First off, don't forget to enter the Japan Treats Contest.
Second, in all likelihood, even if you are a regular reader of this blog, I've posted four blogs in a very short time (even though they are dated to the dates they SHOULD have been posted) so make sure to go back and read them :)
My trip to Japan was an awesome experience but I am really grateful to be back...and back to The Joy of the Joy of Cooking!!
So what did I decide to make on my reentry into the world of TJOC?
I made Vegetable Stew but I haven't eaten it yet so I'm going to blog about it later. I also made Summer Squash Casserole (p. 307) and Johnny Marzetti Spaghetti Pie (p. 95)--strange, totally out-of-season choices. No idea why I made these choices other than I've been meaning to make the spaghetti pie for a while (because it sounded horrible to my Italian sensibilities) and zucchini was on sale at the grocery store.
The recipe for summer squash casserole pointed out that either yellow squash, pattypan, or whatever is available will work--so I used zucchini.
Next step...soften the onion. I really dislike onion. But it didn't seem like that much and this was onion from my dad's garden so it should be better than most. I do recognize that this isn't even close to a fine dice--I didn't notice that until it was already in the pan.
At this point you can add Monterey Jack, Swiss, or Brie to the concoction...I LOVE MJ, but didn't have any, and had a feeling that Brie would overpower the squash (plus I didn't have any), so I added Swiss. Another choice I got--sour cream or creme fraiche. Easy choice--I didn't feel like going to Whole Foods for the creme fraiche, so sour cream it was. White vermouth or white wine? Being that we don't have a full bar, and thus lack vermouth, white wine it was.
All of this was pretty easy--but then I came upon it....
ANOTHER TJOC MISTAKE! It's exciting (and confusing) to find TJOC mistakes! The recipes call for Au Gratin, but gives the page number for Breadcrumbs and obviously is requiring breadcrumbs...so I used the breadcrumbs. But I wonder how many people poured au gratin all over their casserole....
***Correction*** This was a Jessica mistake! Apparently, I had only paid attention to the Au Gratin recipes earlier in the book and thought that Au Gratin was the sauce rather than the topping. But I was wrong! The Breadcrumbs are next to the Au Gratin and it is not a mistake :) Actually, I haven't found a mistake in TJOC since the cauliflower (and that might not be a mistake but sure is confusing). ***Correction***
Doesn't it look delicious!?
Although squash is really summery...sticking a casserole in the oven for 35 minutes isn't summery at all. Hmmm....not a great move for a hot August day... it was tasty though! If you had more attractive casserole dishes, this would be a great dish for a backyard barbeque or something.
Onto the Spaghetti Pie...
This recipe is the intro recipe in the Brunch, Lunch, and Supper Dishes category and I've spent a lot of time in the last year looking at it. Most of my friends know that I really dislike pasta casseroles so I wasn't very optimistic about this. The recipe began easily enough...
Brown beef, another of dad's prize onions, and some garlic.
Then add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano (I still have some dried oregano from mom), a bay leaf, and some salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta (it recommended ziti, spaghetti, or anything else and the idea of making this with spaghetti seems really really gross to me. I used penne) and cheese (sharp cheddar).
So far so good. I re-read the the intro and it said that the TJOC authors like to add olives, mushrooms, or mozzarella. I LOVE black olives and have about a thousand cans in the cabinets, so I added some. It was a great addition--I really recommend it.
So what to pour this concoction into...a 13x9 inch pan??? That is a HUGE pan? How much does this make anyway?? At this point I started to get concerned about the recipe.
This is the casserole post-cheese pre-breadcrumbs:
Again, this recipe is totally a winter recipe. Anything that requires the oven for 30 minutes or more is a winter recipe in my book. Apparently I'm ready for colder weather!!
So how was it??
It was good but made soooo much casserole!
Let's just say 6-8 servings my ass. Josh and I have already eaten five servings out of it and it's only half gone. So don't make this unless you a) have a crowd or b) really really want to eat it for a week.