One of the fun things about running a food blog is learning and keeping abreast with all things related to food. From the many blogs I visit, I have learnt about different food cultures, cooking techniques, ingredients, cooking gadgets, restaurants, photography, and the likes. This knowledge has caused me to move out of my comfort zone and to give new ingredients and recipes a chance in my kitchen. I have also acquired some interesting kitchen tools, cookware, and tableware in an effort to make the food more presentable.
Photography which was once in the hubby’s domain has become almost an obsession. I have taken over his cameras and have turned parts of our home into mini “studios”. I am the one going around with a camera and have a point and shoot in my purse at all times. All food items have to be photographed and for most parts people are very understanding and good natured about it. Friends and family have been especially sweet, and it touches my heart when they offer their plates for a shot to be taken. I remember my dear dad reminding the rest of the family to hold their chopsticks at a restaurant so that I could take pictures of the food. Everyone happily obliged.
While dreaming up a “unique twist” for the Quickies Noodle Challenge, it suddenly struck me that now is a good time to try that spaghetti squash. Up till now I have never tried this squash but have been curious about it. If you visit this blog regularly, you know that squash is a favorite of mine. I really like the idea of being able to get perfect strands of squash by just scrapping the flesh with the thines of a fork. The other is the ancient fruit, pomegranate. It is a beautiful fruit with those lovely ruby red arils. Pomegranates are in season right now and I am a firm believer of cooking with seasonal produce. It makes sense because it is more economical and ensures the freshest ingredients are used. It also allows the maximum nutritional benefits to be reaped and encourages a more varied diet. Pears, persimmons, kiwi fruit, clementines, grape fruit, and oranges are some of the other fruits in abundance currently. Winter vegetables include squashes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, kale, and root vegetables like rutabagas and parsnips.
If I were asked today, “What is the most unusual or unique dish I have ever prepared up till now?”, this Tutti-frutti Spa-ghetti salad will be the one. This dish has a very unlikely combination of ingredients – spaghetti squash, pomegranate, and kiwi fruit. The color combination is striking and it has an interesting mix of flavors. It is sweet and tangy with a nice crunch to it. The parmesan cheese and walnuts help to mellow the flavors. If you want a conversation dish, give this a try.
And now, for the task of preparing the pomegranate and squash which are both “first” for me, I searched the web for their preparation methods. First up, I found this awesome step-by-step instruction on peeling a pomegranate. Be sure to wear dark colored clothes while handling the pomegranate as the juice can stain your clothes. Even though I wore an apron, I had a few dots of juice sprayed onto my grey colored shirt.
A medium sized pomegranate yields one to one and a half cups of arils. They are gorgeous and look like rubies. The arils with the seeds are eaten whole. They are very juicy and a little tart. The seeds are crunchy.
For the spaghetti squash I followed the instructions from this website. There are several different methods of preparation. I chose to split the squash and bake it to save time. The other alternatives are to bake it whole, microwave, or boil it. The best part is to separate the strands of flesh with the fork.
- 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash from 1 small squash
- 1 kiwifruit, peel and cut into thin wedges
- ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Split the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place on a baking dish with cut side down and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, use a fork to gently scrape around the edge of the squash to shred the pulp into strands.
Place 2 cups of cooked spaghetti squash, kiwifruit, and chopped walnuts in a large bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour dressing over squash, fruits, and nuts. Toss to combine. Dish onto serving plate. Top with pomegranate seeds and parmesan cheese.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!