Monday, February 15, 2010

Eat Like a Baby Part I, Or How Our Baby Made Us Into Vegetarians

It is true. Change came from within.

So I have this baby. He is now a toddler. And he is very good. But he does not like meat.

When I serve it to him, he wrinkles his nose, and pokes at it and then jettisons it off the side of the tray. Fine. Not uncommon in babies and children. The doc says just keep trying it when we can.

So of course I focused on making sure he was getting a very balanced diet otherwise, all whole foods: fruits, vegetables, grains and plenty of dairy for the protein. He eats very well. He makes merry as he feasts.

Then it occurred to me: isn't this the way we are all supposed to eat? Meat or no, Americans are notorious for treating potatoes like the cardinal vegetable, salt like the only seasoning ever invented and fat like, well, candy. (I apologize. Fatcandy is troubling indeed.) So I decided that we would eat like our baby. I would try removing what little meat we were already consuming and focus on trying, instead of just one or two simple vegetables, to eat a larger variety of vegetables in each dish, and to make a more varied selection of grains and start adding beans and peas to our diet.

Gentle reader - I have had the Most Fun Ever. This is one of the most fun and rewarding cooking projects I've ever undertaken and it has lead us to some very new places philosophically as well as nutritionally. But more in that in Part II. This is about the nuts and bolts of the changeover.

The first thing that really helped, apart from warning my husband what was about to happen, was to receive his support in the form of the gift of Deborah Madison's gorgeous and encyclopedic cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. What a wonderful book. I started with her chapters on dried beans since these would be cheap and nourishing and totally new for me. I was always a big fan of canned chickpeas, cannellinis, and so forth but I figured I could more cheaply and healthily (and fun-ly) make our own.

We went to the local organic-ish market and got a bunch of dried bulk things: chickpeas, pinto beans (which I was not usually a fan of), cannellinis, red and green French lentils, black (turtle) beans, short grain brown rice (which we love and is much more affordable in bulk anyway).

That weekend, I decided to make a spicy pinto beans in broth with cornbread. At night, after the baby was in bed, I measured out and sorted through the beans. This has turned out to be one of my favorite parts of cooking dried beans. I had not given attention to beans before; they're surprisingly lovely, little painted stones, and patiently looking through the handfuls for the odd inedible ort or blighted bean was more like a craft than cooking. I sorted them into a heavy ceramic bowl, filled it with water and left them to soak until the next afternoon.

We ended up with a brothy bowl of spicy, earthy beans that were totally unlike the pintos beans found in childhood school chili and we lapped them up with hunks of hot buttermilk cornbread. From there, I went on to chickpeas, which were not only delicious in there own right but the chickpea broth turned out to be a great stock and improved the various soups I used it in. And while the homemade black beans were far better than the canned, Madison also tipped me off to using the broth from those to make an amazing black rice using basmati, chopped tomatoes and sauteed onions. This we ate with stewed black-eyed peas made tender with the Lousiana "holy trinity" of onions, green bell pepper and celery, and herbs.

Since then, I've gone on to explore brown rice further as a main dish; we tried Wehani, a nutty fragrant long grain whole rice wholly unlike basmati; we've returned to whole wheat and Israeli couscous; made an amazing ginger stew from French lentils. But we've hardly scratched the surface of things I want to try.

The only big fail has been toasted buckwheat kasha. We tried it one night with a vegetable curry. It smelled a little odd to both of us, but naturally no one said anything. It turned out to have the oddest flavor and we ended up sheepishly scraping it off of our curry to try to finish dinner. We were both relieved at the mutual confession that we didn't like it. We decided that since I had got it in a box at the grocery store, it likely was a bit rancid. But when faced with the fresh stuff in bulk the next weekend, well. We passed it by. We might try it again in a few months, but for now the memory of the rancid version lingers unhappily.

Now I must admit that Mr Tumnus, our child, doesn't eat of everything I cook - some of it is still too highly flavored for a 15-monther; children take time to be able to sort out lots of flavors and are easily overwhelmed by complex dishes. But he eats very healthily and grows strong on our diet. And my husband and I are lighter and brighter-eyed for it all.

This week I'm planning to bake eggs on top of stewed mushrooms, make a ricotta pie with braised Swiss chard, stew lentils and potatoes with a spicy topping, steam asparagus with a Korean dressing and top with fried polenta. And a few other things I've forgotten. I make a menu for the whole week and Tum and I do the grocery shopping on Mondays and every day my husband says he looks forward with great anticipation to see what's cooking when he gets home. I look forward to it to. What will I make next week? I'm already thinking about dal with the thickest part of coconut milk stirred in, our favorite brown rice and red lentil soup, maybe spicy black bean cakes.

And just wait until our Farmer's Market reopens!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kitchen Notes: Superior Chicken Soup Additions

Now that fall is properly giving us notice, I made a huge pot of Chicken Soup last night to get us a good ways into the week and, standing over it as it simmered, it struck me that two additions to the standard recipe are what make this soup so outstanding. Everyone has their favorite chicken soup recipe, and I certainly won't interfere with your basic model. But I do have two suggestions that I think make my soup even better than before I started using them.

Neither tip is original or scandalous, but if you haven't tried them before maybe this soup-making season you might try one or both out!

Tip One: Garlic.

So you have your basic aromatics. Your onion, your carrots, your celery (maybe, like me, you add a few parsnips, a bay leaf, a sprig or two of parsley). Now, add one more: fresh garlic. Since you're essentially boiling it, you won't get any harshness at all and the tender, sweet hunks are a delicious bonus to the usual mouthful of carrots and so forth.

For an 8-cup pot of soup (that's 8 cups of stock or water when you start making it), smashing, rough chopping and adding 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic give the broth a deeper and nutty aroma and just the most ghostly but comforting garlic flavor. Add the garlic at the very beginning with all of the other vegetables so it simmers into the broth and the meat and becomes gentle-tasting and mild.

More than four cloves, though, and you have Garlic Soup with some garnish. This may be acceptable to you, but I recommend restraint.

Tip Two: Curry Powder.

This I really love. A touch of curry powder makes the broth even more savory and fragrant without adding any heaviness (unless you mixed up with turmeric, which I avoid. It's not my favorite for this recipe.). For an 8-cup stock recipe, add 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of your favorite masala to the broth. For a doubled (or 16 cup recipe, which is what I generally make) add 1 tablespoon and then taste and see if you want a little more.

Add the curry powder at the end of cooking, once the soup has completed its simmer. I use bone-in skinless chicken thighs as the meat in my soup, so once I've fished them out, taken the meat off of the bones and shredded it with two forks, I add the curry powder along with the chicken meat back to the pot. Then you can either bring the soup back up to proper temperature and serve, or refrigerate or freeze.

You want a definite curry presence, but, again, you don't want to overwhelm the more delicate vegetal aromatics you added earlier.

My Favorite Curry Mixture

I mix this up and then store it in a tightly sealed glass jar. Good for soups, for rubbing on salmon (another post!), adding to shortbread, you name it. Here I refer to all dried and ground spices. If you are a fearful master chef, you would probably toast these spices whole and then grind them. I do not do such.

1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon cardamom
1 tablespoon cinnamon (a little less if you use a strong veriety like Vietnamese)

If you ALWAYS like spicy curry flavor, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper as well before mixing. I prefer to make it without the heat so that I can decide at each recipe if I need some "zip," as my grandmother used to say.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Three Weeks of Tomato Pie

This summer, my husband and I discovered--at last!--the all-local all-natural and organic Farmer's Market. It's in a shed attached to one of our city's restored antique buildings and it has been painted a pale turquoise. Their motto is: "Yes, we have no bananas;" a pointed, if cheerful, reminder that everything inside is from our state if not the closest surrounding counties. And what a bounty our Southern state handed us this year!

We gave up buying our produce at the supermarket (only onions and garlic, thanks!) and have saved money, time and have gained a whole new appreciation for eating locally. I daresay Alice Waters would be proud. I, necessarily, started planning meals from what was available, not what I would just decide I felt like making. The loving tyranny of the seasons is really to our advantage since everything we ate was at the height of flavor.

Alas, that I did not blog the richness of the summer eatings! Life overwhelmed me, I confess. I will try to catch up, though, since we've finally reached the end of tomato season. But we saw its final glory and honored it by eating Lila's Tomato Pie three weeks in a row.

Lila was my mother's secretary many years ago and lived in the red clay county that produces famously luscious tomatoes. Her vines rioted up the entire front of her house, fruiting with increasing decadence as all good tomatoes vines do. By the end of the every summer, she would be desperate to get rid of them. But beyond giving away sacks of the heavy, fragrant fruits, she honed the art of the tomato pie and my mother was lucky enough to get not only a pie but also the recipe in that summer in the previous century. Put that way, this has a sort of fin-de-siecle charm, right? Old fashioned yet timeless.

What follows the recipe that I made three weeks running on a weekend night. Each time, it was better than the week before as the tomatoes got better and I perfected my technique - which, you'll be glad to know, is minimal. What you get is a savory pie with a cheesy topping that when cut yields to a creamy, cheesy layer before descending into layers of sweet, chewy and juicy tomato, redolent with garlic and fresh basil. Then you finish with a tender, crunchy pie crust that struggles to contain its filling. In short, this the final hurrah of hot summer days and sultry summer nights.

My husband and I ate the last of these pies two Saturday nights ago. We correctly assumed that next weekend, no one would have fresh local tomatoes. Yes, we have no tomatoes until next summer. (Back to pallid supermarket beefsteaks or those little hussies, the tasty but costly grape tomatoes.)

I made the pastry early in the day, and rolled it out while my husband played with our little son upstairs. Then we all went for a walk in the late afternoon sunlight. I baked and cooled the pie while my husband put our baby to bed after along hard day of crawling, stacking blocks and generally being wonderful. When he came out of the bedroom the pie was ready and waiting. I made a little salad with local lettuce, Danish blue cheese and Tony's Dressing. When we sat down, I watched the sky through the bay window deepen from blue to teal as the moon lifted herself above Om's chair. As the sky darkened, the terracotta walls of the kitchen glowed and the jade plant gleamed in the light of the lamps. The world is darkening, the Earth turning away from the sun. When the meal was over, summer seemed to be over.

Note: this is really a recipe you should read all the way through before you begin since you need to blind bake the crust and prepare the tomatoes a little ahead. Also, you must accept a painful wait of several minutes to allow the cooked pie to set. Have some goat cheese and good bread to keep you from committing a costly indiscretion.

This is the sort of thing you just can't do with pallid, crunchy store-bought tomatoes. You really need the dripping, tender vine-ripe tomato. You also must channel your inner Southerner and accept a deal of tasty fat. You will buy full-fat mayonnaise and excellent cheddar and you will appreciate it. You will also use some of that basil that's also bursting out of the pots in a last desperate bid for a perennial life. But you will eschew your pretensions to fresh garlic. You would think it would be perfect in a pie of such whole some provenance but, I assure you, you would end up with bitter hot GARLIC, instead of the musky, flirtatious undercurrent you achieve with garlic powder. Embrace it.

Lila's Tomato Pie

1 recipe pie dough (see notes below)

about 5 large very ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced and blotted or drained
fresh basil, torn into bite-sized pieces
garlic powder
salt & freshly ground pepper

3/4 c. good full fat mayo (Hellman's is great, homemade is better!)
1 1/2 c. grated best cheddar (use your favorite - both medium and sharp are good; follow your heart)

Make your favorite pie dough, or throw off the traces and buy Pillsbury's ready made pie crusts. If you hate and/or fear making dough, better to buy the dough than forgo the pie. But homemade will make the pie even more divine.

I used the Basic Flaky Pie Crust recipe from The Pie & Pastry Bible (hello! BIBLE indeed!). It was easy. If you have a food processor you can do it. I promise. Chill the dough until firm, then roll out to fit a 9 inch pie plate.

Heat oven to 375.

Prick bottom of shell all over with a fork and bake to dry a bit for about 10 minutes, If it swells at any point, puncture it with the fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool until no more than warm.

Lower oven to 350.

Prepare the tomatoes.

TECHNIQUE: You have two options. The quick and dirty method I employ happens as soon as the pie goes into the oven and takes until the pie comes out and is a bit cooled. Slice the tomatoes thickly )maybe 3/4s of an inch wide) and thoroughly blot the cut sides with many paper towels. Your carbon footprint may go up a size.

Alternately, a few hours before you plan to make the pie, slice the tomatoes and allow them to drain for several hours, for the same effect.

Drying the tomatoes is crucial - otherwise you will end up with a watery and diluted pie an dyour efforts and ingredients will be spoiled.

Put a single layer of dried tomatoes in the crust; they should be cheek-by-jowl. Sprinkle with a layer of garlic powder, a few healthy pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Tear up a few basil leaves and dot the slices with them. I would say about 3 leaves a layer, but as you will.

Repeat these layers until the pie shell is full and slightly rounded over the top. Finish the last layer with the garlic powder, salt and pepper, but no basil.

Mix together the mayo and the freshly grated cheese. Dab onto the top layer of tomatoes and spread to the edges.

Bake about 40 minutes until topping is golden brown the pie is bubbling. You may need to add some more time in 10 minute increments as needed.

Once the pie is out of the oven, allow to sit for 10 minutes. You must obey me! Otherwise, you'll have a sloppy mess that's no fun to serve or fork at. You may also make this a bit ahead and serve close to room temperature.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In the Night Kitchen: Happy [Summer] New Year!

The Night Kitchen is open!

My darling Mr Tumnus is sleeping (albeit fitfully) and I'm in the kitchen making a little anchor for our meals for the next few days. And tonight - it's fresh Hoppin' John!

I'm a bit out of season here. Well, not vegetatively, but ceremoniously.

You see, usually, this dish is made for New Year's day down here in the South. Its foundation is black eyed peas and we eat it, like we eat greens (collards or spinach - or Swiss chard if you're feeling up-town) as a kind of sympathetic magic. You see, the peas look like coins (humor me) and the greens are like what older folk here call "folding money" - greenbacks - and thus if you eat them on New Year's Day, you'll attract the actual thing for the rest of the New Year. Money! Please Lord, let this be the year of the box of money arrives at the door!

You can make this with dried black eyed peas, but I really think that fresh peas make a huge difference. Usually dried legumes and pulses are reliable, but if you can find fresh peas - buy them! You can cook them immediately, or you can freeze them if they're packaged well.

How did I come by such things?

Well, my husband and I saw that the local Methodists have begun to host a little Farmer's Market called Seeds of Hope. This is a small market that sells only local produce gathered from local farms that aims to help sustain small farmers in the face of the large institutional farms. So last Saturday, we saddled the baby up in his stroller and blazed through the little trails through our neighbor and found the path to the church.

It was charming. There was a small white truck that had disgorged neat baskets of everything fresh that they had set up in the church's covered picnic area. My husband saw that the maestro needed space to work as I seized up a basket of my own, and he and Tumnus retreated to the opposite side of the shade.

I prowled. Now, this is a small affair so there were no finished foods - no local sausage (or meat at all) and no baked goods - just fresh produce.

First in line were tiny plums, the reddest I'd ever seen. They were hard so I got a handful to see how they would ripen. I skipped over the onions since I have a larderful, but slavered over small and very firm Italian eggplant and white eggplant. I ended up with the white since I couldn't remember the last time I had bought any! Into my basket they went.

Local tomatoes are a thing of pride in our state so I got two big fat ones - one that looked ready to eat and one a bit firmer that could hang out on the kitchen window sill and sweeten up. Small and tender yellow crooknecks went into the basket as well. I let the zucchini pass since I had been roasting them with abandon the week before.

As I waited for the men with the scale and the cashbox, I saw a promising sight - a cooler at the end of the picnic table, near the eggplant. Butterbeans? I thought hopefully. But no - fresh peas! Cheap! Like everything else! Thus, the plan for Hoppin' John was conceived.

We were out early and so I was in line behind several friendly white-haired ladies, buying their handfuls of produce. They harassed the men cheerfully about the exact location of their items - which county did these come from? (A very good question - red soil counties turn out the best, most flavorful tomatoes, so don't fool with those from the sand counties. Naturally, we live on one of the sandhills. Our tomatoes must be bused in.)

I hefted my sacks, got for a mere $13 and found my husband proudly showing off our baby to the kind Methodist ladies who were organizing the market. They were wonderful about adrmiring his beauty and intelligence.

Tumnus wanted to be carried so I strapped the vegetables into the stroller and off home we went.

Now that I have the peas home, they bear a sneaking resemblance to Crowder Peas! I puzzled over this. But you know, whatever. Either of these fresh peas will have that fresh almost metallic taste. They have an edge of iodine, a sharpness in flavor even though they become creamy in texture when cooked.

So now I'm cooking them up. Below is my favorite recipe for Hoppin' John. This is actually half of a recipe for Hoppin' John, because the dish is always served over seasoned rice - usually rice that is toasted in hot butter and bacon drippings. Nuff said! My family traditionally serves it over my mother's red rice - a recipe I will have to ferret out of her and will post later in the summer!

Hoppin' John adapted from The Joy of Cooking

2-3 cups fresh black eyed peas
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 large fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 oz good bacon (I like uncured)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 (generous) dried red pepper flakes (I like it spicy, but you can be conservative if you must)
2 large bay leaves
3-4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Put all ingredients in heavy sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Leaving uncovered, simmer gently 30-50 minutes until peas are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

There will be a good amount of what my grandmother called "pot liquor" with the peas - the delicious essence of the peas and other good things. This you want. Ladle peas and liquor generously over rice. This is usually a side dish on New Year's day, but makes a very comforting lunch of supper on its own.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I do not own a single flan ring

So I've been snogging this month's Gourmet for the last few evenings while my husband puts Mr Tumnus to bed and tonight I was looking at their recipe for Savory Summer Tarts. Yum. This is the sort of thing I would have made for a brunch pre-Tum. Nay longah!

Anyway, the recipe for the crusts instructs the reader, once the crust is made and chilled, to "arrange [12 4-inch] flan rings on 2 sheets of parchment paper."

Wha - ?

I certainly have plenty of well-edited cooking equipment, down to miniature fluted pie shells (Wedding Shower! Williams-Sonoma Registry!). But I was uncertain as to exactly what a flan ring would look like.

You see them above because I cannot figure out how to break the tyranny of Blogger's image placer. Boo hiss.

Anyway, I have not got such things.

I got to thinking about cooking and desire, because once you get started in the kitchen, you really get INTO it and benefit from some good investments. Or begging at birthdays and holidays. (Yes, I was given the Kitchen Aid Standing Mixer! I have no shame!)

But flan rings. I'm not sure that these are going on my list for begging.

I see immediately that these are probably what folks use to make elegant stacks and napoleons of things - and in that light, maybe one or two could improve my eggplant towers (another post!). But my last purchase for the kitchen was a $6 steamer so that I could make baby food. My old metal steamer finally lost its hold and disappeared somewhere in the last three moves, poor thing.

But 12 4-inch flan rings. Small as this seems, this may have to go in the category of Things to Buy When Not Baby Broke. I'd rather have a really good instant-read thermometer. Or more loaf pans. Or a second Silpat!

So really what this ends up being is a moment when, once again, Gourmet takes off ahead of me, full of recipes for people with more money, more time, fewer (or older, or indentured) children. And flan rings.

I'm off to tuck the stand mixer in for the night.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Babyfood Pie

Now that I've totally revolted you, let me explain.

Baby food, in my opinion, should be of the freshest, best sorts of food there are. I'm making mine these days since I have the luxury of time and my baby eats such simple foods. I buy organic produce and steam or roast it, or just mash it up raw. What could be better? I figure that since I have no desire to eat mush out of a jar, I probably shouldn't feed it to me baby. I'm sure it's better than I think it is, but why pass up the opportunity to get us all used to Mr Tumnus eating what we eat?

So this morning, I got out some sweet potato I had roasted last night and approached Tum with it. Granted, he had had some for dinner the night before. Ho hum. So I got out some banana and mashed it in there, too. He took his usual first judicious taste (he likes to understand what he's eating before taking bit bites) and then immediately opened his baby-bird mouth for more! Always a delightful sight.

I thought I'd try it myself. I tried the rice cereal that most babies start on and thought it was vile. So I switched him to whole-grain baby oatmeal that actually tasted like food - lesson learned. Do not feed baby anything you wouldn't eat. (Note: Yo Baby yogurt is delicious and very dangerous for a parent since it's full-fat milk!)

As you might guess, the combination of two were delicious! Because the potato had been roasted, it had a very dark flavor, strong but very sweet - more like molasses than table sugar. The banana had all the bright, tropical fragrance and melting sweetness you'd expect. Together, they were fabulous!

The baby ate two bowlsful and was full of energy and cheer thereafter. Success!

I got to thinking while he was playing, that this combo must surely be a popular one - and one that I should turn into a pie! I Googled recipes for it and saw some nice ones, but nothing like what I was thinking of.

When the fall rolls around, and I'm not distracted by berries and stone fruits currently begging to be en-pied, I'm going to:

1. start with a graham cracker crust.
2. roast several garnet sweet potatoes until they are as tender as possible.
3. once I've mashed the potatoes up, I'm going to start adding bananas one-half at a time. I don't want people to say, "Good Lord! BANANA!" I want them to get a complex mouthful of many kinds of sweet and smokey flavors.
4. once I have those proportions correct, I'll use brown sugar and a small amount of cane sugar for the added sweetener (which you need in a pie!)
5. vanilla, fresh nutmeg (my obsession), Vietnamese cinnamon.
6. I could debate adding: cloves or allspice. The first may be too strong and the latter too "dusty." Also, I could be wild and add cardamon if I wanted to really make an exotic and more tropical kind of pie.
7. thicken with eggs and cream - I'm going to avoid evaporated milk, which is too like pumpkin pie. I want a lighter filling, I think.

Should there be a topping? I tend not to do such, but who knows. I might feel like it. There could be an argument for drizzled bittersweet chocolate. Toasted nuts (pecans or hazelnuts could nice) or even pralines would add a traditional element of crunch. Of course I would serve it with fresh whipped cream.

So there is the project. I will post again when I get to it! Fall seems so far away as we get into the heights and delights of summer, but now I have a pie to look forward to - and something new for the Thanksgiving table!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Night Kitchen is open

So it's difficult to cook with an infant, as I've observed before.

He plays happily in his excersaucer for a bit, but as soon as I start chopping an onion, or chicken, or some other noxious, poisonous thing (I'm convinced that various germs live on horribly despite my Silkwood shower hand washing and will contaminate my sweet babe), he needs me. So I've taken to cooking dinners (and baby food!) at night while my husband is putting the baby to bed.

It's actually a pleasure.

I clean up the kitchen from dinner (which is also a pleasure - having a clean, neat kitchen puts me at ease). Then I decide which baby foods I need to make and which dinners I want to start.

Tonight, I made an easy almost all-pantry meal that my friend Ashtanga taught me. I poured myself a glass of wine, and got out some organic chicken sausage and sauteed it. I took it out of the pan and sauteed a chopped onion in some olive oil. Then I returned the sausage to the pan and added two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes and some dried basil and let it simmer. Tomorrow, about an hour before my husband gets home from work, I'll split and roast a spaghetti squash and the reheat the sauce to have on top of it. Easy! This is the beauty of the Night Kitchen - the dishes I make are usually much better the second day and are a snap to reheat.

While I made the sauce, I roasted a sweet potato for my baby. I pick up organic garnet sweet potatoes at our local Whole Foods knock-off (oh, Ho-Fo - how I miss thee!). I roast them, peel and mash them, allow them to cool and then freeze portions in plastic baggies, which then defrost over night. He loves them, these days.

Other nights, I've steamed organic apples and then run them through the mini-chopper. Later this week, I'll figure out pears, which he has never had! I thought about steaming them, as well, but decided to just wait until they get really ripe and tender.

It's really fun to return to my independent cooking ways at night and I always seem to find some energy in reserve for it. My husband says it delights him to see me cooking and smell the the good things - he finds it comforting.

Notes on Roasting Spaghetti Squash

Get a squash that looks healthy and is heavy for it's size. Preheat the oven to 400. Split the squash down its length, rub the split surfaces with olive oil and place, cut side down, on a baking tray. Roast 30 minutes and then pierce with a fork to check for doneness. You want the fork to go in with little resistance. Keep adding 10 minute increments if it needs more time.

I like this better than steaming - the squash will put out a lot of water and roasting helps reduce this. It also gives a sweetness to the squash, which you will then rake with a fork into spaghetti-like strings. Oh - pick up the squash with a pot holder and squeeze it over the sink for a minute to get out some of the water. Or allow it to drain in a colander if you can wait - I never can.

You can serve most pasta sauces on this (lighter ones are indeed better - and it loves fresh herbs and parmesan!). If you want a lighter and unusual change from pasta, try this.