Archive | September, 2012

Hey Cabbage, Go Stuff It!

28 Sep

We were watching tv the other day, and I looked over a john and just said “Stuffed Cabbage”. He looked over at me. We locked eyes. No words needed to be exchanged. We both knew. It was happening.

And that is how we get to today’s post: Stuffed Cabbage in homemade tomato sauce from { Smitten Kitchen }

Fresh Tomato Sauce – Smitten Kitchen

Alex’s Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage – Smitten Kitchen

This is another really great site to get inspiration from. I can lose myself here for hours thinking every 5 minutes or so “YES I’m going to make that!” The recipes are really easy to follow, and have all been really wonderful.

I’ve never made stuffed cabbage before, and I’m not sure why, because I love stuffed cabbage. Love it. Now I went back and forth between which type to go for: the full savory, or the savory/sweet (which usually includes raisins and a hint of cinnamon). I went with the full savory persuasion since, well that’s what I found, but I’d like to explore the other type eventually. But first thing’s first: making the tomato sauce in which to cook das cabbage rolls.

I’ve read lots of recipes using fresh tomatoes and peeling them (or you can use canned tomatoes, which are pre-skinned…guess which EASIER type of tomato I’ve always gone with), and since ’tis the season of tomatoes, I took the plunge and peeled them myself.

1. Cut X’s on the Bottom of the tomatoes
2. Blanche in boiling water for 10 seconds(ish), then place into an ice bath to stop the cooking
3. Let Cool
4. Peel those skins off!

Skinning tomatoes is slimy and there is just something that feels vulgar about it. It also took longer than I thought (keep in mind it was my first time MY FIRST TIME), so while I’m on Quarter-Life Retirement I will be peeling guy own tomatoes. Once I get a job, it’s back to’a the cans. And that’s what I have to say about that.

The rest of the sauce recipe is super easy, and tasty! Sauté your mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery, with the addition of garlic) for about 10 minutes to get a nice caramel-y flavor, add the tomatoes, mash them up a bit, simmer for 45 minutes. While this was simmering, I began the meat stuffing.

Meat. Grated Veggies. Rice (I used brown). Tomato Paste.

Also I prepped the cabbage: take the core out, pour boiling water over it and let sit for 10 minutes.

Have you heard a better name than “Meat Stuffing?” Neither have I…

Well well well, I don’t know if I didn’t let the cabbage sit long enough in the water, but sweet jesus it was hard to peel the leaves and keep them intact. It was even HARDER to actually roll these fellas since the leaves kept snapping and were not pliable. What the cuss. I did my best, and even tried putting the cabbage under hot water again…nothing seemed to work.

I can feel the frustration rising just looking at these pictures

I kind of patched together pieces of cabbage leaves around the meat, and set them into the pot of sauce (taking out half the sauce and the topping the cabbage with the sauce so each piece was covered).

…stupid leaf rolling

Let these simmer covered for about 45 minutes and POW you got yourself some stuffed cabbage rolls! I was so surprised how well these turned out considering how poorly I wrapped them. Funny story: at 45 minutes the rice wasn’t quite cooked through, but I was STARVING so I still ate 2 of them. Two, overly crunchy, bland rolls. Oh, did I forget to mention I didn’t season these at all? Because I didn’t. Normally when it comes to seasoning I’m on top of it, but since I couldn’t taste the RAW meat filling, I was afraid to add too much salt, so I just added a pinch. It should have been a strong whisper of salt. Even with undercooked rice and no salt, they were still REALLY great. But not to worry, I added some salt to the pot and let them cook about 25 minutes longer, so the rice is al dente, and the salt…well, it still needs more salt, but that’s a quick fix for each individual taste.

You’re right, it needs a side of mashed potatoes…topped with cheese

Fig, Olive Oil, and Kosher Salt Challah. CHALLAH!

27 Sep

Baking has always been a little intimidating to me, There is just so much SCIENCE behind it! When you want to make a double batch, you can’t just double the recipe because of the ratio of leavening agents (baking soda/powder, yeast, you know, stuff my ancestors didn’t have when they made matzoh).

Sidenote: what is the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?  They are both (as I mentioned before) leavening agents, which means they work with the other ingredients to create carbon dioxide which makes the baked goods rise Rise RISE! Well I took the liberty of looking into these happy cousins (and I threw yeast in there for just shits and gigs), here are some specifics

  • Baking Soda :: 100% Sodium Bicarbonate. It needs to be combined with a liquid AND an acid in order to create the chemical reaction to awake the awesome power of…itself. The carbon dioxide bubbles expand under oven temperatures (so be sure to bake immediately after mixing!).
  • Baking Powder :: Mainly Sodium Bicarbonate, but also has it’s own acid included (usually cream of tartar or corn starch). It also needs to be mixed with a liquid to activate  its self. Technically you can substitute this for Baking Soda, but it’ll probably affect the taste, and you’ll need a different amount, but c’mon friend, you’re playing with fire. Bite the bullet and pay the…what, $0.79 for Baking Soda which will last you about 4 years. You can also make your own Baking Powder by mixing Baking Soda with…you guessed it, Cream of Tartar, but then again…$.079….
  • Yeast :: And now we’re getting into organic territory. The previous 2 agents create chemical reactions, where yeast is a LIVING THING…and also gives bread that awesome yeast flavor (and let’s not forget beer, sweet, sweet beer). Yeast also needs a liquid to be activated, but in order to create the carbon dioxide it feeds on sugar. It eats the sugar, and dispels carbon dioxide.

And here we are. Baking anxiety. I’ve had plenty of loafs not work out because my yeast was old, or I didn’t let it dissolve properly, or I sub-consciously sabotaged myself, and so every time I start a baking project (from scratch, of course), I get a little nervous. But, c’mon, if you saw this could you say no:

Fig, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt Challah – Smitten Kitchen

Holy crap. This looked amazing, and it tastes AMAZING. I dove right in, and it worked out so well. I was apprehensive to work with figs because I HATED fig newtons when I was younger because they looked like chocolate, but they weren’t chocolate. They were gross fruit masked in a delicious dark color. Stupid Fig Newtons. So I’d say this is the first time I’ve gone out of my way to interact with a fig. We got along quite nicely.

Hello pile of sweet seedy stones

So while I’m letting the dough rise (eat that sugar yeast!), I made the fig “paste”, which also leads me to the point in the story when I didn’t follow a specific direction. I had the figs chopped up and everything in the sauce pan

Would you believe this is the most tan I’ve been in about 5 years?

And then once it was made, I thought “hmm, I thought the figs would break down since it looks so velvety smooth in the photos”. Well a food processor makes things velvety smooth, a food processor step that a certain someone completely looked over. Sigh. Which made “spreading” it in the dough a little difficult

Thank god for counter space

But I rolled it up regardless, and MASTERED the intricate wrappings of the fig-filled tubes

CHECK THAT OUT!! At Zingerman’s they call it a “Challah Turban”

And baaaaZING

Sweet sweet beauty

I’ve made a few Challah in my day (scroll down to see more) and this is the only one I’ve ever double egg washed, but it did give it a great deep brown color. Also, it started browning too early, so I had to wrap it in tin foil during the last 10 minutes, which I have never had to do before, but a great tip! After the egg wash you top it with some additional salt (which is also in the fig paste, I also used Kosher salt rather than sea salt since that’s what I had and I don’t bend for anyone). If you’ve ever had salted caramel, you’ll understand how amazing the salt interacts with the sweet figs. I would probably put even more on if I could go back in time (funny story, I just saw Back To The Future about a month ago for the first time, I finally understand all the references!).

My past Challahs (all taken with cell phones…and of course I included this one just because…)

I can’t complain about any one of these. I love challah, and homemade Challah just adds to the excitement. Shalom!

Wow, this bread is AMAZING. I waited maybe a full 50 seconds for it to cool before I took a slice out and then my eyes cartoon popped out of my head. I actually like the chunks of fig woven throughout, rather than in a sweet succulent and velvety paste (ok, I am curious what it would be like, but NO REGRETS). Please please please try this recipe (and post pictures! I want to see) because it is impressive looking, and so so good!

Shana Tova (Happy Jewish New Year!) It’s actually Yom Kippur today, can you believe how time flies, it’s already 5773!

 

Eating All The Vegetables

24 Sep

You wake up. Head pounding. Mouth dry. All you want to do is scrub out your insides with soap and water. You “had too much fun” the night before (read: drank too much). What do you do? Eat a giant burrito, brew some coffee, and watch a True Life marathon. Now you know what your body is craving? VEGETABLES. Suddenly the idea of shot-gunning a cucumber doesn’t seem so strange, does it? Well thank goodness I have a basket overflowing with vegetables from the farmer’s market and my mom’s garden (…and possibly some stolen vegetables in there from someone who never harvests their goods, I’M DOING YOU A FLAVOR).

What’s on the docket? Alice Water’s Ratatouille from Food52.com and some oven roasted tomatoes. We’re in that magical time where tomatoes are plentiful and are like GOLD. For those of you who say “I don’t really like tomatoes” and order sandwiches without the tomato, and complain about them and yadda yadda, well you can go suck an egg (a term which is not nearly used enough anymore). Tomatoes are one of god’s natural gifts to man. They’re tangy, acidic, full of antioxidants, and are shaped like a heart (with chambers and everything). Yes, a tomato bought at a non-organic store in the middle of Winter is not good. An heirloom tomato bought at a Farmer’s Market in late Summer, however, will make you cry. Still not convinced? Try some oven roasted tomatoes. The slow roasting at a low-ish temperature brings out the natural sweetness in these red gems, and plus, they’re topped with garlic and olive oil, what’s not to like?? It’s ridiculously easy.

  • Heat oven to 325 F
  • Cover sheet pan with olive oil or parchment paper (I like parchment paper since it makes thing 1000% easier to clean)
  • Take some tomatoes.
  • Cut them into quarters/halves/eighths depending on size.
  • Put them skin-side down on baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil. Top with salt and pepper.
  • Chop up some garlic. Sprinkle on top of the tomatoes.
  • Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
  • Enjoy with everything (put these in grilled cheese, it’s like a swanky new way to enjoy grilled cheese and tomato soup, except the tomato is IN the sandwich…so meta…).

Bing. Bong. Boom.
One of the best parts of this recipe is it makes your house smell AMAZING with sweet sweet sultry amazing roasted tomatoes. I’m a fan, can you tell?

Don’t be afraid if they look burned, that is just the sweet caramel-y essence of the tomato coming out. The juices in the tomatoes are being cooked down, so what is left over is a concentrated version of…well, everything I’ve been going on and on about.

While these are cooking down, I start’a the Ratatouille (Italian hand gesture). I made this dish earlier this week because I went overboard at the Farmer’s Market and bought tons and tons of vegetables. And this recipe happens to use EVERYTHING I bought. I’ve had some terrible Ratatouille in the past, yet I’ve always heard how great it can be. So after years of not caring enough to do anything about it, here I am, with a story to tell.

Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Eggplant, Garlic, Onion (red AND white), Sweet Peppers, Large Patty Pan Squash, Zucchini, Basil, oh MY

Look at that color! Holy crap! It’s just beautiful, I took probably 50 pictures of this set up because I just wanted to make sure I could fully capture the beauty of it all. I added red onion and tomatillos to this, which is different from the recipe.

Sidenote: Tomatillos. My mom brought me a bunch of tomatillos this weekend, and I plan to make some salsa verde soon, but I thought I’d pop these in because hey, why not. I know nothing about these guys, and the paper exterior puzzles me, frankly. When I peeled them the skin under the paper was…sticky. WHY WOULD IT BE STICKY.

One Tomatillo. Two Tomatillo. Thre-nevermind, just two.

But they broke down nicely in the stew (it’s easier than typing Ratatouille) and I think gave gave it a nice new dimension. Hey, onto some veggie pictures:

At one point you sauté the onions with some red pepper flakes and basil, and this smells AMAZING. Just. Amazing. It deserved it’s own photo op.

And then you add the other veggies slowly and…..

Mine looks more mushy and yellow, yes, but the flavors don’t’a lie!

So now that I have roasted tomatoes and veggie “stew” what do I do now? I pair them with some delicious toasted Zingerman’s Detroit St. Sourdough bread (it’s topped with fennel, poppy, and sesame seeds, goes well with EVERYTHING), and cheeses. Now, these vegetables would stand up on their own, but what’s a little cheese and tasty bread? The “stew” I paired with some fresh mozzarella (now I’m talking rich and creamy mozzarella ball, freshly sliced, not flaky pre-grated kraft stuff) and placed under the broiler for a bit. The tomatoes I paired with some fresh goat cheese and basil leaves. Are you jealous? I’m jealous just thinking about it. Why am I not always eating this meal??

I had to alternate bites between each one for this. I truly didn’t have a favorite, they were equally amazing. I had a real internal struggle about which one would be my last bite. I smashed them together for a “last hoorah” mega-bite. True story.

Sugar (and flour) Free Chocolate and Date Cake

20 Sep

I noticed my cooking has been lacking items of the sweet persuasion lately, so I decided to do something about it. While keeping a health-conscious hat on my head, I revisited { Green Kitchen Stories } to find this tasty little treat:

Sugar Free Chocolate and Date Cake – Green Kitchen Stories

After making two different cakes from this website, I have found a new appreciation for dates. They are a great way to give texture as well as sweetness to baked goods without the use of sugar. Similar to how pumpkin can be used as a great substitute for oil (don’t worry, I’ll be delving into pumpkin items later, and the uncanny LOVE women have for all pumpkin related items. Go ahead, prove me wrong).

So this recipe doesn’t use ANY sugar or flour, and after looking at the pictures on their website, I truly didn’t think there was any way it could actually have a cake-like texture, but I plowed on like the survivor that I am. Some of the items that give the most flavor to the cake:

I’m starting to really like dates. Someone pass this information on to John. BaZING!

Originally it calls for fresh dates, but I said “pshhht” and used dried dates rehydrated in water for an hour (and by hour I mean about 3 hours because I forgot about them) and unsweetened chocolate, but I used bittersweet chocolate (because unsweetened chocolate isn’t fun to snack on while you’re baking!). I also used the same chocolate bar from the few squares I put in the Romesco Sauce (2 birds, 1 stone).

First we do a quick processing of the dates and almonds (see picture below) and then add everything else.

I just realized, I probably have too many photos of things in my food processor. I don’t know why I’m so drawn to this shot!

Now I didn’t have great luck trying to pulverize these two together as the dates kept sticking together and getting wedged under the blades, so I added the lemon zest and juice, along with 2 of the eggs (and added some vanilla because yumm) to give it some liquidity and had much better luck. It also whipped up the eggs a bit, which I hope gave it some texture. Then after that all you do is mix everything together and bake. EASY! And while it was cooking, wouldn’t you know it, I found my camera tri-pod! Yes we’ve lived here over a month and still have tons of boxes left to open, and don’t I not have a job? Well I’d appreciate it if you to keep your judgey-jugdemental thoughts to yourself. Just look at how awesome the tri-pod makes everything look:

Boom. Diggety.

How does it have that texture?!

Another cutting board man, the best background for a photo shoot!

Great great cake! It’s not super sweet, but it’s sweet enough to be a post-meal treat, filling enough to be coffee’s counterpoint to breakfast, and accessible enough to eat all day. Love it. It’s really great warm and at room temperature, but after a day I put it in the fridge for fear of going bad. It was still fine after the fridge, but wasn’t AS good.

The Art of The Leftover (Plus Some Hard Cider)

19 Sep

So remember that obscene amount of Romesco sauce I had in leftovers? Well, not to worry, I have become a master at leftovers (and, subsequently extra ingredients that were bought and not fully used for recipes…but then again, quarter-life retirement = time to figure out what to do/use said items…I digress…). The best thing to eat Romesco sauce with in Spain? Charred calçots, something like a giant green onion. Well I live in Michigan where those aren’t available! The second (a very close second) best thing? Grilled artichokes. Oh wait Erica, you don’t have a grill. That’s ok, YOU HAVE A MICROWAVE!

Sidenote: photo of my mom (and a fraction of my sister’s left side) in Barcelona eating calçots and artichokes with Romesco sauce. They give you paper bibs and plastic gloves because charred vegetables are MESSY. You wear them proudly and then stuff your face. Notice in the foreground the delicious glass of Cava. Also, a lone carrot.

Do you see the look in her eyes? She’s thinking “it’s go time” to that Calçot

So I finally stopped at The Produce Station here in Ann Arbor and Jesus Christ do the amazing food places to shop here ever end? I knew I could make great use of the Romesco sauce with some cooked artichokes. They had 2 choices: normal artichokes at $2.99/each, or baby artichokes at $3.99/lb. I went with 4 baby artichokes for about $4.50. I also picked up a hard cider from Vander Mill that caught my eye. Go figure. And guess what was right next door that I’d never been to either: Biercamp. A somkery/meatery/artisan sausage place. goddamnitsogood. So naturally I had to pick up some turkey jerky. And beef bologna (and for those of you who turn your nose up at bologna, you’ve obviously never had a slice from a non-oscar meyer loaf). And McClure’s Dill Pickle Chips. The best part? My total at Biercamp was only $8!

So onto leftover dinner:

Ohhh baby, antipasto meals are my favorite types of meals

  • Small white containers = leftover Romesco sauce, cornichons (mini gherkins) and kalamata olives (the olives are actually leftover from the lasagna, did I just blow your mind?).
  • Marble cheese slicer = ricotta salata (from the Romesco sauce meal)
  • Red plate = artichokes bought earlier; leftover tomatoes from the Romesco sauce, oven roasted (actually, I didn’t roast them long enough, and they are store bought and non-flavorful, so INGORE THOSE), turkey jerky, and beef bologna.
  • Green place = Toasted Zingerman’s Paesano bread

Delightful.

And to go with it: Vander Mill Cider’s Totally Roasted. A hard cider made with cinnamon roasted pecans.

The best meal accompaniments are of the alcoholic persuasion. Or water, you can never drink enough water.

I was super excited to have this. I’ve never been too interested in cider in the past because once you have a Woodchuck cider at any point in your adulthood you’re ready to throw in the towel. Too sweet. Overpowering. Gross. But over the past few years I’ve really gained a liking for hard cider. When made right it’s almost like a dry effervescent white wine. Effervescent.

This was nice and non-overpoweringly-sweet, but…I was expecting more spice. You can notice it in the aftertaste, but not so much in the actual…taste. It’s still a great cider, but after reading the description, and being told when I bought it “it’s like spiced apple pie” (side note: I’m more of a chocolate and/or coconut pie lady myself…perhaps an upcoming post..?…), I was a little let down. I’m actually attending a Vander Mill hard cider tasting next Thursday, so I’m going to reserve my final judgement until the conclusion of the tasting. But hey, I’m still enjoying this bottle (that’s right, still, I’m typing this with my left hand as I effortlessly sip Totally Roasted with my right…).

But, in essence, the art of leftovers is to take what you have, and try to maximize it with minimal additional purchases. If you have a great example of transforming leftovers, I’d love to hear about it! (for example: leftover chicken into chicken salad, I WANT A CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE!)

Linguine with Wahoo and Romesco

18 Sep

Stephanie Izzard. The only female to win Top Chef. Owner and Chef of Girl and the Goat in Chicago. Author of Girl in the Kitchen. I’m a big fan. I received this book for Christmas last year, and couldn’t be more excited. Over the past year my Amazon Wishlist keeps growing with more and more cookbooks. Although there is a wealth of culinary knowledge and opportunities, there will never be a substitute for a physical, bursting-at-the-seams with deliciousness cookbook. I love them. 

I dove right into this book and looked over EVERY recipe, with the equal thoughts of “OH MY GOD THAT LOOKS SO GOOD” and “WHAT THE HELL IS _____”. What I mean is that this is the type of cookbook that uses a lot of the more obscure ingredients that you wouldn’t normally have in your pantry. Or, at least I wouldn’t and don’t. It’s intimidating, and sometimes you just can’t find the ingredient (fortunately, I haven’t had that problem since moving to Ann Arbor since this town is any foodie’s DREAM), but it’s really great because it opens the door for some flavors and ingredients you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to taste and use! Just make sure you don’t buy too much and then have no idea how to use the leftovers (ahem…buttermilk…)

I’ve been eyeing the “Linguine with Monkfish and Romesco” for a few months now, and have never even attempted it since it just seemed too time-consuming for the professional gal-on-the-go that I was. Well how do you do Quarter-Life-Retirement! Now that I have the time, I did the crime, er, made this dish. Unfortunately I can’t paste a link for the recipe, and I don’t want to copy it here since you should really buy this book! Try to stay entertained though…

So after reading Stephanie’s great intro to the dish I came to the line about the Monkfish that says “I couldn’t believe something so gnarly looking could taste so good” and I was intrigued. Then I looked up what it looked like. Prepare yourself:

My face takes up 38% of my body

Whole. Ee. Crap. Can you imagine seeing that in real life?! IN THE WATER!?

By now you’re probably asking yourself “Why is she talking about the Monkfish when the title says Wahoo. NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE” and you’re right, nothing does many sense anymore. But in regards to the fish, it is NOT easy to find the Monkfish. And when you do, it’s pretty expensive ($30/lb), which for me is just out of the question. So I settled on the Wahoo fish since I’ve never had it before ($12.99/lb), and I was told it was a solid-fleshed white fish. Although, the Monkfish apparently has a lobster-like texture so now all I want to do is try it! One day, my friends. I’m not very well-versed with home fish-cooking, so any trip I make to the seafood counter is intimidating, especially this trip since I didn’t know anything about the fish I was looking for. C’mon Erica, you couldn’t take 4 minutes to do a little aquatic research!

Another awesome thing about this dish is that it uses Romesco sauce. I was in Barcelona, Spain for a week this past January, and we had Romesco sauce at least once a day. It’s hard to explain, because it’s like a tomatoey peppery nutty bready thick tasty sauce that goes well with EVERYTHING. Each sauce you’ll have is a little different as everyone has their own recipe. This one, for example, has 19 ingredients (bittersweet chocolate, roasted tomatoes, wine, parsley, hazelnuts, ancho chiles, brown sugar, soy sauce…and 11 others) and it is TASTY. I’m so excited I’ve been able to make this sauce because I’ve been wanting it for over 7 months now.

Amen Mr. President

So…onto the photos

Who wants to use tomatoes when you can use OVEN ROASTED WITH GARLIC TOMATOES
(if you can’t read the middle, it says 400 degrees & 35 minutes later…sorry for my poor choice in font, I was just too lazy to change it)

I made the Romesco sauce a few hours before I finished up the dish and *spoiler alert* the whole thing really didn’t take as long as I thought! All these wasted months not making it….all because of my silly false thoughts. This sauce was definitely the most time-consuming portion, but it was not highly involved. Roast tomatoes. Toast Nuts.

Why is everything better toasted?

Assemble lots of random ingredients that you would never think to put together.

Toasted Paseno bread, parsley, bittersweet chocolate, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sure, why not?

Toss them all into a big pot that was cooking onions and white wine. Simmer for 40 minutes.

See that beautiful paprika on top? It’s smoked paprika from Spain, I’m so JAZZED I get to use my foreign spices for legitimate use!

Now at this point I’m instructed to ladle the sauce into a blender. I don’t have a blender. But what I lack in blender I more than make up for in food processor and immersion blender. Don’t have an immersion blender? GET ONE. It’s like a hand held blender/whip cream whipper/egg beater/super chopper/more in one! And you know it’s almost squash soup season…the perfect application for Mr. Immersion Blender.

Look at that color! Beautiful!

I was a little concerned that the nuts in the sauce would prove to be too much for the immersion blender but it tore through those suckers like nothin’. I’m sure simmering them for 40 minutes had something to do with that.

From there you basically pan fry the fish, sauté the rapine/brocolini, and serve it all together with a light grating of Ricotta Salata (a delightful cheese made from salting, pressing, and drying ricotta. Just delightful). I was actually able to have someone at the cheese counter cut me down a wedge that I would use (I didn’t need a $8 hunk of cheese I don’t typically use…OR DO I).

Boom. Diggety.

I have a TON of Romesco left, which is fine with me. I’m planning on getting some fresh artichokes, and scooping the sauce up with the leaves. You can use it like hummus, marinara, or anything else that goes with everything. Everything.

World’s Greatest Vegetable* Lasagna

14 Sep

Hear ye! Hear ye! I have branched out and used a new site for a recipe!

I came across Green Kitchen Stories through pinterest a little over a month ago when I saw this tasty little treat { A “Healthier” Carrot Cake }. I made this about a week before I started this blog, and I may have to make it again because it was SO delicious! I will save my (many) comments and thoughts in case I do, indeed, decide to feature this recipe later. Which I will. I have just decided. It’s happening.

But back to today’s dish.

World’s Greatest Vegetable LasagnaGreen Kitchen Stories

Now I use an asterisk* in the title because, like the true carnivore that I am, I added some sausage to the mix. What isn’t better with sausage? Nothing, that’s what. Eggs? Add sausage. Pasta? Add sausage. Blueberry cobbler? Hey, why not, add sausage!

I do have some coming clean to do for this little diddy, unfortunately. I was heading to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market to get all my veggies before I headed to a grocery store to finish up the shopping for the week, and it was PACKED. I normally just walk, but decided to drive since I was headed to a store right after. I drove around for at least 15 minutes trying to find a parking spot, and got so frustrated…I…ended…up….just…buyingeverythingfrommeijer. I know! I’m a monster. While in the produce section at the store I wanted to apologize to everyone around me as I placed each non-local item into my cart. Eggplant embarrassment. Mushroom melancholy. Spinach shame. Corn condescendence. Jalapeño (bad) juju. And the list goes on. Sigh. But, life goes on, and I must hold my head up high, and remind myself that I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog gonnit, people like me.

On the bright side, I put more time into setting up some of these photos for your viewing pleasure! Woo-Hoo!

Now what was really great about this recipe is I basically made every component ahead of time, and then about an hour before I wanted to have dinner, I assembled said components (plus sausage), and ovened it up. I took the liberty of taking some photos of preparing the sauce. It calls for chili peppers, so I used chili powder and fresh jalapeños.

In case these foreign ingredients were too hard for you to pronounce. You’re welcome.

The background is…my cutting board. How cool? I was just testing out the lighting when I was taking these, and I just loved the texture and coloring so much I decided to use it. Obviously. Now, onto the sauce!

Tomatoes on the Vine. So pretty.
+ knife – vine = a slaughter

Now add them all together (with some olives and capers), and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s al about.

The sauce looked a little watery to me, so after the hour of simmering I let it cook with the lid off for about 20 more minutes to reduce a bit. Was it right? Was it wrong? Who knows, but I very much enjoyed the results.

While assembling, I was on the top layer of cheese, very excited about being a mere 40 minutes from eating when I glanced over and noticed a bowl full of cooked sausage…not in the lasagna. Damnit. In my excitement I forgot to put the MEAT in! So I did what anyone would naturally do, I piled it sky high on top! Also, I had WAAY too many ingredients left over once the pan was full, so I made a second, smaller lasagna. That’s right. This yielded TWO lasagnas!

enney, meeny, miney, moe. I shall eat both of you, fo’sho.

Ooooh baby. This lasagna is SOOO good! The lemon in the ricotta, the olives in the sauce, the SAUSAGE, the basil throughout…wow. Delicious. I’ve never had great luck with lasagna…not that I’ve really tried many times,  but that’s besides the point…this is absolutely worth making. Easy, tasty, vegetable-y, and SO MANY PORTIONS! Who doesn’t like leftovers of lasagna? No one, that’s who. I’m on my second “leftover” day, and am just as jazzed as the first day. Unfortunately I’m down to my last portion, and am debating whether or not to be generous and let John have it. Probably not.

Why, is that a basil leaf in the photo? Erica, you have certainly outdone yourself, sir.

 

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