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

search strings, Thanksgiving 2009

edited to add a bit of blog business: I hope anyone reading this won’t find their appetite diminished. Don’t forget that the fourth Sandwich Party starts this weekend. Jagosaurus and I will be rounding up the entries all weekend long, so get your sandwiches ready and leave us a comment, here or there. Happy sandwiching!

Happy Thanksgiving! Please enjoy this selection of search phrases leading readers to Macbebekin this week. They’re drawn here by the varied and revolting Can I eat this? archives, and many of them click through to the linked Ask Metafilter questions to find answers, more or less, to their food safety questions.

Our search logs cut off longer search strings mid-word, which lends a poignant mystery to them; we’ll never know, for example, whether the chicken broth smells like rotted or smells like rotting, or what the noun might be.

left giblet bag in safeway turkey
why does my chicken broth smell like rot
is it dangerous to eat olives from fizzi
if you brine the turkey and forgot to pu
blue tint to brined turkey
is canned ham safe if left unrefrigerate
i life my turkey out overnight-can i sti
brined turkey smell rotten eggs
2 year expired turkey ok to eat
i left my turkey on the counter for 3hou
i left my turkey in the car for 5 hours
chicken broth smells like rotten eggs

and the fiercely determined

to hell with vegetarians on thanksgiving

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


Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving is on the horizon. The good folks at Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn have posted five tips to help you prepare now for Thanksgiving; I have to admit that you’ll find the most useful hints in the comments, not the article.

This year, both our families’ Thanksiving plans are uncertain, and The Fella and I miiiiiiight have the chance to celebrate the holiday on our own, with a modest vegetarian feast and a cuddle on the couch. We’ve been cautiously daydreaming about the menu, each dish something special that one of us especially loves, and with The Fella’s squash galettes as the centerpiece.

mini pie pansDo you want to know the clincher, the moment when I went from idly daydreaming to hope-hope-hoping? It was during the conversation about pies: he wants pumpkin, I want blueberry, and neither of us wants a whole darned pie. And then I remembered my mini-pie tins, tucked away in a remote cabinet. This year, I want to be thankful for teeny tiny pies.


At a post-Thanksgiving family gathering, my almost-18-year-old niece A and I are watching 3-year-old K play tirelessly with her blanket. K lays the blanket on the floor, lies full-length in it, and rolls herself up like a little burrito. She sits in the center and folds the corners up around her, over her head. Standing, she rolls herself in it head to toe and jumps with all her wobbly might. She lays it out on the floor, climbs onto a chair, and launches herself out into space, landing with a striking thump in the center of her blanket.

I turn to A and say speculatively, “I just want to sit her in the blanket, wrap it up over her, grab it by all four corners, and swing it around over my head.”

A nods sagely and says, in a considering tone, “We learned about that in my psychology class. It’s called giving voice to the id.”


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.


It’s odd to be lolling about in bed this late on Thanksgiving morning. Some part of my brain, trained for years, thinks I ought to have spent the past four hours bustling around the kitchen chopping, braising, and marinating. I’m not used to this indolence and luxury.
But I could get used to it.


For the second year in a row, I’m a guest at Thanksgiving dinner instead of the red-cheeked frazzle-haired organizer/ chief cook and bottle-washer. I could get used to this.

We’re bringing a few dishes, but that’s nothing like being the poor sucker who’s up ’til midnight to drop the bird in the icy cold brine, then up again at six a.m. to wrestle that slippery carcass back out of its icy-cold bath, to say nothing of the array of side dishes and appetizers.

I’ve already prepped a dish of garlic-braised greens with chili-seasoned mushrooms and lemon: everything’s blanched or sauted or sliced as necessary and packed up to go, so I can flash it in a pan right before tomorrow’s dinner.

I expect The Fella’s contribution to be met with fanfare: roasted butternut and caramelized garlic in yeasted olive-oil dough. Packed with fresh sage and a taste of parmesan, they’ll make a lovely salty-sweet contrast to the turkey and trimmings, and also make a gorgeous entree for the vegetarians. I’ll try to snap a photo before they’re all snarfled up.

Tonight, I finish the rolls my mother requested for Thanksgiving dinner. Bored with all my standard recipes and looking for something without milk, I decided to try a riff on Average Jane’s dinner rolls.

My adaptation follows.

update 24 November: I brought a batch of these rolls to both of the Thanksgiving dinners we attended this week, and at each the rolls got rave reviews. They’re a snap to make, the dough kneads up beautifully unlike most sticky doughs, and the oven-spring is spectacular. Try them.

I am participating in NaBloPoMo.
Continue reading