Sunday, January 27, 2008


this is my grandmother's recipe for lasagna. the pace of the recipe is relaxed and is a nice way to spend a sunday afternoon. today i got to use my new emile henry lasagna dish. lucky me! i was also thankful for the sun today. cooking in a sunny kitchen is one of my favorite things. now, if spring would hurry up and get here i could be cooking in a sunny kitchen with the breeze coming in open windows.


combine in a stockpot:
2 large cans tomato puree
2 small cans tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs basil
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

simmer the sauce while you sauté in a skillet:
2 tbs olive oil
1 c diced onion
1 clove garlic, diced

when the onion is golden, add:
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb italian sausage
1 tsp. salt

brown the meat and add to the saucepan mixture. simmer for about 2 hours or until the sauce is thick. cook ½ box of lasagna noodles per instructions on package, drain thoroughly, rinse and separate the noodles.

1 lb sliced mozzarella
15 ozs. ricotta cheese
4 oz fresh grated romano cheese.

spoon some of the sauce into a 9 x 13 pan, put in a layer of noodles, then a layer of mozzarella and a layer of ricotta. continue layering sauce, noodles, mozzarella then ricotta. lather, rinse, repeat. finish with sauce, mozzarella, cover with all of the romano cheese.

you should have a few cups of sauce left over. reserve this to add to the plate for serving lasagna.

bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. let stand in a warm place for 15 minutes before serving.

the emile henry lasagna dish is really worth purchasing. it holds more than a 9x13 pyrex baking dish (no ugly bubbling over in the oven), it cooks evenly, it's pretty, and easy to clean up. go ahead, you've earned it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

a gift for your favorite foodie

a friend was kind enough to get me foodie fight, a trivia game for serious food lovers this christmas and it's the perfect gift for your favorite foodie. you really need to be a well versed foodie in all aspects of foodie culture to excel at this game: history, science, restaurants, and food personalities. the husband and i played one night after dinner and i won, but just barely. good times.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

new year's resolutions

i'm not usually a resolutions type of person.
however, blogging has given me the opportunity to reflect on how my cooking, creativity, technique and skill have developed over time. and reflecting on my culinary life over the last year has made me realize i want to devote more time to improving my culinary skill, technique and knowledge; to not just be able to follow a recipe but to know why foods are cooked using specific methods and mastering those techniques.
to this end, santa has very generously given me these two books for christmas:

blogging provides accountability for devoting time and energy to my passion, so in a year from now i hope to see development in my technique that will allow me to explore and enjoy cooking in new and deeper ways.

other things i hope to accomplish in 2008:
  • get over my fear of baking. it can't be that hard, unless you consider that impatience is probably at the root of my baking issues. in which case, it may be very hard.
  • take some classes. i'll have to seek out alternatives to the north market's classes, as they are sold out. good for them! bad for me. even though i think my knife skills are pretty decent, like i said, i'm building on the fundamentals, so i may take sur la table's knife skills.
  • eat more indian food. this is one of the world's best cuisines and i know virtually nothing about it.
  • learn to cook something from my relatives in sicily. we plan to travel to italy next summer and visiting family in sicily is top of my list of priorities.
  • grow something this summer. i need to find a way to make our almost 100% shady back yard yield some produce.
  • make stock, the right way. and maybe demi glace if everything goes well.
  • eat more jeni's. (i just stuck that one in there so i'd be guaranteed to have at least some success when 2009 rolls around.)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

nonna's sauce

this is the sauce recipe that my dad's nonna (my great grandmother) always made and it's a staple of our family get togethers. every christmas the menu for our family party is the same: pasta with nonna's sauce and sausage with peppers and onions. mom taught me how to make it and someday i hope i'll teach my kids to make it too.
you'll really need about three hours to make this sauce, but believe me, it's worth it. i always get the sauce going and then start in on making my
mom's meatballs. just add them in after they're browned and let them simmer with the sauce.

nonna's sauce

2 pork chops (bone-in)
2 large cans of tomato sauce (56 oz)
4 small cans of tomato paste (24 oz)
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
2 bay leafs
3 tbs sugar

in a large stock pot, brown pork chops. remove pork and pour water in hot pan and deglaze (a wooden spoon is helpful for this). combine remaining ingredients and add pork back to pan. simmer for at least 2 hours. these proportions make enough for 2 pounds of pasta, which means unless you're feeding 8 people, you'll have enough for leftovers later in the week. and homemade sauce in the fridge is like money in the bank.