Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Impulse Buys are Vegetables

Do you sometimes walk into a store with a list in hand or a specific item in mind only to walk out with five more things you had no idea you needed? Target automatically comes to mind. Though it seems to happen to me more often than not at the farmer's market or the good old grocery store.

Magazines and candy at the check out line don't even faze me. Sometimes I fall for an extra box of two or cereal. But deep down, I'm a sucker for produce. The perfectly stacked bunches of carrots and heirloom tomatoes in every color of the rainbow get me every time. Good thing we don't shop at Whole Foods on a regular basis. I'm also a victim of Trader Joe's.

So what happens when I fall for the fruit or vegetable that just had to come home with me? All sorts of things. Sometimes they sit in the fridge and go bad. Like the zucchini I got a few weeks ago (I know...horrible and not at all fiscally chic!) Usually I try out a new recipe based on something I read on a blog or in a magazine. That can go one of two ways. Mediocre like last year's acorn squash. Or absolute knock-it-out-of-the-park-home-run like my new friend spaghetti squash.

When the spaghetti squash jumped into my cart, I had no idea what I was doing. I'd never seen the insides of a cooked spaghetti squash, let alone eaten one. So like a good little blogger I searched through my Google Reader for a recipe. I ultimately settled on the basic spaghetti squash preparation pulled from another recipe from The Front Burner Blog. John was suspicious and I was skeptical. We were out of frozen pizzas so it had to be good.

This recipe turned out to be amazing! The squash was just like pasta, just a little crunchier. So feel free to substitute spaghetti squash in your next pasta dish. One cup has only 42 calories with two grams of fiber (the preparation below will have more calories). It's also a good source of vitamin B6 and C, as well as the minerals manganese, potassium, and iron.

Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp in a White Wine Cream Sauce
Adapted from by The Front Burner Blog (check it out for step by step pictures)

Prepping your Spaghetti Squash
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and gunk before cooking.
3. Coat the insides with olive oil. (I like to use a Misto to spray olive oil.)
4. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and a quarter of an onion. Fill the squash's cavity with the garlic and onion.
5. Season the insides with salt and pepper.
6. Bake the squash uncovered in a Pyrex baking dish for about 1 hour.
7. Once the sides start to wrinkle, and the squash is starting to pull away from the shell, it’s ready to go.

While the squash was baking, prep the sauce and shrimp:

Shrimp and White Wine Cream Sauce
1. Heat a glug or so of olive oil in a pan over medium/low heat.
2. Cook 4 cloves of minced garlic and a quarter onion, chopped.
3. Glug in some white wine and half and half. Maybe a few tablespoons or so of each. (I used some Galena Cellars Traminette, a spicy semi-dry white wine, a cross with the Gewurtztraminer grape.)
4. Bring the sauce to a boil to let the flavors concentrate.
5. Cook 1/2 pound of shrimp in the sauce. They cook quickly, so once they turn pink and get firm, they're ready to go.
6. Season with salt and pepper.

Putting it all together:
1. Using a fork, test to see if the flesh pulls away easily into spaghetti like strands.
2. Scoop both halves into individual bowls or plates for serving, mixing in the olive oil/garlic/onion mixture.
3. Pour the sauce and shrimp over the spaghetti squash.
4. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
5. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the "pasta."
6. Grab a fork and dig in!

Do you ever buy random things at the grocery store? How do your cooking experiments turn out?
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1 comment:

  1. Do you have any ideas for Butternut squash? We have a huge vine with lots of squash growing this year and I only have one recipe for butternut squash soup. Help!


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