Saturday, April 01, 2006

Discovering New Things - Spaghetti Squash - Lettuce Wraps with Spaghetti Squash and Asparagus

This is going to be a two birds with one shot kind of deal - my first ever entry to Kalyn's Weekend Herb blogging (Spaghetti Squash) and also a contest entry to VKN's cooking competetion.

I have always wanted to submit an entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging but never had the opportunity to do so. I am glad I am starting it this weekend!

I also wanted to submit an entry to My Dhaba's Virtual Cooking Competetion (theme: Appetizers) contest that was previously due March 31. For the longest time, I couldn't think of anything interesting to make and I did not have a lot of thinking time either. I thought "okay, there is always another time".

But all that changed as soon as I saw on the night of March 31st on VKN's site that the deadline had been extended to April 10th. But then again, I couldn't think of anything to make. Then early this morning (Saturday) I made my usual trip to the grocery store. The store was practically empty with maybe be 5-6 people in the entire store. I love to grocery shop at such times. I feel that I can get in and out fast and also "notice" a lot of different things I usually wouldn't have seen. For instance, I did not know the store had "spaghetti squash". As soon as I saw the squash, I had to put it in my basket. It was only 98 cents a pound and almost all the squashes were about 2-3 pounds each. I had no idea how to use it. I had seen Rachael Ray use it one time in one of her "carb friendly" meals she has been doing lately. She used it instead of regular spaghetti. I remember she had "cheesed" it up at the end in typical Rachael Ray style :-). I moved on all the while thinking how I could use the spaghetti squash and then an idea came to mind and I went back to the fresh veggies aisle to gather some other ingredients - Boston lettuce and Asparagus.

When I came back home, the first thing I did was look up the spaghetti squash. I discovered a lot of things about the squash -
  • it is a native American squash
  • 4 ounces of spaghetti squash only has 37 calories
  • the longer the squash, the sweeter it is
  • it will keep at room temperature for 2 months
  • can be cooked and frozen
  • can be baked, steamed, boiled or microwaved to cook
I got the information above from the following websites.

Wholehealthmd
Wikipedia

The reason I chose the lettuce wraps because they seem to be the fad in Asian cusine these days. This is my first time making them and since there is lettuce involved it made me feel not so guilty. These wraps are also a great alternative to those who are watching their carbs. The reason I associated spaghetti squash to the lettuce wraps is because of the whole rice noodles in the lettuce wrap deal. Now to the recipe...

Preparing the Spaghetti Squash


click on the images to enlarge
After reading instructions on the squash and online, I decided to go the "microwave" method, since that seemed easier and fast.

  • Cut the squash in half leghth-wise in half.
  • Scoop out all the seeds using your hands. Discard the seeds.
  • I only used one half of the squash. Take a microwave safe bowl large enough to fit the squash, put about 1/3 cup of water.
  • Take the half of the squash, put the squash cut side down in the bowl with water.
  • Microwave on high about 7-8 minutes. Start checking for doneness after about 6 min do 1 min increments there after. When checking for doneness, over turn the squash carefully with some tongs, and pierce using a fork, if the flesh is tender the squash is done.
  • Leave it aside for about 5 minutes until it cools off. Then carefully, the squash is still hot, put the squash on the counter, preferably on a towel to keep the squash from slipping on the counter. Also have another towel handy so you can sort of hold the squash to keep it from moving and using a fork, scrape off the flesh into a bowl. What you will see are marvellous strands of spaghetti. I was so amazed and excited about making nature's very own spaghetti :).
Making the filling for the lettuce wraps (makes about 4-5 wraps)

Software
---------------
  • 2 cups spaghetti squash "spaghetti"
  • 9 asparagus, sliced at an angle into very small slices
  • 1 green onion, sliced at an angle
  • 1/2 scallion, finely minced
  • 1 head boston lettuce
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 inch ginger, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4-5 tbsp plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • wasabi, as spicy as you want it to be (omit if you are not a huge fan of the wasabi)
  • salt, to taste
  • mint and cilantro leaves to garnish
Hardware
---------------
one skillet

Method
---------------
  • Seperate the lettuce leaves from lettuce head, discard the outer leaves if they are bruised, rinse in water and dry them on paper towels.
  • Put the skillet on medium-high, add the sesame seed oil, add the garlic, minced scallion, half of the green onion, saute till translucent. Add the ginger. Saute for a minute.
  • Add the diced asparagus, cook until asparagus is tender.
  • Add the soy sauce, plum sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and stir. Add the spaghetti squash and coat so the sauce is coated to the spaghetti. Turn of the stove.
  • Add the wasabi and stir. Do not breathe in the fumes :-).
  • When ready to serve, spoon the cooked filling into the lettuce leaves, fold the leaf over to close, garnish with mint, cilantro leaves and green onions.
Serving Suggestion: These will make perfect appetizers, a side for an Asian style brunch or even a light lunch!

20 Comments:

At April 01, 2006 10:37 PM, Blogger Santhi said...

what a neat recipe.......
U have Some Imagination girl :):):)
way to go

 
At April 02, 2006 6:30 AM, Blogger Kalyn said...

I love this idea. The lettuce wraps sound great. I grow spagetti squash in my garden. If you grow it, you can pick them while they are still green and eat it like a vegetable, skin, seeds, and all. It's quite delicious that way, just with a little salt, pepper, and a bit of butter.

 
At April 02, 2006 7:19 AM, Blogger Luv2cook said...

Thanks, Santhi.

Kalyn:

Thank you. I wondered while I was working with it if people grow it in their garden. I would love to find the green spaghetti squash. I will try it in the organic food store and the farmers market in the summer because I am sure people around here grow it too.

Thanks for the net tip.

 
At April 02, 2006 10:06 AM, Blogger KrishnaArjuna said...

Great recipe l2c!!

 
At April 02, 2006 10:35 AM, Blogger sailu said...

That's an interesting recipe.Picture looks good!

 
At April 02, 2006 9:41 PM, Anonymous sher said...

Thatis so clever--and so beautiful.

Sher

 
At April 03, 2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Lakshmi said...

A good recipe. Wonderful.

 
At April 03, 2006 2:15 PM, Blogger Saffron said...

Wow! how creative is that!! We had tofu lettuce wraps this weekend at a chinese restaurant and I loved it.

Wonderful idea to use spaghetti squash!! lovely pictures too!

 
At April 03, 2006 3:06 PM, Blogger shammi said...

woohoo - fantastic! I dunno if we get spaghetti squash here, but it's one veg I'm gonna try when I'm in the States! :)

 
At April 03, 2006 3:07 PM, Blogger Kitchenmate said...

L2C:
Great recipe and cool pictures. Looks healthy too..

 
At April 03, 2006 6:18 PM, Blogger Vineela said...

Hailuv2cook,
U r recipe is new to me.It looks great.
I will try this and i love spaghetti too.
Thanks
Vineela

 
At April 03, 2006 6:20 PM, Blogger Vineela said...

HI,
I did dal with this spaghettisquash.
VINEELA

 
At April 03, 2006 8:14 PM, Blogger Luv2cook said...

KA, Sailu, Lakshmi, Sher:

Thank you for your kind comments!

SH:

Thank you. I am honored that a wonderful photographer like you thought my photos were good :-). I have noticed that my photographs that I take during weekends come out better than weekdays i.e. pictures taken when it is sunny outside turn out a lot better for me.

Shammi:

Thanks. I think you should try this squash. I cannot say enough about how wonderful it was :).

KM:

Thanks.

Vineela:

As soon as I cut the squash, that is what I thought - should make dal with it :).

 
At April 03, 2006 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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looking for content ;-)
I loved your post called " Discovering New Things - Spaghetti Squash - Lettuce Wraps with Spaghetti Squash and Asparagus ".

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Stop by when you can!!
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At April 04, 2006 7:31 AM, Anonymous Indira said...

They look like beautiful flowers LC, and I can imagine the taste, yum...:)
Easy to prepare and healthy too. Good one!

 
At April 04, 2006 8:57 AM, Blogger Sumi said...

I have not heard about this squash till now...looks like a very heathy appetizer.
I will hunt for this squash , next time when I go groery shopping

 
At April 04, 2006 3:46 PM, Blogger Garam Masala said...

This is an interesting vegetable! And what a creative recipe too!

substitute for spaghetti... must get my hands on this one!

 
At April 05, 2006 12:06 PM, Blogger Isil S. said...

Very interesting recipe and I loved your way of telling.

 
At April 05, 2006 12:28 PM, Anonymous Nayanthra said...

Is is not hard to cut the Squash? I find it so diffcult to cut it, so i boil it first and slice them to halves. Add some pesto sauce and cheese, you have you pesto - spagetti pasta, ready to eat.

 
At April 05, 2006 1:57 PM, Blogger Luv2cook said...

Nayanthra:

Yes. I did find the squash hard to cut but somehow managed to do it without chopping off my fingers :). I cut the one side off so the squash would stand still on the counter while I cut my way through it. :)

 

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