Cover image for Crazy for casseroles : 275 all-American hot-dish classics
Title:
Crazy for casseroles : 275 all-American hot-dish classics
Author:
Villas, James.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Harvard Common Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
xii, 371 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9781558322165

9781558322172
Format :
Book

Available:*

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TX693 .V53 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Cooking
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Summary

Summary

Crazy for Casseroles is the final word on American casseroles. Acclaimed food writer James Villas is a man on a mission, presenting all manner of casseroles from every corner of America that feature meat, poultry, game, seafood, or vegetables, plus appetizer, breakfast, bread, and dessert casseroles. All can be prepared ahead of time and popped in the oven for warm-up, which makes them ideal for entertaining, potluck, or weeknight dinners. They can be simple and homey, like Texas Beef Hash Casserole; No-Nonsense Spinach Casserole; or Sunday Sausage, Apple, and Cheese Strata. But they can also be fancy and fabulous like Venison and Wild Mushroom Bake or Deviled Crabmeat Ramekins.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

On a cold winter's night, a casserole bubbling in the oven can be just the thing to pique a family's appetites. Noted cookbook author James P. Villas has assembled 275 recipes in Crazy for Casseroles that offer creative and original ideas for casseroles far removed from typical hamburger, macaroni, and soup renditions. Tarragon scents a casserole of veal stew meat, carrots, and olives. Venison, parsnips, and mushrooms offer a way to use up excess game. Chicken and kohlrabi soufflemakes use of a little appreciated vegetable. Goose, sausage, and chestnuts vary the standard holiday fowl. Even macaroni and cheese gets a few handfuls of fresh oysters for a New England twist on the predictable casserole. For the more traditionally minded, Villas creates Blue Plate Noodle, Beef, and Cheese casserole to appeal to the less expansive palate with everyday ingredients. No other single fruit matches the historical influence and appeal of the olive. Whether used to make olive oil or cured for the table, the olive dominates the Mediterranean basin's cuisine. Marie Nadine Antol's The Sophisticated Olive makes clear the olive's centrality to culinary progress. Early Greek art manifests all aspects of the olive tree's cultivation and the processing of its oil. Those who have eaten olives only from supermarket shelves may be unaware that the freshly harvested olive is a foul-tasting, bitter fruit whose naturally occurring chemicals require leaching to become palatable. Various additives accomplish this necessary end: salt, water, vinegar, and lye. To turn fruit into oil requires mechanical action, and Antol describes the various methods employed and compares their results. Because the land where the olives grow affects the flavor of the oil, Antol takes readers on a worldwide journey to differentiate the flavors and colors of each nation's oils. A table helpfully guides readers through the different kinds of olives typically found in grocers' cases. For those lucky enough to live in appropriate climates, the author gives guidelines for nurturing one's own olive trees, and she discusses purported medicinal and cosmetic benefits of olive oils. She even gives directions for home-curing the raw fruits. A brief section of recipes gives examples of olives' culinary uses. This book's comprehensive coverage makes it indispensable for most cookery collections. Just in time for the bicentennial celebration of the start of the famous wilderness expedition, Mary Gunderson has brought out The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark. Through a series of recipes supported by entries in the expedition's journal, Gunderson offers a unique view of the westward journey. Beginning with a Jeffersonian dinner at the White House, where French cooking was in sway, Gunderson follows the party upriver as their stores begin to run out and Lewis and Clark are gradually forced to live off the land and the kindness of its inhabitants. Culinary oddities such as Portable Soup (a precursor of the bouillon cube) and primitive wild game recipes support quotations from the duo's journals. Gunderson's recipes are easy to follow, and anyone interested in historical cuisine can duplicate them, from sophisticated cooks to students looking for practical programs on the Lewis and Clark expedition and its era. A bibliography leads to further sources for early-nineteenth-century frontier cooking. Despite its bulk, Corinne Trang's Essentials of Asian Cuisine offers just that: fundamentals, not exhaustive completeness. She has produced a volume covering the cooking of the Southeast Asian peninsula's nations, China, Japan, and Korea, ignoring India and some other countries whose cuisines are hard to distinguish from those of their larger neighbors. For those unfamiliar with Asian cooking, Trang opens with a discussion of the cuisines' shared cooking techniques and the importance of using all one's senses when preparing a meal. Even sound plays a part by determining a dish's doneness by its bubbling or by the timbre of the steam emanating from a pot. The exhaustive inventory of recipes methodically treats soups, starches, meats, fish, vegetables, and sweet dishes. Her recipes for Chinese dumplings, Philippine lumpia wrappers, and Korean pancakes will attract many a cook. Trang's meat recipes show how the same cut of meat may be differently handled from one nation to the next. A brief list of sources for Asian ingredients and a bibliography aid cooks eager to try out some of these recipes. In Souped Up, Sally Sampson offers dozens of recipes for just about everyone's favorite comfort food. Whether as a first course or as a main course, soups offer a vast spectrum of flavors and soothing textures. Sampson divides soups into categories: pureed, cream, chunky, bean, chicken, fish, chili, chilled, and gazpacho. She also has a chapter on stews, a sort of transitional zone between soup and braised meat entrees. Sampson's soups cover many traditions, but there is only one Asian soup, a singular offering from Vietnam. Beyond standards, Sampson has recipes for squash soup with lime, garlic, and ginger; cucumber and walnut soup; curried spinach and lentil soup; and tropical fruit gazpacho. To round out a meal featuring one of these soups, she records some bread recipes to provide contrasting texture. For those needing even more sustenance, Sampson introduces seven sweets, such as brownies, oatmeal lace cookies, and an adaptable fruit tart. Cookery collections don't require more than a limited number of celebrity recipe titles, but those few have to be kept up-to-date because fame's roster is subject to change every 15 minutes. So if your celebrity cookbooks need modernization, you can take a look at Recipes of the Stars, by Leo Pearlstein. These celebrities run to movie and television stars such as Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Peter Graves, and Irene Ryan, and their recipes offer few surprises or much culinary sophistication (for example, canned fruit cocktail over ice cream). Rock stars and Brat Pack members are oddly absent here, which dampens the book's appeal to the younger generation. Yet, celebrity is an enticement that lures all ages, so teen cooks may find even overripened star power pulling them into the kitchen. Karri Ann Allrich's Cooking by Moonlight pursues the revival of interest in foods relating to natural and feminist religions. Commencing with a description of the importance of following nature's cycle of waxing and waning moons, Allrich prescribes invocations to assorted goddesses and notes what sorts of foods are appropriate to the moon phases as they recur throughout a lunar year. Allrich advocates for organic foods, and she presents a complement of recipes without red meat. Recipes include cheesecake and other modern dishes, and they call for popular contemporary ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, coconut milk, and dried cranberries. But most of Allrich's recipes are for simple, uncomplicated dishes on the order of quesadillas, Roasted Tomatoes Provencal, Raspberry-Peach Cobbler, and Chocolate-Mint Brownies. Fascination with the world of single-malt Scotch whiskies continues to burgeon. In Whisky Classified, David Wishart proposes a limited vocabulary of some 12 terms to describe the unique characteristics of single malts. These terms show up in each whisky's profile to provide consistent classifications for each of them. This tabulated data provide the connoisseur with guidance in selecting a whisky by comparing a favorite's profile with the profile of an unknown. Each distillery's product also gets an entry covering its history and a longer, more vivid prose description of the whisky's flavor merits. As a source for the origin of specific cocktails, nothing beats David Wondrich's Esquire Drinks. In humorous yet informative prose, Wondrich outlines the history of both familiar and old-fashi


Publisher's Weekly Review

In his newest book, Villas, the food and wine editor of Town & Country for 27 years and author of Between Bites, indulges his love of the traditional dishes that make up much of America's regional cuisine. After covering the "Essentials of Modern Casserole Cookery," including a guide to casserole dishes and their baking dish equivalents, he moves on to freezing and the basic pantry before throwing himself into the recipes. The recipes cover the gamut of courses and ingredients, from appetizers like the flavorful Crusty Wild Mushroom Bake to desserts such as Hot Brandied Fruit Casserole. In between he includes many classics such as the Yankee Hot Pot, All-American Chicken Pot Pie, Jambalaya, and Country Captain as well as many modern adaptations and innovations like the light yet robust California Tuna, Potato and Olive Casserole that uses fresh tuna rather than canned. In "Casserole Chat," Villas imparts helpful hints such as how to store dried mushrooms or how to reheat leftovers. The resulting volume highlights why Villas has maintained his position as one of America's foremost traditional cooks. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Villas, who was food and wine editor of Town & Country for almost 30 years, has written eloquently about American regional cooking in many cookbooks, including Stews, Bogs, and Burgoos. His latest is something of a companion to that title, as he believes that casseroles "boast a versatility that is matched only by soups and stews." He also believes that they, more than any other dish, "illustrate what authentic regional cooking is all about," and he offers dozens of recipes from around the country to prove his point: Chicago Shrimp de Jonghe, Portland Oyster and Bacon Pie, Yankee Corned Beef and Vegetable Pot, and Ann Arbor Venison and Wild Mushroom Bake. Villas's text is informed, opinionated, witty, and a pleasure to read, and with its wide-ranging selection of recipes, it will interest culinary historians as well as home cooks. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.