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A gigantic melon spilled forth a river of spaghetti.

The seed trade uses the term "synthetic novelty" to describe an old flower or vegetable variety that is being reintroduced with a new name or a new promotional gimmick. Although most synthetic novelties slip quietly overboard during the night, a few survive to become staples. One such is the spaghetti squash.

If you're over 50, you might remember a brief flurry of catalogs with badly printed images of the miraculous vegetable spaghetti. This wonder was represented as a gigantic watermelon-shaped object cut in half and spilling forth a river of spaghetti, apparently already cooked al dense or beyond. Disappointment had to follow such promotion, and the vegetable spaghetti soon disappeared.

A few years ago, it reappeared under a more accurate name, spaghetti squash, and this time it's sticking around. It is not spaghetti, but very good squash: though stringy in appearance, its flesh is tendercrisp and mild in flavor. And it takes well to a wide variety of sauces. Ted Kaye serves it with a turkey-tomato-chili sauce to make a low-fat, low-calorie alternative to spaghetti with meat sauce.

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Sauce

1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds

1 pound ground turkey

1 medium-size red or green bell

pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

1 jar (about 15 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning mix

Salt and cayenne

About 3/4 cup freshly grated

parmesan cheese

To bake squash, rinse and pat dry. Pierce shell with tines of a fork in several places. Place in a baking pan (9 in. square or 9 by 13 in.). Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degrees oven until shell gives when gently pressed, about 1 1/2 hours. Halfway through baking, turn squash over.

Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds.

To microwave squash, cut in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds. Place squash, hollow side up, in a 9- by 13-inch nonmetal container. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook on full power (100 percent) for 10 minutes. Rotate each piece; cover again and let stand 5 minutes. Continue to cook until shell gives when gently pressed, 10 to 15 minutes longer,

Keep squash warm until ready to serve.

While squash cooks, put a 10- to 12-inch ftying pan over medium-high heat; add turkey and stir until crumbly Add bell pepper and mushrooms and stir often until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chilies, spaghetti sauce, and Italian seasoning mix; scrape browned particles free in pan. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Boil gently for 8 to 10 minutes to blend flavors.

To serve, pull squash from shell with a fork and place on a rimmed platter. Spoon sauce over squash. Offer cheese to spoon onto portions. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

Per serving: 322 cal; 22 g protein; 26 g carbo.; 16 g fat,- 60 mg chol.; 794 mg sodium. Those who love Japanese food point to its esthetic appeal the harmony of bowls, plates, and tea things, and the eye appeal of artfully cut and arranged fish, meats, and vegetables. Some praise the subtle flavors, ethereal yet earthy, of boiled rice, seaweed, raw fish, and soy Those who do not care for this cuisine say that it is bland, that it leaves your appetite unassuaged, and that it wiggles on your fork or chopsticks.

Some Japanese dishes are not only thoroughly cooked but are real rib-stickers as well. Take Kazuo Orimo's simmered pork and potatoes: as stout and sustaining as any Irish stew, it nevertheless has a flavor that can be described only as classically Japanese. Dr. Orimo uses soy, sake, mirin, and green onions to achieve this flavor. And the pork is definitely cooked: it won't wiggle.

Japanese Country-style Pork and Potatoes

8 green onions, ends trimmed

1 tablespoon salad oil

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds lean, boneless pork

shoulder or butt, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 medium-size onions, sliced

About 1/2 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup sake or dry vermouth

1/2 cup each water and mirin (rice

wine) or sweet sherry

4 or 5 medium-size red thin-skinned

potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb. total), scrubbed and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

Cut the green onions into 1 -inch lengths, keeping green and white parts separate.

To a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, add oil. When hot, add pork, a portion at a time. Stir often until meat is well browned; remove from pan as browned.

Add sliced onions to pan and stir often until limp, about 5 minutes. Return meat to pan and stir in 1/4 cup soy sauce, sake, water, and mirin; bring to a boil on high heat. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Add potatoes, the white part of the green onions, pepper, and sugar. Increase heat to bring liquid to a boil, then cover and simmer gently until pork and potatoes are tender when pierced, about 25 minutes.

Stir in green onion tops, then ladle into individual wide soup bowls or rimmed plates. Add soy sauce to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Per serving: 304 cal.; 22 g protein; 31 g carbo.; 10 g fat, 63 mg chol.; 770 mg sodium.

Although hush puppies are the traditional fish-fry accompaniment to catfish, their generally neutral flavor and rich crustiness help them blend with Cajun and all other styles of Southern cuisine.

Badly made, as they often are, they might well be used as ballast, or even anchors. But as made by Johnny Lee Newcomb, they have the lightness, if not of balloons, at least of souffles. Encasing the tender, light interior is a crisp crust. And their mixed grains make them healthful. With maple syrup, they're a substantial breakfast or brunch bread to share company with fruit (or juice) and coffee.

Multi-grain Hush Puppies

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped alfalfa

sprouts (optional)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup milk

1/2 CUP (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine,


1 large egg

Salad oil

Maple syrup (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, buckwheat flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, combine sprouts, onion, buttermilk, milk, butter, and egg; stir into flour mixture until evenly moistened.

In a 3- to 4-quart pan or a wok, heat 1 1/2 inches salad oil to 365 degrees (use a deep-frying thermometer); adjust heat to maintain this temperature. Drop batter, 1 tablespoon at a time, into oil; add as much batter as will fit into the pan without crowding. Cook until golden brown on all sides and dry in the centers (cut to test), about 2 minutes. Lift out; drain on paper towels. Place on a rimmed pan in a single layer and keep warm in a 2000 oven until all are cooked.

If made ahead, let cool as cooked; cover

airtight up to overnight. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degrees oven in a single layer in a 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan until sizzling, about 15 minutes.

Serve plain or with maple syrup to add to

taste. Makes about 5 dozen.

Per piece: 43 cal; 0.6 g protein; 5 g carbo.; 2.2g fat; 9. 6 mg chol.; 71 mg sodium.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Oct 1, 1988
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