What do we see in our time? The era of limited horizons is over. A compatriot is interested in food not only to satisfy hunger.
Citizens poured into restaurants, linger in coffee shops and make appointments in a cafe.
We all read foreign websites, magazines and cookbooks.
And what was found there?
The main masters of casseroles are the descendants of the ancient Romans. These were able to chop everyone into minced meat, lay out and set on fire in layers. And what does a modern Italian like to bake? — the reader will ask.
You will laugh, reader, but they are there with their macaroni.
The most common baked pasta is lasagna, in our opinion, practically a pancake pie. There are as many options for climbing as there are cities in Italy. And with meat, and with zucchini, and with cheese, and with tomatoes, and mushrooms, and rabbit stew … By the way, with all the same ingredients any other pasta can be baked: large cannelloni tubules, fusilli spirals, ravioli and wide Tagliatelle noodles.
When you bake pasta, the main convenience is that all ingredients can be prepared in advance, including the pasta itself (with the exception of homemade, which is not necessary to pre-cook).
The trick is that the pasta was undercooked, otherwise, absorbing the casserole sauce, it will easily turn into porridge.
Relative scrambled eggs
Egg casseroles are a completely separate story. First, our simplest Efreitor scrambled eggs, roasted not in a frying pan, but in a ceramic dish — and not on a hob, but in an oven — instantly rises in rank to lieutenant colonel’s egg casserole. Even if she did not change the facial expressions, remained an egg.
Of course, kindling the oven just for the sake of those beautiful eyes will be a kind of eccentricity. It is necessary to add color. Planed tomatoes, greens, onions, garlic, cheese, pour, finally.
There are more ingenious recipes.
Some snobs, for example, bake eggs in artichokes. Or fry a couple of slices of ham, put them in individual molds, put a slice of tomato, a slice of avocado on top, a little sour cream and break an egg to the very top.
Bake. Are eating. Rejoice.
Secondly, there is a whole subspecies of baked egg desserts, which the French call creme, and the English custard.
This is when a lot of eggs and some not too dietary dairy product are taken, most often the cream is fatter. The traditional proportion: five yolks for two and a half — three cups of liquid.
They are mixed together (the cream is often hot at the same time), filtered and then baked in the oven.
At the stage of warming up, cream sometimes adds something fragrant.
Vanilla, liquor, almond extract, zest, honey, cocoa powder … continue the row yourself.
If you ask about an Englishman’s casseroles, he will immediately tell you about bread pudding. The English have everything in the oven, from sausages to donut, pudding.
No imagination. In the Gastronomic Encyclopedia "Lyarus" pudding is defined as "one of the many dishes, sweet or salty, hot or cold, cooked in different ways".
At the same time, bread pudding is a wonderful and very simple thing. Start by saying that this is a classic "eating the poor", a great way to support the national economy in general and the family budget in particular.
Inspired to us in childhood, that bread is a jewel, they do not litter.
And we litter. Although you can cut the bread into slices, add some sweet nonsense (at least an apple or a handful of raisins) and pour a mixture of milk with sugar and eggs.
Give him a little stand, soak — and then into the stove for half an hour.
And ready for a great cake!
That is pudding, sorry.
If you go back to basics — cottage cheese casseroles, then there are a lot of all sorts of tricks to make a culinary masterpiece out of the banal combination of boring products. First, you can add unbanal products.
There are so many fruits in the world, you can’t imagine! And almost any suitable for casseroles.
The only exceptions are citrus fruits — they are combined with some types of young cheese, but rather in a cold form than in a hot one.
And peaches, apples, pears, apricots, any berries … They can be mixed with dough, but it is better to lay layers.
The main rule is the same: fruit and berries flowing with juice should be blanched in the oil (you can grill the fruit) to remove excess water. If you do not, you risk getting baked curd soup. By the way, there are no such problems with dried fruits, and they, too, can be used, especially in winter.
From the spilled juice, build a sauce.
Add, say, a little more butter, brown sugar and liqueur that matches the smell. Or white wine.
Even vodka will do if you don’t get carried away.
Boil until thick; if it does not thicken, add a little starch mixed with a drop of cold water. Whipped cream is also good in combination with casseroles … And you can not serve any sauce, take a couple of proteins, beat some sugar into a dense foam, pour it creatively on the finished casserole and put another 10-15 minutes in the oven. When it becomes golden, what do you think you take out of the oven?
But in general, who said that cottage cheese casserole should be sweet? It may well be salty.
And even acute. Cottage cheese goes well with greens and garlic, for example.
I once met an unearthly beauty Ingush girl. In principle, with such a look, she didn’t have to do anything at all — but she also fed a casserole! Some crazy orange sauce was served to the casserole.
The girl said that it Cham — the classic Ingush seasoning, consisting mostly of garlic. And the color was provided by carrot juice. If I remember correctly, the sauce should be made like this: garlic is taken, pounded in a mortar, then it is added with a little dried and ground green powder (cilantro, dill, parsley), salt and hot red pepper.
And some natural dye — carrot, spinach or beet juice (the natural color of Chama is dirty gray, very unappetizing). I am talking about it in such detail because the cham is wonderful for any unsweetened casseroles that require sauce, especially vegetable.
One use The meaning of baked vegetables, I think, is not appreciated by young minds at all. Why all?
Because you have to mess with vegetables. To select, clean, chop … And no one thinks that later they will pay back a hundredfold.
At first they will be lured by smells and will be enchanted by their appearance, then they will melt in the mouth, they will be asked to supplement, they will again melt, they will be digested without any problems, they will clear from slags everything that gets in their way, with a terrible force healed the body.
In this case, of course, if you do not seize a pork chop vegetable casserole with sausages and drink a glass of other beer. Vegetable casseroles can be made in many different ways. The easiest thing is to cut some vegetables in the presence of very thin slices with a tricky grater.
Lay them in layers in the form and pour liquid. If milk, sour cream or cream, it is terribly tasty, but not useful.
But the tomato sauce with garlic and herbs is both tasty and healthy. Mushrooms can still be added for a change. Or nuts.
In addition, there is a lot of casserole vegetable products, mimicking various kinds of desserts. Let’s say the world famous American carrot cake is a carrot cake.
What is not casserole? Eggs, butter, flour, carrots, candied fruits. Or a zucchini cake?
Or pumpkin pie?
All these vegetables can be easily used in baking — they not only give color and flavor, but also partially replace the fat that is usually put so that the product does not turn into a biscuit ahead of time.
Form and content
You’d be surprised, but from our domestic equipment in our case, grandmother’s deep cast-iron pans are best suited. As we know from the science of physics, cast iron very evenly distributes heat, and everything is baked in such pans quickly and efficiently. Teflon coating also has its advantages, but most Teflon forms have too thin walls.
There are good options for glass and ceramic, especially because they come in all shapes and sizes, including in the form of hearts, bears, hares and ducks.
Now you can easily bake under the motto "Long live the unity of form and content!": at "duck" form — with foie gras, in "hare" — with rabbit and so on.
The dishes in which you are cooking the casserole should have fairly high edges so that the actively bubbling sauce (if present) is not permanently lost.
And if the form is also pretty looking, it can be set on the table without embarrassment.