Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kasha and Spaghetti Squash - two more additions to the acceptable food list!

We've tried quite a lot of new-to-us whole grain ingredients since starting the blog - bulgur, quinoa, millet and barley just to name a few. This Multigrain Pilaf we had as a side tonight incorporated a couple that we have had before, but introduced us to one we have never tried - Kasha. From my understanding, Kasha is basically buckwheat groats that have been roasted to bring out their natural sweet and nutty flavor - this process also removes some of bitterness found in the grain.

The pilaf starts its base flavor by softening a chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic in olive oil. Vegetable broth, along with the kasha, pearl barley, bulgur and a bay leaf are added into the pot and brought to a boil. The mixture is then cooked similar to rice - simmered and covered until the liquid has been absorbed, just a quick 15 minutes. I checked mine and the grains were tender enough at 15 minutes, however I still had a good quarter cup or so of liquid remaining that I just ended up straining away. The pilaf is rounded out with a scattering of toasted crunchy pecans to serve. I loved the textures in this pilaf - the grains had softened, but retained a satisfying chewiness with a mild "wheat-y" flavor. This is definitely a good choice if you are looking for a higher fiber side dish.

Multigrain PilafIf you remember, we tried out Acorn squash for the first time last week - I mentioned that since we enjoyed it so much I scoured the bottom of my to try piles (where a lot of the "iffy" recipes end up) and pulled out another squash recipe to serve this week. We opted to go with a recipe for a Spaghetti Squash and Pork Stir-Fry as we've never had this type of squash before either!

It was quite fun to watch when I pulled the Spaghetti squash out and used a fork to shred it into thin brilliant orange strands! The squash does take some time in the oven to get tender enough, but you could bake it off a day or two ahead of time and just keep the strands in the refrigerator. The pork used in this dish is pork tenderloin - it is first cut into rounds and then each piece is cut into matchsticks for speedy cooking. Scallions, garlic, ginger and pork are cooked in a bit of toasted sesame oil to give the mixture a sesame punch. Once the squash threads are tossed into the pan, a combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha quickly follow to bring a hot salty note. One of the reasons I think we liked this so much is because we were surprised how well the squash held up and didn't turn mushy at all. If you bake the squash ahead of time, you could easily get this dish on the table is probably less than 15 minutes - great for those busy weeknights when you might not have a ton of prep time just to get dinner started.

Spaghetti Squash and Pork Stir-Fry


  1. I've used spaghetti sauce with marinara just like the pasta. I too like the "al dente" texture of it. My favorite acorn squash recipe is to halve & remove seeds. Put into microwavable dish & salt, then fill with brown sugar, cinnamon & a little butter or margarine. Cover. It takes 8-10 minutes for them to cook until soft. Tastes like sweet potatoes!


  2. I know you don't know who I am, but I live in MSP, too.. and have your blog bookmarked b/c you & I seem to be into the same food sources. I was going to make that E/W tomato bisque for dinner one night, and saw it on your blog the next day.. kinda freaky.

    I have also made the E/W spaghetti squash dish (did maybe a month ago). It's equally good w.out the pork, FYI. Love the spice combo so much that I made it again the next week.. =) Take care, and thanks for the fun ideas

  3. I made spaghetti squash last week with some turkey tomato sauce and a side of quinoa--yum. I made your whole wheat curried couscous recipe this week--it was delicious and got rave reviews.

  4. Squash is one of my favorite fall foods! I am so glad you are enjoying it! Acorn, spaghetti, butternut, delacata, many tasty varieties!


  5. Martha - That sounds like something we will have to try!

    Reann - Thanks for letting me know it is good without the pork! Do make the bisque, it was so good!

    Jen - Cool! Glad to hear it went over well!

    Courtney - yeah! I'm happy we finally branched out and started giving them a try!

  6. Joe, if you can find it, you must try Delicata squash. It's my absolute favorite of all the fall squashes for its sweet, delicate flavor and incredibly creamy texture. You've inspired me to do some experimenting with grains, too.

  7. Julie - I will be on the look out for it, thanks for the suggestion!