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The Cheesy Culprit

March 22, 2012

I found myself staring at a tempting block of Pepper Jack Cheese today and wondered to myself “self, how would this block of cheese be best served?”  A quick survey of what I had laying around the house resolved this short lived dilemma and this is how my Mean Green Bean Casserole was born.

   Mean Green Bean Casserole

  •  1 1/2 lbs or so of Green Beans
    •  (I used Frozen, I do this especially when the Fresh ones at the Market don’t look so “fresh”)
  • 1 1/2 c Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Onion 
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (or more)
  • 5 Slices of Bacon (or more)

For the Béchamel sauce:

  • 5 tb Butter
  • 5 tb all-purpose Flour
  • 4 c whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 c Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

Homemade Onion Strings:

  • 1 large Vidalia Onion sliced very thinly
  • 2 c Buttermilk + dash of Hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 c Rice Flour
  • S & P to taste
    • Soak your “strings” in the Buttermilk Mixture for 30 min.
    • Meanwhile, combine your dry ingredients and heat at least 2 inches of Canola or Peanut Oil to 360
    • Coat your “strings” into your dry-mix, shake off excess and toss it in (in a single layer) for approx. 3 min (you want crispy, golden brown drizzles that float to the surface).
    • Salt with Kosher Salt (if need be) while hot, drain on a brown paper Grocery bag you’re no longer using and enjoy: on Sammies, as a snack, or in this Casserole =D
  •  Bake at 350 for 20-25 min 😉

I almost always have Bacon, Butter, Garlic, Onions, and Bacon (and Eggs) at the house.  Even on those days when rations look “scarce,” I always seem to have those hangin’ about, waiting to fulfill their destiny.  I buy lots o’ Bacon when it’s on sale and pop it in the fridge–there, it waits ever so patiently until I’m ready to crisp it up for a quick BLT or use it to lend a dish that extra smoky oomph!  Butter is bought in bulk, however, of all things mentioned, it has the shortest life of all.  I find myself finding any excuse-every opportunity, to smear it on toast, cream it for Pastries, or use it for Roux’s and Gravy’s, or more.  Most people look at a box of Butter and see 4 sticks of Butter.  To me, a single box of Butter is automatically translated into one Cake or two batches of Cookies.  I like to think in terms of Food, lol.  Onto Garlic, I betchya most days, my fingers smell of Garlic.  Though that may not be sexy, I most certainly think it necessary.  Both Onions and Garlic lay the foundation for so many dishes and this rings true for both American and Korean Cuisine.  Needless to say, I run through heaps and heaps of them.  Lastly, there are my Eggs.  I am in awe of the most humble Egg.  I probably go through 2 cartons of Eggs a week.  Back in my heavy Catering days, there was a time I used 60 Eggs in one single night!  Crazy, but true.  Eggs are so beautiful in that they can be utilized in both savory or sweet foods.  I love that the Egg can make both a delicious Egg Salad Sandwich to carry along with you to your picnic or a beautiful Cheesecake (for my Birthday, please).

I hope that answers some of those questions.  Like I always say, use what you’ve got.  I did that very thing today and the results were delicious! 

Bacon, Butter, Garlic, Onions, Bacon, and Eggs …a fabulous way to start!

The Squishy Monster ^.^

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