The things a person can make from cornmeal and squash

Posted on | Thursday, October 28, 2010 | 2 Comments

This entry could also be titled, "When in doubt, call it rustic".

Rustic is such a magic word in the culinary world. By adding it to the name of a dish the sloppy appearance of said food is suddenly pretty. This especially relevant in baked goods and pastas. It excuses any mishaps and somehow makes the food even more delicious. Or maybe that last part is just me.

I have been itching to bake something this week but I couldn't decide what. Then suddenly and desperately I knew. I needed to bake muffins. Scrumptious fluffy muffins. I had seen one of my favorite baking bloggers post this recipe a few days back, and it was like trumpets sounded and the skies parted. These were the muffins I must make.

Jam-filled cornbread muffins. Her pictures looked heavenly and I became filled with glee as I realized the recipe did not require a mixer. An easy recipe that promised delectability and effortlessness? Sign me up. It came together in a blink. My only mistake was over-filling the cups (and then thinking that I needed more batter and making a whole extra batch that I had to quickly find a use for). I put them in the oven and about twenty minutes later my house smelled exquisitely like baked goods.

I opened the door and for a moment my heart sank. The muffins had exploded.

Almost. The boysenberry jelly oozed out everywhere into a sticky syrupy mess. I sighed and looked at my failed muffins. But as I sulked they began to look less disastrous and more delicious. Like something out of the 1930's. No one would have to know they weren't supposed to have exploded. I could simply call them rustic and no one would be the wiser.

I suddenly felt smug. Crisis averted.

Then I saw the second batch of batter I made. Crud. I racked my brain. Could you make cookies out of a muffin batter? I wasn't sure. I thought some more. I had a cookie sheet and a mini-muffin tin. Then the idea struck me - miniature thumbprint muffins. After a quick google search I felt confident that it would be done and deftly scooped spoonfuls of the batter in the the tin and then put it in the oven.

Then came the fun part - making the thumbprints. I used a spoon since I am a wuss and didn't feel like burning my fingers on oven-fresh muffins. Didn't they turn out beautiful?!

I'm impressed with my own ingenuity. This is the first improvised baking experiment I've done. And thus far no casualties.

After such sugary baking I figured my dinner would have to be exceedingly healthy. And I had just so happened to purchase a spaghetti squash yesterday. I've never made spaghetti squash and had no idea if I would even like the vegetable. But I threw caution to the wind and took the produce home anyway. Yep. I live dangerously.

However I was faced with a predicament. Upon researching how to cook the blasted thing I came up with technique after technique. Microwave. Bake. Broil. Steam. I had several people offer ideas and after a bit more research I snagged this recipe from a friend and dove in.

Look at me getting daring with my culinary experiments.

I let the squash bake for an hour and when I removed it from the oven this is what I was faced with. For several moments I panicked. Can you kill a squash?? I carefully sawed it open and breathed a sigh of relief. The inside looked perfectly cooked and delicious.

I let the steamy squash cool as I prepared the other ingredients.

First, in went the chopped onion. Once it started to smell sweet and began to turn clear I added in some canned diced tomatoes. The recipe didn't call for it, but if you are going to live dangerously and buy squash a random you might as well improvise while you're at it.

Then add the parsley (and don't forget the garlic!). Stir stir stir.

The task of making spaghetti squash into spaghetti made me a bit nervous. Everything I had read said to just "scrape out he insides with a fork" and it would turn into pseudo-spaghetti. What do you think? Did I fork-scrape like a pro? It looks like yellowy spaghetti strings to me.

I mixed it all together and added a sprinkling of cheese. Then was the moment of truth. I'm not going to lie; that first bite was so so so good. The flavors blended perfectly and I polished off a bowl in record time. What makes it even better? It's good for me! Every ingredient aside from the cheese is healthy and full of vitamins and minerals. And I can always tell myself I need he extra calcium when I sprinkle that grated parmesan on top.

I think I have found my new guilt-free comfort food. This is like finding a unicorn in my backyard. Bliss.


2 Responses to “The things a person can make from cornmeal and squash”

  1. Anne
    October 29, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    volcano muffins--they look awesome to me ;-)

  2. Alisha
    October 29, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    VOLCANO MUFFINS!!! I so need to make these with raspberry or strawberry jam next time and start calling them that. Alisha's Volcano Muffins. Win!


Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.