Taste & Create is a very cool monthly blog event that assigns participating food blogs together in pairs. Each blogger of the pair reads through the other’s site and chooses a recipe to create, taste, and blog about!
This round was my first time participating, and I couldn’t wait to see who I would be paired with, and what dishes we would choose from each other’s offerings. I was paired with the lovely Cowgirl Min, over at the blog The Bad Girl’s Kitchen. Ooh, how saucy! Let’s see what bad girls are cookin’ up these days…
The first thing I noticed and enjoyed about BGK is that it is something of a collective site. Min is not the only bad girl sharing her recipes, although she is the main contributer, and the “life story” you get to follow throughout the posts (which is half the fun of a food blog) is mostly hers. But other friends contribute both recipes and personality, which makes the site extra fun to read.
And then, well, it turns out that what bad girls are cooking these days… is mostly meat and wheat. One I don’t eat, and the other I can’t eat. I think I was as bemused as Min was reading my site. I’m going, “What on earth can I make here that doesn’t involve meat or wheat?” and she was asking, “Where the heck do I find Laura Chenel aged goat cheese when the nearest, minuscule grocery store is 35 miles away? And they’ve never heard of goat cheese?” You can read more about Min’s adventure with my blog over at her post about making my decadent breakfast tacos.
In keeping with the theme of my blog, I wanted, if possible, to make a recipe that would use something from my CSA box. I found recipes at BGK for marinated mushrooms and for roasted green beans that sounded good and fit my dietary needs, but neither mushrooms nor green beans would be showing up from Eatwell any time soon. I decided to make something that truly represented the down-home, rich ‘n’ filling spirit of the Bad Girl’s Kitchen, something using the lovely farm-fresh eggs I get every week in my box. I decided to make Min’s yummy-sounding breakfast casserole.
I found gluten-free bread with the proper texture for this sort of dish at Mariposa Bakery in Oakland. I was going to just skip the sausage component, but when I stopped at Trader Joe’s for cheese, I lucked out and found some soy chorizo that contained no wheat gluten! (It’s very rare for fake meat not to be based on wheat gluten.) I already had at home a can of Amy’s Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup (which does contain a small amount of wheat flour), a half-full quart of Silk soy milk, and, of course, my eggs. The only thing I was missing was a can of condensed milk, which I picked up at the corner store by my house. I decided to make a half-recipe since Duck wouldn’t be able to share in this very un-vegan treat.
I cooked the sausage, mixed everything together, and popped the casserole in the oven. Since I’d gotten pre-shredded cheese, there was barely any work involved at all, which was a huge relief because this has been a very tired week. It emerged looking browned and gooey and delicious, which it turned out to be. Except for one thing… Okay, so I am not an expert on the canned goods section of the market. Is there an unsweetened variety of condensed milk? Because I thought that condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk were the same thing, until I tasted the oddly sweet, mushroomy topping of my breakfast casserole. Somehow, despite having poured a highly concentrated sweetener over my casserole, I was still expecting a mouthful of savory, egg-bread-sausage goodness. But instead I taste sweet, sweet, sweet, and my mouth gets all confused and doesn’t know what’s going on. [EDIT: I'm a bit of an idiot. Shortly after I posted this post, a reader commented to point out that the original recipe calls for evaporated milk. I know evaporated milk is not sweet and condensed is, but somehow this entire time, and I even thought I went back and checked, I have remained convinced that the recipe called for condensed milk. Did I mention it was a very tired week?]
Nonetheless, the casserole is rich and filling and yummilicious, and I consider this a very successful visit to someone else’s world of food. I don’t know if I would make it again, because I found it as arduous to gather the ingredients (Oakland for GF bread soft enough for this kind of use, TJ’s for soy sausage, etc.) as Cowgirl Min found it to track down my fancy-pants Bay Area stuff. But overall my first round of T&C was a great deal of fun – I got to know someone else’s food blog intimately and I got to walk on the bad girl side of the kitchen. As Min’s blog says, “Try a new recipe… You know you want to.”