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Monthly Archives: December 2014

1 can chopped clams (OR fresh clam meat*)
1 can corn
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth (OR fresh clam broth*)
1 potato, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1-2 leeks
1 bunch thyme
2 TBSP butter
1 spoonful flour

*Homemade clam broth. Buy a bag of clams, scrub them down, and put them in a bucket of salt water for an hour or more to clean out the sand. [More details on clam cooking may be found on the internet]. Boil a cup of chicken broth, a dash of vinegar, a chunk of butter, and a handful of herbs in a large, covered pot. Add the clams, and steam until open. Chop the meat, and strain and reserve the broth. If you have eaten the clams in a frenzied orgy of deliciousness like a starving walrus, buy a can of chopped clams to replace them.

Fry the vegetables. Cook the onion, leeks and celery in butter until brown. Add the thyme and heat to release the fragrant oils, and a spoonful of flour to thicken the broth. Add the rest. Pour in the milk and the clam broth. Add the potato and corn. Cook until the potato is soft.

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Yesterday I decided I wanted squash and sausage lasagna, but I couldn’t find a recipe I liked. Emeril’s had twenty four ingredients. That’s, like, 14 ingredients too many. The Kitchn had a good one, but the instructions were so involved it would have taken days just to finish measuring out the layers. (“Add another layer of noodles, a fourth of the bechamel, half the sausage, half the squash, and another third of the mozzarella. Add a third layer of noodles, a fourth of the bechamel, the second half of the spinach, the second half of the sausage, the second half of the squash, and the final third of the mozzarella…”) Troublingly, Giada’s called for crumbled cookies. Girl has clearly flipped. Someone go check on her.

I was simultaneously annoyed, and amazed at how many squash and sausage recipes there are. Like, I didn’t know that was a thing. Seems like a weirdly specific filling for lasagna. Anyway, I eventually gave up and made my own. This lasagna is both sweet and savory, with a delicate herb flavoring that will keep you coming back for more. Feel free to add stuff like spinach or ricotta – this recipe is forgiving!

For the filling:
1 butternut squash
3 or 4 large Italian sausages
1 apple, peeled and chopped
For the sauce:
2 cups milk
2 TBSP butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh herbs, chopped (chef’s choice)
And also:
1 package lasagna noodles (1 lb)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook the squash. Halve and clean the squash, then lay it in a pan of water, cut-side down. Cook for 1 hour at 400F, until squishy.
2. Brown the filling. Chop up the sausage, or pull it from its casing, and brown. Add the apple chunks, and cook until soft. Mix in the squash. This is your filling.
3. Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a pan, then toss in the flour. Whisk until it’s a bit brown. Stir in the milk, a little at a time, and cook until slightly thickened. Add the garlic and herbs.
4. Prep the noodles. Cook the noodles in boiling water, until al dente. Drain. Remember not to leave them in a congealing heap, like I did, or you will have a bit of trouble getting them unstuck.
5. Avengers… assemble! Ladle out some sauce into your baking tray, then lay out noodles to cover the bottom. Spoon out a layer of squash filling, then sprinkle with cheese. Continue layering until your pan is full. Remember to finish with a layer of cheese, so we can toast the top!
6. Bake. Cover the pan with foil, then bake for 45 minutes at 375F. Remove the foil, and cook a little longer to brown the top. It’s done when you can hear it bubbling and sizzling.


Plant Mania. Do you have it? Is it catching? Is it covered by your health insurance plan? Why doesn’t “health” insurance cover vision or dental? Aren’t teeth a body part?

Take our handy quiz below, to answer one of those questions!

Question 1: There’s a new Sir David Attenborough documentary (“The Secret World of Kelp”) on Netflix. Your thoughts?

a) They knighted a guy for squatting next to things?
b) I’m already watching it right now. Did you know kelp can grow up to a foot and a half per day?
c) What is this glowing rectangle with the moving pictures? Some kind of new scientific achievement?

Question 2: It’s the weekend, early spring. The weather report calls for unexpected snow flurries. What are you up to?

a) Staying inside, obviously. Spring weather blows.
b) On my way to the garden center to beat the crowds. Snow keeps the amateurs away. I’ll probably do some weeding, too, if I can chip the ice off the beds.
c) Checking on the boy who stokes the pineapple glasshouse boilers. We let him sleep four whole hours a night, but he still dozes off.

Question 3: There is an epiphytic orchid that grows in the depths of the Andean mountains of Bolivia. Its blooms shimmer like multicolored jewels on a green velvet cushion. It is so rare it has only been seen twice, and even then only by a crazed shaman in the throws of a prophetic vision. It blooms once every forty years, and the blooms are pollinated by dust from the Perseid meteor shower. It grows on a bed of silken moss threads at a pH of 7.5238 to 7.5230, and it is fertilized by the decaying husks of ant eggs. If grown in captivity, the ant eggs will have to be chewed to a pulp and manually formed into fertilizer pellets. The only iron supplement it will accept is human blood. It has a 98.2% chance of dying at an altitude lower than 21,000 feet. The last man who attempted to collect this specimen died of frostbite-induced gangrene.

How do you feel about this orchid?

a) Sorry, I didn’t catch that, I was playing Skyrim.
b) I already ordered my Bolivian phrasebook!
c) It would be easier to find if we burned down the Andes first.

Mostly A’s: You are normal.

Mostly B’s: You have Plant Mania. Your premiums are about to go up.

Mostly C’s: You are Victorian plant thief and professional Scottish person Robert Fortune.