Roasted spaghetti squash

I love the taste of spaghetti squash, so light, crispy, yet tasty! It is a wonderful addition to a meal that balances out other rich, heavy, sumptuous dishes. Here is what you will need.

Ingredients (yield 4-5 servings)
3 lbs spaghetti squash
1 medium beet, chopped into small cubes
Orange zest
Lime zest
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

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Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the squash into four quarters. On a large flat baking sheet, drizzle on a thin layer of olive oil. Put the spaghetti squash onto the sheet with the side with flat cuts facing down. Roast for about 30-40 min in the oven or until when you can poke through the squash using a fork without much resistance.

Meanwhile the squash is roasting, heat up olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped beets and stir to coat everyone with the oil. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 4-5 min until the beets are somewhat soft.

After the squash is done, use a fork and a spoon to scrape out the squash flesh. You can use the spoon to provide a stabilized point and use the fork or vice versa. The flesh should not be long, thin and beautiful yellow strands coming out super easily. Once collected all the flesh into a bowl, you can drizzle some extra olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to mix the seasoning well.

Pour the beets on to add some vibrant dark red color and a little bit sweetness. Add the orange and lime zests to give the color a pop and a refreshing touch!

I served this dish as a substitute for the grains, along with some pan-friend vegetables and marinated spicy chicken thighs. It went so great with everything! 🙂 Enjoy!

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Happy Hour – Cork

I had a long day at work and going home straight to the kitchen in the heat was not exactly appealing to me. So we decided to avoid Pearl Street and check out the restaurant nearby our house: Boulder Cork for some happy hour action.

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We ordered baked stuffed chili with jack cheese, corn salsa and guacamole, Chicken enchilada baked in red chili, eggplant Parmesan sandwich with arugula, pulled BBQ beef on toasted roll with slaw. I had a house Cabernet and my husband had a glass of Dale’s.

The chili was alright but the chicken enchilada was really good. I liked the eggplant Parmesan as well as the pulled BBQ beef, both were well cooked. The buns though were tiny bit soggy. All the vegetables were super fresh tasting, which was a point proven again in the second round of ordering.

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Although our original plan was to have some snacks and I would cook up some light meal after we went home, as it turned out, it was hard to pull ourselves away from food once we started eating. So we went ahead ordered grilled Halibut with coconut curry, green rice and veggies and caprese with Andy’s Evo. The Halibut dish was good, but the fish and the rest of the dish did not all come together to wow us. It is hard to mess up with caprese and the fresh ingredients are the key. Indeed, the tomatoes and the basil leaves were quite wonderful.

The price for happy hour was hard to beat, especially about $5 for a sandwich coming with vegetables and/or fries. After all that, we went home very content.

Birthday Eat-out – Black Cat Bistro

So, June is a busy month: my husband’s, both of my in-laws’, my husband’s grandparents’ birthdays, and don’t forget, father’s day, all back to back are occurring in the month of June. Lol. To celebrate three birthdays, we decided to go a little extravagant and went to a local farm-to-table restaurant: Black Cat Bistro in Boulder. If I have not mentioned, we live in this infamous hippie town by the symbolic Flatirons in the Front Range.

The place is nicely tucked in on Pearl Street Mall, actually it was quite hard to notice it. I have lived in Boulder for so long and walked down that part of Pearl Street maybe thousands of times and it still took me by surprise when I finally paid attention to where the bistro is. Since it was sunset time, I could not see the decor very well, well, to be fair, neither did I took much notice. I in general do not care much about the decor. Food is my priority.

If anybody has noticed, I usually mention very minimal amount about decor or service. I am often so indulgent in tasting the food that I am very oblivious with decor or service unless it is noticeably terrible or out-of-this-world fabulous. So, this probably will continue to be something I will fail to mention sufficiently in the future, please bear with me on that account…

We all decided to go with that night’s 8 course tasting menu and after hearing about the protein options that would go on main, I decided to switch from lamb to duck breast, which is something I was still craving from my Quebec city trip, haha.

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For appetizer, we had a potato soup with extracted drizzle of fennel oil, which was pretty good. I personally do not really like potatoes, but I did enjoy the soup.

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Rabbit pate on bread with crumbs of pistachio and apple slice, spring onion and spinach puree. I quite liked the pate and it tasted very fresh and clean. Knowing the rabbits were from a farm near Boulder was a bonus.

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This cold smoked Colorado trout with homemade sauce and leafy greens is probably my favorite out of all the above appetizer dishes. It was light but fresh and tasty. The fish was very tender and flavorful as well as fresh tasting. I love sushi so I was very happy to taste wonderful flavor from smoking while tasting the fresh flesh of the fish! Wonderful! It went really well with the sauce. In the sauce, I tasted some cheese, and a little bit spicy mayo-like flavor.

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Lamb steak on lentil. It was very good. The lamb was cooked very well, tender, moist and juicy. The sauce was some combination of 20 spices, with coriander and cumin standing out to me.

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Next we had “surf and turf” – grilled salmon on polenta shaped as a pig, which was kind of funny. There was green onion puree and curry to go with the fish. The salmon was a little overcooked to my liking – I prefer more on the raw side. The polenta was too filling since we already had 4 courses and turned out would have 4 more to go after this. I was not quite sure about the combo of salmon and curry.

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Apparently, my request for duck had slowed down the production of the main course. So the kitchen was very nice to offer us a free vegetable course while we were waiting. It was a homemade cheese on top of root vegetables. The dish was ok. At that point, I would have been fine with just the vegetables with light dressing. A big chunk of cheese was not helping with the fact that I was getting too full too quickly.

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And there came my duck breast, medium rare. It was beautifully pink in the center, exquisite flavor as usual. Ahhhhh, I just love duck meat. On one hand, I was not quite sure what were the raspberries and the chocolate sauce doing on my plate with the duck. On another hand, I was ok with a couple raspberries rather than another blob of starch. The duck was cooked beautifully but the flavor combination was tiny bit off in my opinion. I did for a second, thought it was a Mexican spin, a mole-like sauce or something. But, it was only chocolate-y sweet, no traces of other spices.

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My husband and my in-laws had the lamb T-bone instead and they enjoyed the dish tremendously. I was way too full to have another bite of rich protein. I am deeply regretting for not munching away another bite right now…

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It was a big relief to see one of the dessert course only require a small one bite. This cherry and lychee gelatin topped with rose petal was a good palate cleanser and gave my stomach a break after seven courses.

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I forgot the dessert ingredients but was very happy to see the manageable portion. It was also light, a little sweet and went well with the tea.

At times, I was not so sure about the flavor combo, but the freshness and the packed flavor in general blew me away. Overall, I had a very good dining experience in Black cat.

Once I get used to the heat in the summer, which is totally killing my appetite and my willing to stay in the hot kitchen area, I shall start whipping up more home cooking recipes. Thanks for checking in!