Yesterday I posted about my new cookbook Casserole Crazy. Today I am posting part two. I was able to ask the author a few questions about the cookbook. I was glad to have the opportunity to ask her a few questions about casseroles. Here is what she had to say.
Lynn: You mentioned in the introduction to the book that you have nearly fifty cookbooks just about casseroles. I also have a lot of cookbooks and always enjoy finding out about new ones. Do you have a favorite casserole cookbook from your collection? Well, besides your own, of course.
Emily: I really love the “Casserole Treasury” by Lousene Rousseau Brunner. It was printed in 1964 and she calls for MSG in almost every casserole. It’s a great artifact for looking at “the way casseroles were.” Some of the recipes are still relevant today (Baked Alaska Meat Loaf—half meat loaf, half Shepherd’s Pie) and others I wouldn’t go near with a ten-foot pole (Tongue with Fruit Sauce, made with canned tongue). I also really love the old church cookbooks—the ones typed on construction paper and tied with yarn.
Lynn: I have tried several recipes from the book including the Chicken Noodle Souperole. We really enjoyed it. It is a great comfort food and it really is like chicken noodle soup in a casserole. How did you come up the idea for that recipe?
Emily: A friend made a squash souperole (which was also in the book) and I thought it was such a cute idea, and then thought, what’s the absolute, most comforting “souperole” I can come up with? And aside from casseroles, chicken noodle soup is the next most comforting food, as far as I’m concerned.
Lynn: I really liked your bacon, egg, and cheese quiche. It was just the right combination of egg, cheese, and spinach. Have you ever used other meats or vegetables in that recipe?
Emily: Breakfast sausage would be a great substitute for the bacon.
Lynn: I have several casserole recipes that I like to freeze. Have you ever frozen any of the casseroles in the book? If so which ones? I think the Chicken Noodle Souperole would be a great one to freeze?
Emily: Most times I eat them right away, but I’ve frozen a few. I know the mushroom risotto casserole freezes well. I would avoid freezing anything with fresh tomato (for some reason the idea of freezing fresh tomatoes just seems strange to me). The thing to keep in mind when freezing casseroles is that you should let them cool to room temperature before freezing them and let them warm to room temperature before baking them (if not, they’ll burn on top and remain cold on the inside). If you stick to that, they should freeze just fine.
Lynn: Quite a few of your recipes call for Portobello mushrooms. I like Portobello mushrooms and I have cooked with them, but in some parts of the country those are expensive and hard to find. I know I can’t always find them in the small town I live in. Do you think you could substitute other mushrooms for them?
Emily: Absolutely. Living in New York, finding Portobello and Baby Bell mushrooms is easy, but I encourage substitutions whenever you want or need to. When it comes down to it (especially if the mushroom isn’t the “star” ingredient) a mushroom is a mushroom is a mushroom. I’m sure there are many chefs and foragers who would (and probably should) disagree with me, and that’s okay.
Thanks Emily for taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoyed hearing from you.
I hope everyone checks back next week for the recipes for the Quiche and the Souperole. I plan on posting the recipes on Monday and Tuesday. They really are good and I hope you will enjoy them.