Friday, June 19, 2009

Crookneck Squash/Zucchini Casserole(can be veganized); Cashew Gravy(vegan)

Welcome back to my world, very hot, sunny, and humid! Makes me awfully glad I don't have to be outside at all, believe me. There are a couple AT&T trucks across the street, doing whatever it is that phone men do, with the orange vests and the heavy hardhats on, and they truly have my sympathy today. It has to be miserable wearing those things in weather like this.

My first appointment with the kidney specialist is this coming Tuesday, the 23rd, at 11am. My boss is NOT happy about it, but since this doctor really is a specialist, we have to do what HE says, and not what Waffle House says, so I won't be working that day. tsk. gee. darn. breaks my heart...snicker. Anyway, please, again, keep me in your prayers, ok? Thanks.

Kroger is coming up in the world, and has stocked three new vegetarian/vegan products in the health food department, and I am delighted. The first one I noticed was seitan, two different flavors, but I don't remember what the flavors were. Sorry...senior moment, y'know. One of these days it will happen to you, too, I'm quite sure. The second product I noticed was the flavored tofus!!!! YIPPEE!!! They are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. I bought the vanilla one. And btw, I didn't bother with the seitan, as it is almost $3 for a box that looks like no more than two servings...I could be wrong...and I also have a log of it in my freezer. It's also ridiculously easy to make, and Kroger sells the vital wheat gluten needed for it. Anyway, I've digressed, sorry. The third thing I found was Tofutti "cheese," in two flavors: American, and Mozzarella, so I bought the Mozzarella. If it's a Tofutti product, then it's vegan, correct? I didn't see anything in the list of ingredients that would say otherwise, so I guess it is vegan.

So, on to the recipes: The crookneck squash/zucchini casserole was basically to use one of the fresh green bell peppers my neighbor grew and gave me, and to try the new vegan mozzarella "cheese." The only thing non-vegan about it is the goat cheese crumbles I used, so to veganize it, leave them out. Possibly you could use nutritional yeast, or more of the Tofutti cheeses in its place. Your of the great things about vegetarian cooking: you can play with a recipe any way you want to, and make it yours. And yes, I know I've said that before, lol.

Crookneck Squash/Zucchini Casserole

2 smallish yellow crookneck squashes, and two small zucchinis
1 bell pepper...mine was green, but I bet red would look really cool
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
3/5-oz. package goat cheese crumbles
five slices of Tofutti brand mozzarella "cheese"
About 1/2 tsp. oregano
About 1 tsp. smoked paprika
Black pepper to taste
A few good shakes of Japanese mirin(sweetened rice wine for cooking)

Preheat oven to 375ºF
Butter(ok, I use Blue Bonnet margarine, vegans can use Earth Balance)a 13"X9" baking pan. Slice the squash and the zucchini the long way, in thin "slabs." Core and seed the bell pepper, and dice it. Slice the onion into really thin rings. First layer is the zucchini slices, a good handful of the diced pepper, a good handful of the onion rings, and half the package of goat cheese crumbles. Second layer is the yellow squash, and then repeat the first layer, ending with the goat cheese and a few splashes of the mirin. Sprinkle the oregano and the smoked paprika over the top, and then layer the "cheese" slices across the top. Put all this in the oven and leave it there for 30-45 minutes, until the cheeses are bubbly and the veggies are tender. Take out of the oven, scoop onto a plate, and eat. Makes about four servings, I think.

I was totally impressed with myself, lol. This is wonderful, I love it, and I ate it again the next night, and will eat it again tonight. Before I started, I went to, to find out what temperature and how long to cook it, and the recipe that I took the temp and time from used tomatoes as one layer, so if you wanted to, that's another option for you. I didn't want to, but if I'd had any fresh ones, I think I would use them. Even tho I used oregano, if you don't want to, or don't have any, try basil, thyme, tarragon, whatever you have or like. I even think that mint might work, too. If you want to make it with just the squash, or jsut the zucchini, that's fine, too. And FYI, while mine was baking, it smelled like a pizza! Sort of tasted like one, me a downside to that, eh?

With the casserole I had a baked potato with cashew gravy. I put the potato in the oven, at the same temp as the casserole, and waited about 30 minutes before I put the casserole in, and that way, they were done at the same time. While they were cooking, I made the cashew gravy...very, very easy and twice as good!!

Cashew Gravy(vegan)

2C water
1/2C cashews
2 Tbs. each cornstarch and onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Place everything in blender and liquify. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat gravy, stirring constantly until thickened. Add more water if gravy becomes too thick. [ And it really will get thick, be aware of that.]

This is the third recipe I've used for cashew gravy, and
all of them have been really, really good. So, I don't think there's such a thing as a bad cashew gravy, lol. If you've never tried one, do so, and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Um, you do have to like cashews, tho...snicker. Until next time, Happy Eating.


Sherrie said...

The squash casserole sounds good. I might have to try that one.

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