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What to do with Cushaw Squash

I had a dear friend bestow upon me several Cushaw Squash.  These are huge things usually used for fall decorations and can often be found free along with pumpkins that people want to get rid of after Halloween.   (It is easy to find free pumpkins and squash this time of year.  My hubby once found a 30lb pumpkin tossed along a running path.  He brought it home and we cut it up and we canned several quarts of pumpkin, along with roasting the seeds…We have a motto in our home, never pass up free food!)

Cushaw squash is very mild in flavor and somewhat like a spaghetti squash in taste.   And they can be massive in size, which means that is a LOT of squash to contend with; but is it really?

These types of mild flavored squash (and there are several) have all kinds of uses.  My daughter was selling zucchini breads last summer at the farmers market.  The Cushaw is a very good replacement for zucchini.  It comes out a bit drier but that might not be a problem because this bread will make a peanut butter and honey sandwich that won’t fall apart in the making.  It makes a nice solid slice-able bread.

Squash Bread

3/4 cup grated squash

8 eggs

1/2 c melted butter

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 coconut flour

Mix it all up in a bowl, pour into a bread pan lined with greased parchment paper, bake at 350 for about an hour until a knife comes out clean.

What else can one do with a Cushaw?

For starters, this is what I do with any of these “large” squash whether it be a Cushaw or a Blue Hubbard.  I cut them open, rake out the seeds and then I peel them.   After I peel them I put the peeled slices in a zipper bag and store it in the refrigerator for use throughout the week.  A few minutes of prep time gives me a week’s worth of at hand food to cook with.  Because these squash are so mild in flavor they take on the flavors that you add to them thus giving you an affordable way to stretch your food budget.

As I am cooking throughout the week I incorporate these squash into my meals.  Here are some ideas:

Fry bacon, then cook the squash in the grease along with some onions. Then crumble up the bacon, top with your favorite cheese

Use it like rice-cook ground beef, onions, and the squash then put in your favorite Mexican seasonings, or add your favorite Indian seasonings and top it yogurt cheese.  Or to make it  Italian in flavor add basil and tomatoes.  This concept is limitless and by peeling the squash in advance you have a ready made and fast meal at your finger tips.

Chop them up and fry them along with mushrooms and peppers.

Add them to leftover chicken and smother with tomatoes.

Cook by themselves in butter and coconut oil, smash them up and add some yogurt and Parmesan cheese, a light pinch of nutmeg, and salt.  Yum, this one is akin to risotto and is a delight!

As the weather is cooling off in this region, it is time for more soups.  This squash is being tossed into all kinds of soups.  It blends up well with other veggies and it also adds a nice texture to chunky soups.

Squash is one of the main food groups for GAPS/SCD because it is high in fiber and very good at fleshing out a meal. It is easy on the tummy and very affordable.   So do not neglect this squash because it seems overwhelming in size.

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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Bread, Squash

 

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Hamburger Lindstrom

I have recently been moving bookshelves around and was flipping through some cookbooks.  Many recipes can quickly be made GAPS friendly by swapping out an ingredient or two.

I am also trying to incorporate more diversity in my meals.  My main goal is to find ways to stretch my grass-fed meat budget.

The other morning as I was flipping through a cookbook I came across this recipe which I have converted to make it 100% GAPS legal.    We all were delighted with how this tasted.

1 lb of ground meat

1 cup of beets

2 eggs

a splash of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of dill weed

salt and pepper

about a 1/4 cup of coconut flour (perhaps less)

and of course salt and pepper

I put the beets in the food processor and ground them up. Then I tossed in everything but the coconut flour.  I ground it up and then added in flour until it was a good texture for frying

Before serving I topped with yogurt cheese that I had mixed with dill weed.   (yogurt cheese is like cream cheese)

I admit that I had some reservations about this recipe but I am so glad that I did not pass it over.  It was truly fabulous.  So if you are trying to get more veggies into your diet, this recipe is a winner.  It works out to be about half meat and half veggies.  But the addition of eggs and the cheese keeps the protein levels up.

I used a very lean ground beef so it cooked out no fat, making these burgers good eaten cold or chopped up in a salad.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Beef, Beets, Cheese

 

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Real Mayonnaise

 

I confess, I like mayonnaise, the stuff that comes out of the jar, made out of soybean oils, and that has “natural flavorings”.   But for the most part, I stopped it eating it years ago when I stopped consuming soybean oil and MSG.

I have gone through those periods of time when I have made homemade mayo but the flavor really wasn’t as good. And as is my habit, if I consider it  unhealthy and can’t easily duplicate it, I just leave it out of my life.  In most cases, I can be just as satisfied with mustard or salsa as a condiment….But I really like a good homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing made with mayo.

On one of those rare occasions, when I had a few moments of free time and decided to flip through my grandmother’s Household Searchlight Recipe Book (copyrighted 1937) to see what it had to say about mayonnaise.  Mom, always told me the old-timers made their mayonnaise and how good it was. And while the modern recipe that we find all over the internet and in the modern cookbooks is good, to me it was just not good enough, yet I knew it needed a touch of something to make it better.  With cookbook in hand, it took me about two seconds before I was doing one of those hand slaps to head and saying “why didn’t I think of that!”

The secret to having that store bought flavored mayonnaise is so simple, add a little honey.  And if this still is not quite right, do half lemon juice and half vinegar.

The recipe reads like this:

1 egg yolk (without the white)

2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar (or a blend of half lemon and half apple cider vinegar)

1 cup of sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of honey

dash of cayenne

Place the egg yolk, lemon juice/vinegar, honey, salt and cayenne in a blender or food processor.  Turn on and then begin to gradually drizzle in the oil….blend until smooth.  Adjust honey, salt, vinegar to taste.

Once you get your ingredients worked out just right, add a bit of whey for safe keeping and it will keep for several days.

A quick and simple method:

Recently, I had a friend encourage me to make mayo with my immersion blender.  Put in all the ingredients and then the blender…and you have a no fuss mayo, without having to drip the oil, and almost instant mayonnaise!!  I tried this and it worked—EXCEPT, for this version I had to use the whole egg (white) to make it whip up. It did alter the flavor a tad but overall, still very good.

And a last word on this topic, please make sure if you are making mayo from scratch that you use an egg source that you can trust.  If you are using eggs from the supermarket, for safety sake make sure the eggs shells are in good condition with no fissures or weak spots in them.

 

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Condiments, Eggs, Helpful Tips, Mayonnaise

 

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Fermented Kale

I work a farmers market and one of the things that I almost always have left over at the end of the day is Kale.  Mid-westerners are known to not like their vitamin K and although they “know they should be eating more greens” they simply cannot make the change from yellow (corn) to green leafy stuff.

I don’t really have a set way to do kale but the last time, I chopped it up very finely in the food processor, added in a little shredded onion and carrot, garlic, lime juice, Braggs Amino Acids, and of course salt. The idea was to duplicate the flavor that goes into my kale chips….well, it didn’t turn out tasting like Kale Chips but it is still tasty and a good way to consume the nutrient dense kale.

A person’s liking for fermented food is as individual as the person themselves.  For instance, Hubby likes his Kraut shredded, he likes the texture better.  Darling Daughter likes it slaw cut ( grated).  Instead of making two batches, I try to vary it each time I make it.    Almost every week for the past 10 years I have filled jars with some concoction, with something always working in one corner of the house or other.

Something for consideration, particularly with children, is that their tastes buds can be more sensitive so too much hot peppers or spices can be overpowering.   When one starts the GAPS diet we tend to want to make things as “flavorful” as possible to entice the children….when in reality the child may do best on having foods a bit more bland and then gradually add in the herbs and spices.  And I think this goes ditto for aging palates as well.  Things that we might have liked when we were younger change too as we age.  So if you have family members that lean more to the “basic flavors”, I encourage you to stick to the basics. As fermenting is becoming all the rage, we do not have to compete with our neighbors with more hot peppers, cumin, etc.  Nor are we slaves to a particular recipe.  A good basic beans with onion can be as satisfying as the ones with all the extras.  If mild Kimchi is preferred over the dragon breathing kind then make it mild. The goal is to have your family consuming these foods at every meal.  Our fermenting should be to satisfy our family not to try and out do others.  If it is too hot, overly spicy, or the flavor just grows boring, the consumption will slack off and our family will lose the intestinal benefits they gain from eating them.  In the growing community of fermenting it is important to remember that we are all after the same thing, intestinal health and that we need to love one another and support one another in our individual preferences.

Happy Fermenting!!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Fermented Foods, Greens, Kale

 

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Butternut Casserole

 

 

I have some extra squash that needed to be used.  I am not a huge casserole fan, but for some reason I decided to try to make a butternut casserole.   I wanted a fusion of flavors.   So this is what I did…

I sauteed an onion in a blend of sesame and coconut oil.  I then added in one butternut squash cut up into small chunks.   I allowed this to cook a bit, enough to soften the squash.

In a small skillet I toasted 1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds in some sesame oil.

While this was going on at the stove, I combined a cup of yogurt and 2 eggs with 2 tsps of curry powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, and added in some hot pepper flakes.  I sat this aside.

Then I sliced up 10 prune.  Grated some Parmesan cheese, and measured out 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut.

After oiling a casserole dish, I combined all of the ingredients and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.

I served this up with some fresh salmon fillets and navy beans.

The casserole could stand alone if it had more cheese or ground meat added to it.  Instead of pumpkin seeds, nuts could be used.

Overall, we thought this was very good and something we will make again.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Squash

 

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Chopped Liver (Pate)

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Liver is one of those things that most people either love or hate. I have one daughter that likes it prepared as chopped liver better than any other way. Most chopped liver recipes call for chicken liver and that is very good. But today, I made it with grass fed beef liver.

First I fried the liver in a good amount of coconut oil, browning it on both sides and cooking it until it was completely done but not overdone. (Putting a lid on the frying pan to let it steam a bit.)

I then removed it from the skillet and added in a couple of onions and fried them up in the juices in the skillet. Cooking them until they were tender. The more traditional recipes will tell you to boil the liver, but I personally do not see that it makes any difference in the taste, if anything, I think gently frying it improves the flavor.

I tossed all of this into the food processor and ground it up until it was smooth. I added in yogurt to moisten it up a bit. But on another day, I might add butter, beef or chicken fat, or even more coconut oil. Then I sprinkled in salt and pepper to taste, a couple cloves or garlic and ground it up a bit more.

It is simple and fast to make. Like most everything I make, there are ways to vary the original recipe. I have made it with raw sweet onions ground into it. I have put boiled eggs in it. I have not tried it with avocado but thinking I might next time.

The liver is then served with some GAPS legal bread, or used as a veggie dip. We have even been known to eat it a top a bowl of salad.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Beef, Liver

 

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Pickled Eggs

Pickled Eggs

These have become a new staple in our home.  I have always liked pickled beets and I have always put boiled eggs in my leftover pickle brine, coming out with lovely purple eggs with all the pickled flavor.

Recently, I have learned to make pickled eggs differently.  They taste different but super good. Even the daughter that does not care for boiled eggs likes these.

You start by hard boiling your eggs.  You will need to cook a few extras just in case you have some that do not peel perfectly. (You do not want to use any eggs that have the yolks showing or that are split.)  Once your eggs are hard boiled (and this varies with altitudes) drain the hot water off of them, gently roll them around in the pan while running cold tap water over them…you want to gently crack the shells….Cover with cold tap water and allow to cool. Then further crack and peel.

This recipe is a guideline.   For a quart you want to use the following…

12 very hard boiled eggs

5-6 cloves of peeled garlic

The eggs and garlic go into the quart jar

Then in a sauce pan combine the following:

2 cups of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt (sea or non-iodized)

To that add about 5 TBSP of honey(you can use more or less)

Added in about an 1/8 tsp of the following spices and then adjusted them to taste–Mace, nutmeg, and ginger.

15 whole cloves and a good shake of paprika to give it all a good reddish color.  Oh yes, and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Hot Peppers are optional.

Bring all of this to a boil and pour over your boiled eggs packed into a quart canning jar.  (Wide mouth is necessary)  Put on the lid and when cool transfer to the refrigerator.  Allow to sit for two weeks. (If you can wait that long!)

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Eggs, Holiday Foods, Snacks

 

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