While I was at BlogHer Food, I was lucky enough to finally meet in person some of the people I’ve known online for years. That’s the beauty of conferences like this–your imaginary friends take on flesh and bone and prove themselves to be real people after all! One such gem of a lady is Jane of The Heritage Cook. Jane took me under her wing, helping me connect with new bloggers and guiding me through the various events. When I started feeling ill on Saturday, she scooped me up and took care of me, ensuring I wouldn’t be alone that night. On Sunday, when the world’s spinning became too much for me, succumbing at last to the vertigo that was making itself more obvious, she invited me back to her hotel room to rest, away from the hum and buzz of it all. I am eternally grateful for all her love and care–I don’t know what I would have done without her!
In our conversations back in her room on Sunday, we talked shop a lot. What do you expect? It was a blogging conference, after all, and it was nice to be surrounded by others who not only wouldn’t be bored by your droning on and on about the difficulties of capturing the perfect photo and how to grow without burning out, but who were also excited to participate in the conversation and can absolutely relate exactly to your problems. Jane aided me in working through some ideas on what the next steps will be with this blog and had some great suggestions for me, including getting in touch with the Food Network about their summer program: Summer Soirée. Summer Soirée is a weekly gathering of bloggers with a theme selected by a Food Network editor every week. It would give me the opportunity to connect with more bloggers, allow me to offer a greater variety of dishes for YOU to enjoy, and, of course, it’s Food Network!
So here we are: the first post in the Food Network Summer Soirée series. This week’s theme was summer casseroles and all I could think of was a gratin with zucchini and yellow summer squash. I was a woman obsessed! It didn’t matter how many times I tried to investigate other options–this was the only one that stuck. So I riffed off of my macaroni and cheese recipe that I’ve been making forever and it worked! This is ooey, gooey, cheesy–no doubt about that! Definitely not lighter fare. But that’s okay with me! Sometimes you want a prim steamed squash–and sometimes you want a super indulgent treat. Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin is just that treat! It can stand alone as the main course or stretch further as a side dish. My grandparents’ cottage is the scene for weekly potluck gatherings; a place where everyone brings a dish to share while they soak up some rays and swim the summer days away. I promise: this Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin will be making an appearance there this summer!
- 14 ounces (about 3 small) zucchini, washed, sliced, and patted dry
- 14 ounces (about 3 small) yellow summer squash, washed, sliced, and patted dry
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ cups organic half-and-half
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1¼ cups shredded Parmesan, divided
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup Japanese Style Panko breadcrumbs, plain
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare your zucchini and squash and set aside.
- In a 3-1/2 quart oval enameled cast iron pot, heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add the zucchini and squash and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle the pepper and salt over that and stir again.
- Stir frequently to cook to about al dente doneness, about 10 minutes (yes, the pot will be crowded--this is okay).
- Add the half-and-half and sprinkle the flour over the squash. Stir to mix well and heat until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic powder and 1 cup of the shredded Parmesan; stir and remove from heat.
- Combine the remaining ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan with the melted butter and bread crumbs, then sprinkle over the top of the squash.
- Bake for 10 minutes. If the top hasn't browned to your liking, return to the oven under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until browned to your liking.
- Serve immediately.
Check out all the other lovely Summer Soirée dishes here:
Weelicious: Crock Pot Mexican Tortilla Lasagna
The Heritage Cook: Summer Vegetable Gratin (Gluten-Free)
Taste With The Eyes: Colorful Vegetable Casserole with Fresh Herbs and Cured Black Olives
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Summer Eggplant, Squash and Tomato Casserole
Red or Green: Spicy Cauliflower and Peppers Casserole
Domesticate Me: Caprese Quinoa Bake
Devour: 5 Picnic Potluck Ideas
Poet in the Pantry: Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin
The Sensitive Epicure: Zucchini Souffle (Gluten-Free)
Cooking With Elise: Mexican-Style Lasagna
FN Dish: Dig Into Easy Summer Casseroles