Tag: squash

Katharine Trauger: Not Spaghetti. And a Different Sort of Catfish

What causes that beckoning aroma after a rain? What causes the alluring fragrance of fresh-plowed soil? What causes the enticing earthy spice in beets?

Geosmin! (Say: GEE oze min.)

Geosmin is a bicyclic alcohol, responsible for transforming common things such as rain, into perfume.

You wouldn’t think it would also create the muddy taste that sometimes occurs in catfish, but it does.

Don’t worry! It won’t harm you any more than tipping up your face and catching Spring raindrops on your tongue.

But mostly, we don’t exactly prefer it in our catfish, do we?

They say to avoid it in fish we should hook them during cool weather, remove any dark-colored flesh, soak the rest in milk or vinegar, and several other tactics.

Scientists predict the vinegar actually could work, because geosmin breaks down when exposed to acid. But wouldn’t the fish taste pickled? And doesn’t milk include acid? I vote for milk!

However, once that part is over you know you must dredge catfish in cornmeal or coat it in a heavy batter; deep fry it in peanut oil; also fry breaded onion rings, French fries, and hush puppies (which are blobs of cornmeal mush stuff left over from breading or battering things). Then you can sit down and eat all that greasy food, most of which is heavily loaded with carbohydrates, a bad mix for many diets, these days.

I wanted something different. (I’m from the north, y’all!)

Since in our family, we all like to eat fish and don’t even mind enjoying a bit of catfish on occasion, I decided to invent a recipe for frying catfish that would be more health-giving for us. I love inventing recipes! I decided to pan fry on a lower heat and to use a health-friendlier oil, plus a breading that is low in carbohydrates.

The first task was to pick the breading ingredients. After considering coconut flour, almond flour, soy flour, flax meal, and whole wheat, I decided to go with whole almond flour. I reasoned that if we did not like something that mild, we certainly would not appreciate all the rest, and definitely not a mixture.

After that, I had to decide upon an oil. The first time I made this dish, I used olive; the second time I tried coconut oil. I suppose I’ll make this many times, to decide finally, but right now I’m leaning toward olive oil.

Then, to replace the carb-high potatoes and corn, I wanted to try marrow squash, also known as “spaghetti squash”. We’d enjoyed it merely buttered, and a few times supporting various Italian sauces. This would be an enormous departure from the traditional Southern experience, but a food adventure I was ready to try.

Finally, to round it off, I chose good ol’ low-glycemic, vitamin-loaded sweet potatoes. Boiled and buttered, they are one of our favorite go-to sides.

I had to buy the squash. Although it is easy enough to grow in Arkansas, and keeps quite well in a cool dark place, the deer have attacked our gardens with great gusto the last couple of years. I’m happy for their dietary enrichment, but I’m about to join our neighbor down the highway, who has fenced his garden with ten-foot chain link topped with razor wire.

I kid you not. The critters are thick around here.

But back to the kitchen!

Steaming a marrow squash is easy enough to do if you own a steamer. Just quarter, remove the seeds and excess membrane, and place it in the steamer over boiling water to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender.

The difficult part is opening it before cooking, and that can be a mildly dangerous task if you don’t know how. I use a large knife that is recently sharpened, and watching out for my fingers, I aim for the center, chopping the squash once with the sharp edge of the knife. It usually cuts about ½” deep into the fruit. At that point, I can lift the knife, which is jammed hard into the squash, and the squash lifts with it. Taking care to keep fingers in safe places, I raise the knife, heavy with the squash, about four inches and then bang the squash, with the knife in it, down hard on the cutting board. I may have to repeat, but this works well. Once you have it in halves, clean out the seeds and loose fibers. Then quartering it is surprisingly easy.

I like to multi-task when I’m cooking, so I usually start the squash steaming before I work on the other parts of the recipe. That way the squash can have time to cool for handling, and then be warmed again before serving.

Another word of caution, this time about releasing the “spaghetti” from the cooked squash shell: It must be cooled, first. There are very few ways to handle a piece of food that is boiling hot. Potholders, I found, will soak through and can scald you. I’ve used tongs before, but that’s awkward. It really is best to let the squash cool on a plate, flesh-side up, about ten minutes, shred it out of the shell, and then reheat the “spaghetti”.

If you have more of the squash than you need, for this meal, it is delicious when reheated, with or without a chopped green onion and some pepper, in a buttered pan with a lid. Add a bit of cream and shredded cheddar cheese at the last minute, and it makes another lovely, and very quick, side for low-carb enjoyment.

The recipe shown here includes four catfish filets. It was a lot for two people to eat, really, but I was hoping for left-overs

And I think you will, too.

Katharine Trauger: Low-carb Pan-fried Catfish Over Marrow Squash

Katharine Trauger: Low-carb Pan-fried Catfish Over Marrow Squash


  • "4 large (aproximately 4 ounce) catfish filets
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 marrow squash (spaghetti squash)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil or cooking oil of choice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4, ¼” slices of onion
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup additional almond flour, if needed
  • ½ cup Chardonnay, Chablis, or white Zinfandel "


  1. Thaw (or soak) filets in milk for 4 hours in refrigerator.
  2. Wash squash. Cut in half. Scoop out seeds and loose membrane. Cut into quarters or eighths. Steam 20 minutes or until flesh separates easily. Allow to cool ten minutes or to handling temperature. Remove flesh and arrange on ovenproof platter and keep in 150 degree oven.
  3. Remove fish from milk. Rinse and drain.
  4. Mix almond flour and pepper in shallow dish such as a pie plate.
  5. Heat oil in non-stick skillet to “splatter” temperature.
  6. Coat one filet in egg, then in almond flour/pepper mix.
  7. Place one onion slice in oil in pan and top with one coated filet.
  8. Repeat for each filet/onion slice.
  9. Fry filets on onion slices, uncovered, for about 7 minutes. Turn filets with onion slices, allowing onion to rest on filet. Salt lightly
  10. Fry until filet separates easily.
  11. Remove filets to top the squash on platter. Return platter to warm oven.
  12. Pour most of hot oil into heat-proof container to cool, being careful to keep as much pan residue in pan as possible. Try to retain only about two tablespoons of oil in pan.
  13. Return pan to heat, bringing to medium-high temperature. Stir in remaining almond flour left from breading filets, and stir constantly to brown slightly. If no flour is remaining, stir in 1/2 cup additional almond flour and brown. Immediately de-glaze pan with wine, continuing stirring until slightly thickened.
  14. Pour sauce over filets and squash. Serve immediately.


Multitasking Note: If you desire to serve the sweet potato as a side with this dish, peel, slice, and boil 1/2 potato for each serving, while steaming squash, then keep warm in ovenproof dish with lid, in warm oven with squash.




Katharine Trauger is a retired educator and a women’s counselor. She has spent 25 years managing a home and school for children who would otherwise have been homeless, and has worked 15 years as contributor and/or columnist for several small professional magazines, with over 60 published articles. She blogs about the rising popularity of “being at home” from a sun room on a wooded hilltop in the Deep South at: Home’s Cool! and The Conquering Mom and tweets at Katharine Trauger (@KathaTrau). She is currently working on a self-help book entitled: Yes, It Hurts, But . . .


Jeanetta Darley: Eating My Garden {Foodie Friday}

My garden has exploded! 

My garden has exploded

Well not actually that would be quite a mess and a very odd geological event.  But I’ve got vegetables galore.  I’m juggling multiple varieties of tomatoes, squashes and cucumbers, peppers of the rainbow, okra, and peas.  So many peas.

And I love it.

I love taking the time and effort to grow my own food.  I reap the benefits both taste and health-wise.  There are so many more tasty varieties of vegetables that never see the produce section of the grocery store.  The range in flavors and colors abounds.  I also get to make sure that I have the varieties my family will eat the most.  And when you grow your own food you are in control of what goes in, on, and around that plant as it grows. 

An abundance in the garden

Here are some quick and easy ways to use the abundance of your backyard.

  • Add fresh tomatoes to your spaghetti sauce or chili.
  • Thinly slice cucumbers and squash to make easy refrigerator pickles.
  • Dry or freeze peppers for later use.
  • Okra is a great addition to curry or to throw on the grill.

Here’s a great recipe for those all those zucchini that grow bigger than your forearm before you know it.

An armload of zucchini


Jeanetta Darley: Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini


  • 4 Large zucchini
  • 1 lb ground meat (turkey, beef, pork or venison)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 sleeves crushed Ritz crackers
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, garlic to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Trim the stems from the zucchini and slice lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  3. Brown the meat with the onion.
  4. Mix meat, seasonings, cheeses, sour cream, and crackers (retain half a cup) together.
  5. Stuff the zucchini with the mixture, sprinkle with the left over crackers and place in a 9x13 in baking pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until zucchini is fork tender.


Jeanetta is an Jeanetta Darley sidebar photoartist, blogger, and sometimes homesteader.  She’s addicted to coffee, her garden, and chickens. You can see her art and read more stories at JeanettaDarley.com.  Or follow her on social media @jeanettadarley


Alicia Dowell: Summer Squash Hash {Foodie Friday}

Celebrating the Bounty of Arkansas

The rising temperatures mean lots of fresh veggies straight from the garden.  If you can’t grow your own food or just don’t have time to add to your busy schedule, make your way to your local farmer’s market. I have made friends with a couple of local farmers since I lost all my plants to a huge storm. This means I have some great treats leaving with me from my local market on Tuesday and Saturday. The hues of yellow, white, green and red make me eager to make supper. 

In past years it has been hard to get my daughter to eat those delicious vegetables. I tried everything including frying some but no luck until this year.  I finally got her to believe squash and zucchini hash is the best thing. It was a simple idea which came to me. After a long day at work, I was tired and didn’t feel like spending a huge part of my evening cooking. Also with it being so hot already, I wanted something which could be left alone and not require me to stand over the stove. I had some squash and zucchini so I thought I would give it a try in some some hash – maybe even sneak in  one or two more items my daughter normally wouldn’t eat.

This hash is really easy and simple to make. If you have a child old enough to help, this is a great way to get them started in the kitchen.  Allow your child to help by washing the vegetables, peeling the onion (if they don’t mind onion) or cutting the vegetables. My daughter has expressed an interest of wanting to cook more and this has been a great opportunity for her to learn.

Alicia Dowell: Summer Squash Hash

Alicia Dowell: Summer Squash Hash


  • 2 yellow Squash
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 tablespoons of Riceland Rice Bran Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Cut the squash and zucchini into quarters
  2. Dice the onion.
  3. Heat the rice oil in a cast iron skillet.
  4. Add the onion and cook half way.
  5. Add the squash, zucchini, salt and pepper.
  6. Cook until the vegetables are soft.
  7. You can also use butter if you would like a richer taste.

alicia dowell headshot

Simple Words by A

Born and raised in Arkansas, Alicia Dowell loves her home state. She grew up on her family farm in Southwest Arkansas. She was taught a deep love of caring for animals, growing a garden, and the slower way of life. Alicia married her college sweetheart and welcomed her daughter a year later. She can still be found in Southwest Arkansas on their one acre farm or on Instagram which fuels her photography habit


Jeanetta Darley: Butternut Asiago Squash {Foodie Friday}

Enjoy your butternuts! And you definitely will with this Butternut Asiago Squash.

Its fall and we are dreaming of brightly colored leaves, cooler temperatures, our favorite scarves, and trips to the pumpkin patch.  All the gourds and squashes in different shapes and colors delight me.  And I have made it my mission in the past to let everyone know that they aren’t just for decoration.  Each and everyone can be eaten and enjoyed.  You just have to know how to attack it.

 colorful pumpkins

Butternut squashes have gained a great deal of popularity in the past few years.  I admit to jumping for joy when I see that the Autumn Squash soup is back on the menu at Panera or when I find my beloved butternut squash ravioli in the pasta section at the grocers. 

But how do I cook it at home? You might be asking yourself. This funny shaped pale orange squash need not be a mystery any longer.  This recipe will have you enjoying the sweet and nutty flavor of fall in less than 10 minutes.

 butternut squash (1)

Jeanetta Darley: Butternut Asiago Squash


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds. (You can easily save the seeds to plant in your garden next year or roast them on a baking sheet in a little olive oil.)
  2. Rub the edges with and inside with the butter and place the halves flesh side down on a plate or in a baking dish.
  3. Microwave on high for 5-8 minutes or until you can easily push a fork through the shell.
  4. Allow the squash to cool then scrap out the insides into a serving dish.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the cheese.

Headshot-Jeanetta Darley 

Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies

Jeanetta Darley
So I Was Sayin’

What food reminds you of childhood?
Rice crispie treats

What is your favorite international cuisine?
I love it all; why pick?

What is always in your refrigerator at home?

What is your most used cookbook?
Better Homes & Gardens red checkered cookbook

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My canner.

Do you have a favorite food indulgence?  
 Not really because I don’t deny myself much. Everything in moderation.

What is your go-to ingredient that you use time and time again?

What is your favorite food meal to cook at home?
Fried egg sandwich

What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
Just try it. If it flops throw it out or feed it the chickens and try again.

When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?

What else would you like us to know about you?
I’m honest. I usually only bite my food. I love Jesus but I drink a little.

Jeanetta is a crocheter & coffee addict, chicken keeper & goat wrangler, a farmer girl & maker of drunk jellies. You can find her online at So I Was Sayin’ or on twitterpinterest  & instagram . You can also follow her on Periscope (Jeanetta) and join with her for #Arkanscopes.