……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

No-Bake Squash Lasagne July 23, 2011

It’s hot. It’s been hot. Cows are falling over dead in the midwest because it’s so hot. [To that girl who told me that this heatwave was the result of global warming and that nothing like this has ever happened before, please see this article so I can stop thinking about how heat waves will go on, regardless of the climate change that’s going on. Ugh.]

Anyways, M has been avoiding melting into the subway floor, and I have been figuring out how not to die on my walk to and from work….which means that we have been staying out of our kitchens as much as possible.

What a great time for no-bake lasagne.

No-Bake Squash Lasagne 

1 medium to large summer squash or two different small summer squashes
1/2 to 1 cup ricotta
Italian Seasoning
Red pepper flakes
8 lasagne noodles or 8 campanelle noodle nests
Spaghetti squash
Olive oil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

First, slice squash into 1/4 or 1/2 in rounds. Toss all squash in a bowl with olive oil and some salt. After you’ve let it sit a bit, grill it. [I used a Foreman since there was no way I was going outside…and I don’t own a grill.] After brown grill marks are starting to show, pull the squash off, then toss it in a bowl to let it marinate with some balsamic vinegar.

Cook your noodles and heat up the spaghetti sauce you’re using at this point too.

Then, assemble your “lasagne.” Layer noodles, blended ricotta, grilled squash, and sauce. If you’re using lasagne noodles, you’ll assemble this into an actual lasagne-looking dish. I, however, made this into free-form single-serving lasagne things. Mmmmm.


Summer Crostini – Four Variations July 13, 2011

The way to trick people into eating whatever weird flavor combination you feel like is to serve everything in small pieces, hence why I love tasting dishes. It’s also the reason that I currently love crostini.

At a recent brunch, I got to make 4 different kinds – both sweeter and more savory, which made for a nice brunch combo.

People ate all of them.

I’d recommend these at all hours. (Also, the basic ingredients needed are portable enough you can assemble and eat them at work.) Put some together immediately.

These ingredient recipes are written as they are assembled, from bottom to top.

Peach and Proscuitto Crostini

Sliced baguette
Ripe peach slices
Strips of prosciutto (stays on best when wrapped around the peach slice)
Freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle of honey

Thyme Apple Crostini

Sliced whole wheat or rye baguette/small pieces of bread
Gruyere (preferably melted on top of the bread in the broiler)
Fresh thyme leaves
Apple slices

Goat Cheese and Tomato Crostini

Sliced baguette
Goat cheese (do not buy the pre-crumbled kind – you need to be able to spread this)
Fresh basil leaves
Sliced sundried tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper

Pear Walnut Crostini

Sliced whole wheat baguette
Pear slices
Large walnut pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle of honey


Quick Summer Dinner for Two: Pasta with Ricotta, Basil and Tomatoes July 7, 2011

It’s hot. So hot that I don’t want to cook when I come home from work. I’d rather just eat chips and salsa, have a pickle as my ‘vegetable,’ and call it a night (after I’ve eaten some ice cream).

The solution: dinner that requires almost no cooking.

Pasta with Ricotta, Basil and Tomatoes

1.5-2 cups pasta, cooked (I used egg noodles since I don’t like long skinny pastas…because they’re too messy)
1/3 to 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta
1/8 to 1/4 cup cream (you could skip this, but I had some cream in the fridge, at it makes everything delicious)
2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil
1 to 2 tsp. minced garlic
1 to 2 Tbs. sliced sun-dried tomatoes, plus some of the oil used to pack them (I don’t like fresh tomatoes; I’m sure they’d be a delicious substitute if that’s your thing, though)
2 Tbs. fresh basil

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, cream, olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. Add cooked, drained pasta and stir to coat. Toss in basil leaves after pasta has cooled somewhat so leaves don’t wilt.