Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Ingredient Itch-Spaghetti Squash

Tasty leftovers for lunch:-)
Have you ever been introduced to something and found yourself on a bit of a rampage with it?  A new style, new author, new hobby, or, say, new ingredient, that you just can't get enough of?  I call this an itch. My previous such ingredient itch obsession was the variety of Masalas available at any Indian grocery store, and trust me, there will be a raving post about on those soon. However, my most recent craze revolves around spaghetti squash.  Up until two weeks ago I had never once cooked with it. Then, while dining at a friend's home, I had my first ever taste of what I now can't stop eating.  It was not a pleasant introduction- it was similar to meeting someone with super clammy hands and an overly firm grip, who holds on too long while maintaining awkward eye contact.  The sauce was a white wine cream sauce, with ground pork sausage and onions-completely the wrong texture and flavor marriage.  Not only that but it was bland!  Nothing with white wine, sausage, or onions has any excuse to be bland. No, no, no.  I kept eating it thinking:  This could be better, I can't judge this poor ingredient with the clammy hands, maybe it's just uncomfortable in it's outfit.  I know this can be better.  And oh my, could it.
Over the last 2 weeks I have made no less than 6 preparations of squash. I'm finding it to be a fantastic go-to healthy meal during the week because it is SO fast to cook!  Chop a squash in half, scoop it out, and chuck it in the microwave (yes, the microwave) for 8 minutes.  You're 3/4 of the way to the table because while the squash is cooking, you can get a good jump on chopping, melting, and preparing everything to go with it.
 Easiest preparation-as shown in leftover form, above, involves only cooking the squash, topping with butter, salt and black pepper and peas,  followed by grated parm. Totally addicting. Even the most complex casserole preparations only take about 40 minute start to finish. 
Spaghetti Squash is my current love, and an added bonus: at only 42 calories per serving of squash, I'm finding that I don't mind splurging a little on the things that go with it, or dessert;-)

I didnt even get to snap a picture of this one because we were ravenously hungry, it came together so quickly, and we ate every bite! I'm sure I'll be able to post one, soon:-)

Moroccan Spaghetti Squash
Adaptated from the February, 2002 issue of Gourmet, as shown here on Epicurious
Serves 2

  • 1  spaghetti squash, cut in half and scooped of its seeds
  • 1 full size sausage link-cooked*. We were lucky enough to have a Moroccan sausage from Kramarczuk's that we brought back from our trip to Minneapolis, but many sausages will do, depending on the flavor you want
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1-2 oz raisins
  • 1 carrot, shreded
  • * If your link is raw, cook it in a medium saute pan before starting the steps below, and do not discard the fat in the pan. 

    Put the squash halves in the microwave uncovered for 8 minutes. 

    While the squash is cooking, take the time to mince the garlic, measure the spices out into a small bowl, measure carrots and raisins, and chop your sausage into 1/2 inch rounds, and then in half again so you have approximately 24-30 half circle pieces, depending on the size of your original sausage.
    Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat, when it is all melted, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  

    Add the spices all at once and stir to combine until the aroma fills your kitchen
    Add the carrots and the raisins.
    Add the sausage, and stir the entire mess up- remove from heat.
    Remove the squash from the microwave, and pull the strands it into a large bowl.
    Pour the entire contents of the sauce pan over the spaghetti squash, and toss to mix-enjoy!

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    About Me

    Jacksonville, Florida
    Here's my story: I have resigned myself to the fact that I will remain in Jacksonville for another 2 years, biding my sweet time until my boyfriend completes his Coast Guard tour. Harumph. So, you might wonder, what does one do when they determine that they're willingly sacrificing their personal freedom in a flagrant defiance of all things they once felt defined their sense of self? Well, I am here to tell you. They mourn their past life in which food and culture played a significant role. They cry over the unavoidable truth that Jacksonville has about as much culinary charm as one might expect from a city that venerates "Salt Life" and believes Town Center is full of fine dining. Shudder. And then they cook. A lot. And write. A lot. Because they need an outlet. That's me- I need an outlet. And Cooking and Writing are IT. So while I wouldn't dream of telling anyone in person that I'm scared of the next 2 years, at least I can put it out there somewhere and get it off my chest. Phew! And at least I have someplace to document all of this cooking I'm doing now that I'm 1200 miles away from all of my favorite take out ;-) Silver linings abound.