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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, October 12, 2009

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 Gratin

2 cups mashed squash
2 tablespoons melted butter
salt, pepper
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated cheese
buttered crumbs
Yes, 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.”

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)

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
Here are my instructions, modified from the original, as you can tell by my use of a microwave!

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,

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At 9:20 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Lee!

I'm definitely going to try your version. I love cashews!

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Mo! I'm a big cashew fan, too. Have you tried Carrot Ginger Cashew Soup? Yum!

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. The squash casserole sounds like the one I cooked earlier this year for our meal at Easter. My hubby saw the recipe in the paper. It was a big hit. I'll have to compare.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Merrillee!

I love squash. There are so many varieties and they're all so versatile - soups, casseroles, side dishes. I have a recipe for squash risotto that's absolutely delicious, and I love butternut squash ravioli.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

I'm in Quebec City this week, and haven't seen much about Thanksgiving. I'd have expected some special menu in the hotel -- at least, that's what most of the hotels have where I live.

I've got a few pictures on my blog -- the weather here has been 'interesting' to say the least.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, Lee, the recipe looks interesting and I'm not a "squash" lover by any means. Love the old cookbook! Ooh, the carrot ginger soup sounds interesting, too! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Great photos, Terry! Quebec City is so beautiful. Sorry to hear you missed out on a Canadian Thanksgiving, though.

All the recent weather reports on TV have been "interesting," to say the least!

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Theresa! It's now Wednesday and we're enjoying one of my favorite things about holiday cooking . . . leftovers!


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