growing, growing…

January 19, 2013 Comments Off on growing, growing…


We have thrown down in the kitchen this week.  L bought Yottam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook, and that’s inspired us both to middle eastern experiments.  Beet, celery root, and kohlrabi slaw last night.  For us–the kiddos had leftover lasagna.

But they got their share of parsley and chickpeas this week, too.  Falafel was my favorite go-to cheap lunch in grad school. Amir’s Falafel–still in business, last time I checked–was convenient to campus and delicious.  When I first moved to New York, all I knew about falafel was that Robin Hitchcock song, but it quickly became a staple.  So when the veggie cooking magazine came this week with a super simple recipe, how could we say no?  There is apparently a rift in the falafel world over the use of binders in the mix–this one did without flour or eggs and relied on raw, soaked chickpeas, pureed in a food processor to within an inch of their little lives.  That made a soupy batter, but as you can see they fried up nicely, and they tasted nice and light, without the heavy fried flour.  I made whole wheat pitas to go with them–a big hit–and some garlicky yogurt sauce that…well, I liked.  The spinach also went untouched by the kiddos, as you probably guessed.

We’re doing something right, though, because the boy has been a) devouring dinner like never before, and b) growing like a weed. The track pants I bought for him in November?  Two inches too short.  We had to make an emergency Target run this week so his ankles wouldn’t freeze at the bus stop.  I pulled the lasagna out of the freezer last night and licked my chops at the prospect of serious leftovers.  But he and his sister went through two freaking pounds of lasagna, and most of that was him.  I swear I could hear him growing in his sleep.

O spends tomorrow and tomorrow night at a friends’ Lord of the Rings marathon.  The boy and I plan to host our own movie marathon, probably The Dark Knight.  With popcorn.  Gallons of it, I’m guessing.


vegetarian lasagna

January 19, 2011 Comments Off on vegetarian lasagna

I learned from the last lasagna attempt that my kids have healthier tastes than I do.  Overly saucy, gloppy, cheesy, calorie and carb-laden lasagna grossed them out, and really, it should have grossed me out too (it was, of course, delicious).  So since we had a ton of noodles left over, I told them we’d try again, but I wanted their advice on how to make it better.

“Less sauce,” said C.

“No meat,” said O.

OK.  So I cooked up a batch of simple tomato sauce and a nice, thick bechamel, and we tried again.  I soaked the noodles for a while, figuring that they’d need some extra moistness for the thing to actually work, which was probably a good thing.  C and I layered it up, and I popped it in the oven for 20 minutes.

We cooked it in a loaf pan again, which is happily one noodle long and wide, but this time I got smart and put in a sheet of baker’s parchment first (I LOVE THIS STUFF).  That way, I figured, I could just lift the whole thing out and cut it on a cutting board, instead of rooting around in the pan with a knife.  It worked a treat, and also seemed to keep the bottom of the lasagna from getting soggy.  I watched it carefully, and yanked it when the top noodle started to dry up.

The results were pretty good–a lasagna that actually felt kind of light.  It was super tasty, and the boy ate his whole slice, which I thought was a pretty remarkable accomplishment.  “Awesome, Dad,” he said, giving me the thumbs up.  The girl simply pouted and went to the fridge for yesterday’s leftovers.  Nuts.  One of these days I’m going to go two-for-two with something Italian.  O said she just didn’t like the tomato sauce, so I’m trying to figure whether it’s the tomatoes?  Or the onion and garlic?  Because, um, that’s about it.  I suggested to her that maybe we’d do carbonara one night, and she asked what that was.  “Spaghetti with eggs and bacon, basically,” I said.  And cheese, I might or might not have left out.  She’s intrigued.

And then the boy came up with the best idea ever.  “Instead of doing a regular mac’n’cheese this week, why don’t we do a mac’n’cheese lasagna?  You could do the flat noodles with layers of that “B” sauce and the cheese in between.”  Bechamel sauce, kiddo.  And you’re right.  You certainly could.  And it would be pretty amazing stuff, too.  We will try that.  Oh yes, we will try that.

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