Thursday, December 17, 2009

Comfort Food - Not Your Ordinary Green Bean Casserole

Every year around this time I look out my window on a regular, unassuming day, to find this:

It acts innocent enough, in the beginning. As if we're all naive of its terrors. It pretends that it's nothing more than an eye-candy dusting of confectioner's sugar. Aw, it's so pretty! That's what it hopes we will say. And we do. At first.

Then, we realize that it shnookered us. It buttered us right up with it's baby powder fluff. Truth be told, it's moving in and it fully intends to wear out its welcome. Before we know it, we'll be up to our eyeballs in it and the precise shade of green that was once our grass will be but a distant memory.

Cory never mentioned this dastardly condition when he moved me here from sunny Southern Ohio. He mentioned Amish buggies and quaint bulk food stores and people who seeded their pastures with Black Eyed Susans, but he forgot this little detail. I had no idea I was signing up for this. Nevermind the fact that I met him at college a mere 20 miles from here. Nevermind that.

I'm not sure what it is about this season, but I think we can all agree: when the temperature drops, it's time to wheel out the casseroles. It's a known fact that the outdoor temperature is inversely proportional to the required mass of one's dinnertime meal. One goes down, the other goes up. This here is no time for salads. This kind of weather calls for rib stickin' meals. And do I ever have one for you.

But I'll warn you now, she's none too pretty.

And I'll warn you again: Everything is better with homemade mashed potatoes. So go ahead, boil up a mess of Yukon golds (5 or so) and toss 'em in your Kitchenaid mixer, along with some butter, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Or, just do them however you normally do them.

Or, mix milk into potato flakes. But I don't wanna hear about it.

I'm just going to come right out and say it - I am a mashed potato snob, with a capital S. I'll save the rest of my snobbery list for another day. This much I can say - the list is short, but it's iron-clad.

While your potatoes are doing their thing, brown a pound of hamburger with a chopped onion. Drain it. Mix it with a couple cans of tomato soup and a few cans of green beans.

Layer the mashed potatoes over the meat and beans. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until it's hot and bubbly.

She's got a face for radio, but she's darn good.