Tuesday, March 22, 2016

San Antonio Book Festival Is April 2nd...Featuring Squash Casserole from Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables #giveaway

Attention San Antonio-area book lovers: the San Antonio Public Library Foundation will be holding its 4th Annual San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday, April 2nd! This free event will take place from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Central Library and The Southwest School of Art, located in Downtown San Antonio. The goal of this fun book festival is to unite and inspire readers and writers alike. The San Antonio Book Festival will feature more than 80 authors, as well as entertainment for all ages -- including Geektown, which is specially geared toward teenage readers. There are a ton of great events planned for the San Antonio Book Festival -- there's truly something for every type of reader! 
One of the festival events that I'm most excited about attending is Eat Your Vegetables (and Love Doing It)!, featuring noted cookbook authors Cynthia Graubart and Nathalie Dupree. They'll be discussing -- and signing - their amazing new Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables cookbook. Cynthia Graubart is the author of six books, including the James Beard Award-winning Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. She also writes the New Sunday Supper column in Southern Living magazine, and she shares her message of gaining confidence in the kitchen to groups large and small. Graubart is also a television producer who produced GPTV’s first nationally syndicated television series, New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree.
Photo provided by Patrick Heagney Photography
Nathalie Dupree has been the host of more than 300 cooking shows on PBS, The Learning Channel, and the Food Network. She has written 14 books, three of which have won James Beard awards. Ms. Dupree has also been awarded the Grand Dame of the Les Dames d' Escoffier, Who's Who in American Cooking by the James Beard Foundation, and was two-time president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She is married to author Jack Bass and lives in Charleston, South Carolina. I received a copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables to try out in my kitchen. Being a native Texan, I was very impressed with all of the great recipes. So many of them reminded me of the vegetables that my Grandma Wofford would make with fresh vegetables from her large garden. Today, I'm sharing a fabulous recipe for Squash Casserole -- it's easy to make with simple ingredients, and it's perfect for your Easter table this weekend!

Squash Casserole
from Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, divided
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs. yellow crookneck or zucchini squash, sliced [NOTE: I used both kinds of squash in my casserole]
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese or Gruyere, divided
  • 4 large eggs, beaten to mix
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
  • Hot sauce or Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Butter a large casserole dish and set aside.

Step 2: Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a large skillet and saute the onions and peppers until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, then set aside.

Step 3: Bring to the boil a pot filled with enough water to cover the squash. Cook until tender, almost 10 minutes. Drain and return the squash to the pot. Mash the squash until thoroughly broken into small pieces. Add 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup cheese, eggs, onion mixture, and 1 cup pecans. Season to taste with hot sauce, and stir well to mix.

Step 4: Move mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Combine the breadcrumbs (or panko) with the remaining cheese and pecans. Spread evenly over the squash mixture. Dot with remaining 1/2 cup butter and bake 45 to 60 minutes, until bubbly. Serve hot. This dish can be made ahead several days and refrigerate, or frozen. Defrost before reheating. 

This amazing casserole is truly the epitome of the type of Southern cooking I grew up with -- comforting and homey. I made the recipe variation from the cookbook that omits the bell peppers, which really let the flavor of the squash and onions came through. The combination of creamy casserole and the crunchy panko topping was so delicious -- and the earthy pecans provided a nice bit of crunch. This recipe is a keeper, folks! Who wants to win a copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables? The San Antonio Book Festival is going to give two lucky readers a copy of this fantastic cookbook! To enter, simply follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below. This contest is open to U.S. residents, and entries will be accepted for 1 week. The day after the contest ends, the two winners will be notified by e-mail, and they will have 72 hours to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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