Squash- Tips and tricks.

Squash, often overlooked in grocery stores or only used during the holidays.  A lot of the time when I do see a squash in people’s fridges it has been there for weeks maybe months on end looking pretty; Till of course it gets to mouldy and needs to be thrown away.  Even though I love squash, I even find myself passing by the brightly coloured display next to the onions and potatoes.  Why? because they take FOREVER to cook.  You don’t need to keep a constant eye on them, and it surely takes no effort.  However for some reason it taking over an hour to roast seems painful; When I can just eat something at that very moment, or at least sooner.
Lately I’ve been buying squash though.  I’m starting to make myself eat more of a variety while I am at home, instead of waiting till I go to work.

In this entry I’ll be posting: different ways you can cook a squash, different types of squash, and different ways to enjoy it.

There are many types of squash, most can be prepared the same way.  However there is one in mind where roasting seems to be the only way.  The squash I’m talking about is the spaghetti Squash! When cooked it creates a stringy texture which gives it the “spaghetti” appearance.  The best way to cook it I find is by roasting.  Once cooked you can do whatever you want with it.  Saute in a pan with butter and seasonings, put it in a salad…you name it.
A list of some other squash are: Butternut, acorn, buttercup, red kuri, turban, etc..  The list could go on but I think you get the hint there are many.

For roasting you could cut the squash in half, take the seeds out and rub flesh with salt, pepper (whatever seasoning you like) and some oil…sometimes I like to use maple syrup.  Place them on a baking sheet flesh facing down and roast in oven at 350 degrees till somewhat soft. Then turn squash over so flesh is facing upwards.  Place back in often till finished cooking, this will give it a nice flavour and should be slightly golden.
Another way you could roast is by peeling and cutting the squash into chunks, and boiling the pieces in salted water like you would a potato. Once almost cooked, strain water.  Coat in oil and seasonings, place on baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees till golden.
To saute and caramelize them in a pan you would first have to boil it the same way as you were to roast them.

**Tip** By placing flesh face down first it gives a “steaming” effect.  This will allow it to cook before it starts to burn, same goes for boiling first.

There are many things you can put squash into, including desserts and lattes!  One of my favourite ways to enjoy squash is in pasta. A creamy non tomato based lasagna is so delicious when squash is involved, same goes with ravioli. Another way to enjoy it is in salad, caramelized squash with a fantastic vinaigrette based salad can be to die for.  How about a vegetarian sandwich? Soup, everyone loves a butternut squash soup.  It’s also really enjoyable stuffed inside some pork tenderloin with cranberries.   Heck, I even enjoy squash on its own. In fact I ate spaghetti squash today for lunch, with just some salt and cracked black pepper on top. Sometimes it’s nice keeping it simple, that’s for sure.

Well there’s my rant about squash, I hope you learned something from it!

Oh and to everyone in Nova Scotia right now, hope you’re enjoying the blizzard!  …Because I’m not.

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Some squash for you!

 

My thoughts on coffee.

A couple of years ago I ran a different kind of blog, a blog on facts.  I’d do activities or search for weird things around the city, take a photo and write the story behind it.  Along with all of those things the main attraction was the facts I would post about the activity or item; Facts would range anywhere between when something was created to myths that were created among the years.  One thing that I had written about was coffee and how I feel so passionately about it.  Within this post I had written about the different types of beans, where they grew, and how flavour profiles adapted to the bean the same way grapes for wine grew.   So with all that being said, here is a similar post for you to enjoy.

In North America people are often “to busy” to enjoy a really nice cup of coffee.  They grew to enjoy the quick benefits of caffeine instead of actually enjoying a flavour.  Not saying everyone is like that, I certainly am not, and I am not saying quick benefits of caffeine is a bad thing either.  Instead of sacrificing one, why not enjoy both?!  A lot of people seem to think that you need to spend tons of money on nice coffee or spend a lot of time making it.  While that can be true, not always.  I enjoy fantastic coffee by buying a bag of beans for $10 and it takes me 2-5 minutes to make it in an auto-drip maker.  If you do have extra time though making coffee by hand in a French press or hand drip is defiantly worth it.
**There are more cons than pros to pre-ground, blend coffee.
Cons would be, a blander coffee, awful flavour combo, burns faster, starts to lose flavour faster.
Pros are quick and easy..and sometimes but not always cheaper. (I wonder why?)
**There are more pros than cons to whole beans.
Cons would be, can take longer to make (by about 1 minute), buy more often.
Pros would be, more flavourful coffee, fresher coffee, doesn’t burn as fast, doesn’t start to lose flavour as quickly, can be just as cheap as blend, can still be made in a auto drip maker.
By enjoying a whole bean instead of blend, you can start to taste where that type of bean was grown.  Different beans have different tastes and aromas.  Exactly like different types of wines.
If you do decide to buy whole beans, store them in an air tight container in a dark cool area.  Such as a cupboard away from the stove.  If you feel as if you will not use all these beans in a weeks time you can store some in a freezer.  I find it best to separate into a few containers, leaving one out for use till the next is needed.

People often don’t understand why I feel so strongly about coffee, they say things like…”why do you care so much it’s just a cup of jo”.  Well here’s why, if I’m going to drink something everything day it better be friggin’ good.  Life is to short to be drinking bad coffee.  Why would I want to put something into my mouth that tastes burnt, or like dirt? There’s no need to have everything in exactly 2 seconds, or for everything to be “convenient”.  Take your time, enjoy something…like the rest of the world does.  Know that there is more to it than meets the eye.

Every now and again…sometimes more often than not, I will buy a latte or a cappuccino. To me espresso based drinks are wonderful, I don’t think there is anything wrong with them.  Unless of course you tell me you love coffee but all you drink is vanilla lattes with extra whip…For someone to love coffee you should be able to drink a regular and still completely enjoy it, am I right?  My favourite specialty drink are cappuccino; It’s just a frothy espresso, delicious right?  When Fall comes around though, watch out I over do the pumpkin spice lattes.  The latte art always impresses me, one day I’ll know how to do it properly!

So tell me everyone, how do you take your coffee? Mines with some milk/cream or like I said above a cappuccino/latte.

P.s. My older blog does not exists anymore.

Bigger is not always better.

Everyone has heard the saying “bigger is better”, bigger house, bigger car, bigger blankets, a bigger set a boobs…and even well, a bigger package on the lower half of a male’s body.  However what if I told you bigger is not always better, there are some things where it’s not best or gets to the point where it’s to big.  For example, food.  Everyone says they want bigger portions and bigger vegetables or meats but where does that get you?  Not very far…well I mean it might last you a while but there are things that you’re sacrificing.

Bigger portions sizes cause people to over eat this has become a huge problems over the years all across North America.  People seem to think that you’re not full unless you’re busting out of your pants and eating mountains of food.  Restaurants have a huge problem with giving away larger portions; However when they try to cut back people complain about it. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, you can always take it home and save it for later!  I’m just saying, just because that’s what they give you doesn’t mean you have to eat it all at once.  We don’t need more health problems than we already have.  Don’t throw it away though!  The other negative with larger portions is that people will eat half and throw the rest out, causing a lot of food waste.

Bigger vegetable, bigger shell-fish, bigger fruits, etc…what does all of this have in common?  Lack of flavour and lack of nutrients.  You always see people growing super sized cucumbers and other things but is it really that great?  I don’t think so.  When you buy much bigger fruits and vegetable you lose out on flavour.  They start to taste dull and almost like some sucked all the juice out of it.  Another thing you lose out on is nutrients, something you would hope you get but don’t always.  For shellfish the meat starts to become rubbery and not very good, eating it becomes a challenge.  Now don’t take this to the extreme and go buy super tiny food products, there is a fine line on what is “too big”.  For example if a scallop is as big as your hand, there’s a 99% chance it’ll be rubbery.  If a carrot is the size of 10 or even 20 normal sized carrots…it’s not going to taste very good.  It’s best to avoid it for great tasting food.
Now I also have a positive on bigger foods.  If you can’t afford to buy more of something and it’s cheaper to buy the huge cucumber please do!  Sometimes people have struggles and this is the only way; This is a good way to have more of something.  You don’t loose all nutrients, just some.   So in all, there are pro and cons, just like everything else.  Hopefully this will help you to have better tasting food and make healthier choices.

 

 

Thoughts on deep-fried sushi rolls.

Sushi, something that has been around for centuries. Something that started off as a way of preserving fish in rice.  It later grew into a whole meal in Japan where fermented rice and fish we placed together in boxes and set aside.  These days what is known “traditional sushi” is sushi rice with a slice raw fish placed on top.  However if you look at what we know as sushi on the Western side of the world, you could say it’s a little outrageous compared to its traditional elder.  For me I’m a strong believer in the evolution of food, creating new ideas and making something simple into something that could very well taste or look better.  So western sushi is fantastic in my eyes.  The colour’s, the different flavour…When you get a roll and you can just tell someone was being creative with it, is completely awesome.  But then again, traditional sushi is also very delicious and actually refreshing.  It’s a nice breather from how hectic and unhealthy ours can really be.
Speaking of unhealthy sushi, that gets me on today’s topic of deep-fried sushi rolls, or also known as tempura sushi rolls.  I’m not talking about tempura inside the sushi rolls, I’m talking about whole roll battered and deep-fried. Healthy right?  I think not. I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about it lately, seeing it all over the internet and even in sushi bars.  Something that I never really noticed before, so it must be new.  If it has been around for a while than I must be blind, because I’ve been eating in sushi bars for years and only ever saw its cousin the sushi pizza.
I think this is a great way to get more people into sushi bars of the Western world, getting people to enjoy different versions of sushi and have them explore.  It also tastes great!  However, I think it also has its down sides.  This version of sushi can hide what sushi actually is to “new” sushi eaters, having people mistake this type for traditional.  A lot of people also seem to think all sushi is healthy sushi, not taking into account that something may be deep-fried or packed full of sugar.  So keep that in mind everyone!
Personally I think everyone should indulge in this once in a while, why not have a party in your mouth?
Combining two simply delicious items (tempura and sushi) into one is pure genius.  Just eat it in moderation and remember to embrace your fears of raw fish and eat it traditionally too!  Something you thought was scary or disgusting may become your favourite food.   Always try something new instead of sticking to what is considered to be “normal”.

Let me know in the comments what your thoughts on tempura sushi is.

**These photos are not my own, I did not make any of these.  I simply googled to give you a better understanding.  Who ever did take/make them though, thank you!~