This is an odd yet yummy recipe. Depending on the size of the squash you use (and its moisture content I’m betting) it’s either think, creamy soup or fondue. The first time I made it, it was a little too thick and cheesy to be soup. So I broke out the bread cubes and called it fondue. Since there is only so much fondue one person can eat by themselves I took it to work so that my guinea pigs coworkers could tell me what they thought. Everyone gave it the thumbs up and agreed that it should be a fondue instead of a soup.
The weather has taken a quick turn to winter again it seems and I had a squash hanging out on the counter asking when I was going to use it (food doesn’t talk to you? Hmm, you should have that looked into).
To be quite honest, I like this squashy fondue better than traditional fondue. Plus, you have the added benefit of the nutritional veggie base. You can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and you can keep it low fat by using nonfat broth and Neufchatel cheese.
The hot sauce and paprika don’t make the dish hot or even spicy but they definitely add depth to the flavor, that something you can’t quite put your tongue on. It will still be good if you leave it out, they weren’t in the first version. Continue reading →
Some things come out of nowhere and lay you flat. My mom passed away a month ago. Many people have asked if she had been ill or otherwise wanted to know if it was expected or unexpected. After losing a few people I can say, you never expect it. Not even when you know they are not well, not even if the doctors have given you a short prognosis, as they did with my father, even if you think you have prepared your self for the eventuality, even if your on pretty good terms with death, you never really expect them to die. It’s an abstract thought, until it isn’t. When the death is somewhat unexpected, she was ill but was recovering and had been released from the hospital, it is even harder.
I had not heard of this dish until last summer. I worked with several people that were familiar with it and it came up in conversation several times. I knew just from the sound of it, that it would be something my family would love. Mom loved potatoes. I’m pretty sure there were very few days of her adult life that did not contain potatoes. Just about any combination of dairy product and potato made them even better in her book.
There seem to be as many incarnations of this recipe as there are families that make it but the base seems to be diced or shredded potatoes, a thick cream sauce, and cheese. I decided to add sautéed onions and garlic because most entrees should have onions and garlic, two more of Mom’s favorites. And just to shove it completely over the top, I added bacon. The bacon is an excellent touch, it infused the whole dish and gave it that smoky, bacony something extra.
The name completely throws people. I took this to a gathering a few days after the funeral and people really hesitated when I told them what it was called. So, you might want to refer to it as simply a Potato Casserole or even a Cheesy Bacon Potato Casserole. But it serves its function well under the original name for it is a carb heavy, fatty comfort food, something you desperately need when things have fallen down around you.
The leftovers were excellent with an over-medium fried egg, ‘cause that’s the way Mom liked her fried eggs, for breakfast. Don’t forget to add some fruit so you can pretend you’re eating a well-rounded meal.
So, because Mom would have loved them… Continue reading →