november is squashed month / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

We haven't posted recipes in a long time. We're still cooking, we've just been eating on the run a lot. No more. Now that the nation's long tribulation is about to run it's course, and NO, we don't mean the war in Iraq, we'll be offering up some recipes for your enjoyment.

And to kick this off we're declaring November - Squashed Month. As in 'Squashed.' We can only HOPE. Squash is a great fall food. It keeps for a long time. It has a mild flavor, which means it lends itself to coloration with many other scents and flavors. It's inexpensive. It can serve to extend many other dishes to feed larger crowds. And casseroles made with squash can serve as a main course just as easily as they do a side course. So let's get squashy!

Here's a variant of a dish my pal a. bitterman frequently makes for holiday gatherings. I like to color up this dish with red peppers, and intensify the flavors with a layer of portabella mushrooms sauteed in lots of garlic, a hint of tarragon, and an American Pale Ale reduction. The squash itself is flavored with chevre, olive oil, and a nice fig-flavored balsamic vinegar. This gives the dish several layers of color and flavor.

This a great main dish and reheats quite well.

Squashed Casserole (in memory of McCain/Palin). Serves 4-6.

1 medium spaghetti squash.

3 sprigs fresh tarragon, minced finely.
3 cups portabella mushrooms, coarsely chopped.
1/2 sweet onion, chopped.
3 cloves garlic, diced.
1/2 red bell pepper (or substitute 1/2 cup roasted red peppers).
1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds.
Dash of balsamic vinegar.
Dash of toasted sesame oil.
1/2 cup of American Pale Ale (suggest Schafly brand; substitute IPA.)
Freshly grated Pecorino cheese.

Saute the onions in olive oil on high heat. After a few minutes, add the portabella mushrooms and sauteed until the onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to brown. Then cover to release all moisture in the mixture. Once the moisture has been released, add the tarragon and garlic. Cook covered for 5 minutes, then remove the lid. Once about 1/2 the liquid has evaporated, then add a 1/2 cup of bitter ale (suggest Schafly IPA) and continue to reduce the liquid stirring as needed. Once you have a paste, turn off the heat and let stand uncovered.

Split the squash in half. De-seed. Then place the halves in a casserole dish with a 1/2 cup of water, cover, and bake in a slow oven for approximately 1 hour or until a knife easily pierces the skin. Cool. Then fork the spaghetti squash into a bowl. Toss with sea salt, cracked pepper, paprika, oil olive, a high quality balsamic vinegar, and a dash of toasted sesame oil. [This can be done the night before and then refrigerated until ready to assemble the dish].

Now the fun part. Layer in an oiled casserole dish. First the pumpkin seeds. Then the mushroom paste, then the red peppers, then the squash mixture. Cook covered in a slow oven, (325 F) for about 1/2 hour or until you can begin to smell the dish. Remove the cover, sprinkle the grated Pecorino cheese over the top, and return to a 425 F for 10-12 minutes until brown.

Remove and let stand for 10 minutes to firm up. Cut and serve with locally grown, tart jonathan apples and an American Pale Ale.