Paleo Pasta: The Spaghetti Squash

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Strangely didn’t miss pasta much after I omitted grains from my diet. But I certainly missed pasta sauce. A hot creamy carbonara or bold bolognese, topped with some pesto and grated parmesan cheese?  Mmm … So I thought “well I guess that’s part of the price, I’ll just have to go without.” Not that I kept myself on a tight leash; I “slipped” whenever I wanted to – and those dried pieces of wheat dough formed into various shapes were a disappointment every time. Grey and dull, in need of too much salt, stealing flavor from the sauce … and of course the discomfort after (stomach and headache), the typical gluten hangover.

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I heard talk around the web that there’s this vegetable called “spaghetti squash” which apparently has a fibrous interior that when heated can be separated into long strands and eaten as regular spaghetti. Sounded a little pulpy and watery to me, but of course interesting enough to give it a go. Not much of a chance to find something as exotic as this  in Norway where I live, but I kept my eyes open. It became clear that to obtain one I had to grow it myself. And finally, during a trip to Madeira I found a packet of seeds in one of the island’s famous flower markets.

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Guess what? It. was. perfect. The strands about the thickness of spaghetti, pretty easy to separate without breaking, starch-rich and slightly crunchy; with a gentle, sweet, pumpkin-like flavor. Look! Isn’t this the coolest thing?

There are several ways to cook them: oven baked, boiled, microwaved, crock pot / slow cooker … I have as yet only done microwave and it’s so easy. I’ve landed on cutting the vegetable in half “equatorially” (not lengthwise like the photo above – you will get longer strands this way, see for yourself if you try both) and running the halves on high for 10 minutes. The cut section will get a little dry, but I don’t mind so much. If you want a more even result you can microwave it whole, but unless you wanna spend some time cleaning up a squash explosion, remember to cut several holes in the shell first for the steam.

See this article on for more information on how to cook spaghetti squash.

2013-09-09 18.13.432013-09-09 18.13.492013-09-09 18.18.51I hope this gave some inspiration – here are some delicious examples of what you can make with this genius vegetable.

Spaghetti Carbonara:

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Spaghetti Bolognese:

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Pesto and meatballs:

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Salmon with white wine & cream sauce:
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Garden Update: First Harvest

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Look what I made! This is just a little taste though – there’s more comin’! In here are: spaghetti squash, carrot, fennel, arugula, strawberries and onion (and some nettles also picked in the garden).

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I’m saving the exhilaration of my virgin trip with spaghetti squash for later, but today’s gathering resulted in a skillet of damped nettles, fennel (grass & bulb), onion, carrotgrass, arugula with butter, pepper, Himalaya salt and local olive oil from Provence. Served with salmon and baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and onion.

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Garden Update: Crops Coming On

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Time for an update on my newbie botanical project! Trying to keep track of everything I’ve learned this year proves a challenge. I document some things and trust my memory with others, but … I’ll probably have to make some of the same mistakes again. And that’s ok. I have a lifetime for that.

And boy is this fun! Feelin’ dat dirt on my fingers, like there’s sum connection to mother earth, a greater meaning to it all, yo? No? I’m a huge fan of geometry and the slightly ordered chaos, so I’ve arranged my kitchen garden as a double hexagon – by way of digging down planks of appropriate length and at proper distance so I can reach out from both sides. The plants are somewhat arbitrarily placed in the resulting lanes, but as long as there is some framework it’s easy to maintain. Works like that with most things, really. And of course it looks good.

Earlier this year:

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I’ve exclusively chosen to grow what I would later like to eat. I always keep that in mind when caring for my veggies. Here are some of them:

2013-07-30 15.00.21Fennel.


2013-07-30 15.00.28Arugula.


2013-07-30 15.01.56Pumpkin. Hoping for a big one.


2013-07-30 15.05.03Strawberry.


2013-07-30 15.00.59Green squash.


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2013-07-30 15.00.36Spaghetti squash. I have never eaten it, and can’t wait till they’re ripe. I shall make ALL the pasta sauces!


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More salads: baby leaf, spinach and arugula.


2013-07-05 12.27.10Tomatoes. Not cultivated by me.


My herbs are mostly perennial. I just love to bring a basket and scissors to collect some thyme, mint and oregano for the stew!

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2013-07-30 15.02.33Peppermint.


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2013-07-05 12.36.46Chives.

Nasturtium Love ❤

Ever since I saw The Hobbit I wanted to recreate a Shire garden. The flowers most notable were nasturtiums and hollyhocks. I ordered several strains of nasturtiums, and they’re doing well! Their flowers are edible too, and give a salad or dessert a beautiful finishing touch. Not exactly Bag End yet – but we’ll get there, we’ll get there.

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Garden Update: Summer Salad

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Lo and behold; the fruit of my labors! A salad made (almost) entirely out of things either partially or wholly cared for by yours truly. Ah yeah. This is what life’s all about now, isn’t it? Here’s is what I threw in:

  • assorted big leaf salad
  • assorted baby leaf salad
  • arugula
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • eggs
  • herbs: oregano, thyme, basil, chives, parsley, lovage, mint (four kinds; why would I wanna seem one-sided?)
  • edible flowers for garnish

… ok, I don’t have an egg tree. But they are locally farmed, how about that?

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Edible Wild Plants: Sautéed Fireweed Mixture

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I’m continuing my experimenting with edible wild plants. This is a side dish of stinging nettle, dandelion leaves, goutweed and fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) fried up with some butter, onions and scallions. Towards the end I tossed in some parmesan cheese and seasoned with salt and pepper. I served it with grassfed beef and some leftover ratatouille, but it goes with anything.

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Fireweed (American) or rosebay willowherb (British) is a nitrogen-loving herb thriving on burn sites – hence the name. Stems, roots and flowers are all edible. It’s rich in vitamins A and C and iron. The plant’s been called “the asparagus of the forrest” and I simply love the crunchiness of the stems, lightly boiled or in a stir fry. The have a slight bitterness which can be dimmed with seasoning or marinade. Fireweed has also been used medicinally for its astringent effect, so I suppose it should be consumed in moderation.

Edible Wild Plants: Weed Omelet

Weed omelet
… or crustless pie if you would. I’ve done some baking with almond flour (finely ground almonds) lately, and the results have been gooorgeous. I would argue that an almond flour pie crust is even tastier than one with regular flour … but the problem is: an almond overload isn’t healthy either. They contain a lot of polyunsaturated fats (I won’t go into the details, but this article gives a reasonable explanation on the dangers of a high, I repeat: high PUFA consumption). They also contain tiny amounts of the toxic hydrogen cyanide, which of course becomes a substantial amount with an excessive intake. One cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds. That’s a lot of almonds, and imagine using three cups per cookie dough!

But enough with the almonds, which are only really a part of this recipe through their absence. What is present though, is more weeds! I picked a nice batch of stinging nettle and goutweed; added them directly (after a gentle cleanse) to about 8 whisked eggs along with some ham, cheese, a chopped onion, cherry tomatoes and pepper; put some more cheese on top and baked in the oven for about 20 min. Serve with some mixed salad, and you have a great supper. Ummm yeah.

Keep calm and love weeds!

Spring Musings

The older I get, the more I seem to long for spring every year. When I said this to my aunt she replied: “Well – imagine how I feel!” If at 23 this is how much I enjoy spring when it’s finally sprung, then I’m in for some happy times in my life. Aaaah yeah.

These are some random glimpses of my garden right now. I’ve kept myself busy sowing indoors, and now I’m putting my sprouts out for hardening by day. I’m a total noob when it comes to gardening, but they all seem to thrive. My interest in plants comes from deep down inside, I can feel it. It’s been growing (pun intended) for the last couple of years. Both my father and grandfather are/were accomplished hobby gardeners. Connection?

My working tableHardeningSunflowers & LeiaStillDiary

I’m planning a nice little crop of herbs, vegetables and edible flowers this summer. Stay tuned for updates!