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Category Archives: main dishes

Cheese and Tomato Lasagna


This is a full of flavor lasagne that’s not glorpy or heavy! It’s similar to the light lasagne of Italy which is all about the pasta, not the thick sauce! 

Look up the recipe at Cooks Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen. These two links will both take you there. You do need a subscription to have access to their recipes. If you don’t have one, take advantage of their one month free offer! I love these sites! They are a great source for recipes, testing and product recommendation, and will always provide interesting background info!

Here are some photos I took while making this lasagne along with basic instructions:

Cheese Sauce

  • In a medium bowl whisk together 

4 oz or 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

8 oz or 1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cheese sauce:

Tomato Sauce

  • In a skillet heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Sauté 1 chopped onion. Add and sauté together until onions are softened:

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Add and cook about a minute:

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 or more anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry and minced (I use the entire can)

Sautéed onion and herbs:

  • To the onion add and simmer 20 minutes:

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

Tomato sauce nearing completion:

Lasagna

You will need:

14 curly type regular lasagna noodles, such as Barilla

8 oz or 2 cups fontina cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano 

  • Use regular lasagne pasta, but don’t cook it! Instead soften them! Use the curly variety 
  • Place 14 noodles in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover them
  • Use the tip of a sharp knife to keep the noodles separated 

This is the pasta brand I used and the pasta soaking in boiling water:

  • When the pasta are bendable, place the container in the sink and run cold water over them. Drain or lift them out of the water and dry the pasta on towels

Pasta dryIng on kitchen towels:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven
  • Place 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan
  • Cut 2 noodles in half crosswise and set aside.
  • Layer 3 full noodles lengthwise over the sauce with one end up next to the short end of the pan.
  • Place a half noodle at the other end of the pan perpendicular
  • Spread half of cheese sauce over noodles
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated fontina cheese over cheese sauce
  • Layer noodles next in the same manner but switch the half noodle to the other end of the pan
  • Spread 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce over the noodles
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup fontina cheese over sauce
  • Place 3rd layer of noodles with 3 1/2 noodles, again switching the short noodle to the other end from the last time
  • Spread remaining cheese sauce and then 1/2 cup fontina 
  • Layer 3 1/2 noodles and again switch their placement. This is to make the layers an even height
  • Spread the remaining sauce over the noodles.
  • Mix 1/2 cup fontina with 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch and sprinkle it on
  • Finally layer the 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano on top
  • Spray a sheet of foil with oil and place it oil side down on the lasagne
  • Bake at 375 for 35 minutes
  • Remove lasagne from oven
  • Increase temp to 500 and remove foil. 
  • Return lasagne to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until lightly browned
  • Remove from oven and let sit 20 minutes before serving
  • I have made this lasagne ahead and refrigerated it before baking. Bring it to room temperature before placing it in the oven

Cheese Sauce layered over first layer of pasta:

Fontina layered over tomato sauce:

Fontina layered over cheese sauce:

Final layer of the lasagna: Pecorino Romano!

Cover the lasagne with an oiled sheet of foil and bake at 375 degrees!


The final stage is to remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 500 for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Then let rest for 20 minutes before serving. 

Voila!

No Sear Lamb or Beef and Chickpea Stew

This is an easy one pot stew for lamb or beef. I chose lamb and was not disappointed! Add the greens at the very end just before serving. Serve with an earthy flavored yogurt such as Organic Valley Grassmilk Plain Yogurt

This delish lamb stew recipe comes from the cookbook Taste of Persia by Naomi DuGuid. She was featured on Christopher KimballsMilkStreetRadio where she shared this recipe. You can find it at: 

Milkstreetrecipes

Recipes.177milkstreet.com

Italian Meat Balls


This recipe is from an Italian-French cooking school called The Antoinette Pope School. It was in downtown Chicago and my mom took lessons there in the 1940’s. This recipe is straight from their cook book. 

I always make a large quantity of these meatballs because they freeze well and everyone loves them. They’re great plain or with Italian tomato sauce. 

Here is the mixture which needs to set for 30 minutes

These meatballs are ready to bake to 150 degrees F. Parchment paper is a better liner than foil for baking


3 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon or more dried oregano

1 cup grated Italian Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

6 eggs, beaten with a fork 

1 and 1/2 cups cool milk or water

1 and 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F
  • In a very large bowl combine ingredients in the order given, and with a large fork or spoon beat in each ingredient.
  • Now let the mixture stand for 30 minutes.
  • Form into 1 and 1/2 inch size balls
  • Place on  baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil.  Parchment is best. Do not crowd the meatballs.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Use an instant read thermometer.
  • Cool thoroughly before freezing. 
  • Serve as is or simmer in an Italian tomato sauce.

Enjoy!

Quick Thai Spicy Coconut Shrimp 


We’ve made this dish several times this year. It’s a New York Times recipe. I hope you love it too!

In a medium bowl combine:

2 tablespoons red curry paste

2-4 tablespoons fish sauce

1/4 cup sambal

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

2 pounds medium raw, deveined, shelled shrimp

  • Place a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. 
  • Add

3 tablespoons light sesame oil

  • Heat just until smoking.
  • Add the shrimp mixture and sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add

1 cup scallions

2 cups steamed broccoli pieces

  • Cover and simmer for 3 minutes until heated through.
  • Stir in

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1-14 ounce can coconut milk

  • Simmer 3 minutes or until cooked through
  • Add 

1 bunch cilantro, chopped coursely

  • Serve over brown rice

Paella on the Grill

Last night Dave made his best paella yet! This is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Paella on the Grill, found in the July/August 2016 issue or online at CooksIllustrated.com.

Paella is a Spanish rice dish with many variations. We enjoyed paella in Albufera, a town near Valencia in southern Spain. They are known for growing rice and making their paella with a dry caramelized crust of rice that is the most prized part of the dish!  It’s called the socarrat. Traditional paella is made on the grill which provides a large cooking surface to develop the socarrat and a charcoal heat that gives the smokey flavor. The amount of shrimp, chicken and chorizo you see here is more generous than the traditional Valencia style. It’s all about the rice!

Notice the paella pan is thin, has impressions hammered on the bottom and is not covered with a non-stick surface.


Dave uses a 17 inch traditional paella pan we bought online. It does NOT have a Teflon-like coating. We coat it with oil after using to prevent rusting. He has a Weber charcoal grill with a gas starter. 

This is a great recipe to serve for family and friends!

Russian Orthodox Easter Eggs


My grandmother was Russian Orthodox and she was from Belarus. She made these types of colored Easter eggs with dried yellow onion skins. Her technique was to combine cooked eggs and onion skins in a large pot of water and then soak them for several hours.

I like to give the eggs a marble look and also at the same time cook the raw eggs with the yellow onion skins.

  • Wrap medium to large pieces of dried skins from yellow onions around each egg in varying degrees of cover to make patterns.
  • Secure skins by wrapping further with string. Don’t tie too tight.
  • Place eggs in a large pot in a single layer with not too much crowding.
  • Add water and cover the eggs by 2 inches.
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to the lowest possible level.
  • Cook 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let the color absorb for 1 and 1/2 hours or so.
  • Drain, dry and voila!
  • A quicker technique is to not wrap the onion skins and only combine them in the pot.
  • As Grandma Korzin would say at Easter in Russian “He is Risen!”

Beet Burgers with Corn Salsa and Red Cabbage Cole Slaw

  
   

   

 

Beet Burgers have a real meaty taste and look! I love them! The secret is roasting the beets!

Served here with Elote/Corn Salsa, you don’t need ketchup or mustard. I used fresh corn and Parmesan shavings in the salsa. For the cole slaw recipe I substituted red cabbage for the green.

I found these fantastic sites on Instagram!

Go to Chocolate for Basil.com   Look for Beet Burger with Elote Salsa

Here is the link:

http://chocolateforbasil.com/recipe/beet-burgers-with-elote-salsa/

 CravingsinAmsterdam has a recipe for Tamarind Roasted Chickpea Tacos with Apple & Cabbage Slaw. I used the slaw recipe and substituted red cabbage for the green.

Here is the link:

http://cravingsinamsterdam.com/?s=tamarind+roasted+chickpea+tacos&submit=Search