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31 March 2012

Demon Speeding

Got that Rob Zombie song stuck in my head, alternating with American Head Charge’s “Song for the Suspect.” 




I finished my thesis!  I’ll submit it to be bound on Monday, two weeks ahead of schedule.  Knock on wood I make it back to school tomorrow.

While finishing my thesis, I alternated my work with two baking projects: I made spaghetti casserole and an apple pie.  Yesterday, before attending a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, I made tahinopita, a Greek cake made with tahini.

Afterwards, I returned to my aunt and uncle’s house and made Mexican mole bread from The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread.  I used agave nectar instead of molasses since I thought, duh, agave is from Mexico.



Had that for a spicy breakfast this morning.  I also choked on a piece of this bread in the afternoon when I had a snack…that’ll teach me not to eat quickly.

Spaghetti casserole is a dish from my maternal grandmother’s mother’s side of the family.  The version I modified was originally written in 1973, but her relatives had been making it before then.



I modified it using the random foods I had on hand, and I indicated my substitutions/additions, as usual, in parentheses.

Spaghetti Casserole
From Carol Bowers’ December 28, 1973 recipe

1 teaspoon oil (sesame)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (I used two, pressed)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 package vegan, gluten-free sausage (I used Trader Joe’s Soyrizo)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1 small can tomato sauce (about 1 cup)
1 small can tomato paste (about 2/3 cup; I used about a cup of Trader Joe’s organic catsup to clean out a bottle)
1 1/2 cups water (to rinse the cans into the mixture)
salt and pepper to taste
1 16-ounce can kidney beans

1/2 pound gluten-free spaghetti (or other pasta; I used brown rice rotini)

1 1/3 cup vegan mozzarella cheeze shreds (I used Daiya mozzarella)

Cheeze whiz:
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon mustard (wet or dry)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water (to blend)
1 cup water (to rinse out the blender)

In a large saucepan or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Sautee the onion until it begins to turn translucent, then add the garlic and cook “until soft & light gold color.”  Add the red pepper flakes and toast for a minute.  Squeeze the vegan sausage from the casing and cook for a few minutes.  Add the sugar, oregano, bay leaf, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.  Rinse the sauce and paste cans with about 1 1/2 cups water and pour this water into the onion-sausage mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for about fifteen minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9*13” casserole dish.

Bring about six cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

In a blender, combine all the cheeze whiz ingredients minus one cup of water.  Blend until the almonds and garlic are completely ground.  Pour into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until thickened (about 15 minutes), stirring often.  It will be liquidy but not completely watery when done.



Add the beans to the onion-garlic-tomato mixture.  Heat the beans through, then turn off the heat.  Stir the pasta into the tomato mixture, coating completely. 




Add half the pasta mixture to the casserole.  Sprinkle 2/3 cup cheeze shreds on top of the pasta.  Best instructions ever: “Add 1/2 teaspoon of Cheez whiz in strategically located places on casserole.” 



Repeat with the remaining pasta mixture, cheeze shreds, and cheeze sauce.  Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until cheeze sauce has “set” and cheeze shreds are melty (or browned, if you like it that way).  Let cool for ten minutes before digging in.  Though I have yet to test this, like the original recipe, it’s probably very tasty eaten cold and several days later.



I served it over spinach to redeem it further from the original.  


Besides cheeze whiz and real cheese, the original featured 1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck and 2 feet of sausage (hot and sweet Italian).  Talk about a special treat, mm-hmm!  No, seriously, I used to enjoy this dish at the annual Christmas Day dinner at my great-aunt Mary’s house.




Updated 12/27/2012--no oil, no tomatoes

Butternut Squash Spaghetti Casserole
From Carol Bowers’ December 28, 1973 recipe

1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 package vegan, gluten-free sausage (I used Trader Joe’s Soyrizo)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 butternut squash, roasted and peeled
1 1/2 cups water (to rinse the bean can)
salt and pepper to taste
1 16-ounce can cannelini beans

1 pound gluten-free spaghetti (or other pasta; I used brown rice elbows)

1 1/3 cup vegan mozzarella cheeze shreds (I used Daiya mozzarella)

Cheeze whiz:
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup or walnuts)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon mustard (wet or dry)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water (to blend)
1 cup water (to rinse out the blender)

In a blender, combine all the cheeze whiz ingredients minus one cup of water.  Blend until the almonds and garlic are completely ground.  Pour into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until thickened (about 15 minutes), stirring often.  It will be liquidy but not completely watery when done.

Warm a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat.  Sautee the onion until it begins to turn translucent and brown in spots, stirring frequently, and add a pinch of salt.  Then add the garlic and cook “until soft & light gold color.”  Add the red pepper flakes and toast for a minute.  Deglaze the pan with a little water, scraping up the browned bits.  Squeeze the vegan sausage from the casing and cook for a few minutes.  Add the oregano, bay leaf, nutmeg, turmeric, and squash.  Stir around to break up the chunks.  Add the beans and rinse the bean can the onion-sausage mixture.  Add pepper to taste.  Once it bubbles, turn off the heat and set aside until the pasta is ready.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9*13-inch casserole dish.

Bring about six cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Add half the pasta mixture to the casserole.  Sprinkle 2/3 cup cheeze shreds on top of the pasta.  Best instructions ever: “[a]dd 1/2 teaspoon of Cheez whiz in strategically located places on casserole.” 

Repeat with the remaining pasta mixture, cheeze shreds, and cheeze sauce.  Bake, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes or until cheeze sauce has “set” and cheeze shreds are melty (or browned, if you like it that way).  Let cool for ten minutes before digging in.