Yard to Plate – The Lighter Side of Spaghetti

Here in the Great Lakes region the harvest season is in full swing - the bounty of the summer's labors piled high on tables in every farm market and every kitchen counter for those who's gardens survived the punishing summer drought. What started as a quick "I want to use some of this stuff from the garden" side dish last week has been refined as the main course this week and I'm happy enough with it to share it here. This one is pretty simple and  can be served hot or cold. The preparation of the squash is flexible - steaming squash is one of the few tasks I think a microwave oven is perfect for: 12 minutes in a modestly powered microwave should be enough to produce a perfectly al dente 2lb spaghetti squash every time and you don't need to dirty a single dish. The Software:
  • 2 lb Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, diced (Use a few different types if available)
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tblsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Chive)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
The Method: Halve or quarter the squash and scoop out the seeds and other goop. Like pumpkin seeds, seeds from all squash varieties are absolutely delicious when dried, toasted and salted, so save em up and make yourself a nice little snack. For the sake of simplicity, (Simplicity? is this really The Rogue Estate?) stick the squash portions in the microwave and let it go for 12 minutes. Check it at 6 minutes if you are unsure of your microwave's capabilities and adjust accordingly. Before, during or after the squash steaming described above, put a 1/4 inch dice on the tomatoes and onions, removing any excess seeds or other goopy bits. Put a real fine mince (or a chiffonade if you're fancy) on the herbs. I used roughly equal parts of Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Chive for this application, but let your own preferences guide you - spaghetti squash's mild flavor lends itself compatible with just about everything, much like it's namesake pasta. Melt the butter and whisk it into the olive oil, then put everything else into the bowl and toss or stir to coat and combine. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and set aside to let the flavors meld a bit. Back to the squash - you'll know it's done with you can pull it apart with a fork and little to no effort. Use the fork to scrape the husk clean  and discard the husk. Portion out the squash onto whatever individual serving vessels suit your fancy - in this case I used 8" plates.  At this point you can serve hot or allow the squash to cool. Give the sauce a good stir to redistribute the liquid and scoop it on top of the plated squash. Drizzle an extra spoonful of the liquid over each plate and serve immediately.   This dish goes well with an autumn sunset and a hunk of good bread to soak up the juice and oil leftover when the squash is gone. Drop a reply here or on the facebook if you give this a whirl, we'd love to know how it turns out and if you came up with any great modifications. As with any of our recipes, this is but a guide - explore, modify and make each dish your own - taste, taste, TASTE! -///    

Great Plates: Cookie Dough Brownie

BEHOLD: The chocolate chip cookie dough double fudge brownie from Treat Dreams in Ferndale, MI.

Great (future) Plates: Michigan’s Summer Bounty

A little something-something from the regional Farmer's Markets, destined for great plates near you!

Six-pack Workout: Pegasus IPA

Not to sound so particular, but I’m still exploring the beers that the Chicago area has to offer that I haven’t seen back home in the D. This one is quite exceptional, another one to look for if you make it out this way.

Fur and feathers are filtered out before bottling.

Brewery: Argus Brewery, Chicago IL. Style: IPA ABV: 6.5% IBU: 60 Price point: $9 for a 6-pack Color: Amber-Red Head retention: Fair Aroma: Citrus (Yuzu?!), mild malt undertones. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth. Tasting notes: Citrus, walnut, more body and flavor than the typical American Pale Ale with the same hop bite. Pairings: Curry and spices, blue cheese, good cheddar, roast game. Avoid grilled foods with this one. The harshness of the grill will overpower the balance of this beer, I think (not tested though, so correct me if I’m wrong, please). Comments: An American IPA that’s true to the Brit style, not overly hopped to the point of tasting like soap. As much as I like the American riffs on the English Pale Ale and IPA originals, I think American brewers go a little more than overboard with the hops sometimes (Bells Two-Heart, for instance) which is why this was a refreshing change of pace for me. Some other beer review sites have dogged them for this, but I applaud them! Another thing I saw them bemoaning about was the lack of citrus notes in the nose, typical of the style. Again, I must disagree. In fact, that was the first thing that struck me. No doubt this is due to the fact that I live a few miles from the brewery, so the batch that I got my paws on was most likely fresher. What struck me the most about nose wasn’t just the citrus, but the specific type of citrus, yuzu! Whether accidentally or contrived, the brewers found the precise blend of hop varieties to give this beer the aroma of that much beloved Japanese fruit. Well rounded flavor, and balanced hop/malt finish make this a beer I will buy again. -Jack http://www.argusbrewery.com/

Great Plates: Rogue Estate BBQ

On July 29th our friends at Torino Espresso +Bar hired Rogue Estate's Catering gang to cook and serve a gourmet caliber BBQ Dinner to celebrate their one year anniversary. We sourced all out ingredients locally, including organic pasture raised pork from Melo Farms and served up these great plates: A VIP menu of BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, BBQ Spare Ribs, Detroit BBQ Co's FrankenBakon, Mustard Coleslaw, Smoked Mac & Cheese and Fresh Dill Pickles put smiles on a lot of faces.  Photos by Robbie Small and EatItDetroit. -///