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Friday, 26 March 2010

Complete & Total Failure!

In general, I'm a confident and independent cook. The kind of girl who used to buy recipe books mostly to look at the pictures and now, having discovered the joys of blogging and Flickr, usually doesn't buy them at all. The kind of person who throws some stuff in the pot, measures by handfuls, and usually ends up with an edible, tasty meal.

I know there are some of you who lack this confidence; this post is for you.

A short while ago, some friends turned up at our house bearing a rather unusual gift:

Spaghetti Squash

It's called a Spaghetti Squash. Once you've scraped the seeds out, you can start to see why.

Spaghetti Squash

Now, I'd never eaten one of these before, let alone cooked with it. I had no idea what I was going to do, and it seemed huge for the two of us. It sat on the kitchen worktop for weeks, just looking at me, challenging me to think of something exciting.


Eventually, I decided to make soup, something I do a lot during autumn and winter.

I roasted the squash in two halves, after which it was edible but bland. I scraped out the flesh, popped it in a pan with some stock and spices, and left it to get on with turning itself into soup.

Except it didn't.

It turned itself into, well, nothing. The strands separated out, and it ended up looking like a slightly slimy noodle soup. It tasted foul. I tried really hard to like it, I tried pureeing it, I tried adding extra ingredients (even salt), but to no avail. It was completely inedible.

We ended up popping out to pick up an Indian takeaway.

I wrote this for those of you who typically stick to the letter of each recipe. You can choose to take this in one of two ways, and I really don't mind which. You can feel justified in your safety net, and celebrate the fact that, sometimes, my attempts fail spectacularly. Or you can recognise that going completely off-piste is not without risks, but at the end of the day, the worst that happens is you have to eat something else.

And if anyone has ever cooked spaghetti squash successfully, I'd really love to hear about it!


The Good Cook said...

Rachel - I love spaghetti squash. I usually steam it, scrap out the seeds and add feta cheese, diced tomatoes and salt and pepper. OR you can just add butter and salt and pepper OR treat it just like pasta and add sauce or whatever else - try black olives, fresh basil and diced tomato. In fact, I believe I have a recipe for it on my blog - just search under spaghetti squash.

I have one in my fridge for the past few weeks too. I think I'll make it this weekend.

Dalamar Taurog said...

I usually roast it in two halves as you did, but near the end of the roasting, I put butter in the centers and cinnamon and/or nutmeg. I then serve it as the carb of the meal instead of as a whole meal itself.

MJ said...

I wish I could cook, but I'm absolutely terrible at it. It's so inspiring that you can just throw things together!

Daphne said...

I've had failures like that.

Spaghetti squash is great even with just a nice marinara (like spaghetti!). It's probably not a good one for soups!

lakeviewer said...

Thanks to this blog, I will never attempt to cook spaghetti squash. We should have more blogs like these, failed cooking lessons, to keep us all sane.

Lee Ryan said...

I wouldn't ordinarily admit that I buy or read cookbooks -- but anyway - spaghetti squash is great. My favorite is out of a book entitled "Eating Well in Season" where spaghetti squash is combined with pork in a stir-fry. I can pass you the recipe if you like.

Stephanie V said...

Don't give up...spaghetti squash is delicious. To some of us, it might even be better than pasta.

Roasted or steamed and dressed up with butter and parmesan cheese or marinara sauce - or whatever else you can dream up to go with squash - it's great.

WestSacHoney said...

Spaghetti Squash is awesome but it probably didn't make that good of a soup. I normally bake mine with some EVOO in the oven till I can smash it with a fork. Then take it out and scrape the insides out and it'll make spaghetti! Top with marinara and tada! Stopping by from new friend friday!

Kathleen said...

Hi I'm visiting from new friends Fridays! Love spaghetti squash. I've never tried to make soup with it. I like it just like regular pasta. Marinara and turkey meatballs is my fav

BONNIE K said...

Thank you for stopping by. It's been years since I've made a spaghetti squash, but I keep vowing to cook one again, and just put tomatoes or spaghetti sauce on it. It has to be healthier than pasta and I do remember liking it.

Chef E said...

You do what you did, bake with seasonings, scrap it out (I use maple sugar too) and then saute some onion, mushrooms or other veggies and toss with squash and it becomes a vegan pasta dish!

Even I did not do so well now and then!

Another idea is too bake with soy, ginger, onion bits...toss it with soba or regular noodles, add sesame seeds and make an Asian dish!

You can bake it the night before and then scrap it cold and saute it with ingredients, so many things, next time email me I am here for you- you are the daughter I wished I had!!!

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Ha Ha , thing is sure ,everybody who reads this will never have a disaster with spaghetti squash ,and plus u have a recipe from a reader :-)))
We dont really find this squash here,actually have never seen it at all :-)))
But if i do ,will make something ,thinking of ya !!!!!

L.C.T. said...

I really like this. Mostly because if any of my many cooking experiments even come close to failing I get really miffed at myself!

Hans and Shinta said...

I stick to recipes. haha..I never ever try anything without a recipe. Oh, and I have never even heard of sphageti squash before. It looks kinda interesting. Sorry it didnt turn out good for you! =(

Btw, there's an award waiting for you here:

Enjoy =)

Hans and Shinta said...

You are coming to the Faroes?!?! That's exciting!!! Are you on vacation? work?`or...?? Where will you be staying? I live an hour from Torshavn, the capital (I guess that's where you'll be going?), and would love to meet for coffee, but I'll have to check with the hubs first. It's our anniversary this idea what he has in mind. hehe..

Kel said...

I hate when my cooking adventures don't turned out as planned. I've never made that before so I can't give any tips for next time.

xoxoKrysten said...

Just stopping by from SITS to wish you a very happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! Have a great weekend!

Kazzy said...

I am a big squash fan, but spaghetti squash is my least favorite. I slice it open and then bake it.

Dedene said...

I've never liked spaghetti squash. I much prefer pasta.

bellsknits said...

wow what a spectacular failure! Never heard of that variety but it doesn't sound very nice!

i can't define myself as one or the other when it comes to recipes - there are some styles of cooking I'm totally at ease with and have enough experience in to just throw myself into it and go for it. But I love my cookbooks and I love coming across ideas I've not tried before - and of course with baking it's rare that you can take that 'flying by the seat of your pants' approach!

Holly said...

I have never cooked one...but I am totally excited about all the ideas yo have been given in the comments here. I have food catastrophes all the eventually makes me a better cook.

Ginny Marie said...

My daughter decided to pick out a squash at the store the other day...and she decided on spaghetti squash! I made it once before, with a tomato sauce and mushrooms, just like real spaghetti. This was before I had will be interesting to see if my daughter will eat the squash!

Thanks for welcoming me to SITS!

christine said...

I bought one years ago, and we had a tomato pasta sauce with it - none of us was very keen on it, and you didn't like the texture:(

Enjoy your holiday xx

Me, Myself and Pie said...

I've never had spaghetti squash, but I've been seeing it pop up in blogs lately. Sorry it didn't work out! (But I bet the Indian takeout was good!!!)

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