Friday, April 8, 2011

Excellent Squash And Zucchini Casserole.

As I gazed into my stuffed-to-the-gills refrigerator, a plan was developing in my feeble brain. I found bits and pieces of things - leftover onions, portabella mushrooms, squash, and zucchini. What to do? What to do?
I'm leaning towards a squash and zucchini casserole.
My mise en place: 1 squash 1 zucchini handful of portabella slices 1/2 red onion 1/2 yellow onion 2 eggs 3/4 cup milk 3/4 cup heavy cream Queso fresco cheddar cheese Gruyere cheese
I chopped the squash, the zucchini, the onions, and the portabellos and only used 1/2 of the mixture. (I forget there are only two of us now.), saving the other half for a stir fry. And I decided this would need another egg.
I melted butter and added a little oil over medium high heat and tossed in the shrooms. Sauteed for maybe two minutes before adding in ...
... the squash and zucchini ...
... and the onions.
This is such a pretty dish. Maybe one minute for the veggies.
At this point, I added a tablespoon of sugar, and seasoned the melange with salt and pepper. The sugar enhances the natural sugars in the vegetables and gives you a nice caramelization. And never add salt before sauteeing. The salt draws out moisture and you end up steaming, not sauteeing.
I tasted and this would be lovely just as is. But Rosie has her heart set on a casserole today.
I beat three eggs ...
... then whisked in 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
I added my veggies to an eight-inch casserole dish ...
... and topped with some Queso Fresco.
Next I grated some cheddar and Gruyere.
Pour the milk and egg mixture in ...
... and top with the cheeses.
I crumbled some saltines and club crackers on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let sit for a bit before slicing. While my casserole was resting, Mr. Hawthorne commenced on the rest of the meal - fried scallops and mahi mahi fish sticks.
For the batter: 1 cup flour 1/4 cup corn starch 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Mix dry ingredients. Flour and baking powder ...
... the the corn starch ...
... and the Old Bay.
Add in beer ...
... whisking, until you get a pancake-like batter.
Here's a mahi mahi filet.
You need to cut out the blood line.
Like so.
The blood line is a strong-tasting, oily, unpleasant part of the fish.
And it needs to be removed.
Like so.
Next, Mr. Hawthorne, sliced the filet into fish sticks.
Be sure you dry the scallops and the fish off so the batter will adhere.
Scallops and mahi mahi into the batter.
Then into the hot oil.
Quickly brown. Should only take a minute or less.
Drain on paper towels.
Rosie has to have her lemon juice.
Excellent batter, Mr. Hawthorne. Light and delicate to let the seafood shine. Make your own tartar sauce - mayo, some minced dill pickles and some sweet relish.
And the casserole. Oh my. The casserole. I loved the veggies. Loved the flavors. Loved the cheese. Loved the texture. This was perfect.
Mr. Hawthorne had one serving of the casserole. I ate the rest. Every bit. All by myself. I feel a little naughty.
Bon appetit.

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