Sunday, April 19, 2009

Casseroles With Klass

I did not grow up in a casserole family. While I truly enjoyed the toothsome, bright green broccoli my mom steamed up for me, I longed to drown the little trees in Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, blanket them in melted Velveeta and top them with fried onions from a can. I was a California kid longing for a taste of the Midwest. I wanted to spray my cheese, not slice it!

Decades later, I have still never tasted a Tuna Casserole and have come to the conclusion that a jiggly log of Velveeta is nastier than a string of Brutha Lynch Hung lyrics. But White Trash with Klass was the theme of this weekend's cooking club, so I dutifully dusted off my Pyrex and went in search of a soup that was canned, condensed, and cream of.

With a menu that included jalapeno macaroni and cheese, pigs in a blanket, and Jell-O marshmallow fruit salad, I felt it was my duty to incorporate a fresh vegetable into our gut busting meal. My recipe for Broccoli Casserole called for a cup of mayonnaise, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a cup of cheddar and a cracker crust. But the "Klass" component allowed me to use fresh broccoli (in lieu of the recommended frozen) and add soft nugs of goat cheese, sauteed garlicky mushrooms, and a drizzling of truffle oil. I topped the hot mess with a scattering of crushed garlic cheese croutons. Fresh, healthy vegetable dish indeed!

She came out melty, bubbling and comforting; but anytime broccoli goes up against bacon it is sure to lose. The obvious favorite of the night was inspired by the great Elvis Presley, himself. I give you the peanut butter, banana, honey and bacon sandwich, in all of it's stony glory.

If you would like to replicate this fantastic fried creation, and you will, it is really quite simple. First, put on your favorite Elvis Presley album. Second, crack a can of Pabst. Third, get out the scissors and hack your hair into a handsome mullet.

Now all you have to do is butter two slices of white bread, one side only. Smear the peanut butter of your liking onto the un-buttered side of one slice. Add a layer of sliced bananas. Drizzle on some honey. Lay down a few slices of already-fried-up bacon. Top with the other slice of white bread. Fry on the stove like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Warning: filling your belly with assorted casseroles and fried sandwiches can result in a head-to-toe white trash makeover, complete with skin-tight, leopard print jeans. Just look what happened to us: