I have had my share of missteps while attempting to make the perfect lasagna. It seems so easy right? Just layer a ton of ingredients into a pan and bake it, and out comes oozy, cheesy, decadent Italian-Americana on a plate, right? Not for me! I have made too-dry lasagna, too-soggy lasagna, noodles undercooked on the sides and can’t cut them lasagna (that was on a Christmas Eve–I made them again), overflows into the oven and burns lasagna, takes all day and just tastes ok lasagna, and then I finally had a day when I made it just right. I took it out of the oven, let it sit for just a few moments, sliced into it, and there it was! Savory and flavorful, cheesy but not obscenely cheesy, with enough texture to hold its shape, I give this recipe to you and say, enjoy! It took many trays of disappointment for me to get here!
It is the time of year when a salad is a prerequisite for picnics, gatherings, parties, beach days and even just dinner! I make a ton of salads this time of year because of the crisp and buttery greens we get from our farm. We wait all year for the Boston and red leaf lettuce in particular. So I have tried out many salad dressing recipes, and it is hard to make a bad one honestly. Even just good balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil does a great salad justice. But here are two dressings that I have made time and time again, and that have received raves from my guests. The chive vinaigrette is fresh and tangy and the buttermilk ranch is creamy, herbaceous and you won’t even pick out the cilantro but it adds a special necessary flavor. I don’t even normally like cilantro and I love it in this dressing! But if you are really opposed to it, and I won’t judge you, use fresh dill. To make it extra fun for the chef, invest in a set of wide-mouth mason jars or a salad dressing cruet, and a mini whisk.
Happy New Year, everyone! I’m back and ready to inspire some amazing dishes for 2013. This dish comes fresh from my new cookbook obsession: Lidia’s Favorite Recipes. I am working on cooking my way through this petite powerhouse of an Italian cookbook. It has all the ingredients that make me love cookbooks: clearly written, well-tested recipes, and ingredients you can truly find at the supermarket. I haven’t made it past the crave-worthy pasta section yet, but I swear I will someday. I only changed a few things to give my own spin on this dish, I hope you try it and love it as much as my family did. It was our Christmas Eve dinner and it made us feel very celebratory!
So after three years of belonging to our farm, Powisset Farm in Dover, MA, they finally wore me down with the abundance of tomatoes! I started by trying to use the pounds and pounds of tomatoes in regular salads (literally, we just got 3 weeks in a row of 7 pounds or more each time!). Then came the Caprese salads. And now, I just need to use these guys up! Forget salads, it’s time to cook them into sauce and use them in every last thing I can think of: pasta and meatballs, tortilla soup, chili, eggplant and chicken parmesan, or just dunk a hunk of bread into it. Before you dismiss this recipe for fear it’s difficult or time consuming, I can assure you it’s really not bad at all, and think of the acclaim you’ll receive! You’ll just smile and say, “Oh, that’s fresh tomato sauce.” And you can also reclaim some of your counter space that previously housed tons of tomatoes…