Recently, I haven’t wanted to do a lot of cooking. I do cook, because I can be quite a persistent person when I want to be and I do actually enjoy cooking, and although it probably hasn’t been noticeable, it’s been a struggle. Coming up with new ideas of what to prepare is tough, and especially finding new recipes that you really enjoy can be even more difficult. It’s amazing how many meh recipes exist.
For example, there’s a cookbook that I’ve had for a few months now. It sounds like the recipes in it would be great– it’s from a rural grocery store that sells local goods and has a deli with most things made in-house. Lots of the recipes sound tasty, but the ones that I’ve tried so far have been enormous disappointments. I’ve only tried two, and I’m not ready to give up on all of the cookbook’s contents quite yet, but I just don’t understand. Are my tastes so drastically different from other people’s? I’ve never thought so, but this cookbook has me questioning my taste buds.
I’ve actually given that cookbook a rest for a while because of my two perceived failures. (Ben didn’t think either dish was as horrible as I did.) My quest for new dishes–let’s say that I’m working to expand my culinary repertoire– is a day by day process, or sometimes just week by week as I plan a trip to the grocery store. I’m working out of my ruts, and I’m trying things I’ve never had before and even trying to want to eat things I’ve never wanted to eat before: I’m looking at you, cauliflower and all those other unappetizing cold weather vegetables.
And I found something that is made of one of those fall/winter vegetables that I actually want to eat, and I even want to cook it too. Spaghetti squash. It’s quite fun to prepare, scraping out the flesh and watching it separate and flake apart into faux, squashy spaghetti. With a little butter and spices added to it, it’s a delicious side, and I’ll even make a big bowl of it my dinner thick slice of rustic bread, using it to sop up the juices and last dregs spiced butter butter. It’s satisfying, delicious and seasonal– what more could I ask for when I’m working to strengthen my cooking muscles?
Spaghetti squash with Moroccan spices
adapted from Gourmet, February 2002 via epicurious
makes 4 servings
Note: I think that I actually prefer this without the cilantro added. It adds some color and a bit of a fresh bite, though, and it’s really good either way.
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
1. Carefully halve the squash, stem to bottom. If you aren’t confident with having the strength to do this, do not do this. I am not liable if you injuring yourself. You can cook the squash whole, it just takes longer. Once halved, place cut-side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cook at 375F for about 40 minutes; if not halved, piece the squash all over with a fork, and cook for about an hour. If cooking the squash whole, once cooked, carefully cut in half (there will be lots of steam).
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add garlic, cumin, coridander, cayenne and salt to the butter and mix together.
3. Scrape out the squash flesh with the tines of a fork into a serving bowl. Pour butter mixture of the squash and toss to combine.
4. If desired, mix in a handful of chopped cilantro and then serve.