Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A spaghetti squash experiment

I have been to heaven, and it's full of vegtable stalls. It's location: the Westside Market in Cleveland. My dear friend Veronica, newly moved to the Shaker area for the second time in her life, took me, along with her little sister Miranda. Our first stop: the main market area, where Veronica purchased a half-pound of golden raisins and I bought a half-pound of Israeli Couscous (I'm sure a blog will soon be forthcoming).

Then, it was on to the veggie tent. Farmers greeted us in carnival bark fashion. Taste my melons! Romaine lettuce only 50 cents! Blood oranges here! The first stall had by far the best prices, including the romaine lettuce deal. I got a bag and so did Veronica. Also the $1 a pound vine tomatoes and the 50 cent red peppers and the 35 cent bag of organic carrots and a $1 a pound spaghetti squash. While, we did walk the length of the tent, I didn't buy anything else, though I admired the view of colors arranged up and down the sides, the oranges and mushrooms and melons and root veggies and leafy greens. Everyone was assembled to love and life vegetables. The third stop: a little coffee shop/bar that had irish coffee $5 for a rather large cup. By the time we were ready to leave, Veronica was fairly shnockered off her one cup o' bailey's-infused Joe.

With Veronica's finds, we feasted on Romaine salad with honey crisp apples (also purchased at the market) and golden raisins with a drizzle of olive oil. With my Spaghetti Squash buy, I made decided to make a casserole recipe I found on the net, oddly entitled Spaghetti Squash Casserole, begotten from the Moosewood Cookbook.

What you need:
1 8-inch spaghetti squash
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium cloves crushed garlic
2 fresh tomatoes (medium- sized)
1/2 lb. fresh, sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper
1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese (I used cottage as I'm not a fan of the ricotta texture)
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly-chopped parsley
1 tsp. basil
Dash of thyme
1 cup fine bread crumbs
Parmesan for the top
Butter for sauté

Art cut the squash in half for me, while I wiped olive oil margarine on a baking sheet. Then I took out the seeds and tangly string attachments with an ice cream scoop and plopped the halves insides-down on the pan, side by side like hard yellow butt cheeks, and put it in the oven, preheated to 375. Within moments, the butter began to hiss from the heat. I closed the oven door and went to the living room to watch Coraline, rented from the library, for the 45 minutes until the squash was tender enough for a fork to go through the outer shell with ease.

Midway through Coraline, I attended to my cooked squash, leaving it to cool, while I began prep on the rest of the ingredients. I got out everything I needed, but I was none too happy about missing the movie Garet was in no mood to pause. Happily, Art took over, Sauteing the mushrooms in olive oil instead of butter with the garlic and a can of Aldi's mushrooms (the fresh ones just weren't on sale), salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning, which includes thyme and oregano. When the veggies were tender, I came in to dump a can of tomtatoes (next time I'd use more) into the skillet. When the liquid lessened adequately, Art put everything in a casserole dish (including the parsley), topping with the parmesan, and put it in the oven. By the 40 minute sounding of the timer, my mouth was watering from the Italian aroma wafting out of the oven.

It smelled like baked spaghetti, only sweeter, which is pretty much exactly what it tasted like. All the flavor of spaghetti without the extra carbs, so I enthusiastically added a buttered slice of pumpernickel to go with it. Even Art was delighted by this one, and Garet, well, that was a struggle, but not because he didn't want to try the squash. He was fooled enough that he thought it was just a different sort of noodle. He just doesn't like his pasta noodles outside of the regular shapes he's accustomed too. But once he did eat it, he seemed to like it, at least in comparison to say... something overtly veggie-filled.

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