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My diet program doesn’t leave much space for noodly goodness, so I’ve been a lasagne slacker for the past year and some. But this past weekend I finally got off the couch and made 6 lasagnes. Each (except the vegetarian one, #5 below) got a pound of sausage in the meat layer. Each (except the no-onion one, #6 below) got a share of the 9 sautéed leeks and 2 red ginormous onions. All got some pesto (note to self, buy more pesto next time, you can’t have too much) and most got mushrooms. The bottom ricotta layer was the same for each; a share of the 4 lbs ricotta with 2 oz goat cheese and 3 oz thinly sliced garlic. The meat lasagnes also got a sprinkle of fried salami. I made three pots of sauce, one with extra onions, one with extra dried mushrooms, and one with no onions and extra garlic (for a friend who hates onions with a surprising passion). I didn't get fancy with the cheeses this time, because I wanted to see what the different sausages would be like.
#1, Whole grain noodles, hot Italian sausages from Draeger’s, fresh brown mushrooms.
#2, Whole grain noodles, hot Italian sausages from Dittmer’s, fresh brown mushrooms, 1 lb smoked cheese, fresh basil and parsley.
#3, No-boil noodles, mild Italian sausages from Draeger’s, 2 cups of mushroom duxelles from the freezer, extra-mushroom sauce (we ate this one for dinner).
#4, No-boil noodles, hot Italian sausages from safeway, fresh brown mushrooms.
#5, No-boil noodles, porcini and brown mushrooms, fresh basil and parsley, extra olives, extra-mushroom sauce.
#6, No-boil noodles, sweet Italian sausages from Trader Joe’s, porcini and brown mushrooms, fresh basil and parsley, no-onion sauce.

Click the lasagne tag below if you are wondering about other lasagnes, or look here for general instructions.
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For all I was worried about Mists Coronet, it went really, really well. Guards and Courtiers were there to help set up the principality pavilions at 7am, by 9am we were ready to start. Lists went smoothly, the Princess’s tea had many contributions (and sugar-seeking wasps, dammit!), finals were completed well ahead of time and final court went smoothly. It was amazing to see so many people pitch in to drop tents and get off site quickly. I’ve been a bit burnt out on 10% of the volunteers doing 90% of the work in the last couple of years, so it was good to see our community come together.

I slept most of the day on Sunday, but got up in time to make the lasagna of laziness. )
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I baked the porcini lasagne from Sunday last night and it was good, but not the best lasagne ever. I think porcini are better saved for risotto. It also needed more pesto. But it was good, if not great, and I saved a meal's worth for [livejournal.com profile] zoccolaro . I hope he shows up for dance practice tonight so I can give it to him.
Grandmother is still in the hospital, and given that her dementia is such she can't remember that she had surgery last week, hopefully she be able to stay for a little while. I've never really thought about how to administer medical care to someone who cannot remember anything. I wish there was something I could do for her. On the upside, neither of GM's parents have had a crises recently, and my mom's no worse than usual.
I'm not ready for the cook's playdate at West/AnTir yet. I need to pick out some recipes so I can do ingredient prep this weekend. GM's got his recipes picked out already, but they are all late period veggies from Castleverto, and some stuff from Scappi. I was thinking about picking out some lamb recipes from the Arabic corpus, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't try some Spanish stuff instead.
I have resisted the siren call of the vending machine for more than a week now. Hopefully soon it will be off my habitrail. I'm thinking about giving up alcohol from after the West/An-Tir war until after my next birthday to see if it matters to my blood pressure and (hopefully) summer weight loss. I need to learn to resist the Friday donuts at work too.
I've been thinking a lot about the SCA recently, prompted only in part by the potential dissolution of the Shire of Esfenn. I've been (nearly) office-free for almost three years now. I'm not sure being office-free has actually reduced my stress levels.
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I love making lasagna. I’d been idly thinking about making more the past week or two, but this morning at the farmer’s market it became imperative once I saw all that lovely basil.
Today’s lasagna is sponsored in part by [livejournal.com profile] zoccolaro , who brought me two bottle of sauce after I got home from the farmer’s market and discovered I had less than I thought I did.
Here Speaks the Queen of Lasagne )
Mom had finally returned my copy of the Blues Brothers (one of the best cooking movies of all time) so I turned it on while in the kitchen.
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GM’s got a house full of musicians, so I’ve escaped to southern California to visit my parents for the long weekend.  Mom’s been recovering from surgery this week, so I’ve been trying to get the kitchen clean and fill the freezer with food.  Not that there was much space in the freezer (heh, at least I now know my tendency to food hoard under stress is come by honestly).
Sauce was just three bottles of Classico, some Big House red wine, and dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon). Barilla no-boil noodles.  From the bottom up: Sauce, noodles, whole milk ricotta, sliced zucchini, chopped garlic, sauce. Noodles, onions & shallots (sautéed in the oil from the pesto bottle), sausage, pesto, cheese, and sauce. Noodles, chopped basil & flat leaf parsley, cheese, lots of sauce, more cheese!.  The first lasagne was baked immediately, and was a little plain. I thought the ricotta layer was too dry. Mom and Dad liked it, so I guess that’s all the matters. The second lasagne went into the freezer for later.
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I'd volunteered to help with the food plan for Estrella this weekend. Fortunately, last Monday I wrote to the coordinator to ask about scheduling because (back in my day!) Estrella was a weekend event. I thought I'd be able to hand the lasagnas over on Sunday. Whoops! So instead of making lasagne on Saturday as planned, I did ingredient prep on Tuesday and did the stacking and baking part on Thursday. It worked pretty well, aided by my cleaning lady coming on Wednesday.
Three little lasgnes, all the same: bottom layer sauce, noodles, ricotta with goat cheese and egg, zucchini rounds, thin-sliced garlic, sprinkle of cheese (cheese mix: 2 lbs mozzarella, 1/2 lb emmentaller and 1/2 lb gruyere) and a little sauce. 2nd layer: noodles, meat (2 lbs spicy Italian sausages, 1 lb mild sausages from Dittmer's and 1/4 lb salami chopped and fried), pesto, onion mix (white onions, shallots and leeks chopped fine and cooked in the salami grease), more sauce and cheese. 3rd layer: noodles, chopped artichokes, sauce and lots of cheese!  I also made a fourth lasagne with mushrooms (reduced with shallots) instead of artichokes, but that one went into the freezer for a future dinner.
The anxiety-inducing moment was in the middle of ingredient-prep on Tuesday my dad called to say mom was getting an unexpected cat scan after her surgery. My dad never calls. He must have been very worried. She's all right now, after several drug fuck-ups that extended her hospital stay until late on Sunday. I'm not sure why anybody bothers to keep charts anymore, obviously nobody reads the damn things. Grr! 

On Saturday, GM made dinner, inclduing a savory 

Souffled Corn and Cheddar Pudding (Gourmet, March 1983)  )

Souffled Corn and Cheddar Pudding (Gourmet, March 1983) )

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I'm still at my mother in law's. She's a bit gimpy from back pain and I'm a little worried about leaving her on Sunday. But I want to so desperately to be at my house, with my sweetie and my cats it's (very nearly) overriding any guilt I may have at leaving. 

I made [info]tafelspitz's pasta in chicken broth on Thursday (1 small box Swanson's Natural Goodness low-salt chicken broth, 2 servings of spaghetti broken into small pieces, and about 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Bring the broth to a simmer and add pieces of spaghetti. Wait, stirring occasionally until broth is almost gone. Put on plates and cover with grated parmesan. That's it. Really.) and she really really liked it. I've left instructions, and I hope she'll make it again, but I'm not holding my breath.

I made a lasagne in a big pie pan, as she has no 9x11 pyrexes. It looks wrong, but tasted ok.
Sauce: 1 bottle Classico roasted garlic sauce, 1 cup Big House Red wine, 1 tiny can tomato paste, 1 15 oz can petit chopped tomatoes, a palm full of dried basil, a 1/2 palm full of "greek" oregano, 1 big pinch dried rosemary, 1 bigger pinch dried thyme, and apx 3 Tbl red wine vinegar.
Sauce on the bottom of the pan, layer of no-boil barilla noodles that had been soaked in hot water, layer of ricotta with 1/2 onion and 6 cloves thin-sliced garlic sautéed in bacon grease, gentle sprinkling of grated mozzarella, sauce. Another layer of noodles, browned mild Italian sausage, generous sprinkling of grated mozzarella, about 2 Tbl pesto and about 1 Tbl of dried basil. Another layer of noodles, 1 cup of shopped fresh parsley, a generous sprinkling of grated mozzarella, a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan, and then about 1 up (total) of chopped green olives stuffed with garlic, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, and marinated mushrooms. Coved in plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight and then baked at 375 for an hour.
She liked it, but it really needed more pesto and less dried basil. It was ok for an unadventurous lasagne. It still looks weird to me, as I'm so used to the natural form of lasagne being a 9x11 pan, but hopefully I'll get over it. I'm going to pack up the leftovers for the freezer so she has some ready meals for next week.

::channeling Scarlett:: As G-d as my witness, I will never make lasagne without a dishwasher again!!!

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Tonight’s lasagne is another attempt at a white lasagne. Based partly on [profile] j_i_m_r’s suggestion in a previous lasagna thread and partly on Introducing Four-Cheese Lasagna in Cook’s Illustrated magazine, May&June 2007 (page 18-19).
For this lasagna I made a white sauce of 4 Tbl butter, garlic, 1 minced shallot, 1/3 c flour, 2 1/2 c milk, 1 1/2 c duck broth, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 bay leaves, Gruyere cheese, and parmesan cheese. I made a cheese layer of 1 tub of Trader Joe’s ricotta (drained), 1 egg, 1 head of garlic (previouly confited in duck fat), 2 tbl chopped parsley, 2 oz chevre (goat cheese), 1/2 tesp black pepper. For  the meat layer, I chopped up six smoked duck legs from Dittmer’s, removing as much fat as I could (the bones went into the broth).
Stacking: Coated the bottom of a big lasagna pan with oil from the jar of pesto, and added some of the white sauce. Layer of noodles (Barilla no-boil noodles soaked in hot water and the remaining duck broth). Layer of ricotta mixture (about 1 ½ cups). ½ cup of caramelized onions.  Layer of noodles. Duck meat, apx 8 oz gorgonzola cheese, pesto,  the remaining ricotta mixture, more white sauce. Layer of noodles. Chopped sun-dried tomatoes, all the white sauce, and apx 6 oz asiago cheese. Bake 350. It’s still in the oven, but it smells really good so far.
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Last Tuesday, I was working from home. One of the things I like about working from home is I can wear my most comfortable pair of jeans which, while almost passable for running errands on a Saturday morning, are no longer in the category of office wear. GM had to take one of those medical tests you have to starve yourself for, so in interests of being a good wife, I dropped him off and went to get him a smoothie. Smoothie in my hot little hands, I headed back to pick him up. Have you noticed in a fit of generosity, Jambajuice overfills their cups slightly? It doesn't matter if you drink it right away, but if you don't it soon leaks around the lid and leaves raspberry colored stains on your pants.
I did manage to make it through the rest of my afternoon at home with only the usual amount of cat fur on my jeans.
In a desperate attempt to reduce the amount of leftovers & random ingredients in the kitchen, I made a lasagne (from the bottom up: sauce, boiled noodles, 1 lb drained ricotta, 6 fat cloves of garlic (chopped), 1 zucchini sliced thin, apx 6 ounces olive tapenade, sprinkle of grated smoked mozzarella cheese, no-boil noodles, 2 Aidell's portabella sausages (chopped), 2 Aidell's garlic and artichoke sausages (chopped), 1 cup caramelized onions, apx 8 oz Classico pesto, sprinkle of grated smoked mozzarella cheese, boiled noodles, 1 3/4 cup mushroom duxelle (shitakes, milk, provolone, shallots), smoked tomato sauce, all remaining grated smoked mozzarella cheese (1 1/2 pounds total), garnished with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella balls.) All went well until I tried to move the still-warm lasagna into the fridge. One slip, one wave of lasagne and there was cheese&tomoato sauce on the oven, the floor, my feet, and my pants. There was much cussing. A very wide spatual is the tool of choice for scooping up the sad remains. I felt like Kryten, "Bon Appetit, Bin!". Most of the lasagne is ok.
Still not sure the shitake mushrooms were the best choice, but we'll see what GM thinks.

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GM and I did end up going to South Dakota last weekend. The visit to my brother's family went smoothly, and we all went to the WalMart portrait studio to get a picture taken. Mission Accomplished. We also went to see my eldest nephew in a community theatre production of Fiddler on Roof.

This weekend, GM's in Wisconsin at the Ring of Steel reunion. RoS is his old stage-combat troop. I hope he's having fun. I know I'm old&dull now; I woke up Saturday morning and realized the only constraint on my behavior (other than G-d and peer-like qualities) was 2,355 miles away and my next thought was ooo! I could have egg salad for lunch!

I made a veggie lasagne for next weekend {the usual sauce and no-boil noodles 1) drained ricotta with goat cheese, thin-sliced garlic, sliced zucchini, 2) cheese, pesto, chopped artichokes, chopped white-only leeks  3) portabella mushrooms cooked down with shallots, milk, and provolone, 4) chopped fresh basil, cheese, green garlic-stuffed olives, fresh tomatoes}. I also made Alton Brown's crepes. They are sadly disappointing.

The garden is in a terrible state. I've paid little attention to it all summer and the weeds are taking over the herb garden. Even more unhappily, last Monday I went out to look at the plum tree and thought "I should pick those this weekend" and when I went out Saturday morning, they were all gone. Not sure if it was the squirrels or the birds but not a single plum is left on the tree. 

GM's brother Peter is headed our way for a visit. I'm looking forward to seeing him, even though I have a small selfish wish he was coming in a less busy week. We're teaching a class in Cloondara on Tuesday, and I'm hoping that's the same day Peter will want to go to the city.

I like working from home. You see different things during the day than you do in the morning and evening. When you lean back at your desk to stretch you can think, in your best Wesley voice "My G-d what is that thing?", before running off to get the extensible duster.
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So I'm thinking about making an experimental lasagne this Sunday. I'd like to make a lasagne with duck meat (probably smoked breast, chopped fine), caramelized onions and a layer of mushroom Duxelles (probably porcini). But I can't decide about the cheese. I'll probably stay with Ricotta for the white layer, but for other cheese.....GM suggested conte cheese, so I might go with that, or an aged, smoked mozzarella.
I guess I don't really have to decide until I get to the Milk Pail this afternoon. Anybody have a good idea on what sort of cheese would go here? It's an otherwise ordinary tomato-based lasagne as described in previous posts.
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Waiting for files to finish downloading is one of the most boring aspects of my job. That, and installing/uninstalling/reinstalling the product over and over again.

I'm going to make some lasagnas this weekend. I need to take one to my BrotherInLaw Rik when we go to visit him next weekend, so I'm going to do the sausage experiment I've been putting off. I've explored most of the lasagna parameters, but I've neglected variations on the meat layer. The last batch, which turned out very well, contained Italian sausages from the Tasty Salty Pig Parts People. I can't get those for this weekend, sadly they have no retail outlet, so I'm going to try some chicken/basil/sundried tomato sausages from Schaub's Meat Fish and Poultry. I got another kind of sausage from them, but I can't remember what it is now. I'll get some Hot Italian Sausage from Dittmer's and perhaps I'll check the meat counter at Whole Foods too. I've never made a lasagna with chicken sausage before, I hope it works as it would make feeding the nonporky people easier.

Yes, "making lasgane" means making 6-9 pans of lasagne. I have a big freezer.

3 minutes remaining.

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GM and I played hooky from dance practice tonight. We went to a concert of medieval music at Stanford, staring[info]falzalot. It was really very pretty. Italian madrigals are quite different from English madrigals. Uh-oh, I might have learned something.
Got home and found a frantic message from Mumsey, pleading for the Queen of Lasagne to call her and give help. My evil plot to rid the world of bad stoffer's lasgne is coming to fruition, she volunteered to make lasagne for her church group when one of the other ladies threatened her with store-bought.  Heh.


Here Speaks the Queen of Lasagne )


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