When I began blogging just over a year ago, I had no idea of what to expect. Actually, I thought that it would be a good way to keep track of recipes and to be able to share them with my daughters who are quickly growing up. I also hoped that maybe, just maybe, someone might be interested in my perspective of New Jersey and what it has to offer to the food world. I didn't realize what a great and large community exists and that food bloggers are some of the nicest people that I had never met.
Well, I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow blogger this past week. I commented on this post on Black Eyed Susan's Kitchen. I expressed that I would love to see Susan's fabulous vintage recipes find and she responded with the generous offer to stop by and take a look. I happily took her up on the offer and had a nice visit in Black Eyed Susan's Kitchen. She has a lovely home and beautiful garden. I also had the pleasure of meeting her three wonderful children. I happily perused the recipe collection of the 91-year-old foodie that Susan stumbled upon. It was just amazing; there were recipes from everywhere-newspapers, friends, church members- all meticulously filed with lots of notes for ways they could be improved, substitutions, etc. Apparently, the perfection cake recipe still needed improvement! The recipes are from the 1950's and forward. I also looked over Susan's massive cookbook collection - amazing! I left with copies of recipes from the 91-year-old foodie, a zucchini from Susan's garden, and the friendship of a fellow blogger- how great is that?!
A favorite in the vast collection seemed to be the Choir Cookies which I will be making and posting as soon as the weather cools down. In the meantime, I will share one of my most requested recipes for zucchini casserole.
Below is my adaptation of a family favorite recipe that my mother acquired from an Italian neighbor when I was a child. The garlic bread topping is so delicious! Removing the bread crusts would make it prettier but I hate to waste. I guarantee that you will love this simple, rustic casserole! Every time I make this, the entire 9 X 12 pan is devoured. I'm actually guilty of eating the leftovers (if any) for breakfast - it's that good!
Please don't let the fact that it looks kind of sloppy or the far-from-artisan bread cubes deter you from trying this!
6-8 medium zucchini sliced crosswise 1/2" thick
1 large onion diced
3 tbs. butter
3 tbs. olive oil
1 28 oz. can whole peeled San Marzano or plum tomatoes
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3/4 - 1 cup grated Locatelli Romano cheese
Salt to taste
approx. 10 slices white bread - cubed (enough to cover the casserole)
garlic butter - melted butter with garlic salt
Steam the sliced zucchini until tender and drain well (I blot it with paper towels). Meanwhile, dice the onion and saute it in the butter and olive oil until the onion is tender and transluscent. Add the canned tomatoes, cheese and salt to taste to the onions. Crush the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon and simmer about 30 minutes, until slightly thickened. Add the tomato mixture to the zucchini in a large casserole dish (9X12). Top the dish with cubed white bread and drizzle with garlic butter. Place in the oven at 375 degrees until the casserole is heated through and the bread is lightly toasted and brown.