I have proved a hypothesis: what you put in you get out. And this couldn’t have been more true than my garden this summer.

My physical and psychic energy were all over the place. I just didn’t have the time, nor the motivation to tend to my very large garden. With two kids newly graduated and heading off to college, working and traveling, I was stretched thin.

My intuition was telling me to not plant that much, simplify, streamline. I went ahead anyway, and after planting the whole thing, I left it alone, as though gardens can get by on their own without attention. I did get some key items: tons of baby pumpkins, a couple of good spaghetti squash, red potatoes, decent basil, parsley. But my tomato plants protested and only gave me a measly few. My lettuce bolted. My broccoli was blah. It was a lesson in really paying attention to the things you love, including plants. You need to love them to love you back.

I appreciate what I have. After wondering what I was going to do with 40 pumpkins, I turned all them into puree and froze it for pumpkin bread and smoothies. I made pesto out of the basil and parsley and froze that too. And today I am roasting one of my prize spaghetti squash for dinner tonight to go with grilled salmon and Orange Tahini Dressing. Not a bad ending to gardening season after all, but lessons learned.How do you cut into winter squash? Very carefully. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a sharp kitchen knife. These squash are so hard that you will not be able to cut them otherwise and you might ending up slipping and cutting your hand instead. So, please, run to the store and get a good knife sharpener before you proceed.I love spaghetti squash for the sole reason that it really is like eating spaghetti, but without all white carbs and calories. You can twirl it, even serve it with meatballs and tomato sauce even (like I did in this recipe).Today though, I thought this Orange Tahini Drizzle would be perfect because it is such a nice fit with the salmon I will be grilling. It’s really a sauce that you lightly drizzle over your food and a healthy addition to any meal.

Tahini is made from pureed sesame seeds, so essentially sesame seed butter. It’s a main ingredient in hummus, but I like to use it in dressings and other healthy condiments to make my very simple, healthy food taste great. You could serve this drizzle over a brown rice bowl or even as a salad dressing. This drizzle will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Orange Tahini Drizzle

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half*
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini
zest and juice from 1 navel orange
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey (preferably local)
1 clove garlic, mined or pressed

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Very carefully cut your spaghetti squash in half and place it, face up, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on how big your squash is. You will know it is done when the sides begin to brown and you can scratch the strands of squash easily with a fork.

2. As the squash is cooking, make the Orange Tahini Drizzle. In a mini food prep or blender, add the tahini, sesame oil, zest and orange juice, honey and garlic. Add a dash of salt and pepper and blend until well combined. Taste, you might want to add a bit more salt.

3. When the squash is done, carefully remove it from the oven and, with a fork, scrape out the seeds. Then, scrape the rest of the strands into a bowl. Toss with some of the drizzle and serve.

Note: if you have a spaghetti squash and no sharp knife, here is a trick. Make a couple of slits in the squash and place whole on the baking sheet. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and very gently cut into the squash. It should be soft enough to have some give. Once sliced, place it back in the oven to finish cooking. 

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