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Monday, November 24, 2008

New Kitchen and Experimental Tater Tot Success!

After four loooong months our new kitchen is FINALLY done (well, mostly).

Old Kitchen Looking South:

New Kitchen Looking South (from a slightly different angle):

Old Kitchen Looking North:

New Kitchen Looking North:

The door on the left is a our newly located entrance door. And the door on the right is the entrance to the new bathroom:

More new kitchen photos:

AND yesterday I baked what may well be the world's best tater tot casserole. I wanted to bring a tater tot casserole to a friend's classy thanksgiving potluck dinner for a little irony, but I also wanted to make it taste fancy. So here's the recipe I made up:

One whole bunch of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of water
a little bit of thyme (fresh or dried)
Gourmet Frozen Tater Tots (two small bags or one large)
1 lb ground Bison
bundle of fresh asparagus (cut into 2"-3" chunks)
1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
large block of blue cheese sliced into good-sized hunks (don't skimp!)
can of high-quality cream of mushroom soup (don't buy the cheap watery stuff, I recommend Amy's brand)
1/2 can soy milk (or regular milk)

Step 1: Roast Garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Peel off all the papery stuff from the garlic but leave the entire bunch attached together. Put the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, brush it generously with olive oil, and sprinkle it with thyme. Wrap the garlic in the foil, but before you seal it up, drip some water in into the package. Bake for 35 -45 minutes, until the garlic is soft and smushy. Let it cool a bit, and then rip the cloves apart and squeeze the mushy garlic into a bowl and mash it up with a fork. Set aside. (I learned this from the book "A New Way to Cook" by Sally Schneider.)

Step 2: Brown Ground Bison.
Brown the the ground bison in a large pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. When its mostly done add the butter and garlic mash to the bison and cook until well done, and until most of the watery liquid has evaporated. There will be buttery liquid left -thats good.

Step 3: Assemble Casserole
Mix the entire can of soup with half a can of milk, set aside. In a 2-quart baking dish dump half of the bison/garlic/butter mixture into the dish. Spread it around evenly. Place half of the asparagus pieces, evenly spaced, on top of the bison. Place half of the blue cheese hunks, evenly spaced, on top of the asparagus. Pour half of the soup milk mixture, evenly, over the bison/asparagus/cheese layers. Neatly arrange a snug layer of tater tots over all of this. Repeat the layering with the rest of the bison, asparagus, soup, and tater tots. The top layer is tater tots.

Step 4: Bake
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours. (remove the foil for the last 10 -20 minutes of cooking) It's done when the liquid is bubbling and the middle is warm. I had trouble getting the middle of casserole warm in the oven so I had to pop it into the microwave for 4 -5 minutes after baking. That worked well.

Step 5: Eat the world's best tater tot casserole and send me your praises.


Blogger Psychodiva said...

beautiful kitchen- and I intend to try out the recipe too - never have been able to figure out what you lot mean by Tater-tots lol

06 December, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

Thanks! Ha - I guess tater-tots are a pretty localized phrase - they were a staple of my childhood. :) Hmmm, makes me hungry thinking about them...

09 December, 2008  
Anonymous anna said...

randomly found your post while searching for a "gourmet" tater tot hot dish recipe... i tried yours out and it was great!

07 December, 2009  
Blogger Zeolite said...

Thanks Anna! I'm really happy you like it :)

09 December, 2009  

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