Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creating Casseroles

What does one do with forty-four cups of sliced squash? We turned half of it into several main dish casseroles, adapting a recipe that Donna gave me for Vidalia onion pudding that got rave reviews at our most recent First Friday supper.

We didn’t grow any Vidalias, so Richard harvested and sliced some of our white and yellow onions, along with making julienne strips out of a couple of bell peppers. It all sounds so healthy, so far. What could be better for us than squash, onions and peppers? Just wait; this is a main dish, after all.

To each eight cups of vegetables, I added two cups of julienned ham, two cups of heavy cream, two eggs, a bit of flour and baking powder, and a half cup of Asiago (like Parmesan) cheese. Once it bubbled and browned, we served it to Charlie and Deborah’s Bluegrass buddies, in addition to others. Adam had just retrieved Josie from the hospital, so one small casserole went to feed them; a meatless version was for Deborah’s dining pleasure; and two very large casseroles were created for potluck suppers, one for the Bluegrass group. I thought it was delicious, but it may have seemed a little exotic for some of the folks. We’ll see how it goes with another group before deciding whether it’s a keeper recipe.

I still have twenty-two cups of squash, if you don’t include the unsliced crooknecks in the refrigerator. I shudder to think what’s now on the plants, waiting to be picked after our recent rain. Mamie keeps informing me that I need to put a little bit of poison at the base of each squash plant to ward off cut worms killing our plants, but I’m not sure that a few garden fatalities would be altogether bad. What were we thinking when we planted a whole row of each addition to the garden?

Our freezer is still full of last year’s bounty, so I’ve promised Richard a vat of vegetable soup; but who else will want to eat soup in the summer? This will give me something else to store. I have enough frozen basil from Market Mary to make pesto for all of Italy, but this can’t be safely canned. Does it make sense to add volume to what’s already in the freezer by making readily edible products that can’t be stored under our bed? Have I even informed you that we still have butternut squash from last summer, and that our potatoes already need pulling up?

Becoming strict vegetarians may be the best course of action; I assume it would take huge quantities of vegetables to consume enough calories to fuel us all summer. If we joined the raw foods movement we could eat like wild hogs, foraging for food with the garden as a buffet line -- no knife, no fork, no cooking or cleaning. Jack eats his veggies right out of the earth, and he’s as healthy as a horse; he keeps his weight down, too.