Monday, June 28, 2010
10 Recipes (More or Less) in 2 Weeks
After a bit of a hiatus from the cookbook project (and the blog), a two-week vacation should allow for plenty of time to pick things up full steam. I have a handful of recipes that I've been wanting to tackle and finally have the time to really devote myself to the effort, uninterrupted by the demands of the job and the little one at my feet...she's in school this week while I'm at home and, while I love the peace and quiet of the house, I did have a little pang of sadness dropping her off this morning and turning around to go home without her. The older she gets and the more we actually communicate on a real, formed sentences kind of level, she's become this other person in our world instead of the baby we must tend to and feed and keep occupied, or the terrible two-year-old we're trying to restrain. She occupies herself most of the time now, with little scenarios that involve the Wonder Pets, or baby dolls, or stacking coins, or "reading" books. I sit with her in awe of all that she knows and how quickly she learns and retains.
So while the uninterrupted time will allow me to get back to this project, I have to say the quiet in the house right now is deafening!
Anyway, I started back at it this weekend with two savory casseroles, before I dive into a week of mainly sweets...which will just do wonders for my summer bathingsuit bod. I hope the neighbors are hungry.
The first is a casserole from my Granny Lula's collection, written on a weathered and yellowed index card in her handwriting: Carrot Casserole. Very few ingredients, sounds tasty, so I made it to go with a Saturday night dinner of roasted chicken and sauteed broccolini. Good color for the plate and maybe, just maybe, Olivia would like it since she loves carrots in cooked and raw form.
I really stayed true to the recipe as written; no tinkering, except for the addition of a nutmeg sprinkling on top before it went in the oven. The only question mark was the "2 cups grated cheese" ingredient...what kind of cheese? Which got me thinking, I bet there was only one kind back in the day: cheddar. I wouldn't normally put cheese with carrots, and my first choice probably would have been parmesan lightly sprinkled on top or something. Anyway, must ask mom about that one.
The casserole turned out to be souffle-like, light and fluffy. If you were going to tinker with it, I could see maybe adding some thinly sliced scallions, or add a little red pepper to add a little spice. But it was delicious as is, at least to me. Olivia didn't touch it.
3 cups mashed, cooked carrots
2/3 stick of butter
2/3 cup of milk
2 cups grated cheese
3 eggs, separated
Boil carrots with salt until mashable. Mix in butter, milk, and grated cheese. Separate three eggs. Beat yellows first and stir into carrot mixture. Then fold in beaten egg white. Pour into baking dish and top with more cheese (and a dash of nutmeg, my only addition). Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.
The next casserole is a breakfast dish that has made my mom famous: Creamed Eggs. It's a standard brunch item for us...Christmas, Easter, or any family gathering calling for a heavy and decadent way to start the day. If you're used to eating a small bowl of granola and a banana for breakfast, this will throw you into a food coma for sure. Add bacon and toast on the side, and you're done for the day.
Essentially here's the recipe: drown 6 hard boiled eggs in a rich creamy cheese sauce, top with more cheese, and bake. It's one of those things that my mom makes that screams home cooking for me, and it will always be a dish that I associate with her, with family gatherings, and with a full belly.
6 hard boiled eggs, pealed
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
dash of Worchestershire sauce
sprinkle of paprika
Hard boil eggs and peal. Cut into quarters. Set aside. Melt butter over low heat. Mix flour, salt, and pepper, then stir into melted butter. Stir constantly with a whisk to smooth the sauce. Whisk briskly to avoid lumps. Pour in milk and stir as you mix. Boil until the sauce is medium thick. Add most of the cheese to the sauce, reserving some to sprinkle on top of the dish. Stir until melted and smooth. Add a dash or two of Worchestershire sauce and stir. Remove from heat and fold in eggs. Pour mixture into lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese and paprika. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until bubbly. [If you are making this for a larger group, use 12 eggs and double the sauce recipe.]
And yes, that is homemade bread on the side, fresh from the oven that morning. Feel free to clap.
More to come this week: cookie day, the pecan extravaganza, and overcoming the cake conundrum.