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a recipe repository

10 December 2005

Emeril's Lasagna

Decided that in lieu of taking any tests for A. and M., I could help their stress level by cooking them dinner. The ever ambitious (and sometimes dense) me decided that lasagna was in order. Many hours and a mess of a kitchen later, I had made a GREAT lasagna, Emeril’s lasagna after much recipe hunting. Actually, I had made two… each in a throwaway 8x8 tin. I made a lot of substitutions…. I drew the line at making the sauce from scratch so I cheated a bit. I browned the three meats and then added in the minced onion celery and carrot (which really helped to enhance the flavor). I added in the paste as the recipe directs and then instead of adding all whole tomatoes, I added two jars of sauce (one carmelized onion and mushroom from TJ’s which I didn’t love as much as I wanted to, although the mushrooms made a great addition, and one Pomodoro). I also added two big cans of crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and various herbs. I let the sauce simmer for about an hour partially covered until I believed that it was homemade sauce. I mixed the ricotta mixture using slightly more ricotta (another half container) and a bag and a half of the mixed TJ Italian blend rather than two full bags which seemed like too much. I added the chiffonade of basil, but next time I would chop it more finely. I also added some basil to the simmering sauce. I used the fresh refidgerated pasta sheets after doing some preliminary research, they were great. After assembling the first lasagna, I figured out that spreading the cheese onto the lasagna sheet before placing it in the pan is the easiest. Also, of note, never make one lasagna again…. It’s just as much work to make two and they are easier to handle and freeze in the 8x8 containers. I only fit three layers in the pans rather than four but tasted just as great anyway. Just in case I wasn’t worn out, I also embarked on making an apple crisp. I used Jacques’ recipe, I didn’t taste any, but I did use the snacking apples that were pre-sliced and cored from the store (just Safeway carries them). I put this in an 8x8 pan too and bagged the crumble separately. I will have to ask how it was. The vanilla gelato that I sent along with it was good, no matter.

Emeril's Lasagna
2 cups fresh ricotta
8 ounces grated Provolone
8 ounces grated Mozzarella
8 ounces grated Romano
1 egg 1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon chiffonade of fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe of Emeril's Meat Sauce, recipe follows
1/2 pound grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 package of dried lasagna noodles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, Provolone, Mozzarella, Romano, egg, milk, basil and garlic. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. To assemble, spread 2 1/2 cups of the meat sauce on the bottom of a deep dish lasagna pan. Sprinkle 1/4 of the grated cheese over the sauce. Cover the cheese with 1/4 of the dried noodles. Spread a 1/4 of the cheese filling evenly over the noodles. Repeat the above process with the remaining ingredients, toping the lasagna with the remaining sauce. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Slice and serve.
Emeril's Meat Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound ground beef
1/3 pound ground veal
1/3 pound ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 (28-ounce) can of peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
4 cups beef stock or water
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large nonreactive saucepan, over medium heat, add the oil. In a mixing bowl, combine the meat. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. When the oil is hot, add the meat and brown for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk the tomato paste with the stock and add to the tomatoes. Add the thyme, bay leaves, oregano, basil and red pepper. Mix well. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add more liquid if needed. During the last 30 minutes or cooking, reseason with salt and pepper and stir in the cheese. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 quarts

Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps

Last week, in Domino magazine, there was a make-ahead brunch feature. It recommended making poached eggs in a silicone muffin mold and baking them in the oven. After an immediate trip to Sur La Table, I picked up a spiffy silicone muffin mold. In line, I started chatting with a chef and she told me about this recipe. I was too tired and unmotivated to try it that next morning (plain eggs Florentine were outstanding though!). Here is the recipe for future motivated mornings:

Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps

This came from the cover of January 2002 issue of Gourmet Magazine. We have modified it to our tastes. It plates beautifully and guests are always impressed!

3/4 lb mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely copped shallot (or onion)
2 Tbls. Unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. Lawrey's seasoned salt or salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbls. Crème fraiche or sour cream
1 Tbls. Finely chopped fresh tarragon
12 slices Virginia ham or honey ham -without holes (10oz.)
12 medium eggs

Garnish: fresh whole tarragon leaves
Accompaniment: butter brioche or other Buttered bread
Special Equipment: a muffin tin with 12 muffin cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare Mushrooms:
Cook mushrooms and shallot in butter with salt and pepper in a large heave skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid they give off is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraiche and tarragon.

Assemble and bake:
Fit 1 slice of ham into each of 12 light oiled muffin cups (ends will stick up and hang over edges of cups). Divide mushrooms among cups and crack 1 egg into each. Bake in middle of oven until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny. About 15-20 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper and remove (with ham) from muffin cups carefully, using 2 spoons or small spatulas. If you have tough fingers, just pick them up by the edges of the ham. Serve two per guest, one with a tarragon leaf or other green herb leaf for garnish, and the other with a sliver of tomato or red bell pepper.

Because we are serving guests, we usually cook the eggs a little longer, just so the yolks set. You may wish to ask. Some areas have concerns about salmonella.

We really like it served with little triangles of buttered toast leaned on the cups to dip in the yolk.

A great alternative to the mushroom filling is to substitute a ½ cup of cooked spinach for the shallot. Or more spinach and delete the mushroom as well.

Fresh thyme is a good substitute for the tarragon. A sprig of thyme or rosemary is a good substitute for the tarragon garnish.

Lime Cornmeal Glazed Cookies (Martha Stewart)

I have been reading food blogs lately, and one of the forums I read a thread about the new MS cookie book (which I have but haven’t used). In the thread, someone posted this recipe as her best cookie of all time. I have all the stuff, maybe I should test it out this weekend….

Lime Cornmeal Glazed Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 6 limes total)
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (2 medium oranges)
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal, plus more for coating glass
Lime Glaze
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg; beat until just blended. Add citrus zests, lime juice, and almond extract.
2. With the mixer on low speed, add flour and cornmeal. Continue beating until well blended. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Fill a small bowl with cornmeal. Using a 1 1/4-inch ice-cream scoop, form balls from chilled dough. Place balls on prepared sheets, spaced about 3 inches apart. Dip bottom of a medium drinking glass into cornmeal. Flatten balls with the bottom of glass until dough is about 1/4 inch thick.
4. Bake cookies until crisp and light-golden brown around the edges, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack, and let the cookies cool completely.
5. Place a wire rack on top of a piece of parchment paper. Pour the lime glaze over the cooled cookies, allowing the excess to drip off the edges. Let glaze set. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Lime Glaze
Makes 1 1/3 cups
3 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest (about 6 limes total)
1. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Add lime juice; stir until smooth. Stir in lime zest.
Use glaze immediately.