Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 1: Welcome to the Revolution

Yukon Gold Potatoes on the left, Not-so-baby Celery Root on the right

You already know I don’t eat animals. I do eat cheese, eggs, and honey, so if you are a vegan, or allergic to those items, then this recipe may not be for you.

I’m enamored with the concept of Meatless Monday or Meatfree Monday across the pond. The idea being that you can improve your health, and that of the planet, by just saying no to animals on Monday. Some of you are like me, and don’t eat animals any day of the week. Some of you are like my husband, and follow the Pollan Manifesto of “Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants”.

Absolutely delicious, & good for you, Cabbage

Whatever your reason, even if it’s just because you’ve got a family member or friend who is a vegetarian and you want to serve up something that everyone can enjoy, here’s to it.


DISCLAIMER: This recipe is for someone with an awful lot of time on their hands, so you may want to do this on a holiday, day off from work, or in batches. You almost certainly want the aid of a pasta rolling machine. I made these noodles by hand, you may not want to.


Ball dropped in anticipation of snacks since Mommy isn't giving me cabbage


Pizzoccheri Lasagna, by KennyZ (Of course I made Changes!)

Serves 8-9 generously

Buckwheat lasagna noodles:
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Manual Instructions follow, but I found doing this by hand almost unbearable( buckwheat is a beee-ach!), so: mix and knead the dough in your Vitamix or a food processor.  Buckwheat has practically no gluten which is probably why I found it difficult to knead. You may also need to add a few tablespoons of warm water if you find this dough just won’t come together.

Sift the 2 flours together into a very large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the eggs. Work the eggs in slowly, incorporating from the sides a bit of flour at a time. When it has come together into almost a ball, dump it onto a work surface and continue combining with your fingers.

When the dough has come together enough to be kneaded, give it a good kneading for a solid 8 minutes ( or when the surface is smooth like a flour dough). Then wrap in plastic and let it rest for half an hour.

Roll this dough through your pasta maker using its setting for lasagna (it should be 1/16 in. thick). Remember you don’t want to be me and do it by hand. It ain’t for the faint of heart.

Cut it into strips about 9 inches long and 2 inches wide (I stopped here. Placed the noodles on wax paper, then wrapped the plastic around the wax paper covered noodles and refrigerated them overnight).

Cook until al dente, in the water used for cooking the vegetables below - about 4-5 minutes.

Vegetables


5 baby celery roots, peeled and sliced thin into approximately 2 inch pieces
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced the same as the celery root
½ a large head of cabbage, chopped

Bring lots of heavily salted water to a boil in a large stock pot. Cook the celery root and potato for 8 minutes, then add the cabbage and cook for 4 minutes more. Drain, preserving the cooking water (you will use this flavorful water to cook the pasta), and set aside.

Bechemal/Mornay

3 1/2 c. of whole milk, hot
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
12-15 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 c. flour
2 bay leaves
1 egg yolk
5 oz grated parmesan
Fresh Sage from our garden

Brown the butter with the sage until it’s a rich and warm brown (like a caramel) over medium heat. You need to watch this like a hawk but it could take up to twenty minutes (don’t increase the heat in order to decrease the time it takes to get there — butter is sensitive).

Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes (you are letting the flavor of the garlic meld with the browned butter and sage). Add the flour and cook, constantly stirring for 1.5 minutes (DO NOT BROWN). Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in bay leaves, salt and pepper; reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally (this should be thick). Remove and toss the Bay leaves.

Beat 1 egg yolk. Add a little of the béchamel to the egg yolk, stirring constantly, then return this mixture to the rest of the sauce and cook until well heated.

Tip: Adding the warm sauce to the yolk prevents curdling.

Then remove sauce from heat and immediately add:
5 oz. grated Parmesan


Grated Parmesan at the bottom of the Vitamix -- 5 oz. is a lot to grate by hand

Stirring to prevent curdling and complete incorporation



Pizzoccheri, All above components plus


5 oz. Emmmental cheese, grated (you can use fontina but this dish has it origins in the Lombardy region of Italy pretty close to the Swiss Alps so why not?)
Butter

Butter your favorite lasagna baking pan (these layers are hefty so make sure your pan is deep). Place a layer of cooked noodles at the bottom. Scatter some veggies and sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese, then spoon about 1/3 of the Bechemal/Mornay over the whole thing. Taste the noodles and veggies – if you have salted your cooking water enough, they shouldn’t need more seasoning. If you haven’t, then sprinkle some salt now. Top with another layer of noodles; scatter more veggies, cheese, and Bechemal/Mornay. One last layer of noodles, and top with more cheese and Bechemal/Mornay. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Let it rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve.



Serve with a green salad.  

They will never miss the meat with this one.  This is definitely a stick-to-your-ribs number.

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