Spaghetti Squash

In a Hurry?
  • Baste squash halves with oil
  • Add pepper and salt
  • Roast in an oven
  • Scrape out the flesh and add spaghetti sauce

There I was, feeling a bit peckish, thinking about that honey melon in the fridge. I grabbed it, took my kitchen knife and started cutting, wondering about that big stem and how hard it was to cut it in half. Well, it turns out that I have no clue when it comes to fruit or vegetables. I was cutting into spaghetti squash, not into some honey melon. Of course, I didn’t want to let it go to waste and had to look up how to deal with it and found a plethora of recipes. Most of them tell you to treat the squash as spaghetti and add something you would add to spaghetti as well. Impatient, as I usually am, I picked up ideas for ingredients on the handful of websites that I had visited in the process. I had a plan for the sauce: Onions, garlic, tomatoes and the green onions I had left from that orange chicken experiment.

Preparing the squash is simple. Most of the websites suggested roasting it in the oven. That’s what I did. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scrape out the seeds and soft bits with a spoon. Baste the cut side and the scraped out core with some olive oil and add salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place both halves on it, cut side down. Roast it for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees.Spaghetti Squash on aluminum foil

For my sauce, I diced a small onion, chopped some garlic into pieces, opened a can of diced tomatoes and sliced my green onions. I did have fresh tomatoes, but I somehow hate to cook them. They usually go into a salad or get sliced for a burger or a sandwich. 30 minutes into the roasting of the squash, I started to sautee the onions in oil, added the garlic and a bit later, I added the diced tomatoes. I waited for this to cook through and added the green onions at the end, not giving them any chance to get soft or even burn.

I took out the baking sheet and turned the squash around. There was steam coming out from underneath the squash, but I could avoid it. The fork went into the squash without resistance and I started scraping the flesh out and transferred it onto the plates. I added my sauce and topped it with some grated cheese. Good stuff. The squash had a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and was a bit crunchy, call it al-dente. It’s quite nice as a summer dish, certainly not as heavy as the typical winter squash.Spaghetti Squash and a tomato sauce

Spaghetti Squash
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Onion
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bundle of green onions
Instructions
  1. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds with a spoon
  2. Baste the cut and core with oil and add pepper and salt
  3. Place face down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
  4. Roast for 40 minutes at 400F
  5. Dice the onion and chop the garlic
  6. Sautee onion and garlic 2-3 minutes
  7. Add diced tomatoes and let it cook for 5 minutes
  8. Add sliced green onions and warm it up 2 minutes max
  9. Take the sauce off the heat
  10. Test the squash with a fork
  11. If there is no resistance, scrape out the flesh with a fork and transfer it onto plates
  12. Add the sauce
  13. Top it with grated cheese

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Tzatziki

In a Hurry?
  • Remove seed and chop a cucumber
  • Add garlic and blend it coarsely
  • Mix in Dill, spices and greek yogurt

Tzatziki is a recipe which made me call my mom. “Hey, what exactly went into the Tzatziki you usually made”? She offered it usually at parties accompanied by a warning to everybody about how much garlic went into it. You really don’t need many ingredients and the ones that go into it are easily dealt with. Tzatziki is mostly a fight against water. We use greek yogurt since it contains way less water than plain standard yogurt.

Start by peeling the cucumber and remove the seeds. You’ll see how much water is in there, once you’ve done it for the first time. Cut the cucumber into 1/4″ slices. You could actually dry them here with a paper towel or just let them drain a bit in a colander.

Mince some garlic next and put it together with the cucumber slices. Chop it together, either in a small food processor or like I did with a hand blender. You see in the result, that there is still a lot of water, but without much impact for the final product.

Finally, add the yogurt into the mix, 2 table spoons of dill and salt and pepper to taste. I continued with the hand blender. Otherwise, you could just whisk the yogurt and the spices into the cucumber mix.

The final result is already very tasty with a slow kick of garlic in the back. But leave it in the fridge for an hour or two. Tzatziki goes well with pita chips, pita bread or just regular white bread as a dip. It is a must for gyro as long as you add fresh onions. Actually, all kind of meats will go well with it. And using it as a salad dressing is not unheard of.  How about a gyro salad? Some green salad, gyro slices and topped with some onion rings and tzatziki

Tzatziki
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce, Dip
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound greek yogurt
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, to taste
  • 2 Tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel the cucumber, half it and remove the seeds with a spoon
  2. Slice the cucumber
  3. Peel the garlic
  4. Put the cucumber into the food processor or a mixing bowl, press the garlic onto it and chop the mix.
  5. Add yogurt, dill, salt and pepper and mix it in
  6. Let the result sit in the fridge for 2 hours.
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Kitchen Sink Salsa

It’s a gift, not having to care about what others think. Here’s somebody who doesn’t: Cooking for Assholes. His Title for the blog, not mine. But I have to link to one of his recent articles, just because of this:

“Where did you get the recipe?” Are you not fucking listening? I just throw shit in a bowl I think would taste good together. It’s that easy. The only time I follow instructions is when I buy furniture from IKEA. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Seems we are not alone. Even if we have to deal with an A-hole. Here’s the full article: Kitchen Sink Salsa

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Linguica and Banana Peppers

My wife was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Which adds a lot of very fortunate elements into her cooking experience. The home cooking in Rhode Island is influenced by 3 European countries. Let’s just say they could have filmed the Sopranos in any restaurant on the Federal Hill.

In a Hurry?
  • Slice and dice stuff
  • Sautee onions, add sausage, then peppers
  • Add garlic and other spices
  • Cook for 20 min
  • Done

I learned how to cook corned beef and cabbage under her direction. But most interesting to me is the influence coming from neighboring New Bedford, MA, which has a large Portuguese community. Portuguese sausages in the form of Linguica and Chourico are good substitutes for somebody who grew up with Bratwurst, Polish and Vienna sausages. And it has to be Gaspar’s Sausage

Peppers, Linguica & Onion
That gives me obviously something to work with. That and the fact that my sister-in-law sent us Gaspar’s Sausage Gift Packs as a present “for emergencies”. One of those emergencies emerged this weekend, with lots of fresh banana pepper from the CSA in the fridge. I didn’t feel like cooking pork chops, the only fresh meet in the fridge at that point, but was staring at the Linguica in the freezer. Here comes dinner!

Linguica and Banana Peppers
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
ingredients found in the fridge
Ingredients
  • 1 Linguica
  • 1 pound banana peppers
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 3 gloves of garlic
  • pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Dice or slice the onion.
  2. Slice the banana peppers into strips of 1x1/4".
  3. Slice the Linguica.
  4. Saute the onions in oil.
  5. Add the sausage and let them heat through.
  6. Add the peppers.
  7. Add garlic whichever way you like, minced or sliced
  8. Pepper and salt to taste
  9. Cook until peppers are soft and most of the water has evaporated

Peppers & Linguica in the panThe entire composition had a sweet flavor, mostly coming from the banana peppers. They and the onions even more had soaked up some of the Linguica juices, which added an interesting flavor. I will certainly cook this again, even if I have to buy the peppers separately.

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