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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Comfort Me with Casseroles

Fall has technically been in play since September 21, but it's only recently started to feel like it here in Ohio. Almost overnight, it seems, the air turns brisk and bright, certain trees start to color up, and I start to crave comforting cold-weather food.

My mother was here last weekend, and we worked her fingers to the bone in the kitchen. She made my grandmother's beef vegetable soup, a tortellini soup, tortilla soup, and Mark Bittman's eggplant parmesan (in which he takes the name seriously; there's no mozzarella or ricotta or any of that junk--only fresh-grated parmesan.) As you can imagine, we're only now running out of leftovers. So last night I made a lamb pasticcio from one of my favorite chefs' cookbooks, Tom Valenti's Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals. It was pretty divine--ground lamb and sauteed onions browned in olive oil, mixed with roasted tomatoes, Italian parsley and oregano and then combined with the largest batch of bechamel sauce I've ever made. A full stick of butter! A whole quart of milk! Nearly a cup of flour! It was awesome. There's some pasta in there, too, and the whole thing gets topped with more becchamel mixed with a cup of parmesan cheese and browned in a casserole under the oven. It made a huge amount, so it's lucky that we enjoyed it last night, since we'll be eating it for days.

Comfort food for two is tricky. Most comfort food recipes feed six to eight (or, more reasonably, twelve.) Sometimes I halve the recipe, but it never seems to turn out quite the same. Meat and veg, okay, but sauces can be finicky. And anyway, we like leftovers.

What are some of your favorite comfort foods?


Mac & cheese, for sure. My mom's turkey chili. Spaghetti carbonara. Chicken bun xao. Pho. Ooooh, and french fries with mayo.


My mouth started watering reading about the lamb dish. Too bad it's not diet food. I could get skinny quick. lol

I'm a huge fan of soup and chili. And casseroles. Actually, I'm a huge fan of food. Therein lies the issue.

Chili, chicken spaghetti, spinach quiche, biscuits and gravy.


Ropa vieja, arroz con pollo, lasagna, cheese grits... yummy!

You're sooooo spoiled. Lucky you! That casserole looks amazing, so much so that I can almost taste it. I haven't cooked in forever but when I get my nice fancy kitchen...I'm going gourmet.

Still thinking about the food. **Drool**

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