Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Hot Water Crust Meat Pie

Friday, April 28th, 2017

So, apparently it’s a British thing… I had never heard of a hot water crust until I started watching the Great British Baking Show.  But, in the first season, the contestants were challenged to do a 3-tiered pie and I was amazed to see them unmold pies from springform pans and stack them on top of each other for service, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I’ve got to say, I was somewhat uncertain about trying the hot water crust based on what Cook’s Illustrated has to say on the topic of this kind of crust: “When we compared a hot-water crust in several recipes…with our Foolproof Pie Dough… we understood why it might not have been eaten in the past. …[S]ome tasters called it “mealy”…. While a hot-water crust is simple to prepare and easy to work with, stick with our Foolproof Pie Dough if you want pastry worth eating.”

Having taken their opinion into account, though, I checked out a few British sources for an authentic recipe and settled on one from the BBC, though, of course, I didn’t follow it precisely.

  1. I rendered beef suet to use in the crust, because I was out of fat back to render for lard and also because I was making a beef pot pie.
  2. I cut the amount of suet used in half and substituted butter for the other half because I was concerned that 100% beef fat would be too much.
  3. I added some salt, hers, and spices to the recipe to add some flavor in (and perhaps battle against the shortcomings that Cook’s Illustrated perceived).
The end result was good.  It was a bit mealy, but I think that’s okay for a savory pie.  The crust baked up crisp on all sides, and the pie unmolded from the springform pan quite easily, straight from the oven.  The pieces held their form when cut, and the overall result was quite pleasing.
In case you’d like to give it a try, here’s the general recipe I followed.  SO sorry to give the figures in grams, but that’s the Brits (and the rest of the world) for you, they follow this crazy thing called the metric system that no one outside of a lab around here seems to have any use for :)
Pie Crust
  • 100g Beef Fat (or Lard)
  • 100g Butter
  • 220mL Water (I measured in grams on my scale)
  • 575g All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Herbs (oregano, marjoram, thyme)
  • Spices (Aleppo Pepper, Garlic Powder, Paprika)
Filling
  • 4 quarts combined leftovers from a roast beef and roasted vegetable dinner, including about a cup of croutons, and moistened with a bit of tomato juice.
  • Next time I do this, I am leaning toward using braised, shredded meat instead of roasted meat.  Either will work just fine, though.
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine butter, animal fat, and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, measure dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  4. Pour hot water and fat mixture into the flour mixture.  Combine with a wooden spoon and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth.
  5. Cut 1/4 of the dough off for the top crust, then roll the rest out into a large circle.  It will not roll like a normal pie crust, but rather has an almost bready consistency.  I had a bit of an issue getting it to pick up and transfer without tearing; I might try putting down a bit more flour before rolling next time.
  6. Transfer the bottom crust to a 24″ springform pan.  Lift the edges and fit it into the bottom of the dish all the way around.  Cur some scraps from the edges and press in to patch any holes that develop.
  7. Press your 4 quarts of filling into the pan.  Roll out the top crust, place on top, and fold the bottom crust up over the top and crimp closed to guard against leaks (Paul and Mary don’t want the pie to have any leaks).  Cut some vent holes in the top.  From what I can tell, one centrally placed hole is typical for the Brits; sometimes they will use a cinnamon stick as the vent (and, one would assume, to impart flavor into the pie as it bakes)
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, then drop the temperature to 350 and bake for another 60.
  9. When the crust has developed an attractive golden brown and the pie is baked all the way through, set it on a raised surface (such as a jar) and release it from the springform pan.  Slide onto a plate or cutting board for service.

Bloody Mary Beef Barbecue

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

This is a super-easy recipe and it works with any cut of braising beef.  I usually use chuck roast, but have done it with brisket, rump roast, and shanks as well.

  • 1 (3-ish pound) chuck roast
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomato product: I like 6-in-1 Ground Tomato Product, but crushed, diced, or sauce will all work fine
  • 1/2 small jar prepared horseradish.  Not the creamed stuff.
  • Herbs and Spices to taste: salt, pepper, aleppo pepper, oregano or marjoram, basil, thyme, +/- other spices depending on your mood and tastes; plus one dash of cloves
  • Seasoned salt for seasoning the meat
  1. Rub the meat on both sides with your favorite seasoned salt mix (I make my own each time and finagle it to taste).
  2. Choose a pan that you can cover.  I usually use a cast iron pot, but lately have been using a 6-inch deep 1/2 hotel pan because I’ve been making double or triple batches.
  3. Pour a little of the tomato mix into the bottom of the pan, put the meat in that, and then cover with the rest of the tomato mix.
  4. Put in a 250-degree oven for about 6 hours or until it shreds easily.
  5. Pull the meat from the sauce and put the sauce on the stove to reduce and thicken while you shred the meat.
  6. Shred the meat (removing any bones, fat, and/or connective tissue).
  7. Toss meat with sauce.  Use any leftover sauce as a delicious soup base.
This meal is the start of Radiatore Angstromi Pasta!  It takes very little time, and because the meat can so easily be cooked from frozen, you only have to plan 6-7 hours in advance of when you want to eat (assuming you’ve got some sort of a pot roast in your freezer to cook).
Caveats: Thicker cuts of beef may take longer to cook.  It’s ok to bump the heat up to 275 or 300 if you want to decrease the cooking time.  You can use this same concept with any sort of liquid sauce; the important part to understand here is using long, low, moist heat on cuts of meat that have more connective tissue (here is a card I did for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank that shows which cuts of beef these are).  As the Beastie Boys once said, “Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low: that is the tempo!”

Some Stuff I’ve Done Lately

Monday, October 17th, 2016

So, I recently paid the annual bill that keeps this page on the ‘net, and I noticed that it’s been a while since I actually did anything in this space except check my own recipes.  I do, after all, have my favorites that I go back to on an occasional basis to get some advice from myself.

But, just because I haven’t been putting stuff up here, doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on some cool stuff.  I’m linking below to some of the cool materials that I’ve been putting together for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank over the past couple of years.  These are resources that we publish mainly for our clients, but they are available online for anyone to use at pittsburghfoodbank.org/resources/nutrition/

Rolling Oats

This was a really fun project to work on, and really useful, too.  Most people know that it is important to eat more whole grains, but the advice we see can sometimes be confusing.  Case in point, Reese’s Puffs cereal, which proclaims across the front of its box that whole grain is the first ingredient (yes, but how many of the next several are some form of sugar?)

Oats are about the most economical source of whole grain nutrition around, and are always on Food Bank inventory.  This 16-page magazine gives several ways to make oats a more frequent part of your diet, whether by turning them into a savory pilaf, a fruit crisp, a granola bar, bread dough, or a no-roll pie crust.  Click on the picture above to download the whole magazine.

Special thanks to Kevin Watson of Savoy Restaurant for providing a great interview to make this volume complete!

Spuds Illustrated

Potatoes are one of my favorite flavor vehicles.  They’re such a versatile canvas to paint upon!  This 12-page magazine gives tips to make them more interesting at the table by combining them with other vegetables, and using each type of potato according to its own strengths.  Get tips including how to store, how to cut, best ever home fries, and the best vegan mashed potatoes you’ll ever taste.  Click on the photo above to download the whole issue.

CAN Newsletter

Every month, the CAN Newsletter goes out to everyone who gets food from one of the food pantries in the Food Bank’s network.  Each issue focuses on ideas and recipes related to an ingredient or theme.  Click the photo above to get this month’s issue, with 2 great winter squash recipes and some jack o’ lantern carving tips, or visit pittsburghfoodbank.org/resources/nutrition/ to see back issues and the Food Bank’s full lineup of photo-illustrated recipe resources.

If you need help with food, visit www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/gethelp to get connected with a food pantry, soup kitchen, SNAP benefits, and more.

If you’re in a position to help the food bank, visit www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/givehelp to volunteer, donate, or advocate for public policy that helps everyone have enough to eat.

Almond Butter & Coconut Stuffed Cinnamon Swirl French Toast with Caramel Banana Sauce

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Tasty almond butter and coconut sandwiches dipped in batter and seared on a hot griddle! The banana sauce finishes them perfectly.

  • 1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread
  • almond butter
  • coconut
  • 3 eggs
  • maple syrup
  • plain yogurt (whole milk preferred)
  • spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • brown sugar
  • water
  1. Slice bread and keep ordered as if for sandwiches.
  2. Make almond butter and coconut sandwiches, spreading each piece of bread with a thin layer of the almond butter and sprinkling with coconut.
  3. Make the batter for the french toast with eggs, yogurt, maple syrup and spices.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat.  Melt the butter, add some spices.  Sear the bananas on both sides.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and beat with a wooden spoon to pulverize the bananas and combine with the sugar.  Let the sugar caramelize until the bubbles are thick, then stir in water with wooden spoon as necessary to regulate the consistency.
  5. Batter the almond butter & coconut sandwiches in the egg-yogurt mixture and cook on a hot griddle in butter or oil.
  6. Finish the french toast in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes to make sure that they are hot all the way through.

Serve one stuffed french toast sandwich with banana caramel sauce per person.  Delicious!

Derby Day Tip

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Try making your julep with pure maple syrup instead of simple syrup for a real treat!

Maple Mint Julep

  • A few mint leaves
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp water
  • crushed ice (see below for crushing tip)
  • 1 jigger bourbon
  1. Muddle mint leaves in bottom of glass.
  2. Add maple syrup and water.
  3. Top with crushed ice.  To crush, put cubes in clean kitchen towel and crush by leaning on them with a heavy iron skillet.
  4. Top with bourbon, stir, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve.

Turkey Stew Polenta

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Believe it or not, I’m still reheating Thanksgiving…

Leftover leftovers:
Turkey Polenta Cakes, served with salsa and guacamole

Turkey Polenta Cakes

A decidedly American take on the classic Italian dish

  • 1 cup onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms, mixed varieties
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • a couple cups of leftover turkey, picked from the bones and/or cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups turkey stock, made from the carcass of your Thanksgiving bird
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
  • salt, pepper, ginger, and crushed red pepperto taste
  1. Heat a large (#10) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add about 2 Tbl butter along with some black pepper and ginger. Let the butter melt, then add your diced onion and about 1/4 tsp kosher salt.
  2. Cook the onion for about 7-8 minutes or until the onion has started to brown at the edges, stirring about once per minute.
  3. Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes, stirring 2-3 times.
  4. Add 2 Tbl butter, let melt.
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms, along with some ginger and a touch of crushed red pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring 1-2 times per minute. Pay more attention to the mushrooms the longer they cook. We’re looking for them to caramelize nicely but not to scorch or burn.
  6. When the mushrooms look gorgeous, add the turkey stock and bring it to a boil.
  7. Once he stock is at a rolling boil, whisk the cornmeal in at a steady drizzle. Add it slowly and keep that whisk moving in order to avoid lumps!
  8. Once the cornmeal has been incorporated evenly into the stock, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the shredded carrots into the pan. Cook at low heat, stirrign occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.
  9. At this point, you’ve got a really tasty cornmeal mush. I highly recommend taking a couple bowlfuls out for a meal or a side dish for today’s meal, because the polenta has to cool overnight before it’s ready to be made into the cakes (now you get what I meant above by leftover leftovers.). Plus this mush is delicious—it’s like turkey stew and biscuits all in one steaming bowl of goodness!
  10. Let the rest of the polenta cool or 20-30 minutes, then use a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the entire pan to press it down to uniform depth.
  11. Let it cool a while longer to room temperature, then run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan and invert the pan onto a clean countertop (with the parchment still in place). The polenta should drop out of the pan onto the parchment. Wrap it up and refrigerate it overnight.
  12. Day two, cut the polenta into cakes. Heat your skillet (which you should have cleaned in the meantime) over medium heat. Add 2 Tbl butter to the pan, let it melt. Cook half of the cakes in this butter, flipping after 5-6 minutes or when golden brown and cooking the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Remove to a sheet tray in a warm (200°) oven while you cook the other half of the cakes in the other 2 Tbl of butter.
  13. Serve with salsa and guacamole or your favorite condiments.

Quick N Easy Chunky Cranberry Sauce

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Cranberry Sauce is another element of Thanksgiving Dinner that deserves the personal touch of being homemade.  For years I have followed my mother’s recipe for a cranberry jelly, which is good, but is difficult to get just right and if undercooked, never really gels and goes to the table as a cranberry syrup that tends to be ignored.

This year, I decided to go off-recipe and create my own.  A couple of elements that I decided were crucial: it should be easy to execute, capture the tartness of the cranberries, and have some body to it.  If I hit those points, I reasoned, it would be a garnish that would make its way onto everyone’s plate.

The bowl was empty at the end of the first meal of leftovers.

Quick N Easy Chunky Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 shot whiskey
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • grated zest of 2 tangerines (or of 1 orange)
  1. In a large saucepan, fry the minced ginger in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the ginger starts to take on a bit of a golden brown hue.
  2. Add 4 1/2 cups cranberries into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped (several minutes).
  3. Add the shot of whiskey and light it on fire with a burning wooden skewer. Let it flame off. This will caramelize the sugars in a way that simply boiling it will not accomplish.
  4. Stir in the brown sugar and the citrus zest. Once these have been stirred in, simmer without stirring for about 7 minutes or until the sauce has taken on a very thick and bubbly appearance, sort of like lava looks in a low-budget film.
  5. Remove to a heat-safe glass bowl. Let cool briefly at room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.

I’ll admit that some of Angstrom’s culinary proclivities are not ordinary for a two-and-a-half-year-old, but the little man was responsible, I think, for polishing off about a third of this sauce. He was such a fan of it that I actually didn’t get to eat quite as much of it as I would have liked to, so I am going to have to make another batch soon… maybe for Christmas; this recipe would also go quite nicely with ham.

Revolutionary Roasted Mushroom Pumpkin Pie

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

You may have noticed that another year has come and gone without me being invited to share my Thanksgiving tips on NPR.  I can’t say that I blame them.  I don’t have a book or a TV show, and it’s not like I’ve got a publicist or a manager booking high profile appearances for me.  So what makes me think I might deserve an invitation to appear on All Things Considered?  Because this pie is just the start of the meal.

Revolutionary Roasted Mushroom Pumpkin Pie capitalizes on the savory aspects of pumpkin and elevates your Thanksgiving appetizer course to a new level.

Revolutionary Roasted Mushroom Pumpkin Pie
A New Classic is Born in this Savory Appetizer Pie

  • 2 cups prepared pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed roasted mushrooms seasoned with spices and rosemary (see note at end of recipe)
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 oz evaporated goat milk
  • 4 oz cow milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • black pepper to taste
  • homemade crust for a one crust pie (see note at end of recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Beat the eggs with the salt and spices.
  3. Add the evaporated goat milk and the cow milk, stir to combine.
  4. Stir in the prepared pumpkin and the roasted mushrooms.
  5. Roll out the pie crust, drape into a 9-inch pie pan. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake at 450 for the first 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40-45 minutes or until the filling has mostly set (it should have puffed up slightly, have a thicker, jelled consistency, and be dull in color except for the very center of the pie).
  6. Let cool to room temperature on a rack before covering and refrigerating. Optional garnish: serve with lightly salted whipped cream
Notes on Recipe
Roasted Mushrooms

For the purpose of this recipe, I used a mix of crimini, oyster, royal trumet, and maitake mushrooms.  I sliced them to roughly 1/2-inch pieces and seasoned them before the roast with salt, pepper, ginger, and a generous pour of olive oil, tossing them until they were coated with spices and oil.  Their pre-roast volume was approximately 4-4 1/2 cups, enough to mostly fill a standard half sheet tray.  I roasted them at 375 F for approximately 45 minutes, stirring them after 15, 25, 35, and 40 minutes; moving the pieces from the edge of the tray into the center to maximize caramelization and avoid scorching.  Immediately upon removing the finished mushrooms from the oven, I tossed them with 1/4 cup minced rosemary.

Pie Crust

A homemade pie crust is always superior to a store bought crust, as it shows a level of care and pride that can not be matched with a manufactured product.  Furthermore, you can determine the ingredients in a homemade crust.  I like to season my crusts with the same spices that I use in the pies.  I also use butter as the fat in my crusts.  Should you choose to use butter, be certain to keep the crust entirely contained in the pan as butter is a soft fat and anything hanging over the edges will droop, drip, and drop to the bottom of the oven, setting off your smoke detectors and creating a mess that will need to be cleaned.

Whipped Cream

Beat 4 oz heavy whipping cream with 1/4 tsp salt and a sprinkling each of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Please share this page with everyone you know (especially if you know Steve Inskeep and Robert Siegel). Just be certain to give me credit—I don’t want to hear Nigella Lawson giving this recipe over the air!

A Basic Sourdough

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Several years ago, when I was still working in a restaurant where I occasionally had a shift baking, I did pretty well at maintaining a sourdough starter.  Then, and it’s tough to remember the exact sequence of events, but I think that breaking my leg was somehow involved, I killed the yeast.  Found it one day submerged in a pool of pink slime.  I can’t say I was really devastated, or even surprised.  I’d gotten off track with my starter, hadn’t even glanced at it in well nigh a month at that point.

Still, it was nice to be able to whip up bread with nothing but flour, water, and salt.

I’ve been maintaining a new starter for about a month now.  It was a gift from Brett (of the chocolate sourdough fame) and it has been pretty easy to maintain.  So far, at least.  And I’ve made some fantastic bread and an amazing pizza crust from the resulting dough.

It’s often been said that baking is a science and one must rigorously follow formulae to get the desired result.  I disagree.  If I were to have rigorously followed the formula for pain au levain that I used as a starting point for my dough making, I’d have come up with a ‘dough’ that more closely resembled a puddle.  “Resist the temptation to add more flour,” the recipe said, “this dough should be quite soft.”  I’m quite content to have ignored that bit of advice.

A couple of batches of bread feeling out the consistency under my belt, I decided to take more careful stock of the measurements.  Perhaps get a formula of my own that is somewhat replicable.  No idea if this will work for you, but it seems to do the trick for me.

Basic Sourdough Formula

  • 38 ounces (by weight) fed starter
  • 3 lb unbleached all purpose flour
  • 25 oz water
  • 2 Tbl kosher salt
  • 4 oz additional flour
  1. Your starter should have been fed within the last 2-6 hours.  You should have measured out about 12 oz of it and returned it to its home in a glass canning jar in the fridge.  The 38 remaining ounces are enough to make about 3 loaves of bread and 2 pizzas.  If that’s more bread than you want, give some of it away, or discard some of the starter and reduce proportionately the remaining ingredients.
  2. Use cold water, preferably water that has had several hours to sit since having come from the tap, so that the chlorine included in most tap water will have had a chance to dissipate.  Or use bottled water if you must, but from a waste reduction standpoint, I would highly encourage against that.  Heat the water to 100 degrees F.
  3. Combine the water and the starter.  Add the flour and mix.  Cover with a clean dishcloth and let sit about 30 minutes.
  4. Mix the salt into the dough by kneading it on a heavily floured surface (that’s what the additional 4 oz of flour are for).  Don’t put all 4 oz down at once.  Start with about 1/3 of it and add more as needed.  When you have a dough that is smooth, elastic, and only a little bit sticky, return it to the bowl, cover it with the dish cloth, and let it rise for an hour or two.
  5. Gently deflate the dough by separating it from the side of the bowl and pushing down on it gently.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 3 days.
  6. Remove from the fridge.  Divide into portions and let sit at room temperature to warm back up.
  7. For pizza:
    1. Grease the bottoms of two standard half sheet trays.  Stretch the dough by hand to cover most of the area.
    2. Spread with sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and add the toppings of your choice.
    3. Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or until done.
  8. For bread:
    1. Shape loaves.  Let proof for about 30 minutes to an hour.
    2. Heat cast iron pans flipped upside down in a 400 degree F oven, plus a small cast iron pan rightside up at the very bottom.
    3. When the bread has proofed, transfer it to the hot cast iron pan bottoms.  If doing two loaves on the same pan, allow adequate space so that they don’t grow together in the oven.  Should that happen, the parts that are ‘kissing’ will still be doughy when everything else is done.
    4. Pour some water into the rightside up pan and also scatter some on the floor of the oven.  A huge cloud of steam will result.  Close the oven door quickly to keep it contained.  Watch out for steam burns!
    5. Set the timer for 20 minutes.  When it rings, remove the pan of water from the oven.  Steam for the first 20 minutes will help to produce a beautiful crust, but you need dry heat to finish it.  Set the timer for another 20 minutes.
    6. The bread is done when golden brown with a crackling crust and it sounds hollow when thumped from beneath.  Remove it to a rack to cool.

If you want to know how to start a sourdough starter, there are plenty of great resources that you can find to guide you.  Strange but true culinary school tidbit… when I was in the baking rotation of culinary school, the sourdough recipe they taught involved no starter.  Instead, they added pickle juice to the dough to give it tang.  I was incensed.  “That’s not a real sourdough!” I protested.  The chef instructor said, “wait til you taste the bread.  That dough really is sour!”

Pshaw!

What’s For Dessert? Nothing!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Except that by Nothing, I definitely mean something good.

The name for this dish is a side effect of asking a 2-year-old what he thinks a new dish should be called. 

I guess it shows that Angstrom has a sense of humor, though, because the second time I made it, he laughed every time I told him that I was putting Nothing in the oven and giving him Nothing on a plate.  Rory suggested I ought to give this dish a different name, but I sort of agree with Angstrom: Nothing is a funny name for something to be called.

Nothing

  • 1 butternut squash or 2 acorn squashes, halved and seeds scooped out
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place squash cut side down in a casserole dish.  Add about 1/2 inch water.  Bake for an hour.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar with flour, oats, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, and one dash nutmeg to make streusel topping.
  3. Let squash cool, then scoop out of its skin with a spoon.  It should come out pretty much mashed.  Combine in a mixing bowl with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1 dash nutmeg.
  4. Stir cranberries into squash mixture, then spread into casserole dish.  Top with pecan halves and streusel topping.  Bake in 375 F oven for 30-45 minutes and serve.  Invite toddlers to your table so that you get a big laugh when you make a big deal out of serving Nothing for dessert.