Tuesday
Mar272018

a simple lasagna

I was watching a food show on Netflix recently that featured David Chang.  Ugly Delicious.  On the show, he went to his friends home and ate with the family.  Now, his friend is considered one of the best chefs in the world.  But this chef.  He does not cook at home.  His wife does.  Nadine Redzepi.  And she wrote a cookbook that I checked out from the library.  It is called Downtime and I really enjoyed it.  This is one that I think I might wish to own because there are a dozen recipes that I wish to try there.  And I have to use interlibrary loan to get it.  If I got it from my local library system, maybe that would be a different story.

When I was reading her header on the lasagna recipe it spoke to me.  I have always felt that lasagna was a lot of work.  And I am not going to say this one is not.  But most lasagna is a lot of work with a lot of grocery money in it.  Her recipe cut the cheese way back and I thought that was interesting, so I gave it a try.  The work is worth it.

I do not really have a recipe for all of this.  The only part of her recipe I did use was the bechamel sauce but it is a basic bechamel.  But I used the ideas.  A red sauce that had flavor with beef in it and 56 ounces of my favorite canned tomatoes.  I did try make the sweet Italian sausage meatballs like she tried but next time I will just brown it with the beef or other ground meat I use in the red sauce.  The meatballs were too fussy.

I made my own pasta sheets because I already had the dough in the refrigerator.  But I did not cook them because there was enough sauce in the dish to cook the pasta as it baked.  Two cups of grated parmesan.

Layer the sauce, then pasta, then sauce, then cheese, until everything is in the pan with sauce and cheese on top.  Bake it for 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and let rest for 20 minutes.  The rest makes the lasagna hold together better and makes it even tastier.

For how simple the ingredients are, I would make this again.  It still needs a tweak.  It is much lighter then most American lasagna which I really like.  It could be made even easier with no-boil pasta sheets but I just had the pasta dough.  The top picture is a reheated dish of this lasagna.  The boyos are getting leftovers for lunch and are happy.

basic bechamel sauce

Note:  to make gluten free, you can use sorghum or amaranth or potato flour.  I find they all work.

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

4 cups milk

salt to taste

Melt the butter over a medium low heat.  When melted, slowly whisk in the flour.  Let cook until a paste and does not taste like raw flour.  Let it bubble a bit.  Do not let it brown.  This is a blonde roux.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Let cook over low heat for until it thickens a bit but be careful not to let it stick to the pan.  It will try to and it will brown or burn if you are not careful.  You want slightly thick and smooth.  Add a bit of salt to taste.  Some people also add a touch of nutmeg which I am not a fan of.

If you use something other then butter, like sausage grease, this is sausage gravy.  It all works the same.  The roux can also become the black roux for gumbo.  Also, know as Cajun napalm.  What I am trying to tell you is becareful of the bubbles in the roux.  If they splatter and get your skin, they will burn.

Saturday
Mar242018

creating

I have been working with plant dye again.  I ran out of some colors for my Etsy shop.  I am going to be playing with some new colors as well.  There is black bean and cabbage with hibiscus here.  I want subtle colors but I also want to play.  But this type of playing is slow.  My life seems to be a lot of things that take time lately.  Not that I really mind.

I have a pot of beets and vinegar dyeing silk right now.  I am hoping I get the dark antique rose I got last time.  If not, I do need another slip.  I use every bit of what I make for something!  And I do find colors grow on me over time.  Sometimes I need to put them away because at first they are a disappointment.  

It has been an interesting week.  I am curious to see what next week brings but I can wait as well.  More dye will definitely be in my future!

Thursday
Mar222018

quilting

Yesterday the floor was warm enough for me to baste this quilt I have been working on.  It may seem like a small thing but crawling around on a cold floor to baste a quilt was off putting.  And I do not have a work table big enough to do it well.  But the basting is done.

The colors on this quilt are very spring like to me.  I am not ready for summer to happen.  Since there is so little spring here, summer happens quickly.  But I am enjoying the flowers that are blooming.  My blanket flowers are just on the edge of bursting.  I have a few already.

I have not gardened this year like I may have wished but I am going to go buy plants this weekend.  I am going to put in a few broccoli, maybe some kale.  I may plant some pumpkins.  I need a reason to be in the garden a few minutes every day and vegetables will help.  It will also help with the heaviness that is left by two men that have died this year.  They were both gardeners.  One was a farmer.

Tuesday
Mar202018

Tennessee family

Two Saturdays back, we lost a patriarch of the family.  My Beloved's Great Uncle, who was more of a grandfather, died.  His health had not been well since he had taken a fall a broke his pelvis.  But that does not mean he will not be missed.  We went to the funeral, expecting to be back last Wednesday.

There were obviously other plans.  The car now has a new transmission.  It actually runs better then when we started to have error messages.  But the  metal on metal sound was what made the decision that it was time to bite the bullet for a new transmission.  We were just a few miles from family and turned around to be safe.  Common sense was a good thing.  Yes, there were things to do at home but nothing worth sitting on the shoulder of the highway in the middle of the night.

We had time with family.  We distracted ourselves from who was missing.  I will not say it did not hurt but it was not as painful as those first few days could have been.

I made jam because family supports family.  Strawberries were purchased to support a baseball team.  They were not ripe and inedible just plain.  Add enough sugar to make jam and cook the water off, and they became edible.  There was so much water in them and so little ripe fruit that it took almost three hours to cook them down and the resulting jam tastes of strawberries and caramel.

After a lazy day, there was a fire as the sunset.  The branches needed to be cleaned up anyhow and it was just a lovely time.  I worked on two shawls the whole time I was there and they are going to need to be ripped out.  Just not right.  But I have more ideas.

We went to Reelfoot lake after church.  Ate food.  Walked through the museum.  Walked through some cypress and looked at the lake.  They rehabilitate birds of prey there so that was fun to look at.  

We are home now.  It was nice to fall into my own bed at 4:00 am but that does not mean I wish I was truly home.  It was nice to spend time with family.  I got to know them better.  My Beloved did as well.  It is like going to the mountain now.  Do not really wish to come back when you are there.  

Saturday
Mar102018

pencilish skirt

I have admitted in the past that I like clothes from different decades then this one very much  I felt the green blouse I made needed a skirt.  I could have made something long and full, which I am fine with but I decided to make something like a pencil skirt.

Why do I say kind of?  Because I used a dress pattern as the go by for the skirt.  I did not want something TOO tight.  I did not put a slit or box pleat in the skirt back to make it easier to walk.  I find that I tear those rather quickly with my normal walk.

I like how it turned out.  I could have brought the waist band in about an inch.  Maybe two to make it tighter but I feel like I can breathe.

I might make it an inch or two longer.  But it is comfortable which is what I was going for.  I find skirts are can easily feel like they cut me in the middle.  

Notice, I am wearing hiking boots.  The left foot is healing.  SLOWLY!  I had some pain free movement today so I am pleased.  The ache, the pain does tire me out.  Not being able to do all I wish to do frustrates me.  I could not be in my figure skates long enough Monday to try to spin.  Frustrating!  But that is pushing it too hard I know.

I found another piece of furniture today.  A water damaged mid-century desk. It will be interesting to see where it takes me.  I still have the teak table to sell.  One step at a time.