Monthly Archives: January 2009

Chicken Divan for Cheaters. Or, if you’re just not feeling well.

I’m Sick.
And food doesn’t sound that great to me right now. But I just got a call from my Mom who was praising the folks who have been kind enough to bring she and my Dad dinners on a regular basis since she had surgery last week. She hasn’t felt like eating much, but someone brought her Chicken Divan casserole. And that was starting to sound pretty good.

Something to note: My Mom makes the best Chicken Divan on the planet. Everybody’s Mom probably does, but just hearing her say the words made my infirm palette get a little drooly with the memory of her comforting , warm and creamy dish. Without much energy to spare, I decided to try and fudge her recipe a little and cut a few corners. I really want that comfort food, but I don’t really want to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen. I rummaged around, found a few things I knew would be OK substitutes (OK, OK, canned soup IS one of the subs and I know I’ve said in the past I’m not a big fan but…) and dinner was in the oven in 10 minutes flat.

Chicken DivanFast Chicken Divan with Rice Pilaf
Serves 6
3 chicken breasts diced and cooked with a little olive oil
1 package (10 ounces) broccoli spears, cooked and drained
1 26oz can (Family Size) Cream of Chicken Soup
1 10oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cooking sherry
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 slices of uncooked bacon, chopped
salt/pepper to taste (Remember, the soup already has a ton of salt!)

1. Stir the broccoli and cooked chicken into a 8×11″ Casserole dish
2. Whisk soup, lemon juice, sherry, nutmeg and salt and pepper together in a bowl
3. Pour mixture over chicken and broccoli and stir in
4. Top with cheese and bacon
5. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and brown
6. Start the Rice Pilaf and it should be done by the time the dish is out of the oven.

Mom’s Chicken Divan Recipe
Serves 6

4 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 package (10 ounces) broccoli spears, cooked and drained

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1. Layer the chicken and broccoli in a casserole dish.
2. Make a roux by melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat and stirring in flour until smooth and well blended.
3. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the chicken broth. Place back on heat and slowly bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
4. Simmer for 1 minute then stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove sauce from heat add Parmesan cheese and sherry then stir in the slightly beaten egg yolks and bring to the boiling point again.
5. Pour over chicken and vegetables in the casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Feel better,
Gal Foodie

Staying Creative. Grilled Teriyaki Steak with Steamed Baby Bok Choy, Broccoli Rabi and Rice

I got excited when I saw the vivid green of fresh baby bok choy at the market last week. It is such a cool little veggie. And it’s just fun to say “bok choy.” Unfortunately my imagination ran wild, only to find that the fish department had closed for the evening and my sesame crusted seared tuna steaks would have to be replaced by something a little less exotic.

Living on an island in Downeast Maine has it’s perks in summer, but winter brings a far less desirable set of circumstances, including but not limited to, a lack of fresh, edible produce, fish, and meat.

It might seem odd to think that in an age of shiny Whole Foods markets, and a push for sustainable harvests, a grocery store could even get away with showcasing half rotting peppers, “pucky” cucumbers ($1.00 each!!!), fish that looks dead, or pricey meat that has clearly been “prettied up” with a little help from red #47. But here, it is the norm, and what it forces those of us who know the difference to do is be a little more creative.

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy

So you can see why I got very excited when I saw the baby bok choy. I just KNEW I needed to treat it with the respect it was commanding, there, amongst the rusty lettuce and sprouting carrots. Instead of tuna steaks, I shall use London Broil. Say what? Yup. Take a less expensive meat, marinate it in homemade teriyaki, throw it on the grill, steam up the bok choy and the rabi, drizzle it with a little sesame oil, whip up a wasabi cream for dipping, pile it all on top of some nice rice and TAH DAH. A delicious, inexpensive dinner for 4, with lots of flavor and not a lot of fat or calories – all in about 20 minutes.

Grilled Teriyaki Steak with Steamed Baby Bok Choy, Broccoli Rabi and Rice
Makes 4 Servings

Marinating Steak Teriyaki

Marinating Steak Teriyaki

The Teriyaki Steak
1.5 lb London Broil steak – 1″ thick if you can get it

1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 garlic
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground ginger

Combine marinade ingredients. Place steak in a glass baking dish and pour marinade over steak. I like to make sure that the steak have been coated on both sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least 2 hours. Better overnight. I also like to flip my steak a few times so it’s absorbing the marinade evenly.

At dinner time, grill to taste. I prefer mine medium rare. Make sure to let your steak rest, covered with foil for at least 10 minutes before slicing into thin slices.

The Veggies & Rice
2 heads of Baby Bok Choy
1 bunch of Broccoli Rabi
2 cups of rice
1 tsp Butter
S&P to taste
Sesame Oil

I have a really cool pot for steaming veggies. It’s an All-Clad Stainless-Steel 2.5-Quart Sauce Pan and Steamer Set. I know. A little extravagant, but I love it and I use it all the time. And if you look at the price of a compound miter saw, you’ll see that my “tool” costs less. Justified.

1. Steam the bok choy and the rabi together until bright green and slightly tender.
2. Cook rice to package specifications. For this dinner I’m using a basic white rice.

Wasabi Cream
I love this…
1/4 cup non-fat sour cream
Wasabi powder* or paste
1 tsp cold water
* if using wasabi powder, you will find that adding it to sour cream alone does not activate it’s HOT properties. Adding water to the mixture, produces a very, very different situation all together. Start with a little and add more to taste.

Mix sour cream and wasabi together to taste (I like it a little hot, but not too hot.)

Steak Teriyaki with Baby Bok Choy and Broccoli Rabi

Steak Teriyaki with Baby Bok Choy and Broccoli Rabi

1. Portion rice in the center of the plate
2. Top with Rabi
3. Side with steak slices
3. Slice bok choy in half, position on the opposite side of steak and drizzle with a touch of sesame oil
4. Add wasabi cream right in the middle, or drizzle around the plate edge for a fancy restaurant look. The wasabi cream and the sesame oil add a great burst of flavor, and help to tone down the bitterness of the bok choy.

Get yourself some hot Saki and you gotta date! (Ben had Coal Porter from Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor and he said it went “swimmingly”.)

Gal Foodie

It’s Freezing in Here… Warm & Fast Creamy Tomato Soup to the rescue!

Cold days take me back to my Grammie’s kitchen. It was warm there, and always came equipped with plenty of hot chocolate, sugar cookies, and cans of Campbell’s soup. Grammie’s kitchen doesn’t exist anymore, and now that I’m an adult and can read labels, I’ll admit my aversion to canned soup (do you know how much SALT is in there?). But it’s OK, because even though today it’s sub-zero outside, my kitchen can feel like Gram’s, too.

I started perusing my cabinets in search of good ingredients for a hearty and super fast soup. Things in the graphic design business are picking up and I don’t have a whole lot of time lately to cook (or clean – sorry, Ben), let alone blog about it. I made my favorite Lentil Stew on Tuesday and it was all gone by Wednesday lunch. I came across a few candidates for a creamy tomato soup. In less than 10 minutes this soup went from blender to pan to bowl. Perfect for lunch or dinner for the whole family.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy Tomato Soup
Makes 4-6 Servings
1 12 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes (I used Progresso)
1 14.5 ounce can Chicken Stock
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup of heavy cream or milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic (more if you love garlic!)
6 leaves fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried)

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender on “puree” setting just enough to combine. I like chunky soup, but if you prefer smooth and creamy, puree until all the crushed tomatoes and onions are pureed.

2. Pour contents of blender into a sauce pan over medium and heat through, stirring occasionally.

3. Eat 2 bowls while you are blogging about it. Eh hem, Serve.

Variations of a Theme:
I considered adding roasted red peppers or cilantro. Maybe artichoke hearts? Roasted garlic? If you try it, let me know.

I suggest also making yourself a few grilled cheese sandwiches for dipping.

Stay Warm!

Food Critic or Restaurant Reviewer?

“So which are you?” asks Ben this past Tuesday night, when we were celebrating Josie’s 30th (eh hem, 29th!) birthday at Cleonice, our favorite restaurant this side of Portland, ME. I had to respond “Both!” because I don’t think you can review a restaurant without being critical of the food. That’s the whole point really. Stay tuned for our restaurant review coming soon!

Simple. Good Soup…Onion Style

Can I safely say that I’m over the holiday food? I can’t remember a time when I craved just a plain old bowl of yogurt so much as I did on Saturday, after days of eating. And eating. And eating. What is it about the holidays that makes everyone feel the need to over indulge? Perhaps it’s the fresh start we will give ourselves at the beginning of a new year. Or the comfort in knowing there are resolutions to be made, and we give ourselves a free pass until we say those words out loud.

My 2008 was so food frenetic that I am not going to even begin to resign myself to being any less of a “foodie” in 2009. In fact, the only resolution to be made is that I need to simplify for sanity’s sake – and that includes in the kitchen. Where’s the challenge in that, you say? The challenge is always there when you run a restaurant, a graphic design firm based out of Seattle, and live on a somewhat remote island off the Coast of Maine. Fresh ingredients. Fresh ideas. Hell – electricity. All of these things and more come with the territory. And so the challenge will continue to be to find the freshest ingredients, new inspirations for food AND design, and most importantly…time. Time to cook, sail, hike, love, and create beautiful works of art for my clients, my food customers, and my friends and family.

To start you a day or two early with a little slice of simplicity, I’m sharing a recipe for French Onion Soup from my friend J.P., a.k.a Sake Boy. This soup is so ridiculously fast, easy and delish, you need not feel guilty for spending precious time to make it. And better yet, if you make it TODAY, not only will you have an even more divine soup come January 1 (always tastes better after an overnight in the fridge), it will save you time cooking for a boat-load of New Year’s revelers that are sure to arrive still hungry and still on sabbatical from any resolutions they will have to make soon.

J.P’s Post for French Onion Soup Made Simple
I confess that I love a good French Onion soup. It is the perfect touch on a cold day and when garnished with cheese and croutons, absolutely wonderful. The great thing about this soup is that you can vary the flavor by using different types of onions. You can also put this together quickly to impress your friends and family. It’s a great side starter at a dinner party.

Ok–let’s cook. Select your onions. I usually cook my soup with common yellow onions, though I have been known to mix and match and branch out for variety on occasion. Since we’re cooking to scale here you can figure your proportions needed based on your stockpot selection.

I section the onions by halving them vertically (N to S) and then cut the halves E to W. This gives you a good portion on the onion. Again, we’re going for lots of onion so you always have a spoonful.

Now, gourmet restaurant secret time. The base for the soup is going to be “off the shelf” beef broth from the local mart. Get the low salt version–there are a couple of brands. Fill your stock pot half way and start adding onions. Add lots of onions. It’s ok. They are good for you.

As an aside, some people saute the onions in butter before adding. You can if you want but I don’t. I prefer to simmer the onions in the broth for a couple of hours instead. The onions really absorb the broth flavor, making a more robust soup.

Now for the double secret ingredient. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and some dashes of pepper.

You’ll be able to tell when it is done by the wonderful rich smell of the onion broth. Serve hot, topped with a slice of Gruyere cheese (or Swiss or good sliced Parmesan) and croutons of your liking. Serve and enjoy.

Gal Foodie’s Variations on a Theme
Want to turn up the heat on this dish? Fill an oven safe bowl about 3/4 full of soup. Grab a big hunk of your favorite crusty bread, throw it in the soup, lay a slice of Swiss or Gruyere on top, and, on a stable cookie sheet, pop the whole thing in the oven under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes. The cheese will brown and bubble and the bread will sop up all the yummy broth. And you will end your meal horizontal on the couch – happy and full.

Eat Well in 2009!

Gal Foodie

Ben’s Banana Pancakes. For Dinner.

Banana Pancakes for Dinner

Banana Pancakes for Dinner

Yay! Ben’s night to cook! And what did I want? Pancakes. It was that kind of a day. Winter officially arrived on Mount Desert Island. Blowing, snowy, cold, and oh-so-cozy on the couch by the fire. Should I tell you I spent the day in my PJ’s, too? Well, I did. And I wanted pancakes for dinner. Several times, Ben muttered that he couldn’t believe he was making pancakes for dinner. Several times I responded clearly that he had talked them up and now he needed to deliver.

And deliver he did. These weren’t just any pancakes. He didn’t measure anything, went by pseudo memory from a recipe he had seen in The Joy of Cooking, and he added a few things he found in the pantry to give them a little kick. The surprise of the night was not that they actually tasted good (that was a given!), but that he accidentally grabbed the new pepper grinder he had given me for my birthday. Which incidentally looks just like the new salt grinder he gave me for my birthday. He caught the mistake quickly, but not before the pancakes acquired a bit of a “spicy” aftertaste (which wasn’t bad at all!) I was presented with a neat little stack, dripping in real maple syrup and butter. His comment? “Presentation is everything, babe.” Well, not only did they look great – they were exactly what I wanted. How does he always know?

Ben’s Banana Pancakes (as deciphered by Gal Foodie with a little help from the JOC)
1 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp sugar
1 3/4 tbsp baking powder
2 cranks on the salt grinder (not pepper!) OR 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
In another bowl combine:
2 Eggs
1/1/2 cups Milk
1 very very ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients with wet. Mix until smooth.
Pour 4 inch medallions into a hot skillet seasoned with butter (or a little bacon or sausage grease for extra calories and extra delicious crispy edges.) Brown on each side. Smoother with butter and real maple syrup. Eat and smile.

Variations on a Theme:
We suggest adding chopped walnuts or pecans. Um, yum.

Salad So Good, You Need a Steak Knife.

Last night was “clean out the fridge” night, and after a weekend of heavy eating (I’ll be blogging about that shortly), Ben and I were both ready img_2755for a little green in our diets. I whipped up this healthy and hearty steak salad in about 20 minutes. The fun came when Ben and I decided to add our own “flair” by using up stuff we found in the cheese drawer. What resulted was a delicious salad for each, and an emptier fridge.

Gal Foodie’s Steak Knife Salad
Makes 2 servings

1/2 of a 10oz bag of baby spinach
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1 tomato, quartered
1/4 onion, sliced
6 white mushrooms, sliced (would be delish with Baby Bellos, too!)
1/4 red pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Worcestershire Sauce
1lb London Broil cut, about 1 inch thick (you’ll probably have leftovers, or you can beef up the recipe and make enough for 4)
Cheese of Preference – I chose Buffalo Mozzarella. Ben chose Mango Ginger Stilton from Sawyers Specialties. (decadent!)
Josie’s Balsamic Vinaigrette

1. Season steak with olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Seasoning. In a frying pan (I love to use my cast iron skillet) on high heat, sear steak on both sides (1-2 minutes per side) then reduce heat. Cook until done to your liking. We prefer ours medium rare.

2. While steak is cooking, or if not enough room, remove steak, and add peppers, onions and mushrooms to the pan. Cook 5-8 minutes, or until desired crispiness.

3. In 2 bowls, divide spinach. Slice the London broil thin and layer on top of the greens. Top the steak with grilled veggies. Add tomatoes, cheese, avocado and Josie’s Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Josie’s Balsamic Vinaigrette
In equal amounts whisk olive oil together with balsamic and red wine vinegars. Add dashes of salt and pepper, oregano, basil, and 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard. Whisk until completely combined. Will keep in the fridge up to one week.

The Easiest Lentil Stew EVER.

img_2752This is for my “sisters” with love. My amazing sister, Gabe and my “I wish she was my sister’ Beverly, both requested this recipe from me last week. This recipe is great because it gives lentils a chance to be more than the image of the bland bean they conjure. And it’s HEALTHY. According to one of my favorite food books, The Healing Foods, a cup of cooked lentils has 16 grams of protein, and is virtually fat free. Can’t say that about a burger.

This recipe is one of my favorites because it takes less than 10 minutes to put together, and is perfect for the time of year. I made this for Beverly and Ben a few weeks ago to eat after a long and chilly hike in Acadia National Park. It disappeared in a matter of minutes, and there was no talking – just slurping. That’s the best review I could ask for as a chef.

Lentil Stew with Love
Makes 4 Servings
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped (if you have it)
1 tsp fresh parsley chopped (if you have it)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cups chicken stock (I buy the 32 ounce boxes of stock at the local grocer)
Juice and pulp of 1 lemon
1 cup lentils (I prefer Goya)
1 can/cup sweet corn kernels
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a soup pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery until onion is translucent (about 5 – 8 minutes)

2. Add chicken stock, lemon juice, corn, lentils and spices and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft (no crunch)


Variations on a Theme
Sometimes I add chicken if have it left over from one I’ve roasted – often, I
make this stew after I have roasted a chicken because I can then use the
chicken stock I make from the leftovers, and I will have delicious seasoned shredded chicken to add.

Tastes sooooo good with crusty bread and butter.

To my “Sisters” with Love,

Gal Foodie

Lasagna Pink Door… Deconstructed

I thought it would be fun to celebrate my boyfriend Ben’s birthday with a special dinner inspired by a few of my favorite Seattle restaurants. I lived in Seattle for many years, and that is where I would safely say my passion for food blossomed. There are so many fabulous restaurants in Seattle, that when Ben and I visited there in September with only 24 hours to see all the sights, I only got to introduce him to a sampling of some of my favorites. I narrowed down the birthday dinner menu to the Panzanella Salad from Hale’s Ales Brewery and Pub in Fremont, and the Lasagna Pink Door, from none other than the famous Pink Door restaurant on Post Alley at Pike’s Market. Dessert was inspired by a cheesecake I had once savored at Ray’s Cafe, with a few twists of my own.

This dinner was a bit of an undertaking, as there is no recipe for the Lasagna Pink Door. In fact chef and owner Jacquelina Di Roberto La Padrona is so secretive about how her signature dish is made she says when asked, “Even Bill Gates has asked for it and I won’t give it to him!” I have had the dish enough times that I felt I could probably deconstruct it – or at least get the gist of it. I even dragged my friend and Chef Marcia Newlands of The Savory Gourmet to lunch one day in an attempt to put her taste buds to work to help me figure out how it was made. The Lasagna Pink Door is no ordinary lasagna. It features fresh, paper thin layers of spinach pasta with bechamel and pesto and topped with a marinara sauce.

making fresh spinach pasta

making fresh spinach pasta

I had never made fresh pasta before, but I had seen it done on Food TV, and it didn’t seem all that hard. The only gadget I was missing was a pasta rolling machine of some sort. What did the Italians do before Cuisinart? A rolling pin would have to do.

Making the dough was great. I was worried that adding runny eggs to a pile of flour on my counter top was going to result in an hour of disinfecting my kitchen, but I was pleasantly surprised when the flour formed a bowl for me to whisk the eggs in. I mixed the dough and added the cooked spinach that I had chopped fine after it had cooled. So far so good. I incorporated the spinach, flour and eggs together with my hands and formed a ball. Proceed to knead.

Rolling the pasta dough

Rolling the pasta dough

Adding lots of flour to the counter, I whipped out my rolling pin and set to work. It stuck. I mean REALLY stuck to the counter. Do over. I pulled it all up, added more flour and rolled. Not exactly the shape I was going for (these are lasagna noodles I’m shooting for here) but it was working. Rolling the dough too thin made it difficult to lift off the counter, so I rolled it about 1/8″ thick and cut the strips right on the counter. The spinach added moisture that caused the pasta to tear, and I was concerned it wasn’t thin enough. The beauty of the Pink Door version is that the layers (about 7 of them) are paper thin.

I then set out to make the pesto and ricotta infused bechamel sauce. I have been making bechamel since I was a kid. It’s the key ingredient in my mom’s mac and cheese recipe. I always

Pesto Ricotta Bechamel Sauce

Pesto Ricotta Bechamel Sauce

enjoy variations on a theme, so adding pesto was not difficult to conceive. But how much should I add? Always start with a little and add more. In the end, it was about 3 cups of bechamel sauce with about 1/4 cup of pesto and 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese added. Green, but not too green. And cheesy, but not too cheesy. Rich.

Let the layering begin! I started with a layer of bechamel, then a noodle, then fresh baby spinach, then bechamel, and topped that with another noodle. I made 3 layers, topping the whole thing off with a spicy marinara sauce and a little mozzarella cheese, although I don’t think the Pink Door does that. Now into the oven, covered at 375 for 35 minutes.

I was not entirely convinced that this dinner was going to hold up, taste good, or be worthy of img_2734my boyfriend’s birthday celebration. So I hedged my bets and made ANOTHER lasagna using the remaining bechamel sauce and spinach basil lasagna noodles from Rossi Pasta. Not only is this some of the best pasta I’ve ever had, these noodles do not need to be boiled before use! Just layer them in, add the water to your lasagna, and cover tightly. A just in case dish delish, and if nothing else, lunch for tomorrow.

Panzanella Salad

Next came the Panzanella salad from Hale’s Brewery. I LOVE this salad. It consists of field greens, grilled Columbia Bread, Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, kalamata olives, tossed in their house balsamic vinaigrette. It’s so simple, and so delicious. So where was the challenge? Well first of all, I live on an island off the coast of Maine, so finding fresh ingredients is ALWAYS a challenge. Fresh Buffalo mozzarella is a key

Panzanella Salad

ingredient, so 4 stores and 25 miles later, I had some. Hale’s ace in the hole… It’s their vinaigrette. If anyone knows the recipe to their house balsamic vinaigrette, oh-do-tell.

Desert was Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake. I remembered having something very similar at Ray’s Cafe at Shilshole and went searching for a recipe online. I stumbled upon the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and gave it a shot. It wasn’t too difficult with my KitchenAid Artisan mixer at my side. The mistakes? Well, I didn’t know I needed to cook the cheesecake in a ban Marie (a water bath) and so the cake was very dense and cracked horribly. I made the ganache topping and used it to fill in the cracks. The other mistake? I substituted Sanka instant coffee for the instant espresso the recipe called for. It had the flavor, but I think next time I’ll just brew up some really strong espresso and use that instead. All in all, with a little raspberry sauce, the cake was a hit.

Lasagna Pink Door Deconstructed

Lasagna Pink Door Deconstructed

So how did dinner turn out? Salad was great. Lasagna was so-so. the noodles tasted amazing, however, as suspected, they were a little too thick. And a little more bechamel and marinara would have been nice, sans mozzarella. I asked my friend John Rossi, founder of Rossi Pasta for some tips. “Bread flour. And get yourself a pasta roller.” Practice makes perfect so this will not be my only stab at this dish, or making pasta from scratch. As my best friend Josie quipped after the first bite, “You’re on to somethin’ here.”

Ben felice compleanno!

— Gal Foodie

Lasagna Pink Door Deconstructed

Spinach Pasta Dough
1 1/2 Cups bread flour
2 large eggs
1/2lb fresh spinach or 1/2 (10oz) pkg of frozen spinach thawed and well drained.

Cook the spinach and drain it thoroughly. Squeeze out any excess liquid (VERY important.)
Chop it very fine. Pour the floour ont your work surface and shape it into a mound with a deep hollow in the center. Break eggs into the hollow, add spinach and whisk together.
Slowly incoporate the flour into the egg/spinach mixture until a nice dough is formed. Knead by hand or by machine (I used my hands but maybe my mixer next time) until smooth as baby skin. Cut pasta into desired shape.

Pesto & Ricotta Bechamel Sauce
3 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp flour
3 cups heavy cream, milk or 1/2 & 1/2 depending on your diary preference
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 pesto
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper

Over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until completely incorporated. Add nutmeg and cream, stirring over high heat until thickened. Add ricotta and pesto. If sauce becomes too thick, thin with milk.

Layer the lasgana as follows – I used 2-12 ounce casserole dishes to mimic the Pink Door presentation. I had just enough dough to make 3 layers in each. Start with bechamel, then add a noodle, then a layer of fresh baby spinach, and top that with more bechamel and another noodle. Completely cover the entire top layer with marinara and bake covered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. It should be bubbling.

Another Foodie Joins the Blogosphere…

I have been meaning to start a food blog for a long time, and while lots of other “foodies” have done a great job of providing content to the blogosphere, there is still room for another blog about the trials and errors of the test kitchen foodie. A little background on why I may be able to contribute something to this online world of food lovers: I own a restaurant. I have an incredible kitchen in my house where I try all sorts of amazing recipes, new and old. I have a pantry the size of most people’s first floor living space. I have many friends who blame me for gaining pound after pound because they can’t stop eating (or I won’t stop inviting them over to “test” food with me). I am a graphic designer by trade, and have many specialty food clients. I read cookbooks like novels. And basically, I just love great food…and I love to cook it. So begins my journey into blogging about my love, my passion, my food.

So what can you expect beyond this first post? I intend to use this forum to show you what I’m cooking, where I’m shopping, what kitchen gadgets I love, what and where I’m eating, how I’m making things, how I’m screwing them up, and what I’m doing right. Recipes will always be found here, and I plan to share my many pages of notes I take every time I’m in the kitchen. I have many friends in the food biz, and I have asked them all to think about how they would like to contribute to this blog as well.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to sharing all of my culinary experiences with you!