I’ve been trying to be more conscious of eating locally lately. I’ve been frequenting my local, organic market more and more recently. Not only does the produce taste better but I like knowing where it comes from and supporting more small-scale producers. Even though I was always aware of the produce available (and not available) according to the different seasons, it becomes so much more obvious when the large majority of the food isn’t being imported from elsewhere. It is such a shift from summer into more truly wintery produce. Needless to say, there is a lot of squash, parsnips, and potatoes around. It always takes my brain some time to re-adjust and think about the things I normally make with these ever present winter vegetables that I largely ignore over the summer months. One of the biggest problems I have, especially with squash, is that they are so big. Just one squash is way more than we ever need for any meal and unless I want endless leftovers, I have to think of multiple dishes to make with the same ingredient. While my go-to is usually soup, a couple of weeks ago, I used some acorn squash to make a delicious quinoa salad. So, when I saw a half of a squash being sold at my local market, I wasn’t only thrilled that I wouldn’t have to eat an entire squash by myself but I also knew what I was going to do with it right away. I could picture what a beautiful side dish, or even meal, a quinoa stuffed acorn squash would make, especially at this time of year.
It looks like I am knee deep in comfort food recipes. Can’t blame me! There is something about the change in the season that makes me want to eat warm, comforting food. I am sure I am not alone. I really enjoy lasagna, but I usually reserve it for a Sunday afternoon cooking session. And in our place, there is always a cooking marathon on Sunday nights. Usually we are preparing two separate batches of lunches for the week as well as dinner for that night, so lasagna is perfect to make at that sort of time.
I had plans for dinner. I was going to (re-)make a delicious corn ‘salad’ filled with roasted cherry tomatoes and zucchini, topped with these shrimp, cilantro, and chipotle lime dressing. And suddenly it wasn’t summer anymore. It was pouring and 10 degrees outside. There was no corn to be found at the farmer’s market and I got squash and beets in my CSA box. Granted, since then, the weather has improved drastically- it is sunny and kind of warm but there is a noticeable chill in the air. I could see my breath when I was walking to work this morning. I’ve been told there is no ‘fall’ season in Calgary, so hopefully we can cling to Summer a little longer, but apparently there is already snow west of the city, so I don’t know how much longer we have.
Spaghetti squash is so exciting. It’s so satisfying to take a freshly roasted spaghetti squash and shred it with a fork. It’s remarkably easy. Why do spaghetti squash break apart that way? Are there any other vegetables that can be shredded so uniformly and beautifully? I don’t know. I have to admit, after roasting and shredding it I was pretty much prepared to eat it as is. It would be a lovely and satisfying side dish or snack eaten simply with salt, pepper and spice, but I needed a meal.