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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stink Bug and Squash

I was to sit outside on my porch and write this post while I breathed in the cool fall air and enjoyed this beautiful day. I wanted to let the sounds of my kids fighting playing, the leaves rustling and the wind caressing my cheeks act as the inspiration for my writing. With this in mind, I got my chair setup and settled into it with my laptop. I was just beginning to ponder about what to write, when my son came over and pointed out a stink bug to me about two feet away from me. He then started regaling me with tales of how it sprays a stinky secretion if it feels threatened and hence the name 'stink bug'. Apparently it can spray as far away as 2 miles. Well, I was well within that two mile range of the bug's spray. Instead of wondering about writing I was now wondering about what may make the bug feel threatened. Having just cleaned my kitchen, I smelled like a mixture of the cleaning supplies and that is a smell even I feel threatened by, let alone the bug. That settled it for me. I moved myself inside and opened the window instead. Away from the potential stinky spray, I now felt calm again and I could still look outside and breathe in the cool Fall air. I may have a post up today after all. Take that, stink bug! 
              Speaking of Fall, I just love the mood it puts me in. I like it just as much as I like Spring but in a different way. While Spring leaves me feeling like a caged animal who has just been let out, Fall makes me want to bake, make soups, wear scarfs and just enjoy breathing in the cool air. Secretly though, I want to play in every leaf pile I walk by, so the 'caged animal that has just been set free' feeling is alive in me every season. Just the degree to which I can control it varies between Spring and the other seasons.   

One of the best things about Fall is the squash. I love squash in any form. Recently I had read a magazine article on baked squash recipes and I have been wanting to bake squash ever since. Luckily, I had a pumpkin squash sitting on my counter that would perfectly suit that purpose. 
               The Indian in me reaches for chili powder-cumin-haldi in my cupboard when I think of squash because I think these spices will highlight the sweetness of the squash with their spiciness. This time though, I resisted the urge to use these spices and decided to use some of the specialty oils and vinegar that I have instead. I tend to buy reasonably priced specialty oils, vinegar and salts when I see them at any store I am in, like my life depended on it. And then I let them sit idly while I use my Indian spices. Not today though. I talked myself out of using the Indian spices and used the pumpkin oil and lemon vinegar instead. I put my beautifully growing lemon thyme to use as well. I wish I stepped away from Indian spices more often. But, alas, it is wishful thinking. So that makes this dish very special.

Baked Squash recipe:
Note: There is no recipe as such here. Just use what you have in your kitchen. Ideally you want to use ingredients that will compliment the sweetness of the squash. The lemon acted as a perfect compliment to the squash in my case. 

          Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. 
          Slice the two halves into crescent shaped discs
          Top each disc with pumpkin oil, lemon vinegar, lemon thymes leaves and  sea salt. 
          Bake the squash pieces at 350 for about 35 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a fork 

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