topsy turvy stuffed squash

Every year, our referral logs show that visitors arrive at macbebekin searching for vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving dishes. (And sometimes not-so-vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving searches end up here, too.) Last year, I jotted down some tips and suggestions for a vegetarian-friendly holiday table, and in the same entry I outlined our proposed Thanksgiving menu, which centered around The Fella’s gorgeous roasted butternut squash galettes.

This year, I have one more vegetarian Thanksgiving entree to suggest, and boy howdy, it’s a doozy! Inspired by The Kitchn’s rendition of Dorie Greenspan’s stuffed squash, I whipped up a vegetarian version of my own. You’ll notice that the recipe at the link includes bacon, but don’t get hung up on that: the key here is the technique, not the ingredients.

I’ve never been a fan of baked stuffed squash, which too often comes out of the oven pallid and limp, slumping and drooling its thin juices onto the plate. But this simple, brilliant idea turns that bland, pale stuffed squash on its head — literally. The trick: hollow out the squash and fill it with cheesy, bready, aromatic stuffing…

And then flip it upside-down to bake.

Elsa's topsy turvy stuffed squash

It’s so simple and so obvious: get the stuffing in contact with the pan, let the oven’s heat and the roasting pan’s surface work their alchemy upon the ingredients. Here’s a photo of the squash halves, one still resting in the pan, the other flipped up to show off the crispy underside. As you can see, cooking them face-down results in tender roasted squash with a deeply browned, richly crisped crust over creamy soft stuffing.

The fabulous contrast in textures and flavors makes this a dish you’ll groan over. Our dinnertime last night was a chorus of “OOOOOH”s and “AAAAAAH”s and other, less polite expressions of delight. I urge you, urge you, to try this topsy-turvy stuffed squash soon. Continue reading

Thanksgiving at home

It’s official: this year, The Fella and I are celebrating Thanksgiving at home, just the two of us. We’re having a modest vegetarian feast, and because many omnivores wonder what the hell to serve to vegetarians at traditional holiday meals, I thought I’d outline our menu here. Continue reading

squash pizza

Stay with me, now.

Last night’s dinner was a quick assortment of pizzas, where quick = too lazy to make dough. Though I bought a ball of whole wheat dough made by a local pizza joint, The Fella had the brilliant idea of using the last of the yeasted olive oil dough from his galettes.

Frugal soul that I am, I also used the leftover filling. I flattened out the galette dough, smoothed on a layer of spicy tomato sauce and olive oil, then mozzarella and parmesan, spooned on glops of cinnamon-scented roasted squash pureed with caramelized garlic, scattered caramelized onions over that, covered the whole thing with more cheese, and plopped it on the baking stone.

We also had our standard: Kalamata olive and sauteed mushrooms with garlic on whole wheat dough, with plenty of rosemary.

No contest. The galette dough (several days old at this point) outranked any pizza dough I’ve seen, and the creamy sweetness of the squash mixes perfectly with the tangy onion and the zing of the sauce. It all disappeared far too fast for our liking, and certainly too fast to snap a photo.

Until last night, the official policy on both the dough and the filling for those galettes was make extra. Addendum to the official policy: for pizza!

the best ever roasted squash

Dr. Beardface* and I consume astounding quantities of winter squash. Three big handsome squashes (butternut, delicata, and sweet dumpling) perch plumply on the table right now, awaiting their demise.

the best ever roasted squashThe Fella’s luscious roasted butternut squash galettes. As handsome and delicious as those are, they prove a tad too involved to stake out a spot in our daily or weekly repertoire. We’re far more likely to scarf down our squash in roasted form, and though often we simply toss it with oil and salt and plunk it into a hot oven, I like to take the extra two minutes of hands-on work that transforms plain roasted squash to the best ever roasted squash. Inspired by Laurie Colwin’s squash tian recipe**, the best ever roasted squash has been thoroughly transformed by time, habit, and hazy memory.

*a household endearment for The Fella that honors his stunning beard credentials.
**found in More Home Cooking, a book whose nominal place of honor on my kitchen shelf is usually a narrow empty space — the book itself is rarely far from my bedside, so alluring are its comforts.
I am participating in NaBloPoMo.

Continue reading


squash galettesjpg As promised, here’s a hastily snapped photo of The Fella’s roasted butternut galettes with caramelized garlic and fresh sage. These savory pastries, with their fine-crumbed dough and fragrant filling, made a heck of a hit at the Thanksgiving table, and the next day people still rhapsodized over them rewarmed with leftovers. They came from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

This is the second time he’s made them, and I’m hoping (hoping hoping!) they’ll become a staple around here. With a side of greens or a salad, you have a handsome winter meal. They would cozy up nicely to creamy broccoli or simple tomato soup or a brimming bowl of minestrone. My brother B opined that these little miracles would go with any meal, and he talked about trying one with his morning coffee, if any survived that long.

To sum up: they were much admired and quickly snarfled up despite an overloaded buffet. Happily, The Fella made a double batch. The extra dough and filling sits undefended in our fridge right now, and soon I’ll skulk in and help myself to a slapdash galette all on its own. Just the thing to warm me up on this cold evening.

I am participating in NaBloPoMo.