Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Existential Squash

It would appear that my recently-purchased spaghetti squash and I are kindred spirits. 
You see, for the better part of two years now, I’ve been feeling like there has to be more to my purpose in life than just my job.  I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something more – something else – I’m supposed to do with my life, and that sitting in my windowless office isn’t where my purpose lies.  However, when one has been working in or going to school for a particular line of work for a decade, this realization is pretty effing scary.  It brings on an enormous existential freak-out, actually.
My spaghetti squash, meanwhile, seemed to have similar feelings.  From its perch on the counter, it seemed to be looking up at me and saying “I’m always used as a replacement for spaghetti noodles.  I mean, yes, I know it’s in my name and all, but I’m bigger than that.  Really, I am!  If you just let me work outside the box a little bit, you’ll see that I’m destined for bigger things than marinara sauce.” 
Knowing this feeling quite well myself, I couldn’t bring myself to relegate the spaghetti squash to a future of marinara.  It deserved more than that.
In order to help the spaghetti squash live up to its potential, I decided to make a dish similar to Middle Eastern Lentil Soup and use the advieh that I love so much.  I added sautéed onions for extra flavor, and, in an effort to use up the rest of last night’s Israeli salad, I combined the leftover salad with the squash.  And, if you'll indulge my bad puns once again: hot dog, we have a weiner!

Middle Eastern Spaghetti Squash
1/2 white onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon advieh, divided
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup Israeli salad (optional)

Step 1:  
Cut the spaghetti squash in half (these suckers put up quite a fight - I was on the phone with my mom when I did this, and when she asked why I clearly sounded strained I replied "I'm murdering a spaghetti squash, and it's fighting me somethin' fierce.")
Clean out the pulp and the seeds, and place the halves face-down in a pan with 1/2 inch of water (just like making pumpkin puree).  Cook at 350 for 30 minutes.
Step 2:  While the squash gets its cook on, thinly slice the onions.  Then saute them in the olive oil over medium-high heat; when they start to brown, add 1/4 teaspoon of the advieh.

Step 3:  Once the squash is tender, scrape out the spaghetti awesomeness into a bowl.  Add the other 1/4 teaspoon of advieh, and stir until mixed.
Step 4:  If combining with Israeli salad, add that and mix 'er up!  If not, top with the sauteed onions.  I'd also recommend almonds for added crunch!
The layered version

The all-mixed-up version
Aaah, spaghetti squash: you’ve lived up to your potential, my friend.  Well done.

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