For Thanksgiving, I made this casserole to take to Steve's house:
It started with mushrooms from Eric at Pegasus Book Exchange. I'd stayed away from mushrooms for a decade or two, after a very sad bout of sickness at a singles mixer that my former-WSBA pal Eric Schwab had invited me to. I'm just not good at mixing, ate too many mushrooms that disagreed with me, and ended up with a very unfortunate result (...and was never invited back lol).
But after about a year of hearing Eric (bookstore Eric) talk about mushrooms, I decided to give his a try. And wow! they were great.
So when my brother Steve invited me to his place for the holiday and asked me to bring a side, mushrooms seemed idea - I didn't realize he doesn't eat them either. The green bean casserole with onions that so many insist is traditional seemed like a good way to present the mushrooms. I googled some recipes and got nice beans from Costco.
However when I set to work, it was time for substitutions. I steamed the beans - that kept their flavor and texture fine. I didn't have cream for the sauce but half-and-half worked fine with a little cornstarch. I didn't have flour for the roue (or whatever the mushroom equivalent was) but again cornstarch came through, with a little ground flax for consistency. I don't really like the crunchy onions on top - the flavor is nice but the texture seems like plastic. So I made a separate creamy onion sauce and then layered the casserole like bean dip - first panko crumbs, then beans, then the onion layer, then more beans, then the mushroom cream on top. But it looked incomplete.
That's when the inspiration hit me. I steamed more beans and spelled out a message.
The result was tasty - I'm sure I'll make it again - and it didn't really take all that long to prepare - using good ingredients was probably helpful - but it was the presentation that made it memorable.