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Friday, September 16, 2011

Cleavage, Craigslist, and a Rainbow To Boot

Last evening I joined a gaggle of locals
who just happened to be in the Walgreen's
parking lot when this happened:
Taken with my old fashioned cell phone -- I don't like smart phones, as I suspect they are smarter than I.
We stood there, Walgreen's employees and customers alike, mouths open, cameras or phones clicking away.  It's not often -- at least around here -- that you witness a clear and complete rainbow, stretching in a perfect parabola* from one side to the other of Route 46 -- a useful but not often breathtakingly beautiful thoroughfare.

I don't know about the other gawkers, but looking at this miracle of Nature
recalled to me God's promise to never again destroy the earth by flooding.
Given the last 3 weeks in the Northeast, that's a welcome promise.
Speaking of perfect parabolas:

It's Blossom and Boom-Boom, the pulchritudinous Squash sisters,
members of that well known New York family, the Spaghettis.

Our family has been eating Spaghetti Squash, farmed on Long Island, for almost as long as I can remember,
and that's a pretty darned long time.  If you've never had this unique squash, you may want to give it a whirl.
 Some people use it as a substitute for carb-laden pasta, but I use it because I love it.
That it's low carb and no-fat is just a side benefit.
Before just telling you what I do with it, I googled it, to see recommended methods.
It used to be that the standard way to cook it was to hack it in half lengthwise -- no easy task --
scrape out the seeds and icky bits, and roast it, cut side down, till tender.
After I got married and started actually cooking, I discovered I am a lazy cook.
So I just poked a few holes in the thing, put it in a dish, and roasted it whole.

My Mom didn't approve, but I couldn't tell the difference in the final product, and it was way easier.
Turns out, that's the most commonly recommended method now, although most recipes warn
about dangers of dealing with the piping hot squash right out of the oven, when you need to cut it up and clean it.

There is a simple cure for this.
Let it cool down.
 Put the squash in the oven, 350-degrees, and roast about an hour.
Don't forget to poke it in a few places with a sharp knife first.
You'll know it's done when you can pierce it easily.  Plus, it will look cooked.
 When it's cool enough to handle, cut off the two ends to make it easier to clean.
In one end -- I think the blossom end -- there's good strands so don't let that one go without pulling them out.
 Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  With a soup spoon, just scrape out the seeds and icky stringy stuff
from the middle of the veg.  You will leave the "meat" of the squash
clinging (desperately) to the edges of the shell.  For now.
 Take a fork, and scrape the meat from the shell.
If your squash is cooked enough, it will come away easily.
If it is cooked too much, it will fall away, but it might be mushy.
 Almost done.  
 As you scrape the strands out, put them in a bowl or pan, depending on what you want to do with them.
You will be left with two empty squash shells, a lot of good spaghetti strands, and also a lot of seeds.
You can roast them like pumpkin seeds, if you must wish.
 What to do with a bowl of spaghetti squash?
You can play pretend, and put spaghetti sauce and cheese on it.
I am made of stronger stuff, and take my squash neat.
I reheat it in the microwave, get it piping hot, plop in some butter, give a goodly sprinkle of salt,
and a very generous grinding of pepper.  Then I add more pepper.  Toss it lightly -- and it is delicious.
Tonight, to go along with leftover chicken breasts cooked with spinach
and feta cheese, I'm going to saute some of those big shiny shallots,
above, with a bit of garlic, some olive oil, a touch of butter
(because I can!) and heat it up with the squash.

Spaghetti squash is one of the winter squashes,
although it has far less sugar and carbohydrate content than its more famous relatives:
the Acorns, Hubbards, the Pumpkins, and those wild and crazy Butternuts.
 These squashes can be expensive in supermarkets, but we get ours from the farmers out East;
the ones I used today cost us 50-cents apiece, and I'll be stocking up.  They keep for months.
Now, about that mention of Craigslist. . . .
Yes, I am a Craigslist junkie.

But even I was amazed to get a message yesterday that went something like this:

Dear Craigslist Stalker,
You have sent ten listings to yourself via email within the last hour,
you greedy and selfish cheapskate.
You have reached the limit for stalking,
and are now cut off from sending any listing emails.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Love, Craig
(Okay, full disclosure -- that's not really what they wrote; their message was more like
"You have reached our silly and arbitrary limit on emailing postings" or ...
no, that wasn't it either.  Their message was rather businesslike.
But their limit IS silly and arbitrary.  JMHO, natch.)

Who knew that you can only use their "email this posting to a friend" feature ten times in an hour?
I think Craigslist made that rule about as clear as they make the *&@#^$@
verification letters you need to fiddle with now.
I have had sets that were upside down or had characters that don't exist on my keyboard.
Seriously, Craig?

Well, we forgive Craigslist, because look what I found for sale nearby:
image 0
A triple dresser from a good maker, with beautiful brasses.
$50.   What do you think?  Should I negotiate?
image 2
Paint me if you must, but be kind.  It's my first time.
This little guy is right in my hometown, for $5.
image 0
Dear Cass, Please buy me and paint me a wild color.
My life till now has been SOOOOO dull and colorless.
And . . .  I think this coffee table -- with brasses polished bright 
and maybe painted in a brilliant marine blue,
would be a great beach house find:
image 2
A butler's tray table, with removable tray.
image 0
Yes, I know butler's tray tables are old fashioned, but that doesn't bother me.
I love them, and once upon a time wanted one but could not afford it.
The price on this is $15.  I think I can manage that.

Oh dang . . . Howard will read this, won't he?
That spaghetti squash and chicken better be good tonight.

It's turned chilly here.
Memo to Autumn:  BACK OFF! 
We want our last week of summer.  -- Cass

*To the Science teachers -- I know a rainbow is actually a full circle, but it looks like a parabola.

Link Parties
Miss Mustard Seed hosts Furniture Friday.  Click here!
It is Foodie Friday at Designs By Gollum Click here!
LaurieAnna's Vintage Home is the place for Farmhouse Friday Click here!
At My Romantic Home, it's Show And Tell Friday Click here!
Feathered Nest Friday makes its home at French Country Cottage.  Click here!
The Charm of Home features Home Sweet Home on Fridays.  Click here!
It's Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground.  Click here!


  1. Loved your entire story! Rainbow-- fabulous, Craigslist finds--fabulous and like your idea of marine blue for that butler's are rocking it!

  2. Love the picture of the rainbow. I have never had a cell phone. I have always been attracted to butlers tables. Thanks for sharing. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  3. Of course the squash is good, it came from the right neighborhood! :)

    When I taught school, I would bring the spaghetti squash in for the kids to try. They had never heard of it. I would prepare it at home, evoo, garlic, cheese and top with bread crumbs, and then zap it in the Faculty Room. Most of them loved it, some wouldn't try it, but that was ok too.
    At least they knew what it was and grew right here where they lived!
    I should add I taught on the South shore, 10 min from the ocean, yet most of them had never been there. The back yard pool was as far as they got.
    Hope all is well with you and you are enjoying these great end of summer days.
    Your craigs list finds are amazing!

  4. Rainbows are common in Kansas -- we've often seen one while sitting in the sunroom!!!

    We love spaghetti squash -- anyway -- Ive always been a cut in half person -- alas, no more!!!

    I don't understand the Craig List thing -- they cut you off? Or what -- I peruse a lot but hardly ever email anyone about what they have because most of the stuff in our area is awful!!!

    You have treasures -- hey, if we travel east (and back) I suppose we could Craig List our way across the US picking up treasures? (Except Linderhof has little room for treasures!)

  5. I would buy that triple dresser in a heartbeat. I got one on C'list and painted it ant. white leaving the top the faux cherry and it's where the new flat screen TV hubby had to have... funny how he gets fancy shmancy new gizmos for $$$ and I get cheapo stuff from C'list and SAlvation Army... imagine how much stuff I would have if I matched his $$$!!! I'd need another garage!
    Great stuff!

  6. I always cut spaghetti squash in half first cause I didn't know you didn't have to -- thanks for the tip! :) My favorite way to serve it is with pesto and parmesan cheese.

  7. To Itinerant Interlocutor: What??? Your Mama never taught you to cook it whole? What a terrible, terrible mother she must be.

    Now you know. :-)

    Love you, my darling daughter!

  8. Hmm, you can roast spaghetti squash whole? And Craig's list is for regular people and not just the hookers, murderers and child molesters who seem to always be featured on my local news? Who knew?

    My mom always told me I should learn one new thing each day. Thanks to you, Cass, today I learned two!!!

  9. I love spagetti squash with a bit of butter and parm mmmmm
    your finds are great and you can never up a rainbow.

  10. What a nasty letter!! Surely they could have said the same idea without name calling. They didn't even consider that the infraction of their rules might have been an innocent mistake.

    Not everybody is a crook!!

  11. wow-from a rainbow to cleavage to the butler's table. And Howard was wondering where all his extra change went. I hope you served that spaghetti squash wearing a Saran wrap dress~ xo Diana

  12. So weird about the rainbow Cass. Last week I was coming out of a Walgreens here in Michigan and there was a beautiful double rainbow. Really. Really and truly. Stupid me tried to rush home to get my camera to photograph it. I live two miles from the store but the sun was fading fast and the rainbow disappeared quite quickly. The really stupid fact is that I never even thought to use the camera of my cell phone.

    Let me give you my address so you can ship that triple dresser to me. ENVIOUS ME!!! I totally don't understand the Craigslist thing about emailing yourself. Why would that be a problem and why does one do that? I've bought and sold on CL but I am missing something here. At any rate, what a nasty message they sent.

    I've been sitting at the computer thinking that I should go make something to eat. Gosh, do I wish I had a huge bowl of that spaghetti squash in my hands right now. I'm going to stock up and try the new way to cook it. Thanks for the info as I have only eaten it once myself and never made it for the boys.

    Do you hear my stomach growling?

    I so enjoy your blog. I better get back to mine.


  13. Love that butler's tray table. I am going to have to find one of those!

  14. Once again I discover the things I will soon be schlepping home via the blog. By the way I know I am not supposed to tell tales out of school but she never roasted the shallots although the chicken and spag squash was primo.

  15. To Husband Howard:

    You cad.
    No, I never did saute the shallots, just served the squash my favorite way instead, but just think: those shallots are now waiting for your dining pleasure this weekend.
    Joy delayed is joy enhanced. The story of marriage, eh?

    Now, it's a beautiful Saturday -- let's go find us some furniture. -- The Wife

  16. O my goodness Cass! I wish my local CL would have a beauty of a dresser like that for that low! I seriously need two dressers, one chest and one buffet style. I have not been able to find anything no matter how hard I try! I have to agree that the 10 emails in an hour seems kind of silly.

    I am seriously LOL @ the Howard and Cass posts. Howard you are a duck for even reading the blog! :) My husband has never read mine.

  17. 1. It looks like your Walgreen's rainbow is actually a double. There's a faint second arch to the left of the first. Bonus!

    2. Tried spaghetti squash once, and was unimpressed. This is unusual because I'll eat just about anything. Now I'm motivated to try it again. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    4. You email CL listings to yourself, too??? I had no idea that there was a limit to this. You know this new-found knowledge makes me want to email a lot of stuff to myself to see if I get the same rude message.

    3. Craig's List is one of my favorite stores! That dresser you found? If is't as solid as it looks, and it doesn't stink, give 'em the $50 and get outta there before they change their mind.

    Howard sounds like a sweetheart.

  18. I just noticed that I mis-numbered the paragraphs in my comment above. Geez, Connie, learn to count!

  19. Thank you for linking up with Home Sweet Home!


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