Weather: 25 degrees, getting darker every day
What I’m listening to: Song for a Winter’s Night, Sarah McLachlan
Ok folks, I have a problem. I have what I’m calling the Food Blogger Cookbook Curse. You see, we have a lovely community library. And in said library, there are several shelves full of cookbooks. I could stand there all day browsing and perusing and relaxing amidst the cookbook stacks. But this is not my problem.
My problem is this – I am no longer able to try a cookbook recipe that does not include at least one photo. I’m like Alice from Disney’s 1951 version of Alice in Wonderland: “How can one possibly pay attention to a book with no pictures in it?” Foolish girl, I used to think. Until I became the cookbook version of her. Gasp.
Of course, there are dozens of classic cookbooks, cornerstones of the field, that contain no photographs and only the occasional hand-drawn illustration or two (my grandmother’s old copy of The Joy of Cooking comes immediately to mind). There is so much to be learned and gleaned from these treasures, and yet, I’m scared to death of them. I cannot stomach the thought of trying a classic recipe and not having even the foggiest idea what it’s supposed to look like. How would I ever know if I got it right or wrong? By taste alone, you say? It almost seems preposterous.
And this is all because I’m a food blogger – I am now ruined for the photo-less recipe. And perhaps, by virtue of my work, I am ruining you, too. I might be giving you the Food Blogger Cookbook Curse. It might be contagious. Proceed with caution. Enter at your own risk.
Seriously though, good food was around long, long before good photographs. A couple years from now today’s photos will no longer be viewed as “good photos” but that doesn’t make the food any less good. Tomorrow I’m going back to the library, back to my favorite stacks. And I’m going to challenge myself to pick up a classic or two, check them out, bring them home, and spend some quality time with them. Because there is so much more to learn.
By the way, this spaghetti squash bake is fab – garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, parmesan, tomatoes, and mozzarella all baked together with tender roasted squash. We enjoyed it as a light, meatless dinner with a spinach salad. It would also make a very tasty side dish. In the photo just above, I finished it with a drizzle of good balsamic.
Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake
Yields: 4 sevings
- 1 whole spaghetti squash, roasted, seeds removed, and scooped out (I roasted mine whole for easier handling, see [here|http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2012/09/11/chipotle-butternut-squash-soup/])
- 2T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4c fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
- salt and pepper
- 1/4c parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 whole ripe tomato, sliced
- 1/2c mozzarella cheese (or more if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease an oblong shallow casserole dish (or similar).
To a mixing bowl, add the cooked squash "noodles," olive oil, garlic, basil, a generous amount of salt and pepper, and the parmesan cheese. Toss to coat (more olive oil can be added if needed - you want it moist, but not dripping). Spread mixture into the casserole dish. Lay tomato slices on top and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little bit more freshly grated parmesan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve promptly (a drizzle of balsamic and some more fresh basil on top is tasty, but optional).