Victory and Defeat In the Kitchen

After I posted yesterday, I did a whole hell of a lot of nothing. It’s one of my specialties. When I did finally abandon the couch, I put together a simple dinner: kielbasa, potato salad and squash casserole. The kielbasa was pretty boring, I boiled it in beer for a little while and finished them off in the oven. The potato salad was basic, and I over did it with the celery. Completely forgot to add any dry mustard, and WH thought the potatoes were too chunky. I think WH is a picky-ass. I like it when potato salad has that half-ass mashed potato thing going on.

The squash casserole was yet another battle in my epic war to replicate a commerical receipe graciously given to me by the cafe that serves it downtown. I could have made myself sick on it the first time I had it, and I emailed them shortly after. They gladly gave it up, but the quantities and temperatures are a little out of my reach. I cannot bake two cases of squash at 600 degrees for 2 hours. My first attempt was a disaster- a gritty, lumpy, cheesy mess.

I think I’m gaining ground. This time, I left the egg competely out. I never understood the point of the egg, and it just seemed to make everything sticky and lumpy. I baked the squash at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes, just long enough that a full pyrex dish cooked down to half full. I stirred it halfway through and drizzled it with olive oil.  I wanted the consistancy of dressing, so I put the celery and onions in my chopper and ran it till they were teeny tiny pieces. They cooked till soft on medium heat in butter on a burner. Last time there wasn’t enough flavor from the onion and celery, so I didn’t trust it to cook with the squash. While the onions and celery cooked, I used a fine shredder to shred a quarter of a small block of cheese. I used about a cup and a quarter of extra sharp cheddar and two or three good healthy shakes of parmesan.

When the squash was soft and mooshy, and there was a nice puddle of squash water and olive oil in the bottom, I yanked it out of the oven. I dumped the onions and celery in there, and melted another 2T of butter in the now empty skillet. After stirring in the cheese with the onions and celery, I poured about a half a cup of fine breadcrumbs over it and followed with the melted butter. I stirred it one last time and put in back in the oven, uncovered now, for 15 minutes or so at 350 with the kielbasa. WH really liked it, and that’s the upside of  a picky-ass. When they say you’ve done well, it means more.

Next time I want to try coarse crunchy breadcrumbs to give it more texture and put some nutmeg in it.

Tonight I face a huge challenge: I’m cooking ground turkey. WH has refused to eat it until now, he’s creeped out about beaks or something? So this is a huge test. Tonight’s dinner will determine the destiny of ground turkey in our house. It’s a lot of pressure.  All the receipes I’ve found are either beef disguises or white chilis. I have committed to not disguising turkey; I think I stand a much better chance of getting somewhere with WH if I’m not trying to hide it. I refuse to have turkey shame. I will own my ground turkey for what it is and highlight it’s uniqueness instead of trying to pass it off as something it’s not. I just need to figure out how. In the next few hours.