Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. A writer and web administrator for The Art of Travel (formerly The Art of Japan: Kanazawa & Discover Kanazawa), she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan, and curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan.
New Rice Cooker Chronicles submissions always welcome. Just e-mail it to Leah at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.
While on my squash spree last month, I picked up a spaghetti squash, which has a great name in Japanese, too: soumen kabocha (そうめんかぼちゃ), like soumen noodles, or kinshiuri (金糸瓜), “golden thread squash.” This was my first time cooking this type of squash, and I had no idea what to do with it. First, I tried eating it like spaghetti and made a tomato sauce for it. It wasn’t bad, just unimpressive, though my husband thought it was some sort of Italian-seasoned coleslaw (I don’t even) for the lentil burgers I had also made.
His mistake, while tasty, didn’t solve my problem for what to do with the rest of the squash. My searches of all the blogs, cookbooks, and cooking sites I use didn’t turn up much in the way of other recipes that I felt like eating and I didn’t have the time to hit or budget the store for more ingredients. Maybe I’d use it in a “leftovers” food like stir-fry, or–great idea #1–okonomiyaki. Without any cabbage, which I rarely have in stock, I hit on great idea #2: forget the cabbage, the squash would be the vegetable base.