This picnic got a little more creative than the last one. Sorry i forgot to bring my camera along! it was a pretty colorful meal. At least I took a few photos during prep. Here’s the menu:
- Baguette with nettle and Rembrandt cheese.
- Steam frozen edamame and chill. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, lots of chopped mint, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.
- Peanut sauce noodles. Sauce = (1/4 C peanut butter, 1/4 C soy sauce, 1 T C warm water, 1 t ginger, 1 T rice vinegar, 1 1/2 T Asian toasted sesame oil, 1 T honey, 1 t dried hot red pepper flakes)
- Toss 1 C cooked couscous with oil, chopped parsley, chopped black olives, capers, sun dried tomato, chopped onion, feta, salt and pepper.
- Brown fresh corn kernels in hot oil with chopped chili and garlic, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro and lots of lime juice.
- Watermelon for dessert.
Joe’s family came to visit this weekend, and that makes 5 of us in our little apartment. so instead of our usual pizza Friday, we opted for lasagna(e).
Joe found a very well rated recipe on allrecipes.com and adapted it a bit to meet or taste. Basically omitted the sausage, added some spinach, and tweaked the spices. In the end, it is a very similar lasanga to my Uncle Tom’s recipe, but a better sauce.
- 1 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 C minced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 T white sugar
- 1 1/2 t dried basil leaves
- 1 t oregano
- 1 t fennel seeds
- 1 T salt
- 1/4 t ground black pepper
- 1/2 t cayenne pepper
- 4 T chopped fresh parsley
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed (or 4 C fresh spinach)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 t salt
- 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices, then spinach. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over spinach, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
so… i was going to make plantain chips as an appetizer tonight, but when i went to peel one, it was NOT RIPE. The middle felt ripe, and is turning color, but when i went to open it, it was just like a bright GREEN banana.
JOE ended up making mac n’cheese for dinner tonight, and it was perfect. it is so satisfying and easy to make. we had some yummy cabbot sharp cheddar to use up, too.
here’s the RECIPE. ENJOY!
So now that Carolyn is working I’ve got to carry my own weight on the dinner front. Tonight I tried to copy my favorite thing from Noodles & Co., pasta fresca. Mine didn’t turn out quite as good as theirs, but it definitely has a lot less oil.
I found a few similar recipes on-line and mashed them together.
- 2 cups pasta (farfalle works best, but I ran out so I mixed in some angel hair)
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 red onion
- 3 or 4 roma tomatoes
- feta or parmesan cheese
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- To start, cook the pasta and set it aside.
- Mince garlic and red onion.
- Cube roma tomatoes.
- Once the pasta is done, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Mix in the pasta, tomatoes, garlic and onions. Cook together for about 2 minutes. Then add 4 or 5 handfuls of spinach, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cook together until the spinach just begins to wilt. Serve with parmesan or feta cheese.
It turned out reasonably well, it certainly didn’t taste just like pasta fresca, but it was pretty good. The balsamic was a bit too subtle, I think I’d probably use a couple extra tablespoons next time and a bit more olive oil as the pasta stuck to the pan a bit.
At long last… my ‘famous’ lasagna recipe! A few people have been, ahem, pestering me to post this one. It tastes better than it looks – promise!
this was originally my uncle’s recipe and i had to improvise the quantities. He is one of those cooks who magically throws ingredients together and makes it come out just right. I think this tastes a like his, but was a tad watery, probably from the frozen spinach i used.
- 1 lb ground beef (we use Laura’s 92% lean)
- 1 T evoo
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 32 oz. cans of whole tomatoes
- 1 t fennel seed
- 1 t mustard powder
- 1 t onion powder
- 2 t basil
- 1 T salt
- 2 t sugar
- 4 C spinach (i used frozen- it was all i had on hand)
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 T thyme
- 1 bag mozzarella cheese
- 1 package (no boil) lasagna noodles
- brown ground beef in a large saucepan, rinse and drain. heat oil in the saucepan and saute garlic and onion. before adding the tomatoes, slice them into chunks using a sharp knife in the can.
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- add the tomatoes, fennel, mustard powder, onion powder, basil, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. stir in meat and continue simmer.
- mix ricotta cheese, thyme and 1/3 C of mozzarella cheese.
- layer, starting with sauce, then noodles, ricotta mixture, and spinach. Repeat, finishing with noodles, then sauce, and remaining mozzarella cheese. I like to sprinkle a little exra basil on top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: bread, chickpeas, feta, pasta, spinach, tomatoes, vegetarian
THE PASTA – is a Shape Magazine dish, which i adapted in a few ways.
- 8 oz. farfalle pasta
- 2 T evoo
- 4 C baby spinach
- 1/3 C packed golden raisins (not just for color – the flavor is better)
- 1 3/4 C chickpeas (approx. one can)
- 4 oz. feta cheese (about 1/2 C)
- 1/2 C thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes
- S + P to taste
- chopped walnuts if desired.
- cook the pasta to al dente. drain, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat.
- while the pasta is still hot, add spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, and raisins. put the cover back on to help the spinach wilt a little.
- when the pasta has cooled, add the feta and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with walnuts if you like.
THE PULL APARTS – recipe was found on gourmet.com – and they were just as good as i had hoped. Joe observed that they taste a lot like cheeze-its, but have the texture of a bialy.
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon mild honey
- 2/3 cup warm milk (105–115°F), divided
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 Tbsp for sprinkling
- 1 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 t salt
- 3 large eggs
- 4 T unsalted butter, cut into T pieces and softened
- 1 tablespoon water
- Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.Whisk together flour (2 1/2 cups), cheese, and salt, then mix into yeast mixture along with remaining 1/3 cup warm milk at low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, until a very soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 Tbsp at a time, until dough is elastic, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape dough into center of bowl and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Punch down dough (do not knead) and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball by cupping your hand and pushing dough against work surface as you roll in a circular motion. Arrange rolls 1 inch apart in a buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pan and cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and dough fills pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
- Whisk together remaining egg with water and brush on tops of rolls. (You will have leftover egg wash.) Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Loosen edges of rolls from pan with a sharp knife and invert rolls onto a rack, then reinvert and cool at least 20 minutes.
In my cooking experience thus far, i have made potato gnocchi (with skins was a disaster), sweet potato gnocchi, and ricotta gnocchi. the ricotta gnocchi was tasty, but so rich and heavy that i don’t think i will ever make it again. Sweet potato gnocchi is probably my favorite, but i always struggle with what SAUCE to make for it. certainly not tomato, and i have an aversion to white sauces. tonight i was cooking for four guys and myself, so this regular potato gnocchi was a simple, filling, and cheap dish to make.
- 3 lbs potatoes, peeled (i used russet because they were on sale and we bought a big bag)
- 2 1/2 C all purpose flour (i substituted 1 C with white wheat and it was still good)
- 2t salt
- 1 1/2 eggs, lightly beaten (i hate being wasteful like this…)
- steam potatoes for 26 min, or until fully soft.
- mash them while they are still warm, getting out all the lumps you can.
- mix in eggs, flour, and salt.
- roll dough out on well floured counter, with floured hands, to form a 1/2″ diameter rope. cut into 1/4-1/2″ wide pieces and press dough into shape using a long-pronged fork.
- bring a large pot of salted water to rapid boil. cook the gnocchi just until they bob to the top – about 2-3 minutes. scoop them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain.
i have always struggeled trying to keep gnocchi warm after cooking them, and let them drain long enough so they don’t get soggy. i just do the best that i can to shake off extra water as i scoop them from the cooking pot.