Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roasted tomato soup in a spaghetti squash bowl

Decisions decisions decisions. 
Like watch a lecture? Or watch the first season of How I Met Your Mother instead?
Research future life prospects? Or research unbelievable savings on Groupon instead.
Go for a run? Or run to the fridge and finish off the container of Vanilla Swiss Almond Hagen Daz ice cream instead.
Watch a tutorial to explain this week's lecture? Or watch a tutorial on "5 Simple and Trendy Ways to Tie a Scarf" instead.
Look into post-graduation internships? Or look into hostels in Australia instead.
Go on food blogs after class? Or go on food blogs during class and then again after class instead.

And the closer graduation gets, the more there seems to be pressure to start making some hefty life decisions. Because the question that’s on the back of every forth year student’s mind is “With so much of our time and money invested, what’s our next move going to be?” Eek, overwhelming. And a visit to the Career Fair left me with a really cool pen but with the same response to many of those unanswered questions. What am I going to do after graduation? “uhh...I don’t know.”

But sometimes there is beauty in not knowing. In surprises. In deviating from “the plan”.  Like the amazement my boyfriend and I had upon cutting into the roasted squash for dinner to find that the inside was entirely in spaghetti like strands. (Seriously, spaghetti squash still amazes me.) Or when I had tomato soup for the first time, not at all expecting the complexity in flavours created simply by taking tomatoes and roasting them. (I think the entire time I was drinking my soup, I was mumbling, “But all that’s in here is tomatoes!”) And yes I know that some of those life decisions are going to have to be addressed eventually. But whose to say we are supposed to have all the answers right now. Right now, I'm okay with not exactly knowing. There might even be some pleasant surprises ahead. In the meantime, I find that when things get overwhelming, its better to start with the small stuff. Like soup.

Adapted from the Food Network 
Around 8 fresh tomatoes (heirloom, vine, plum or mix)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 cups water/or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon each, sage and oregano (or dried herbs of choice)
Splash of cream

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 spaghetti squash

Tomato soup:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
1. Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and onions onto a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Roast everything for 45 minutes until caramelized.
2. Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a stock pot. Add 2 cups of water/or chicken stock and spices. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3. Use a food processor or blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Return soup to low heat and add another cup of water/or chicken stock (or more if desired). Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add cream if using.

Spaghetti squash:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
1. Slice spaghetti squash in half evenly down the middle. Remove seeds from the cavity. Take a knife and score the inside of the squash to break down some of the spaghetti squash strands. Drizzle the inside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Place squash, cut side down on a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until squash is tender 
3. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each spaghetti squash half so it has a flat bottom and can sit on its own when turned over. Fill cavity with soup and slowly tear off spaghetti strands with a fork. 

(Everything for the tomato soup and the spaghetti squash can be roasted together and for the same time. You can also eat the tomato soup and the spaghetti squash separately. Roasted tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Or scooped out spaghetti squash with pasta sauce? Your decision.)

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