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
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
- 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 :).
- 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
- 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.