My mother was a true force of nature. People say that all the time about other people, but it really was true about my mother. Mom had two settings: warp speed and dead stop. When she was on, she was on—always rushing about, multitasking before multitasking was even a thing. But when she was off, she was off—reading a romance novel while she tanned on the deck or soaked in the tub (and Lord help you if you interrupted!).
One of the downsides of multi-tasking is that you’re never really fully paying attention to anything. This can result in miscommunication, misunderstanding, and mistakes. But sometimes those mistakes are delicious.
While skimming a recipe for butternut squash casserole to make a grocery list, my mother misinterpreted one key ingredient. Instead of “cracker crumbs,” mom wrote “graham cracker crumbs.”
And the rest is gastronomical history.
I’ve made several modifications to the original recipe. You’re welcome to follow it as written. It’s perfect just the way it is. But rest assured that the alternatives listed below have been tested and boyfriend approved. (Seriously, he went back for thirds.)
My secret ingredient is to start with a fresh butternut squash. They’re just coming into season here in Raleigh, and you simply cannot get the same quality of squash in a grocery store as you can at the farmers’ market.
This year, I’ve gotten my squash from a lovely gentleman named Dean Sergeant from Cedar Rock Farm. He’s a super nice, salt-of-the-earth kinda guy who has introduced me to several new vegetables, like the purple Japanese long bean (yum!). He’s also recently had some sunburst cherry tomatoes that taste like candy and are just as addictive. When I told Dean the story of the graham crackers, he said he’d have to give it a try. I hope he does!
1 fresh butternut squash (large enough for ~2 c mashed)
1 medium onion
¾ c melted coconut oil
1 c almond (or soy or regular) milk
1 tsp sea salt
1 c sharp cheddar cheese
2 c gluten-free graham cracker crumbs, split
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Slice the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Spray the squash halves with non-stick cooking spray and place skin-side up on a baking sheet.
- Bake squash halves at 375F for 40-50 minutes, or until tender.
- While the squash is cooking, dice the onion and sauté until translucent.
- When squash is tender, scoop out the soft insides and blend it with the eggs, coconut oil, milk, and sea salt in a large bowl. Beat with a hand-mixer until smooth.
- Mix in all of the other ingredients (cheese, onion, 1 c graham crackers) EXCEPT for 1 c of the graham cracker crumbs.
- Pour mixture into a 2 qt baking dish (mine’s 2.2 qt) and top with remaining cup of graham cracker crumbs.
- Bake at 375F for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Let cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!