October 31st, 2005

Winter Squash Casserole

(crossposted to vegrecipes and WorldWideRecipe)

I made up this recipe for our Pagan Potluck, based upon ingedients that we happened to have in the kitchen or garden. It was a hit! The sweet squash mixed well with the savory flavors. The ginger gave it a little kick that really emphasized the lovely texture and taste of the squash. It's a hearty and nourishing dish.

3 cups rice, uncooked
2 cups vegan chik'n broth or vegetable broth (you can also use powdered vegan chik'n broth, as I did.)
2 cups water
2 squash (I recommend acorn squash)
1 zucchini squash, quartered
2 cups spinach, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons nut oil (I used macadamia nut oil, but almond would be good too)\
1 tsp sage powder
1 tsp ginger
salt and pepper to taste
bread crumbs

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook rice with 2 cups broth and 2 cups water (or as directed on package). Place in large covered casserole dish.

While rice is cooking, cut acorn squash in half. Scoop out seeds and goop with a spoon. Pierce the shell with a fork several times to allow steam to escape. Place with cut side down in a baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Add quartered zucchini to baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes longer, or until flesh is soft. Remove from oven. Stir the zucchini into the rice. Let squash cool.

When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from inside the shell. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Stir into rice. Stir in the following ingredients, one at a time: chopped spinach, garlic, nut oil, sage powder, ginger, salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and a little salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes longer. This cooks the spinach without making it all ewww slimy, and makes the breadcrumbs crispy.

Serve with a smile.

'Breeding' kefir ... very, very nearly cooking! :-)

I've been given a kefir plant! That is, a bunch of those amazing bacteria/yeast grains which evolved to turn dairy milk into fermented 'yoghurty' stuff. I've read up on the Web (http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/vegmilk.html) about how milk kefir plant/grains/mother can be used to make non-dairy milk kefir. However, the grains apparently stop growing and then die, because their natural food is dairy milk.

Has anyone on the list had experience with strains of milk kefir grains which are adapted to non-dairy milks? It seems to me that it ought to be possible to 'breed' them, if the basic requirements are acids and sugars.
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