Tag Archives: blanch

Lasagna, ft. Sausage, Kale and Cheese Trifecta

In my pantry today:

  • The butt-ends of two boxes of lasagna noodles
  • 1 freezer bag crock pot marinara (approx 3 c)
  • 1 freezer bag cooked ground Italian sausage (approx 3/4 c)
  • 3 medium leaves kale
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash salt

lasagnaThaw then marry your marinara and sausage in a medium-sized pot on the stove. Also start a large, oiled pot of water with an accompanying dash of salt. When your water begins to show signs of a boil, hold each leaf of kale by its stem and dip into the water for a count of 12. Wrap them in a clean towel and gently squeeze out all the water. Move them to the cutting board, remove stems and mince; set aside. Your pasta can go in now and cook until it’s a little too al dente to be al dente, then drain it and rinse with cold water until everything is chilled to room temperature.

Shred asiago cheese, set aside with mozzarella. Mix egg with ricotta cheese and dash salt. Rub a little olive oil inside a 6×6″ baking pan and begin layering by laying the most whole of your noodles along the bottom of the pan. Pour on 1/4 your sauce, scatter in half your kale bits, sprinkle 1/3 the asiago on, drop in dollops of ricotta and spread gently across the breadth of the pan, then add as complete a layer as you can with the noodle amputations and do this all again. Add a final layer of noodles, then add the rest of your sauce and top with the rest of your asiago and all of your mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake foil-covered pan in 350° oven for 45m, then take foil off and cook another 10-20m until optimum browning has occurred. Though next time I’d use more kale and sausage, this was still pretty good and worth all 4 spoons!

 

Mindbending ‘Mater Meat

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c blanched/diced tomatoes
  • 3 c cooked ziti
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 m Vidalia onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

So the store had a sale on tomatoes. And I bought eighteen of them. Don’t you judge me. As I’ve recently been on a blanching binge, this seemed no hard choice — it ended up being, however, a long and messy process to blanch, peel and dice that many tomatoes at once without much counter space. I ended up putting six cups of freshly blanched and diced tomatoes in the freezer, which made me feel very handy and thrifty. The other 3.5 c of diced ‘mater meat from this debacle was set aside.

Slice your onion and garlic as thinly as possible while the ghee melts on ML. Add oil and put in onion and garlic slices when ghee melts. Let everything simmer on ML for a minute, then increase heat to M and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7m. Stir vinegar into pot contents and reduce heat to ML; leave the pot’s side for 10m. When you return, stir in turmeric and red hot chili powder then add tomatoes and salt. Turn heat up to M and stir until it comes to a boil. Then walk away and return in a series of quick cycles every few minutes for the next hour. If after an hour the sauce is not yet at a consistency you like, reduce heat to ML and continue to slow boil until you get there. Be forewarned that this is a 2 person serving, so feel free to do the math on those ingredients to feed a larger crew. Serve mixed with the pasta of your choice and topped with Parmesan cheese. While delicious, this dish shows that my mind was more on ‘mater meat than on other seasonings I could’ve added — I recommend adding basil and/or oregano and/or anything else you might find in an Italian Seasoning blend from the store to try and grab that 5 spoon potential. 4 spoons!

Succulent Strawberries, Salad and Sauce

In my pantry today:

  • Rainbow salad with strawberry vinaigrette
  • Monday Marinara

To be fair, this is two days’ dinner in one lump sum; life is for the living, after all, and I have been doing a great deal of it lately. Yesterday I had to have several items meet their maker (through me rather than by nature’s wicked hand). I had just bought those strawberries and the next day showed why they had been on sale. Shelf life costs.

Rainbow salad:

  • 1 small head Butter lettuce
  • 4-5 leaves rainbow chard
  • 1 c quartered strawberries
  • 1 ear sweet white corn
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili powder

Take the corn off of the ear, raw, and mix with your crushed walnuts and red hot chili powder. Set aside. Chop everything to your personal liking; toss greens then layer on the corn/walnut mixture, tomatoes and strawberries. Top with…

Strawberry Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 c pureed fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 c pomegranate red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

The remainder of the strawberries were not rotten but were also not pretty. What couldn’t you make with those suckers after a trip through the food processor? Put all the ingredients in a cruet and shake heartily until emulsification happens. 4 spoons!

Monday Marinara:

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

And today there were four ripe-n-ready vine tomatoes on the counter that looked perfect to blanch. First thing was first; chop your onion and garlic and add to olive oil warming to ML in a large stove top vessel. While that’s doing it’s thing you’ll have time to blanch the tomatoes and dice up the skinless little goons. Sprinkle the naked chunks with salt and brown sugar then have them wait panside until the garlic begins to brown at the edges. Mix tomatoes in along with thyme, oregano and hot red chili powder. Let everything come to a boil and stir periodically for 10-15m. Reduce heat to L and let simmer until dinnertime. Ours was served over spinach tortellini and topped with Parmesan cheese. 4 spoons!