I’m just curious about something. Do any of you still cook and serve a full meal with a main dish, two or more vegetables, hot bread, salad and dessert every day?
A few decades ago — well, maybe 30 or more years ago — this was the way we ran our households and kitchens. I did a “country dinner” one day last week because we were given some fresh vegetables. Plus, I visited the wonderful Historic Longview Farmers Market (105 West Cotton St.) and bought some beautiful tomatoes, squash and other things. The market is open Saturdays from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., and it is certainly worth waking early to pay a visit.
There are delicious baked goods sold there. I could not resist a loaf of the blueberry bread baked and sold by one of my former students, Kimberly Boyd and her mother, Joann, who is my good friend.
Well, anyway, back to the big dinner. It literally took the entire afternoon to cook and then hours to clean up. I talked to my friend, Martha Rutherford after this kitchen marathon, and she reminded me that this is the way we used to cook every day. Maybe it’s just that we are in our “golden years,” but it seems that we just don’t eat this way often. We have a lot of soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles, etc. that only take one or two pans to prepare the entire meal.
Joe McClellan, the man of the house was given a memo that he was not to expect a meal like this very often — perhaps Thanksgiving and Easter.
So, back to real-life cooking: 1 pan, 5 ingredients, maximum, and 1 hour (or less) for prep and clean-up time. (well maybe some exceptions when someone gives you fresh squash)
2 9-inch pie shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1 large yellow squash, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
“Blind bake” the crust: prick the bottom of the crust with fork tines. Line the crust with foil, and fill with dried beans (or pie weights). Bake for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove beans and foil from crust. The reason for this is to keep the crust from shrinking. Pricking the crust (and not using beans or weights) will work, but unless the crust is very cold, there will be some shrinkage.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, and add the garlic for 2 minutes. Add remaining vegetables, and half the salt and pepper. Cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Divide the mixture in half. Mix the mayonnaise and cheeses and set aside. Layer the tomato slices in bottom of baked pie crusts. Sprinkle the tomatoes with remaining salt and pepper. Layer the squash mixture on top of the tomatoes, and then layer the water chestnuts. Top each pie with half the mayonnaise and cheese mixture. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes (325 degrees). Allow the dish to stand for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a salad or slaw for a complete meal.
I have spent the whole column giving you a recipe that has 13 ingredients after telling you how NOT to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But hey, use disposable pie pans and then put them in the recycle bin.