THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Spaghetti” Squash
• “Purple Majesty” Potatoes
• Green Tomatoes
• Sweet Carrots
• “Tokyo Market” Turnips
Baby Bok Choi
Welcome to the first week of our winter season! It hasn’t been too wintry yet, just wet. Very wet. It’s very muddy down here in the valley, and we’ve had to order one load of gravel just to get to our house. Another load is on the way.
The wet doesn’t bother the greens or roots, however, and the warmth makes them keep growing and keeps the delicate greens like lettuce and celery from freezing. We are working on getting the winter squashes harvested this week, before too much more rain or any freezing weather gets here. They matured so late this year we haven’t had a chance.
Below you’ll find a few recipes for spaghetti squash, or “vegetable pasta” as it’s called by some seed catalogs. The Purple Majesty potatoes are an improvement on the old “All Blue” variety, with better color, flavor, and a texture that’s great for boiling, roasting, or using in soup—they will turn lavender when cooked.
The Tokyo Market turnips are a sweet, tender, succulent variety that is unlike a traditional Purple-Top turnip. These are delicate enough to eat raw, like a radish, but they can be gently sautéed, roasted, or steamed, or added to a soup. And don’t forget to eat the greens, they’re like mustard greens.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH MOROCCAN SPICES
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes. (Alternatively, you can bake the squash in a 350° oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until tender.)
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderately high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.
3. Carefully halve squash lengthwise (it will give off steam) and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with spiced butter and cilantro.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SAUSAGE STUFFING
1 3 3/4- to 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Wrap squash halves in plastic wrap. Cook 1 at a time in microwave on high until tender, about 8 minutes. Pierce plastic to allow steam to escape. Cool. Meanwhile, sauté sausage, bell pepper, onion and garlic in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage browns and vegetables are tender, breaking up sausage with back of spoon, about 12 minutes. Mix in marinara sauce.
2. Using fork, pull out squash strands from shells, leaving shells intact. Mix squash strands into sausage mixture. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into squash shells. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange filled squash halves on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if previously chilled). Cut each squash half in two and serve.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH POMODORO SAUCE
1 spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 lb)
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 can (28 oz) diced plum tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray; lay halves, flesh side down, on sheet. Bake 35 minutes or until you can easily pierce shell.
2. While squash bakes, sauté garlic and onion in oil over medium heat 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except fresh basil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Lower heat if sauce begins to boil.
3. Remove squash from oven. Scrape crosswise to pull strands from shell. Place in nonmetal serving bowl. Pour sauce over squash and garnish with basil.