Well, I had to do it sooner or later, serve spaghetti squash for dinner. My husband, David, loved the stuff. So did I. But my short story, “The Vengeance Garden,” due to be published in the “Spells and Swashbucklers” anthology (Dragon Moon Press, Nov. 2011, edited by Valerie Griswold-Ford), dealt with the potential down-side of large, yellow squash. Even storing one in my refrigerator for a week was a bit creepy. I found myself thinking, “Mr. Squash, are you about to do something I might regret?”
The afternoon for the cook vs. squash showdown arrived. I rinsed the outside of the being and stabbed it four times with a paring knife. Not in self-defense, just to allow escape ports for steam. No screams or flowing blood (from it or me) followed, so I placed the thing in a pot of cold water and let my trusty stovetop bring the water and squash to a simmer. After forty minutes of simmering, the squash was still firm, but soft enough for me to cut in half lengthwise with ease. (Note that some squash will require more cooking time.)
I removed the seeds (luckily, I found nothing worse inside), then peeled off the rind. Finally, I transferred the peeled squash halves (cavity-side down) into a glass baking dish, added water and a couple tablespoons of margarine, applied an aluminum foil cover, then baked the squash for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Carnivores may wish to consider serving the squash with this topping:
one pound lean ground lamb
one-third pound lean ground beef
A few tablespoons olive oil
Chopped garlic (I used 7 cloves for good luck)
Diced Serrano chili pepper (remove the seeds if a mild level of “hot” is desired)
Water as needed to keep the meat from sticking to the pan when browning the meat-garlic-pepper mixture in the oil.
14-1/2 oz. can of S&W Ready-Cut Tomatoes (diced with no salt added)
Wine mixture (equal parts of red wine, white wine and sweet marsala) to taste. (Try ½ cup of wine total.)
Italian seasoning to taste.
Add salt if you must.
Brown the meat in oil and water with the garlic and Serrano. Add the tomatoes, wine and Italian seasoning and simmer until cooked. The browning-simmering process usually takes me about 30 minutes. Serve with a cooked green vegetable, green salad or both. Enjoy!
Warning: If you notice that the squash moves by itself, whispers or bleeds at any point in storage or preparation, carefully dispose of it as garden trash and take your family out to dinner.
Laurel Anne Hill (Author of “Heroes Arise”)
Causes Laurel Hill Supports
Winter Nights Shelter and Shelter, Inc.