It was 29º today. That’s top of the charts – the warmest temperatures we’ve had in weeks. It is downright balmy out. I have developed a wintertime habit of checking the temperature on the phone first thing each morning, so I can gauge my layering needs for the day. And, I get a certain pleasure out of seeing the low numbers and feeling like a hero for simply going outside, warming up the car and making it to school/work. An avid fan of winter, I am in a growing minority in the East Coast, as the snows piled up and the temperatures dipped … over and over again. As I clacked around Mackworth Island on my snowshoes this morning, I was surprised to see scores of plump robins flying amidst the trees – since it was a brisk 10º when I left the house. Apparently, spring is on its way, temperatures be damned.
In a previous post, I had mentioned a spaghetti squash recipe I wanted to share. I finally scored a squash at the market after coming home empty-handed for weeks. This is an easy meal to throw together mid-week. You can roast the squash ahead of time, and leave it in the refrigerator. When you want to toss the salad (I am not sure if it qualifies as a salad), just spoon out the spaghetti strands, and you are halfway there.
* Last year I was cooking Chocolate Pots de Creme for Valentine’s Day!
Spaghetti Squash Salad
1 spaghetti squash
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced
3 T lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2-1 cup feta cheese
Salt and pepper
1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in a roasting pan. Roast for about 40 minutes at 350º. Test by sticking a fork in the skin. It should glide right through, signaling the strands are soft.
2. While the squash is roasting, spread almonds on a cookie sheet and place in oven to toast for about 5-7 minutes. Watch them closely as they can burn quickly.
3. Place olives, scallions, lemon zest and juice, and canola oil in a mini food processor and chop roughly. Don’t blend the mixture completely, you want to see little chunks of olive and scallion.
4. Once the squash has cooled, scoop out the strands and place in a large bowl. Stir in the olive mixture. Sprinkle with feta and toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper.
- This salad is great by itself, but I also have eaten it with brown rice.
- I used goat cheese for this round because I didn’t have feta. It worked well. You want to have some tangy counterpoint to the more neutral squash.
- This dish tastes better warm, so if the strands have cooled, put them back in the oven or microwave for a quick warm-up before you toss them with the olive dressing.
This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine magazine.