I have been embracing the “eat what’s in season” mentality this year. That doesn’t mean I don’t buy other fruits and veggies that are out of season, but I have been experimenting with things that are supposed to be “in”.
It’s been a LOT of fun! I love my veggies, but I have always played it safe. Recently, though, I’ve been wanting to expand my tastes and try out new things.
Spaghetti squash always sounded really, well, interesting. You’re supposed to take a squash and with a twist of a fork, pull out “spaghetti” strands.
I was skeptical, to be honest.
Especially when I tried to hack into this baby to split it open. Talk about tough skin! I was almost afraid I wouldn’t be able to cook it. Fortunately all of that weight lifting proved helpful and I split it with the help of 2 (2!) knives.
Warning: Please be careful when you cut open your squash! I almost lost a finger or two trying to get this thing open and that was with me being super careful. However, do NOT let it put you off trying it out. Trust me, it’s changed my life.
I cooked mine in the microwave because 1) I’m really lazy and didn’t want to bake mine for hours and 2) I was hungry and knew that waiting hours would lead to grazing.
I bought a small squash, too. This little guy was about the size of a football. There were much bigger ones, but I wasn’t sure if I’d like it so I played it safe (it only cost me about a $1.05!).
Here’s how to cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave:
(Note: Your microwave is probably a LOT more powerful than ours. Ours is my parents’ old micro from my childhood. You know, cause we’re cheap. Anyways, just keep this in mind when you cook your squash. I followed the directions found here. They list a lot of other ways to cook it, if the microwave isn’t your thing.)
- Wash your squash.
- Cut your squash in half (I cut mine straight down the middle so that the two ends were at either side of my cut halves)
- Place squash in microwave safe bowl.
- Pour 1/4 cup water into bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap (leave a bit open to vent)
- Cook on high for 10-12 minutes (I cooked mine for 12 and it was perfect)
- Let cool slightly and set fork a twirling!
It’ll look like this:
It was amazing when I stuck my fork in. Immediately the squash started to separate into strands and it was easy to pull out. The taste is incredible, too! A light squash taste, slightly sweet and so, so yummy. This thing ought to have a label that says: Warning! You’ll want to eat the entire squash!
I know that I was tempted. It’s not as heavy as spaghetti, so if you let your tummy rule, you’ll be tempted to eat more than a cup. But even though it’s light, it’s surprisingly filling.
I paired my squash with a new recipe I found on foodgawker. It’s mushrooms and tofu en papillote with miso and rosemary.
No clue what en papillote means, but it doesn’t matter. This dish was so good, that I wanted to eat more squash and more mushrooms just to enjoy the flavors for longer.
This recipe is from The First Mess and her pictures are wonderful and instructions easy to follow. I never made a dish that required parchment paper pockets, and it was really fun to do. It was also really easy, and I’m not afraid of it anymore. Her blog has a link to a pictorial on how to make the pockets, which was perfect for my visual mind.
Pairing this recipe with my squash created a dish that highlighted the herbs, miso and mushrooms. I think a noodle wouldn’t have worked quite as well since it would have dominated the mushroom mixture in texture.
I made a few tweaks to the original recipe:
- I didn’t have cremini mushrooms in this time, so I used regular button – still delicious!
- I didn’t have fresh shitake so I used about 4 dried shitake and reconstituted them. This was a good move since the slightly stronger flavor of the dried mushrooms worked well with the milder buttons.
- I didn’t have (geez, I’m starting to think I ought to stock my kitchen better…) balsamic vinegar, but apparently you can “sub” red wine vinegar. Just mix 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1/2 tsp sugar. I used about a half packet of splenda with the required 3 tbsp red wine vinegar and it was really good.
- I cooked this slightly longer than the 20 minutes called for and it came to no harm. I think I cooked it for about 25 – 27 minutes.
When I bought my squash this morning, I hadn’t a clue what to do with it. After coming across this mushroom recipe this afternoon, I knew that it would be a good recipe to try for my first go.
Go on, try something new this week and it’ll not only broaden your tastes but it will make you feel like you’ve done something magnificent! I’m so glad I tried these two recipes today. I now have enough for two more meals!