This, if you can't tell, is an enormous zucchini. It's the the type that shows up this time of year, somehow having hid beneath leaves all summer long until reaching proportions too gargantuan to ignore. There's only one thing to do with a zucchini of this size: stuff it.
Wow. Have your ever had a gastronomic moment when you know you're eating the best version of a particular dish? Eyes light up, noshing sounds commence and belly sighs exhale as fellow diners exclaim, "No THIS is the best!", "Oh my God!" and "Praise Mac & Mornay!" This happened recently and thank goodness I had my camera and notebook to document and jot down the ultimate mac and mornay recipe.
And just like that, summer feels like it is almost over. Beach vacations are winding down, kids are heading back to school. (Watch for a bunch of back-to-school content, coming up next week!) Getting dinner on the table becomes a less of a leisurely affair and more dependent on thinking ahead.
My own fallback in such times is the pasta casserole. Yes, I wrote an entire book about casseroles, but that hasn't stopped me from making them again and again, pulling in any fresh ingredients at hand, and baking up something bubbly-delicious.
While I was baking up my second batch of this cheesy corn bake, I realized just how out of control my corn obsession has been as of late. My recipe lineup has recently included creamy corn grits, corn & jalapeno dip, corn & red pepper quiche, corn & heirloom tomato pizza, and a corn & roasted summer squash pasta bake (and some of these items on multiple occasions). Corn much?
Brunch casseroles like this lemon brioche strata are terribly convenient and easy to bake up for a crowd. But serving them requires plates and forks, and this isn't always optimal for a stand-up brunch party, like a baby or wedding shower. Or, why not serve little slices of brunch casserole in muffin cups?
My ideal Mother's Day brunch includes one my very favorite breakfast casseroles: A simple strata of brioche bread, layered with lemon zest and custard, and baked until puffy, golden, and silky smooth inside.
Q: I am hosting a healthy-themed potluck in a few weeks, calling it "Feasting on Fresh." Here in the South, potlucks are usually full of casseroles. What are some food items that you think would be good? I was thinking about Braised White Beans with Rosemary (but I have never made this before).
What other foods do you think would be good? The foods need to be non-processed, great at room temperature, and able to feed a lot of people.