Monday, July 11, 2011

This was way easier when I was 30

We're rehabbing my husband's home office. For some reason, this room didn't even get painted when we moved in nearly 30 years ago. It's pretty much the room that you close the door on when guests are over.

Since the kids moved out, our rehab mantra has been "do it right." This means proper wall prep, replacing warped moldings, and No More Paint On Wood, i.e. strip the woodwork.

This is the job that I got, while DH worked on the walls.

Think 12 hours over 3 days holding a heavy heat gun at about shoulder height or higher. Pain.

After finishing the main part of this task on Monday night, I was done in, but hungry. Almost almost ordered pizza, but I had these gorgeous 1/2 pound portabellos in the larder, so I made the following casserole, and I am very glad I did, because it was just what the doctor ordered. Flavorful and stick-to-your-ribs. Since I made this up as I went along, and I was way too tired to right it down at the time, I hope I can reconstruct now!

Mushroom casserole
2 large portabello mushrooms, diced
2-3 T butter (for vegan, substitute oil)
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 medium onion, diced
garlic, too taste, pressed
about 1/4 cup celeriac, diced very fine
3 T flour

2-3 cups Half & half, milk, or stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup noodles (I used penne, but egg noodles, elbow macaroni or your favorite shape are all fine)
2 medium potatoes, diced
something green- spinach, beans, peas, chard

Boil water for the noodles and potatoes (put the potatoes in first, as they take a little longer than the noodles). Once these are cooked, drain and set aside (or time it so everything is done at once). If you're using peas or beans for your greens, add them about 5 minutes before the noodles are done. Leafy greens can just be added to the casserole and don't need to be precooked.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and add the mushrooms. Stir until all the butter is absorbed by the mushrooms, then add the lemon juice. This will release liquid from the mushrooms and give your casserole a wonderful mushroom flavor. If you are using milk, it will not curdle the milk, don't worry. Add the celeriac and onions; you may need to add a little more butter to saute them. Once the celeriac is soft, dredge with flour and saute for 2 minutes. While you are sauteeing, scald the liquid; you'll want it very very hot.

Add a little of the scalded liquid to the vegetables; it will immediately form a thick paste. Continuing adding liquid and stirring until you have a creamy sauce. Prepare a glass or ceramic casserole dish (spray or oil), and add all ingredients together, mixing thoroughly. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and a little cheese (vegans--what would you use instead of cheese to make a nice melty crust?).

Bake at 350F/175C for about 25 minutes or until the top is melted and lightly brown.

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