January 14, 2014

Squash Tacos by Smitten Kitchen

A long, long time ago, but I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile.... Well a long, long time ago in November or something, I said I was going to put up a recipe for Squash Tacos which are one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. But I didn't. I know everyone was probably weeping for opportunities lost when I didn't follow through, but happy day!, here is the recipe.

This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I love the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I got it out of the library about a year ago and loved it so much I decided I had to buy it. Then one afternoon, I went to Mom and Dad's and there was a copy of it sitting on Mom and Dad's table. Mom had bought it for all of us to share. She said it could stay at my house unless she wanted it. Although this might not reflect well on my generosity or ability to share, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook has resided in my personal stash of cookbooks ever since. It hasn't budged out of my house. But it has been well used. I have made more recipes from there than any other cookbook this year. I love it. It is methodical, precise, but encourages improvising. And she has a little kid, a tiny kitchen, and a blog. So that pretty much makes us the same people. (Except for that book deal....)

So Squash Tacos. Maybe you won't like them. And if you don't, I am sorry for your loss. I eat these for lunch every few weeks. Rotating them out with fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and salads. The joy of being a housewife! Fabulous lunches.

Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos with Queso Fresco
(Do not let the title worry you)

Serves 4-6

3 pounds spaghetti squash (one large or two small)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Sixteen 6-inch tortillas
One 15 ounce jar of black bean, well rinsed and drained
4 ounces crumbled Queso Fresco, feta, or Cojito cheese
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley)

(Now seriously, this is an easy recipe once you get it all together in your mind. Roast the squash, dump in some lime juice and Mexican seasonings and salt, warm tortillas and prepare the toppings. That is the recipe in a nutshell. But just to make it look complicated, here is the long form recipe, copied shamelessly from Smitten Kitchen.)

Cook Squash in microwave or oven--
          To cook squash in microwave, pierce squash with a knife about one inch deep all over to keep it from bursting. Cook at high power fir 6 or 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until if feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 or 10 minutes more. Cool the squash for 5 minutes.
           To cook the squash in the oven, cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and roast the halves facedown in an oiled backing pan for about 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

When squash has cooled to workable temperature, scrape the squash flesh with a fork, loosening, and separating the strands as you remove it from the skin. Discard skin (and seeds from microwave version). In a small dish, whisk lime juice with chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pour over the squash strands, and gently toss them together. Adjust seasonings as you wish.

Heat a dry, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Warm and slightly blister each tortilla, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer with tongs or spatula to platter. Assemble tacos, 2 T black beans, 2 T squash mixture, 2 T of crumbled cheese, and a few pinches of onions and cilantro. Dash with hot sauce if desired.

Ta-da! Done.

Now, if you live in the back of beyond like me, just use feta and don't worry about the cheeses whose names you are a little unsure of pronouncing correctly if you were to ask for them in the grocery store. (Actually, our local Wal-mart does carry queso fresco off and on.) Feta is yummy and works for Greek salad or any other salad as well, which makes it worthwhile. I don't know queso fresco or cojito. What other recipes to use them in?? So I stick with feta. Feta and I go way back. Also, you can just warm your tortillas in a lump sum in the oven or microwave if you prefer. Smitten Kitchen is not looking over your shoulder.

Justin tolerates these, but he is not enthusiastic about these. So I save them for myself. I make everything up on Monday morning, and it all keeps nicely in the fridge through Thursday or Friday, when it is all used up. I have a very high tolerance for repetitive lunches, as long as I love them.


Sheena said...

This looks pretty stinkin' good. Mmmm

Virginia said...

I've had my eye on this one for awhile! I shall try it promptly!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

My squash and red onion are languishing here, wishing you'd come make them for me. Hurry up