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Daily Archives: November 18, 2012

Cooking from Scratch Sunday

It is going to be one of those crazy weeks. Every day something going on. Holidays with heavier foods. Today I wanted vegetarian, and I wanted to use up some of the CSA veggies.

You know that Bank commercial, the one where they picture “homemade” lasagna from Stouffer’s. That was me twenty years ago. Thankfully, I now make my own lasagna.

I had beaucoup squash on the counter. Greens in the fridge. My trusty iPad gave me inspiration.

It is funny. The author improvised. So did I. I roasted a couple of squash, delicata and acorn, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Peeled and sliced, so I could layer them easily. A little salt and pepper and olive oil. I also took a large bunch of lacinato kale and sauteed it in olive oil, with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

I made the sauce. A 15 ounce container of ricotta mixed with two eggs, and a healthy sprinkling of parmesan. About four ounces of milk added to thin it out. A third of it went in with the kale. Add more nutmeg, salt and pepper to both. Do it to your taste.

Take a square pan. Grease it. Add a layer of sauce, then kale. Put noodles on it. Add some sliced mozzarella. Then put all the squash on it and press it down. More sauce. More noodles. Kale, mozzarella and then sauce on top. A little oregano, salt and pepper on top. If you like garlic, add granulated garlic powder to each element. Same for the nutmeg. I grind my own.

Bake all of this for 25 minutes covered with foil (spray it with Pam first), then take off the foil and bake 15-20 minutes longer until it browns. Take it out and let it rest.

Cut it and serve it with a big white wine. You will not miss the meat. Kale and squash. Good for you and really a great taste. The only discussion we had about it, was that it was slightly underseasoned. Next time we may add some cayenne flakes, to spice it up.

Not bad for vegetarian.


Thanksgiving Wines

One of the hardest dinners to pick a wine to match. We get to bring wines to my brother’s house every year, as we have the cellar and have been collecting for a very long time. But, our older reds aren’t the perfect match for the turkey, particularly when other dishes would compete with them. Easter is always easy for me, since he makes lamb. Christmas generally he has a Smithfield ham and we always have shrimp, so a nice white works there.

Thanksgiving though, drives me nuts with choosing the pairings. One of the couples only drinks reds so I considered getting this year’s Nouveau. I do hear it’s slim pickings due to a small harvest.

I think I finally settled on what I am taking. I need to come up with four bottles total, to cover the number of people. These were the choices and they all will complement the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and won’t be totally messed up by the sauerkraut, that Maryland anomaly on the table. 😉

locapour dominating the Thanksgiving choices

It turns out I will be bringing the three local wines on the left, and not the Hillinger. I may take that down for Christmas as it will fit better there. The Vidal Riesling is my mom’s favorite. It has a little spritz and is an off dry wine, but not too sweet. It really goes well with the stuffing, if you use a spicy sausage in it. It is a perfect wine for novices to drinking wine, but has enough structure to make a wine lover happy. I will take one of those.

The other two wines are pretty big rose wines. Linden’s is made dominantly from their merlot. Breaux’s is a blend of Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin. 2011 was the year Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee did a number on the red grapes in the area. Wineries like Linden and Breaux used some interesting red grapes to make these wines. They didn’t try to force big red wines from grapes that had too much rain dilute their structure. It became a year with many very good roses, and there are some decent light reds out there in Virginia from 2011.

These two will both pair nicely with a Thanksgiving dinner. As for what we will be opening on the weekend when I make my turkey, it will probably be a Maryland red. My weekend Thanksgiving turkey, bought from Maple Lawn, and served with stuffing made with local bread and sausage, and CSA veggies, will be grilled if the weather holds. I am thinking of opening one of the Black Ankle pinot noirs. We have two of them from their first vintage, 2008. I think it is a better choice than the Syrah, which is bigger.

It is nice that there are such good wines made locally. You do have to search for the better wineries around here, but you can usually find something that meets your needs. Making this locavore a locapour as well.