Aley Chubeza #117, June 25th-27th 2012

A HONEY OF A DEAL

At the beginning of this week, Daniella renewed our stock of delectable honey… and this is only the beginning!  A new supply is scheduled to arrive very soon. For now, we got wild flower honey and blueberry blossom honey, and we anxiously await eucalyptus blossom and raspberry honey. The entire list can be found on our order form.

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SPAGHETTI TREE, VERY PRETTY…

Summer summons new vegetables on a weekly basis, some familiar and loved (Hello, dear friend the corn! How we’ve missed you!), some less familiar, but definitely worth getting acquainted with. I am attempting to keep up with the rapid changes in your boxes and tell you about the many new guys in our summer neighborhood. This week it’s a gal, Madam Spaghetti Squash.

On April 1, 1957, BBC aired a documentary on a panorama show about the spaghetti crop in southern Switzerland. The program depicted the life of a Swiss family during their annual spaghetti harvest season. Women were seen carefully plucking spaghetti strands off the trees and drying them in the sun. The narrator pointed out how each strand of spaghetti always grows to the same length, thanks to years of hard work by generations of growers. At the end of the (hoax) program, the spaghetti harvest was celebrated with a toast and a “homegrown” spaghetti meal.

After the documentary was aired, many phone calls were received at the station. At that time, spaghetti was not a widely-eaten food in the UK, and was considered by many as an exotic delicacy.  Hundreds of viewers wanted to find out where they may find spaghetti seedlings to grow their very own homegrown spaghetti. In one comment on the BBC website, a man says that it took him years to stop believing that spaghetti grows on trees, and even today, at 56, whenever he drives through agrarian areas he keeps an eye peeled for a random spaghetti tree.

Alas, spaghetti does not grow on trees… but it does grow on bushes!

Vegetable marrow, golden macaroni, spaghetti marrow, spaghetti squash, and vegetable spaghetti are all names for one of the most distinctive squash we grow. Its uniqueness is expressed by the fact that after cooking, its flesh can be ferreted out with a fork, and then comes the magic: the cooked insides separate into thin “noodles,” not unlike spaghetti. It tastes like a cross between a pumpkin and a squash, not as sweet as a pumpkin or butternut, but sweeter than zucchini. This is why the “spaghetti noodles” can be eaten just like you would eat pasta: with tomato sauce, olive oil and herbs, pesto, Parmesan, (preferably not a heavy Bolognese), etc.

Spaghetti squash was one of the pioneering crops grown at Chubeza, from our very first year. For years we grew the good old yellow variety, which was common in Israel 20 years ago as well. Over the past several years, we’ve added a different variety, striped on the outside but still light on the inside, with a similar taste to the classic type. This year we have a lively innovation: a few years ago, an Israeli seed company (named “Origin”) developed an orange spaghetti squash called “oranghetti,” fortified with beta carotene and with a sweeter pulp. This year, we grew all three varieties: the classic yellow, the striped type and the sweet oranghetti. If you didn’t like the spaghetti squash in previous years, you are more than welcome to try it again.

Spaghetti squash recipes all begin the same: first, cook or bake till it softens (till easily pierced with a fork), then wait 15 minutes till it cools so it is easier to handle. Note that the squash is very hot when it comes out of the oven or pot, particularly if baked or cooked whole, where it’s practically burning inside. Here are tips for easy preparation, to be used with the recipes that follow:

Baking whole: Puncture the peeling with a fork, pre-heat oven to moderate temperature and bake the vegetable for an hour.

  • Baking in halves: Slice the squash lengthwise (to create two ellipses), remove seeds, heat oven to moderate temperature, and place the squash in a baking dish face down. Bake for one hour.
  • Steaming: Puncture the peeling with a fork, place small amount of water in pot, and insert a steamer. Place squash on steamer, seal lid tightly, and steam for 30 minutes.
  • Cooking: Bring enough water to cover squash to a boil, then place whole squash inside and cook for around half an hour.
  • Microwaving: Slice the squash lengthwise (forming two ellipses). Remove seeds and place face down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 7-12 minutes.

Once the squash is soft, let cool. If prepared whole, slice lengthwise and remove seeds. With a fork, gently separate the vegetable’s pulp into thin noodles and place them in a bowl. Usually, the squash produces a surprisingly large amount of “spaghetti,” much more than you would expect from the outside. Apparently, sometimes the parts really are greater than the whole…

Make a sauce for your “spaghetti,” such as tomato, pesto, aglio e olio or olive oil and fresh herbs. You can even sprinkle parmesan on it, or simply season and gobble it up!

The small squash will keep whole for over a month in a cool place. If cut, cover with plastic food wrap and keep in the fridge for two to three days. Cooked “spaghetti” should be kept in a sealed container for the same amount of time. You can also freeze cooked “spaghetti” by placing it in freezer bags or sealed containers. When you want to use it, partially defrost and steam for five minutes till it’s warm, but not soggy.

May we have a week of summery surprises! Drink up, and mind the sun.

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday:  nana or basil, lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley. Zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers or fakus, eggplant, beets, spaghetti squash, corn or mini Pam pumpkin

In the large box, in addition: green beans, melon, scallions

Wednesday:eggplant, lettuce, lemon verbena or nana, tomatoes, leeks or scallions, zucchini, cucumbers or fakus, red potatoes, dill or cilantro or parsley, spaghetti squash, green peppers.

In the large box, in addition: corn, Swiss chard or New Zealand spinach, mini Pam ptmpkin or melon

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers and organic olive oil too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us soon

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Spaghetti squash recipes:

Vegan Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Frittata Fritters

Spaghetti Squash with Feta, Dried Cranberries & Almonds

spaghetti squash kugel

Spaghetti Squash Medley

Spaghetti Squash Recipe with Spinach, Feta & Basil White Beans

Spaghetti Squash Curry

 

 

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