Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara was a staple meal when I first moved to New York City and was living on 13th street.  Back then I made this dish with pasta, less than farm fresh eggs and tempeh bacon.  My diet has certainly changed a lot since then!  Spaghetti squash is a really versatile winter vegetable that I now use in place of noodles in soups and in place of wheat pasta.  Wheat, according to the new book Wheat Belly by William Davis, is an ingredient most Americans would be better off with out.  According to his book, wheat, even the organic kind, as grown in the US since the 1980’s is has been so genetically modified from it’s original form that it can not grow in the wild on it’s own and contains a protein entirely unfamiliar to our digestive systems. This so called ‘wheat’ that is used in almost every imaginable food product is nothing like it’s healthy, civilization sustaining ancestor. No wonder so many Americans are being diagnosed with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease!  Wheat also acts as an opiate, the more you eat the more of a high you experience and so, the more wheat you crave, creating a viscous cycle of addictive over eating.  Try skipping all wheat for a week or two and see if you notice a difference in how much you eat and how you feel energy and mood wise.  Here’s a great recipe to get you started: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara!

Ingredients:

One medium spaghetti squash, baked at 350 til it’s done.  Here is a post I wrote with further instructions on baking this type of squash.

2-4 slices of happy bacon

small bunch of Parsley, chopped

1-2 large farm eggs, whipped with an equal amount of….

grated Romano or Parmesean cheese

The number of eggs and the amount of cheese you use should be determined by the amount of cooked squash you have.

Warming the cooked squash in the bacon fat with cooked bacon pieces.

For the squash: I like to chop it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and fibers, oil the inside and bake the halves skin side up at 350 for about 30-45 minutes.  I know they are done when given a push, the skin gives a little.  Also, when I try to fork out the spaghetti like strands, they should come out without much effort. Be careful not to over cook this squash, the strands will lose their slightly crunchy, mildly sweet individuality and turn into a mushy mass.

Once your squash is baked and cooled enough for you to remove the strands you can start cooking the bacon.  You will be using one pan for this meal so once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan and add your squash to re-heat it.

Add your greated cheese to the whipped eggs and then add this mixture to the pan, stirring quickly off the heat.  If there isn’t enough heat in the squash to cook the sauce you can put it back on a low flame and keep stirring til the sauce thickens.

Add lots of chopped parsley, the bacon pieces and eat immediately!

Blackened Salmon with Spinach, Stinky Cheese and Balsamic

Blackened salmon over baby spinach, Roquefort sheep cheese, pecans and balsamic dressing

I vividly remember the first time I made blackened fish.  I blackened the ceiling of my kitchen and set off all of our fire alarms.  I was living in a top floor apartment in Rockland, Maine, the ceiling in the kitchen was slanted low over the stove.  At the last moment I hesitated over the searing hot cast iron skillet, I couldn’t bring myself to cook something without oiling the pan and then WOOOSH! as soon as the oil (that I did NOT need) hit the pan it ignited, flames licking the low ceiling, the fire alarms going crazy while I learned a valuable cooking lesson, NEVER add oil to a red hot dry skillet.  Thankfully no real damage was done and I did successfully make wasabi coated blackened tuna which was delicious and totally worth it.

One more cautionary note about this recipe in particular, you need good ventalation because heating up cayenne is like maceing yourself if you don’t ventilate the room.  An added bonus of inhaling cayenne is that your sinuses will be totally clear by the time you are done cooking!

The salmon fillet in oil, pressed garlic and lemon juice

First, you need about 1 pound of salmon, wild caught.  Seriously, farmed salmon has no life or taste but it does have added coloring, you’ve been warned to stay away!

For the Marinade:

Mix 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon olive oil with one clove of pressed garlic in a shallow dish large enough to hold the salmon.  Coat the salmon with the marinade on both sides and then let it sit while you get your blackening spice mix together.

Spicy Cajun style spice blend: hot paprika, thyme and cayenne

For the spice blend:

2 and 1/2 tablespoons Paprika (sweet or hot)

3/4 teaspoon cayane

1 teaspoon Thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

Once you have the spices mixed, go back to the salmon and generously coat one side with the spice blend.  Put your lightly greased cast iron skillet on high heat and turn your overhead fan on.  If you don’t have one I suggest opening a window and directing a table fan to blow the smoke/pepper out.  Once the skillet is HOT place the fish, spiced side down and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.  You can pour any left over marinade on top of the fish in the skillet and then generously dust that side with the spice blend.

Blackening the salmon in a barely oiled cast iron skillet.

Flip and let cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes.

For the salad:

Whisk together 1 – 2 Tablespoons of Olive oil with 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and dash of salt and pepper per serving.  I usually do this in the dish I am going to serve in.

Add baby spinach, a heaping tablespoon of crumbled Roquefort cheese and a tablespoon of toasted pecans, toss together.  Add a serving of blackened salmon on top and eat immediately!