Saturday, October 23, 2010
So, along with my determination to put coffee on the back-burner (ha!) and bring water to the forecast (oh my!), I have also a few other interesting bits of knowledge/discoveries/ideas to write upon my dear old blog. I will list them.
1. Green potatoes are evil! They are not, as the color so wickedly suggests, growing new vitamins inside.
2. After spending an afternoon with my elderly neighbor, I found myself holding my fingers in arthritic positions.
3. Shakespeare, although a past nemesis of mine and poorly projected by all good society, is fun! I am settling with Cymbeline at the moment, and waiting on pins and needles for sweet Imogen.
4. I am so very proud of a certain tiny corner in our bedroom. This corner occupies a chair and a wall. I tacked black fabric to the wall, and re-upholstered the chair in black and white stripes. I must now find a ridiculously glamorous magazine to toss there, and it shall be complete!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Serves 6 to 8 (more as a first course)
3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used less, because this seemed like a lot)
1 1/2 pounds cremini or portobello mushrooms
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Bring a large, wide (if you use a wide one, you can save a dish later and saute your mushrooms in the bottom of it) of water to boil with salt and a splash of oil, that will help keep your noodles from sticking together as they drain. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Make béchamel: Bring the milk and garlic to simmer in a saucepan, or heat it in your microwave, and set it aside. Melt 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) butter in a large saucepan. If your name is Deb, you will probably brown this butter, too. Add the flour and cook for one minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Pour in the hot milk, a little at a time at first and stirring until combined. Once you’ve added half of it, you can add the second half all at once, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring or whisking frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until thick. Set aside.
Prepare mushrooms: Discard portobello mushroom stems and/or trim the ends of the cremini stems. Slice mushrooms 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium in the bottom of the large, wide pot you used to cook the noodles earlier, or in a large sauté pan. Cook the mushrooms with a couple pinches of salt for about 5 minutes, or until they are tender and release some of their juices, tossing to make sure they cook evenly. Repeat with additional oil and butter, and remaining mushrooms.
Assemble lasagna: Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 12 or 9 x 13 baking dish. (Ina recommends the former, I only had the latter; if you’d like to freeze or give this dish as a gift, remember to use a foil pan). Arrange a layer of noodles on top*, then more sauce (about 1/4 of what remains), 1/3 of the mushrooms and 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Repeat two more times then top with a final layer of noodles, your remaning sauce and last 1/4 cup of parmesan.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. To freeze for future use, allow it to cool completely and wrap two to three times in plastic wrap before freezing.
(Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies)
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
- In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
- Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
- To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
- To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Yesterday, I was sitting on my window seat, a few chapters shy of finishing a book I would never ordinarily read - we English majors can be very selective on the books we like others to see in our laps; it must be first-rate impressive, with a publication date of 1798 (yes, this date does have meaning; free cookies for anyone who knows why!) - anything before is considered positively medieval and reserved for the art and history clan, and all afterwards are just too...modern - I would be terrified for a stranger to see this 2009, New York Times Bestseller shoved in my face while I am still wearing my pajamas, a few empty tea cups surrounding me, because that is not what a proper english grad would ever do. Nor would they use a lower-case 'e' for english. Thankfully, I have not officially graduated yet - when I was struck by this very thought: I must, I will start writing on my blog!
I truly do not mind that I have no followers but two; I don't even mind that I am relinquishing myself to the modern (there is that word again!) trend of writing and exposing my thoughts for all of the world to see - I have been dying to use this wonderfully oft used phrase! There it stands, in all it's over-used glory! - I am even feeling inspired feelings to start couture-esque comments about my new community's wardrobe, follow local gossip, and post pictures of my food creations. This will be very fun.
I will start off with some interesting facts about this day:
1) I have been a wife for six weeks. My husband is the best husband in the world. That is actually a fact every day!
2) I can see the Pacific from my porch! This is also true everyday.
3) We have no mushrooms on the first day of mushroom season.