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Ah – there you are. Come in, come in and make yourself at home.
It’s a grand Saturday morning here in Sonoma County. The temperature is finally coming down and we’re hoping the humidity follows.
It’s going to be busy around here today, so let’s get right to it. Coffee, tea and some fresh baked goodies are on the table. We have some fresh grapes as well.
This past week, I started harvesting the accidental garden’s spaghetti squash. I grabbed one of the first to appear. At almost 9 inches long, it was one of the largest. Several of you asked about prep and what one does with such a thing as a “spaghetti” squash, so I thought it might be fun to do a bit of kitchen work with you on one option if you can find one near you. If you do and did – you would not be disappointed.
You can either bake or microwave-steam them and since earlier this week was still very hot, I chose to microwave-steam this first fruit. You will find most of this pretty easy.
(1) Slice the squash in half length-wise and use a large spoon to scrape out the seeds & pulp. If you have a garden, save some of this to start your own plants. But be careful, my one plant covers about 18×21 feet (6-7 meters) of ground and grew huge almost overnight.
(2) My almost 9″ fruit was too big to do both halves in my pan, but I could have done a whole smaller one. Spray some non-stick oil in the pan and lay the fruit in. Brush the insides with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Grind some fresh pepper and salt to whatever you think your family might like. Other herbs could be added at this point, but you would want to brush them into the olive oil so they stick when you flip the squash in the next step.
(3) To give the steam the best access to the meat of the squash, I put down some wooden chop sticks to lift the edges above the small amount of water I was about to add. This will be microwaved, so no metal things allowed. Flip the seasoned squash and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. You only need enough to make the steam. Finally wrap both pan and squash with clear plastic wrap – try to get a good air tight seal to keep in the steam.
(4) Microwave at full power for 10 minutes, but when the cycle completes, let the pan and squash sit and steam for at least 5 more minutes – this is what’s really cooking the squash. This first round will likely not fully cook the squash, but carefully unwrap enough of one end to pull out the squash and test it with a fork as described below, but be ready to repeat the process with less time both in the microwave and sitting to steam. Round 2 should be more like 4-6 minutes in the microwave and half of that time again to steam. Be careful though. Too much steaming will turn your squash to mush, which will still taste good, but the texture is not as pleasant.
Scrape the insides of the cooked squash with a dinner fork to produce the “noodles” of squash meat. This step will also spread the olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs throughout the noodles. Taste the results at this point to decide if you want more of anything. BTW – your kids may love to help with this step, it is remarkable how easy the squash meat turns into noodles and they really can’t foul up this step.
(5) Now you can begin filling up bowls and serving. We really like fresh grated hard pasta cheeses, so we always have a grater and block handy.
(6) If you start your kids on this early enough, they will not develop a “it’s not real pasta” bias and will love this squash every bit as much as they do normal pasta. This one (almost 9″) squash made for 4 large bowls of luscious squash meat noodles. It was wonderful with the grated cheese but the next day, I had two meals with it reheated and topped with sugar-free salsa and found it nothing short of addictive.
We will be baking the next two fruits, which are already standing by. These noodles will be less moist, but not dry and have a wonderful baked, rather than boiled taste. Other toppings we plan to try include simple pasta sauces, an avocado dressing my wife loves and a curry sauce we often have with potatoes and veggies. There will certainly be a red sauce and meat balls version in our near future as well.
Our one plant so far has 12 more fruit almost ready to harvest and *News Flash* I’m now seeing at least 6 more new fruit starting to grow at the ends of the longest branches. Good thing every member of our family loves it — easy to make, healthy and wonderful taste.
Want to try but can’t find a spaghetti squash near you – I wonder if it’s legal to mail seeds? I might have a few lying around here somewhere.
I’d love to hear any results your have with your own experiments. It was a pleasure having you along for this now completed visit to our accidental garden.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be over at your venue in just a while. See you there.