Saturday, March 29, 2008


It is disastrous to be a wounded deer.
I'm the most wounded, wolves stalk,
and I have my failures too.
My flesh is caught on the Inevitable Hook!
As a child I saw many things I did not want to be.
Am I the person I did not want to be?
The talks to himself person?
That neighbors-make-fun-of-person?
Am I he who, on museum steps, sleeps on his side?
Do I wear the cloth of a man who has failed?
Am I the looney man?
In the great serenade of things,
am I the most cancelled passage?

by Gregory Corso (my favorite man with constantly crooked glasses)

Monday, March 24, 2008

There's Always Room For ...Mushroom Lasagna

Serves 9-12

1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup water
1 1/2 lbs (about 8 medium) portobello mushrooms, stems removed and sliced 2" by 1/4"
4 oz shiitake mushrooms sliced 1/4" thick
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp plus tsp fine sea salt or table salt, divided
2 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
2 medium red onions chopped (about 3 cups)
8 oz crimini mushrooms, stems removed and broken into pieces
5 medium garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup of dry white wine
3 Tbsp of softened butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk at room temperature
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup fresh minced basil leaves, divided
2 Tbsp of fresh thyme leaves, divided
8 oz fontina cheese, rind removed and shredded
3/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 teaspoon grated zest of a lemon
2 tsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl with a cup of hot water. Let the mushrooms steep for 5 minutes. Then remove and chop the mushrooms. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.
2.Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 425. Spread portobellos and shiitakes in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 4 tablespoon of olive oil and toss with 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspooon of pepper. Roast mushrooms until shriveled and all liquid has evaporated(about 30 minutes).
Toss mushrooms halfway through roasting process. Set aside mushrooms to cool and leave oven on.
3. While mushrooms are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 10 or 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Then add onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring from time to time until browned around the edges (about 10 minutes). Set aside onions in a large bowl.
4. As onions cook, process the crimini mushrooms in a food processor until uniformly diced, about seven 1 second pulses. Heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in the empty skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add the crimini mushrooms and cook, stirring until browned and moisture has evaporated(about 7 minutes).
5. Reduce heat to medium and stir in porcinis, a heaping tablespoon of garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Cook and stir frequently until garlic releases its aroma (about 1 minute). Add wine and cook until liquid has evaporated (about 2-3 miutes).
6. Add butter and cook until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add milk and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Add the reserved porcini liquid and nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauces consistency resembles heavy cream (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in 1 Tbsp of thyme and 1/2 cup of basil leaves.
7. Combine fontina and pecorino romano cheese in a medium bowl. Toss cooled portobellos and shiitakes with onions in the large bowl.
8. Place noodles in 13 by 9 inch baking dish, cover with hot water, and let soak for 7 minutes. Shake and stir the dish gently to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Remove the noodles and place in a single layer on a clean, dry dish towel. Dry the baking dish and grease with butter.
8. Now spread about 1 cup of the mushroom sauce in an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Place three noodles on top of the sauce. Spread 3/4 cup of sauce on top of noodles. Layer about 1 1/2 cups of the mushroom and onion mixture on top and follow with 3/4 cup of cheese. Repeat layering noodles, sauce, mushroom and onion mixture and cheese. Spread remaining sauce and cheese on top of last layer of noodles.
9. Spray aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover the lasagna. Bake until the lasagna begins to bubble (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile combine the remaining garlic, basil, and thyme with lemon zest and juice. Increase the oven temperature to 500 and remove the foil from the lasagna. Sprinkle the lasagna with herb mixture and cook for about 7 more minutes until the top browns. Remove the lasagna from the oven and cool 15 minutes before serving. Mangia!

Culled from the culinary caverns of Cristina's cranium

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

A-what-to-do? situation: Filthy car BUT there's a definite chance of rain... this is my life - it should also be a Seinfeld episode.