Beautiful Monster by Ne-Yo
Today's post is about a plant that I was convinced was a creepy, crawly, life-threatening monster - until it revealed itself to be something quite beautiful and tasty! The guys in the white suits that literally pop into the scene behind Ne-Yo in this music video are just how I perceived this plant to grow and inch toward me while my back was turned. This is very spooky and Halloweenish activity, folks. Read on - if you dare!
Several years ago
I started a garden space using the
"lasagna gardening" method.
I didn't have access to a tiller to
"dig up" a garden in the traditional
manner I was used to.
This new method was circulating through
my area with great interest at the time
so I decided to give it a whirl.
And it worked!
And I loved it!
As my various seeds grew and
prospered in abundance, I noticed
one plant in particular that was
growing at warp speed.
It seemed to grow even while I
stood and watched!
The only problem was,
it wasn't anything I had planted!
It was rogue!!
I could tell it belonged in the cucumber
or squash or pumpkin family.
But it wasn't a variety of any
of those that I had planted.
And it seemed to be much happier
with the new garden setting than
When I would go out to tend my garden
I would conjure up images of
the scary movies I watched as a kid
where plants, such as this one,
would attack people from behind
and devour them!
Believe me, after this plant had literally
overtaken most of my garden space and
started it's tendrils towards the neighbor's,
I didn't dare turn my back on it!
For the longest time
this plant annoyed me.
I didn't have the heart to pull
it out, though, until I knew what it was!
Eventually it got some blossoms
and I waited anxiously to
see what those blooms would yield!
Oh, happy day, when
I saw that a bounty of acorn squash
would be visiting my harvest
basket that year!
Now I didn't mind it's uninvited
intrusion at all!
Now it was beautiful!
Acorn squash are so simple to fix,
and apparently, very simple to grow!
To me they are the quintessential
fall squash as we ate them
so often as I was growing up.
Usually I just cut them in half,
scoop out the seeds, and bake.
But today I wanted to show
you how you can slice them
and make them "pretty."
They also cook faster since
they are cut smaller!
Always a bonus!
Spiced Acorn Squash Rings
1 large acorn squash
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon five-spice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet tray with cooking spray or use your oil mister. Set aside.
Lay the acorn squash on it's side on a cutting board.
Slice an inch off the pointy bottom part and an inch off the stem top part. Then slice the remaining squash into 6 rings anywhere from 1/2" to 1" thick. Using a small biscuit cutter or a paring knife, trim the seeds from the center of each slice.
Place each side, cut side down, onto the prepared sheet tray and spray or drizzle the olive oil over the tops.
Mix together the salt, five-spice, and pepper in a small bowl and then sprinkle over the top of the slices.
If you don't have the five-spice on hand you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. This is not five-spice, but it'll give you a sweet and smoky flavor combination.
Bake for 20 minutes and then turn and sprinkle with more of the spice mix. Then bake for another 15 minutes, until golden and the squash flesh is soft when pierced with a fork. Serve warm and enjoy!