing to overlook the 13-degree weather for another week.
(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Envirosax in any way, I just know that the bag that I have has carried seriously heavy food items and never fallen apart - which beats a standard plastic bag any day!)

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