Thursday, September 18, 2008

End of Summer Salads

I recently brought some of this salad into work for DA today (recently being today) and he asked if the recipe was on the blog. I thought it was, because I remember writing the post, and when I checked I realized it had gotten lost in my backlog! So here is yet one more summer salad recipe before it's too late to make summer salads any more!

This year for the 4th of July we decided to stay in Boston and go to the gigantic fireworks display (I have been told it's the largest in the country) with my parents. It's the kind of thing my Mom has always wanted to do, but dealing with parking is such a pain that we never did. Since JR and I now live within walking distance of the river and downtown Boston, this was clearly the year to make it happen.

Mom & Dad came over in the afternoon and brought a big fruit salad and my Mom's world famous Copper Pennies. I then pulled together another coleslaw recipe from Smitten Kitchen, this one a bit different, had no mayo and an Asian influence. I knew my Mom and Dad would love it. We also grilled some corn and fish and had a feast.

Then we walked to the fireworks, which were totally worth it, and highly recommended.

Napa Cabbage and Sesame Seed Slaw

Wasabi Dressing Ingredients:
2 teaspoons wasabi powder (available at Asian markets, specialty stores and many large supermarkets)
1 tablespoon water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Slaw Ingredients:
1 large head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, peeled and finely shredded
4 green onions (white bulb and 3 inches of green), finely sliced on the bias
1 cup finely sliced snow peas (strings removed and sliced on the bias)
Wasabi dressing
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted

Combine the wasabi powder and water in a small bowl. Whisk in the garlic, ginger, lime juice, vinegar, oil and honey, and season with salt and pepper.

Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions and snow peas in a large bowl. Add the dressing and coat well. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Side Note: This salad also made an appearance at Labor Day and about 5 other weekends this summer. We had it this past weekend with some spicy buffalo wings for the second Patriots game and it was the perfect accompaniment. It stores well and everyone loves it. I highly recommend it the next time you need to bring a salad somewhere!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ice Cream GALORE!

This weekend we went over to dinner at our friend BC's parent's house. S&BC live out in Wellesley and for 4 years I have been hearing about their freezer.

Apparently they love ice cream and there is never a shortage. Everyone always talks about how many flavors of Ben & Jerry's they have and I always thought "of course, EVERYONE loves ice cream!" Boy was I wrong, no one loves ice cream as much as S&BC!

Here is a quick glimpse inside their freezer,

That's right, you can see 9 flavors of Ben & Jerry's alone, not to mention 2 sorbets. What you can't see is the 3 other half gallon tubs on the bottom shelf! BC also assured me that they are about 8 flavors short right now!

I haven't told JR yet, but I am considering moving in with them just to be closer to their freezer....

Never to Busy for Lasagna!

I have been working my little tail off for the last two weeks. I have been so busy, I haven't even be able to publish the articles on my blog that were already written! You might think that also means I didn't have time to cook, but I do have my priorities straight!

Last weekend, at JR and BC's request, I made lasagna for the first Patriots game. I LOVE lasagna. It's a bit of work, but almost impossible to mess up, and everyone thinks you are the worlds best chef when you make it. The leftovers also get better and better and there are always lots of them.

My recipe is from my mother and it's as healthy as lasagna can be. Follow along and you can have your very own!

Step 1: Arrange all the ingredients around your lasagna pan, including -

1. Lasagna noodles - I have used both regular and whole wheat. I do pre-cook them in boiling water.
2. Vegetables - shredded carrots, sliced zucchini and mushrooms. This is much easier to make now that I have a Cuisinart. If you don't have one, I highly recommend using whatever vegetables you can get pre-sliced at the grocery store.
3. Cheeses - Mozzarella, parmigiana, and ricotta. Mix the ricotta with some egg, parsley, and the parmigiana cheese.
4. Red Sauce - I saute lots of garlic, onions and peppers. Then I add a couple jars of pasta sauce and tons of basil, oregano, rosemary and red pepper.

Step 2: Spray the bottom of the pan with Pam, add a couple spoons of sauce and build a layer of noodles. This gives you a base.

Step 3: Then add some plops of the ricotta mixture, followed by some more sauce. Mix the two and spread them out over the noodles.

Step 4: Start adding your veggies. Begin with the mushrooms. I don't like mushrooms much, but in lasagna, I don't even notice them, so I add them for JR.

Step 5: Add the shredded carrots (and think about how beautiful it looks!)

Step 6: Finish off the vegetables with the zucchini.

Step 7: Cover the vegetables with mozzarella cheese, and start back at the beginning with the noodles. Keep building until your pan is just about full. Then finish off with a layer of noodles, sauce and cheese.

Step 8: Admire your mess! This is where JR comes in. He knows a lasagna is quite a bit of work because of all the dishes it makes. But he agrees that it is totally worth the effort. It's also much much better now that we have a dishwasher.

Step 9: Bake the lasagna, covered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then allow it to stand for 10 minutes. This is the hardest part! It's a true exercise in patience.

Step 10: DIG IN! (Note: There are no photos of the lasagna all served up waiting to be eaten because it didn't hang around long enough to be photographed!)

Lasagna is super easy to share or store. We brought one of these over to JR's sister and ate the rest for dinner all week. You can freeze single servings in tinfoil and they are great on nights when you don't feel like cooking or for weeks when you are too busy to blog!