Debbie Dance Uhrig
Some of my friends visited with me through the internet telling me that I have been too busy! Hey, presently I tend to agree. We’ve been doing dinners (not the more formal ones.) for the spring concert series, here at work. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday there’s been a different group performing in Echo Hollow. Last night was “Lovin’ Spoonful”. Wow that takes us way back. We’ve taught an early class and then entertained a porchful of guests at 6:45pm for dinner and a show! This past weekend wrapped it all up. I think my family will be glad to see me before 9pm at night. Not to mention, they’ve had to fend for themselves in the culinary department.
I am very pleased to finally debut my recipe for scalloped vegetables. The guests at Silver Dollar City have just loved this new ‘take’ on vegies. In the early development I was striving for a vegetable dish that would stay warm through second helpings. Sometimes it is very difficult to serve vegetables because they cool off too fast.
Any mixture of vegetable can be combined to make this casserole. I’ve even suggested taking this down an oriental avenue. Grab water chestnuts and bamboo shoots for starters. For the topper reach for chow mein noodles that are crumbled and sprinkled over the top.
One thing I like to discuss with readers is the first step; sautéing the vegetable. If you didn’t include this step you would have vegetables releasing too much liquid in the dish. The mushrooms can come or go, depending upon who you are entertaining. After the vegetables are sautéed you simply pour them over the mushrooms. This is enough to cook them slightly before being encompassed by the creamy sauce.
My assistant, Bonnie thinks the bacon sprinkled over the top makes this dish. I’m good with that too. When I first wrote the recipe I put panko across one half for the topping and crumbled butter crackers on the other side. For me the butter crackers won out. Certainly feel free to change out the parmesan cheese on the top to an alternative cheese. Swiss would certainly cut the amount of sodium being consumed.
On the home front I am excited to say I’m free this week on Father’s Day!! I am pleased as punch that I get to be home all day to spoil, Mr. Ervin. I’m hoping we do something ‘fun’ as a family. Maybe canoeing, but he may have other ideas, like ‘THE RECLINER’ and a Royals Baseball game!
This week at the culinary school I am excited to start one of our canning classes. In the early morning class we do a product that requires only a hot water bath. In the afternoon we switch to the hardcore project of canning meat. This is so rewarding and fun to do, especially with a ‘modern’ pressure cooker. As a child growing up I was so afraid of these ‘tools’, but with an updated model I’m loving it. It’s so nice to come home and everything is in a jar, and you quickly pull a meal together.
Time to run and enjoy my family. Happy Cooking, Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Springtime Scalloped Vegetables
3-4 tablespoons light olive oil
1 small to medium cauliflower
1 large bunch broccoli
6 large carrots, peeled & diced to 1/2 inch
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 large stalk celery, sliced 1/4” thick
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon white ground pepper
1 1/4 cup chicken stock, unsalted
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup crushed regular Ritz crackers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
4 strips cooked bacon, finely crumbled
Wash vegetables and cut into bite size pieces. Sauté all vegetables except mushrooms in olive oil. Cook until el dente. Remove vegetables and place in large bowl. Stir in mushrooms immediately to the hot vegetables and all to set while making the sauce.
For the sauce, melt the butter and work in the flour and spices, as if making a roux. This would actually be called a dry ‘slurry’. Cook the flour for a little bit before adding the wet to cook off the floury taste. Add chicken broth into the roux with a whisk. Add heavy cream and barely bring to a boil. Add the cheese to the mixture and whisk to blend. When thoroughly blended, pour the sauce over the vegetables in the bowl, stirring to coat evenly. Turn into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
Melt topping butter and stir in crackers, pepper and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Evenly distribute the crumbled bacon over the top. Place in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until heated thoroughly. Serves 8 – 10 persons.
If you cannot located the cheese of choice then use Swiss, Gouda or Havarti, even a Farmer’s cheese would work.