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Monday, August 13, 2012

Beef Lasagna

This turned out gorgeous and very tasty :-)
I baked it in a deep loaf pan.

(serves 2)
(prep time 20 mins)
(bake time 40 mins)


I used a total of 6 Barilla no boil lasagna sheets.
The ingredients are listed by layers followed by instructions.

Bottom layer
Ricotta cheese 1 cup
Whole egg 1 - large
Baby spinach chopped 1 1/2 cups ( cooked lightly in a small amount of oil until wilted)
Nutmeg 1/8 tsp
Fresh ground pepper 1/3 tsp
Salt  1/3 tsp
Pasta sheets 2

Combine every thing in a bowl and lay down your first layer in a loaf pan.
Place 2 sheets of pasta on top of it. Maybe now will be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Middle layer
Lean ground beef  1/4 lbs
Ground veal 1/4 lbs
Garlic - chopped fine 1/4 tsp
Peperoncino flakes 1/2 tsp *adjust this according to what your taste buds like
Fresh ground pepper 1/3 tsp
Oregano 1/4 tsp
Parsley 2-3 Tbs (chopped)
Olive oil 1/2 Tbs
Fresh basil 7-8 leaves
Fresh mozzarella cheese 4 maybe 6 1" cubes
Marinara sauce 1/2 cup
Pasta sheets 2
( I made a quickie sauce by combining 1 part tomato paste + 1/2 part canned diced tomatoes+ 2 part tomato sauce. Cook for 8 minutes and allow to cool down fully before using )

Heat some oil in a wide skillet.
Cook the garlic for 30-40 seconds.
Add all the meat and season with oregano, fresh ground black pepper, peperoncino flakes and salt.
Cook on medium high heat until cooked. Please use your spatula frequenlty to break any lumps that might form in the ground meat during cooking.
Turn off the heat and mix in fresh parsley. Allow this cool for maybe 15 minutes
Assemble your second layer by spreading the meat mixture and randomly throwing in pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese.
Tear some basil leaves and sprinkle them on over it all.
Pour the marinara sauce and arrange two more sheets of pasta on top.

Top Layer
Crimini mushrooms (sliced) 1/4 cup
Shiitake mushrooms (sliced) 1/4 cup
Onions (sliced very thin) 1/3 cup
Garlic slivers 1 tsp
Dried thyme 1/4 tsp
Oil 1 Tbs
Pasta sheets 2
Marinara sauce 1/3 cup
Fontina cheese grated 1/3 cup
Parmesan reggiano cheese grated 1/3 cup

Heat some oil in a skillet and quickly stir fry the onions, mushrooms and garlic for about 5-6 minutes on med high heat.
Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
Allow this to cool a bit before spreading it over the pasta.
Place two final sheets of pasta and then pour the marinara, sprinkle some fontina and parmesan cheese on top.
Bake in a pre heated 350 degree oven for 40-45 mins.
I like to use a baking sheet beneath the loaf pan to catch any spillage.
Let it rest for about 20 minutes before eating.
Hope you like :-)
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Something new...

I love fruits... fresh figs being on the top my list!
Came across some fruits that were new to me, thought I'd share pictures.

Above is something called a Dragon Fruit. From Vietnam I believe. The name I loved, it got me very excited to try it out. The appearance was very elegant, loved the bright fuchsia exterior and the contrasting interior, some varieties are a fantastic bright magenta on the inside! 

I really wanted to but the taste unfortunately I didn't like too much. It wasn't  horrible, it was slightly sweet, a little bit tart but mostly bland and not very juicy. The texture was nice however. You can eat all of the white pulp and the black seeds feel like kiwi seeds. I think I would use this for garnishes mostly. Can't see me gobbling down big bowls of it like I do with watermelon :-)

In case you wanna try it out I got this from a store called Viet Wah on Martin Luther King Jr. road in Seattle and was for around $5 per fruit. The fruit has some give to it when it is ripe sorta like a ripened peach.

This one is called jackfruit.
Was very much recommened by my dad (happy birthday bug) while he was visiting here back in November last year :-)

I had it for the first time several months ago. Got a cut up chunk of it from Uwajimaya and I also saw some recently at Mayuri as well.
LOVED IT! MmmMm VERY refreshing flavor, kinda like a cross between pineapple and umm something else, can't figure out what :-)

It is used as a vegetable and cooked into curries when it is unripe and green. And when ripe, the skin has dark brown patches all over it and presses down easily when pressed down with a finger. The seeds of the ripe fruit are edible, see my recipe here.

They are very very large and intimidating looking when buying whole. I was feeling adventerous and brought one home a few weeks ago from Viet Wah. I picked out the smallest of the lot and it weighed over 20 lbs! I had to search several videos on youtube to learn how to handle it. Gloves are an absolute must, can't stress this more! While cutting into it, a very sticky, super glue strength sap seaps out of the thick skin. That sap and the monsterous size of the fruit make it very difficult to handle.

I wanted to take pictures of the process but I got into it and just wanted to finish it quickly. Cleanup was a snap luckily, the sap can be easily cleaned with cooking oil :-) Thank God for that,  I thought I was gonna lose my beloved chef's knife :-) 

The taste............ mmmm .... so heavenly!
I shared it with friends and was loved by everyone who had it :-)

While I won't recommend tackling the big thing, get a small chunk of it and give it a try. You'd be so glad!

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