Monday, October 18, 2010

Farmer's Market Casserole

I know I am not alone in this, but I sometimes go a little overboard at the farmer's market.  Everything looks so good, and I buy too much.  Then, a few days later I'm doing a mad scramble in the kitchen concocting dishes to use up our goodies before they aren't so good.

This happens to people who have their own gardens, too.  Wes, I'm talking to you.  I really like garden gifts, but I understand that sometimes you can't accept any more tomatoes.

This casserole is just my latest attempt to enjoy all the local produce that I can.  You can easily modify this recipe to use up what you have on hand.  Plus, the effort is basically chopping vegetables, so you can still enjoy the last bit of nice weather.

Farmer's Market Casserole
Serves 4 to 6

2 potatoes, parboiled, then peeled and sliced thinly
2 very small and onion Vidalia onions, sliced thinly
garlic, minced, to taste
2 tomatoes, sliced
fresh basil leaves, to taste
2 zucchini, peeled and sliced
olive oil for greasing and drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
3 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

I rubbed the inside of a 9 x 9 baking dish with olive oil and layered the bottom with the potato slices.  I lightly drizzled the layers with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.

Then, I added the onion slices and sprinkled a bit of minced garlic across the top.

I added tomato slices next and laid whole basil leaves on top of the tomatoes.  I was generous with the basil because we have so much.  Other herbs would be nice, so use what you like.

Zucchini was the next layer, and I also drizzled this with olive oil and added a bit more salt and pepper.

I finished with another layer of tomato slices.

And no casserole of mine is complete if it isn't topped it off with cheese.  We had some Mexican queso fresco that I wanted to use up, but other cheeses would be great here, too.

I covered it with foil and placed the casserole in a 350 degree F oven for about half an hour. If you want to finish cooking now, remove the foil, raise the temperature to 425 degree F, and bake for another 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and it is nicely browned on top.

If you want to serve the casserole later, remove from oven, and let it cool.  Then, leaving it covered with foil, keep in refrigerator until ready to finish cooking.  When you are ready, pop it the preheated 350 degree oven, still covered in foil.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F, and bake for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and it is nicely browned on top.


  1. I'm honored to be mentioned in one of your posts... :) My neighbors, friends and family have greatly benefited from my love of vegetable growing. Primarily they have benefited from my lack of control when buying plants...

    The casserole looks great, but what does queso fresco taste like? I don't believe I've ever had it...If it's going to taste anything like blue cheese, I don't want to either...Also, what does queso fresco smell like? Seriously.

  2. Your neighbors are lucky!

    Great questions...Queso fresco translates to fresh cheese, which means unaged. It is a very mild cheese with a crumbly texture. It is not smelly, and definitely not close to blue cheese.

  3. Well, I haven't had to translate anything from Spanish to English since I left the retail world. I appreciate the information. I am the type of person who tells when food items go together, and how they will taste, primarily by smell. It doesn't just have to look right, it has to smell right.

    I have a lot of older folks around me that enjoy fresh vegetables, but due to their age and/or health reasons, no longer garden. I try to share as much as possible.