Kitchen Party: Farmer’s Market Spaghetti Squash

When you live ridiculously close to a grocery store (104 size-8 steps, door-to-door), it’s hard to be convinced to buy food anywhere else. Sure, you could order a pizza, or you could go buy a frozen one that won’t taste quite as good, but it means you won’t have to live with the guilt of spending $25 when you could have spent $5. Regardless, in the past month, I’ve rediscovered my love of the Ottawa farmer’s market! It’s in the parking lot across from Carleton University at Bronson and Sunnyside, and there are a huge amount of vendors selling all sorts of food.  I love walking around to check out all my fresh, local, often organic veggie options.  And the people are all super friendly and nice, even during my last trip on a cold, rainy, Sunday. It would also be a cute date spot if you were with someone who was really in to food, like someone you thought you might one day start a food blog with. It’s over for the year on Nov. 18, so go soon!

On my last trip, I got so many yummy things! My highlights were some fresh end-of-season strawberries, some giant rainbow swiss chard, 2 mostly-green but sorta-orange peppers, and some seriously yummy fresh Figaro cheese from Glengarry Fine Cheese. I also bought a spaghetti squash, which brings us to the recipe portion of this blog.

Spaghetti squash is one of those things I always thought was really hard to cook, but turns out to be really very easy once you conquer your fear. Many diet books will tell you that it tastes JUST LIKE pasta, but I don’t really think that’s true. It does look like pasta and act like pasta though, and it tastes delicious. Soon after I got home from the Farmer’s Market, I decided to cook a Spaghetti Squash dish with all my recently-purchased veggies.

To cook the squash: First, you cut it in half lengthwise with a very sharp knife (just don’t force it too much or your squash may fly across the kitchen with the knife in it, and I can tell you from very recent personal experience that it’s terrifying!). Then you scoop out all the seeds and gooey stuff like you would when carving a pumpkin. After that, you put both sides on a baking sheet, face down, and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45ish minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Mine was small, and cooked in half an hour. When it’s ready you should be able to easily put a sharp knife through it and pull it back out. After you take it out, let it cool for a while, and then you take a fork and scrape it through the flesh, turning the squash in to the “spaghetti”.

I decided to cook mine like pasta, so while the squash was in the oven I sauteed some garlic, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and cherry tomatoes in olive oil. I added a chopped jalapeno pepper and some dried basil, thyme, and sage, plus some salt and pepper. Then I added the “spaghetti”, and served with some parmesan. It turned out to be very good, although next time I would eat it out of the squash shell-part, for extra fanciness. And the leftovers were even better the next day!

Location: The farmer’s market is in the Brewer’s Park parking lot, at Sunnyside and Bronson. The cooking is in your kitchen!
Damage: $3 for the spaghetti squash, and use whatever’s in your fridge for the rest
Rating: Seven and a half pies out of ten
Soundtrack: Songza motown playlist

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