Turning to Family Traditions, Again and Again...Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, which means I’ll be revisiting a lot of family traditions. I spent most of the weekend in Seattle for the Emerald City Writers’ Conference, but I’m up early this morning to prepare a holiday feast.
My family loves the old standbys—turkey with bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Today it’ll be roast chicken because only four of us are sitting down to dinner. There’ll also be buttered carrots, brussels sprouts and, of course, pumpkin pie for dessert.
One of my favorite side dishes is baked squash, a recipe I modified from my Grandmother McKenzie’s old cook book—the Modern Priscilla Cook Book—which has been passed down to me. The cover is quite shabby and the copyright page is missing, but I believe it was published in the 1920s.
I’ll start with the original ingredients for the original recipe.
Squash au GratinYes, this cook book uses a lot of butter. And the recipe says that if the squash is very dry, “a little cream may be added.”
2 cups mashed squash
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup grated cheese
I substitute a little olive oil for some of the melted butter, add a sprinkling of nutmeg for flavor, and replace the buttered crumbs with chopped cashews. But the egg and squash combination still create the original souffle-like texture that made this side dish so appealing.
Squash qu Gratin (Lee's version)Here are my instructions, modified from the original, as you can tell by my use of a microwave!
2 cups cooked, mashed squash (butternut is my favorite)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
a generous grating of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
finely chopped cashews
Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place the two halves cut side down in a shallow, microwaveable dish. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and microwave on High. Cooking time will vary, depending on the type of microwave you have. You can also bake the squash in the oven for half an hour or so.
Let the squash cool, scoop the pulp into a bowl, and mash it. Stir in the olive oil, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Add the beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Put this mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with the chopped cashews. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Serves 6.
Either version is very tasty. I hope you enjoy it!
Until next time,