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Concept cooking: Using squash to replace dairy

 
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I have been doing some seriously odd things with squash. I'm reactive to dairy, so I can't eat it, but I like it, I have been using squash to replace it. And it has gotten weird, and I have been getting excellent results.
For what it's worth, butter doesn't have enough milk solids in it for me to react. Any other oil would work also.
And I'll admit to using not the healthiest flavors etc to get what I want.
With those disclaimers, this is what I have been doing:

For Thanksgiving I made pies with a creamy topping, squash in it all

Pumpkin Pie: Blue Hubbard squash baked, blended with apple juice, pumpkin pie spice, touch of sugar. In the crockpot until carmelized and thickened, cooled. Crust of ginger snaps and apple pie cookies crushed. Eggs added to squash mix, poured in crust and baked in a deep pan and cooled. Topped with the Not Cream Topping.

Creamy Base: Green Cushaw squash baked and processed smooth with coconut milk

Fruity pie: The last of my the yellow cherry tomatoes (Lollipop) from the garden, chunked apple, powdered anise, ginger and garlic, small amount of sugar, creamy base, eggs. Baked in pie pan, cooled. Topped with the Not Cream Topping.

Not Cream Topping: Creamy base, sugar, vanilla, fake cream cheese flavoring. Egg whites beat to stiff, liquid mix folded in, put on top of cooled pies and baked to set.

Both pies with topping are excellent :D
If you notice the garlic in the fruit pie, try a little bit in a sweet dessert, sugaring garlic makes a neat flavor! Kind of how if you sugar onions it changes and tastes neat, although not like a onion anymore, garlic does that too.

Also served at Thanksgiving was green bean casserole:

Smoky Sharp Cheddar “cheese” I made a month or so ago, ripe Tromboncio squash, I don't recall exactly how I did it. Probably coconut milk, butter, smoke flavor, citric acid,  thickeners, small amount of fake cheddar flavor (I know, it works well though.)

Green Bean Casserole: green beans, creamy base, no dairy mushroom soup I made from scratch and canned last summer, topped with the Smoky Sharp Cheddar and sliced onions.

Tasted excellent! I miss cheap green bean casserole, the kind made with a can of mushroom soup. This was a very healthy version of it!

I have been playing with the same ideas as in this thread Concept Cooking: Tofu cheesy stuff only using various squash as a base. I"m getting some neat flavors!

I also have been making cheesecake type stuff using squash and a bit of oat flour to add texture to it, then the eggs to set it up. That is working nicely!

I just baked a classic Jack O Lantern pumpkin for weird reasons, and I have said for years they taste like cardboard. It is even weirder, it tastes like NOTHING. Not sweet, not squashy, not watery... Which says to me at this point "I can be made into anything!"
Well now.
Experiments WILL happen!!
I'll keep y'all up on it.

Some of the things I have done to watermelon:
Concept Cooking: Watermelon rind experiments: Spoiler alert: they worked WELL!
Concept Cooking: More watermelon abuse

If I do things like that to watermelon... Squash doesn't stand a chance!
:D



 
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I was lactose intolerant for a significant portion of my early life, and since I was able to successfully overcome that intolerance I have an admitted addiction to dairy. I can't say I will even attempt any of these ideas, but I also adore squash - it is the one thing that I have grown every year no matter what else was going on in my life and am still saving my own seed since the first year. Thank you for sharing this!
 
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Interesting, Pearl, that you're using things other than milk or cream for the cream-base of pies.  Is there some reason you prefer not to use a non-dairy milk (nut or seed based)?  Not using those as well would certainly keep the recipe more simple and locally-sourced, so I can understand the wish to experiment.  Made a pumpkin pie this evening with oat-milk/egg custard and pumpkin pulp....and was considering a custard/cranberry sauce pie as well.  Lots of room to experiment with the pie concept!

Edit:  My bad!.....I just saw the creamy base is a squash-coconut milk combo, which sounds awesome!
 
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Ive been anticipating Pearls latests mad kitchen science!
I have been repeatedly inspired by her daring combos.
This year's version of my own culture melding punkpotato pie was the probably my best yet.
With no condensed milk handy, I ended up adapting  recipe that used regular milk, plus I added a  Biscoff cookie crust.
Good stuff!

I prefer  coconut milk for drinking, and I bet it's amazing with squash.
I like oat milk, but the cost makes me shake my head-it cost more than coconut,  and that's just crazy, all things considered.

It occurred to me that pumpkin seeds have a nice balance of fiber, protein and fat, so they might make for good milk!
I checked, and evidently they do, so a pumkin pie made with pumkin seed milk and pumkin seed flour crust  is just waiting to be born!

The fruit pie that included tomatoes and garlic powder makes me want to go all in on a tomatoe onion pie.
 
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the first thing this reminds me of is vegan mac and cheese- the standby seems to be miso (or nutritional yeast), cooked cauliflower, and carrots blended up (sometimes with cashews, if you have money to burn, but it's good without that too) to make a fabulous cheese-type sauce, but it works just as well with squash. Many, many recipes out there.

William, pumpkin seeds and especially melon seeds make a fabulous milk alternative. Every time I open a melon or squash my kid (lactose intolerant and also a mad scientist in the kitchen) makes me save the seeds for her.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I'm not lactose intolerant. My face was shattered in a car wreck many years ago, the damage makes my sinus passages swell almost shut at some times. Anything that increases the mucous flow makes it all worse. Cow milk in any form increases the flow. Butter is low enough in the problematic factors that a normal amount of it doesn't hurt me much. Cheese is very high in those factors, as it's concentrated milk.

And yeah, using cashews as a base is incredibly expensive. Cauliflower ain't cheap either. Squash is cheap!! AND comes in multiple flavor profiles!

Tomato and onion pie sounds great! Use a squash base to cream it together :D

I used coconut milk, because I really wanted them to be tasty for Thanksgiving, it has gotten very expensive, and I'm rationing my use of it. I didn't use much, just enough to make the squash blend smooth in the food processor. Buying any alt milk is expensive. They are easy to make. And if pumpkin seeds work....
Rather than derailing this thread, I'm starting a new one.... Need input from y'all!
Non-dairy milk out of pumpkin seeds

And William: Points for "Pearls latest mad kitchen science!" It cracked my mom up! She eats all my weird science!! :D
 
Pearl Sutton
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Thinking on it more, I almost never cook with a milky liquid substance. It's too diluted. I do more concentrated, creams and cream cheeses etc. That's why squash works well for my style.

I read Tereza's reply in the seeds thread, she added "they often work just great for baking/cooking applications " and I don't think I'd cook with any "milk" I'd use water and a cream instead. Probably because I don't have a gallon of milk around in the kitchen as an easy thing to grab, as I don't buy it.

Interesting thought. Makes me think about how to make squash cream I can have around in the kitchen...
 
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I don't use anything for cheese. I managed to get over it, having found what I like more, hummus
 
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