Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I had a lot of school work the past few days. Ah...starting to get busy. What joy. Despite the dozens of library books and writing, I was able to finish my tree skirt. I should have been done with it a long time ago but I got frustrated and just let it sit. :-P But it's basically done now, I just have a few ends to weave in on the back.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I got this recipe in my weekly email from America's Test Kitchen. I believe I've mentioned them before but I'll say it again, these guys are awesome. They test and test and then test some more until the recipe is just right. And this Mushroom Lasagna did not disappoint. Now I'm not gonna lie, it was more labor intensive than my Italian Bolognese Lasagna but it is worth the work for special treat.
If Italian fontina is unavailable, use whole milk mozzarella rather than a rubbery Danish, Swedish, or American fontina. Whole milk is best in the sauce, but skim or low-fat milk also work.
|1/2||ounce dried porcini mushrooms , rinsed well|
|2||pounds portobello mushroom caps (about 10 medium), cleaned and cut into 2- to 3-inch by 1/4-inch slices|
|4||tablespoons olive oil|
|2||large red onions , chopped medium (about 4 cups)|
|8||ounces button mushrooms , cleaned, stems trimmed, and broken into rough pieces|
|4||medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)|
|1/2||cup dry vermouth|
|3||tablespoons unsalted butter , plus additional for greasing pan|
|3||tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour|
|3 1/2||cups milk (see note above)|
|1/4||cup minced fresh parsley leaves|
|1/4||cup minced fresh basil leaves plus an additional 2 tablespoons|
|8||ounces Italian fontina cheese , rind removed and shredded (about 2 1/4 cups)|
|1 1/2||ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)|
|12||no-boil lasagna noodles|
|1/2||teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon|
1. Cover porcinis with water in small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms from liquid with fork and roughly chop (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel into medium bowl. Set mushrooms and liquid aside.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread portobello mushrooms in even layer on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, tossing to coat mushrooms evenly; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss again. Roast mushrooms until shriveled and all liquid released from mushrooms has evaporated, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Set mushrooms aside to cool.
3. While portobellos roast, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned around edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer onions to large bowl and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, process button mushrooms in food processor until uniformly coarsely chopped, about six 1-second pulses, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped button mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and all moisture has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.
5. Reduce heat to medium and stir in porcini mushrooms, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vermouth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Add butter and cook until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly add reserved porcini soaking liquid, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add milk and nutmeg. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has thickened and reached consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 15 minutes (you should have about 4 cups). Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and 1/4 cup basil.
7. Combine fontina and Parmesan in medium bowl. Toss cooled portobello mushrooms with onions in large bowl. Place noodles in 13 by 9-inch ovensafe baking dish and cover with hot tap water; let soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on kitchen towel. Wipe baking dish dry and coat with butter.
8. Using rubber spatula, evenly distribute 1 cup mushroom sauce in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce. Spread 3/4 cup sauce evenly over noodles followed by 2 cups mushroom-onion mixture and 3/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering of noodles, sauce, mushroom-onion mixture, and cheese two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top of last layer of cheese. Spread remaining sauce over noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Lightly spray large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.
9. While lasagna is baking, combine remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons basil, and 1 teaspoon garlic with zest in small bowl. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees, remove foil from lasagna, and continue to bake until cheese on top becomes spotty brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven and immediately sprinkle evenly with herb mixture. Cool 15 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.
Monday, September 14, 2009
So if crocheting wasn't enough, I'm adding another "skill". Tatting. Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace constructed by a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, and other decorative pieces.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Buddy is an Eastern Hercules Beetle. We found him roaming the Target parking lot and decided that wasn't the safest place for him to be. So we brought him home and made a temporary enclosure until we decide where to release him. He likes burrowing in the dirt and maple syrup.
What a great way to start the day: a toasted piece of pumpkin bread with a little cream cheese. The quick bread mix at Williams-Sonoma is such a great cheat. I also buy their pecan pumpkin butter. When I make the quickbread, I leave out the real butter it calls for and I use a 1/2 jar of the pumpkin butter. Makes it a little less fattening and very moist.