For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

Lasagna with all sorts of things December 13, 2009

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 8:55 pm

I love pasta. It is the best, most perfect, food. It can come in many forms so its diverse and the amount of variation when it comes to sauces is endless. There is good pasta, bad pasta and poorly executed pasta (very often). I like plain store bought spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and hand-made fancy ravioli with a page long list of ingredients for the filling and another one for the sauce. I like regular pasta, stuffed pasta, long and short, fancy and plain, with sauce or in a soup. Here is something I made tonight, there is no recipe per-se but the technique and the various stages is something I want to share.

To make a pan full of lasagna, to feed 8 very very hungry people (or 10 hungry people), you will need:

4 eggs & 2 cups of flour (+ more for dusting) for the pasta dough OR a package of lasagna sheets enough for 5 layers in your dish

4-5 cups (approx. 1 liter/1 quart) tomato sauce – make your favorite one or buy one you are satisfied with (I recommend Dave’s Gourmet heirloom tomatoes, organic sauce)

1/2 lb (220 gr) spicy italian sausage (raw) – buy bulk or take out of the casing

1/3  (150 gr) lb ground chicken thigh meat

850 gr (30 oz) ricotta

a bag of spinach (lets say about a pound, 1/2 kg)

1/2 cup to 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

2 balls of fresh mozzarella

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steps:

1) Put the ricotta in a fine sieve and let stand while you are doing the rest of the prep; it will lose some of the liquid.

2) Divide tomato sauce into 2/3 and 1/3, set the 1/3 aside. Brown the meat in some olive oil braking it while it cooks, add the tomato sauce and cook together until the meat is tender and the sauce reduced a bit (add a bit of flour if its too liquid).

3) Wash spinach and put it in a pot, sprinkle a teaspoon or so of salt, close the lid and let cook for a few minutes on a medium heat until absolutely wilted. Drain, wash under cold water, squeeze as much of the water as you can, chop and set aside.

4) Make pasta. 

5) Bring a pot of water to a boil add salt, cook pasta a few sheets at a time (just make sure the water is boiling at all times) for just a few second (lets say 5) and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Wash under cold water, pat dry with a towel.

*** If using store bought pasta follow manufacturer’s instructions rather than the ones above ***

6) Spread bottom of lasagna dish with a bit of the tomato sauce, cover with pasta sheets, spread half the meat sauce 1/4 of the mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano, cover with another layer of pasta. Cover with 1/2 the ricotta and half the spinach – sprinkle some salt and pepper. Another layer of pasta, another layer of meat sauce and Parmigiano, more pasta, ricotta and spinach and the last of the pasta should be covered with the plain tomato sauce the rest of the mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano.

7) Cover with foil and bake at  400 F (200 C) for 15-20 minutes, take off the foil and turn on the broiler and wait for the cheese to melt and a crust to form.

8) Take out of the oven and let sit for a few minutes for the lasagna to set, cut and serve with some fresh basil and freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

20 minutes breakfast muffins December 11, 2009

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 4:19 pm

Why breakfast..? because those are not cake like muffins you would eat for dessert, those are the ones you eat for a power breakfast or a hunger killing snack. Those are fiber packed and as healthy as I could make them, they take exactly 20 minutes including baking.

What you need (8 large muffins, 10 if using an apple):

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used pastry flour)

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup ground old-fashioned oats (use your mini chopper/food processor/coffee grinder)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)

pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

4 oz  (110 gr) apple sauce (a scant 1/2 cup)

3/4 cups milk (fat free is fine)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

3 optional ingredients:

1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans go well here)

1 Tbsp flax seeds – they are good for you :)

1 small apple – the basic recipe yields muffins that are quite dense, not heavy concrete dense or anything but still, and the apple chunks add a bit of moisture and freshness to them.

What to do, what to do…

1) preheat oven to 400 F

2) mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and mix until combined, add apple cubes if using.

3) bake for 15 minutes (a couple extra minutes if using the apple)

Eat and be healthy!