Thursday, March 15, 2012

Swiss Chard & Sausage Lasagne with Meyer Lemons

The weather in Toronto has been ridiculously gorgeous this week. Just ridiculous. I walked around downtown in jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops today. I used to be able to bet that we'd always get one huge snowstorm in March. But over the past 3-4 years, that hasn't happened.

The influx of spring leaves me wanting lighter, brighter flavours. I want to gently poke my head out from beneath the culinary blanket of braised, rib sticking food. Emphasis on the gently. There's nothing pleasant about a rude awakening.

So, while revisiting an old Martha Stewart magazine in search of recipes for Easter (my parents and brother are staying with us this year!), I stumbled across a recipe for chard, sausage and lemon lasagne. It hit the right notes for me - bechemel sauce for comfort, lemons for brightness, tons of chard for veggie infused goodness (and seasonality - the chard at the shops are gorgeous right now) and sausage for that awesome hit of porky goodness.

And, it came together and cooked in under an hour to boot. Rock on, Martha. For the record, I used Meyer lemons because that's what I had on hand. The original recipe calls for regular ones, but the advantage to the Meyers is you get a slightly different aroma and their skin is thinner, so they incorporate better.

Swiss Chard & Sausage Lasange with Meyer Lemons.

(from Martha Stewart Living)


2 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
1 bunch chopped Swiss chard
1 lb sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 lemon, sliced paper thin
6 no boil lasagne noodles.


1. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for two minutes. Gradually, whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and season mixture with salt and pepper. Stir in the chard and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan cover lemon slices with several inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes. When finished, gently remove slices from pot with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towel. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook Italian sausage, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon as they cook.

3. Preheat oven to 350º.

4. To assemble lasagne, ladle ¼ cup of the sauce into the bottom of an 8"x8" baking dish. Top with two lasagne noodles. Layer 1 cup sauce and ½ the sausage mixture on top. Repeat with another layer of noodles, sauce and the rest of the sausage. Before adding the last two lasange noodles, top sausage with half of the lemon slices. Top with lasagne noodles, the rest of the sauce and the remaining lemon slices.

5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top of lasagne and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Sweet Tooth Continues - Raspberry Loaf Cake

Does the whole wheat flour (a bit), ground flax (a couple tablespoons) and mere two tablespoons of butter make this healthy (shhh, don't mention the 6 egg yolks)?

No? Okay, how about if I sent half of it to my husband's work (I'm on March Break, so my coworkers are out of luck) so it doesn't get eaten by me?

Moderation, right? And, I've moderated if I've only eaten 3 servings of the cake in as many days... right?

This argument is getting weaker by the moment.

Anyway, this is a lovely, quick recipe that goes down so nicely with a cup of tea (we had it with this gorgeous strawberry & chocolate tea that we picked up from the Tealicious booth at the One of a Kind Show over Christmas). There's a little bit of yeast in the cake to give it some extra rise, and it slices up moist and like a dream.

This really is best eaten the day it's made, though you can stretch it to two. Be careful about garnishing with fresh raspberries if you're planning on keeping the cake around longer. They will go mouldy.

Martha's Iced Raspberry Loaf Cake

 (slightly adapted from here)



3/4 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp ground flax
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp butter, melted
3 large eggs + 3 large egg yolks
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries


2 tbsp butter
¼ cup whole milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2½ cups icing sugar

raspberries for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 5"x9" loaf pan with butter (or cooking spray) and line the base with parchment paper. Butter the parchment as well. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together flours with yeast, salt and flax. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and the butter. Set both aside.

3. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until mixture is light and thick. It should be a very pale yellow. Gently fold in the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, fold in the yogurt-butter mixture and then the raspberries. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until pale gold and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Martha says this will take 45-50 minutes, but it took my cake 70 minutes to fully cook. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely on rack before icing.

4. To make icing, heat butter, milk and vanilla in a saucepan. Whisk in icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, until mixture is thick but pourable. Pour half of the mixture over the cake. Let set for 3-4 minutes before pouring the rest over. Let set for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Vanilla Glazed Donuts

It's amazing how your eating habits change when you're pregnant. At least, I'm amazed at my reversion back to my 14-17 year old tastes. I was reading somewhere that a lot of women seek out food that remind them of their childhood, which would totally explain why I've had macaroni and cheese every Sunday for lunch for the past month. Today, I even threw hot dogs (albeit organic ones made with ecologically responsibly raised beef) in.

Between my morning cravings for fruit (I went through 3 grapefruit yesterday) and my dinner time cravings for something that includes Frank's Red Hot Sauce (pregnant women must keep them in business), I've found what I'm making in the kitchen to all be the less than healthy stuff.

It's weird putting on this much weight but not having that much of it go to my hips (although, I noted a double chin in action today... commence the high pitch whine now). I'm scared that, as I reached the halfway mark on Friday that July is going to come around and that I'll have put on way more than I ought to have.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from making desserts. Nor does that stop me from eating them.

Yes, they're donuts.

Yes, they're vanilla glazed.

Yes, they're delicious.

And yes, I started making them at 8 pm one night because I HAD to have them.

But, BUT (and I say this before you roll your eyes and start passing judgment), they're

a) baked


b) contain 1 tbsp of butter divided between 12 donuts.

So there. Not (as) terrible for me.

At least they wouldn't be if I hadn't already eaten 2 today. I can't even promise you that there's an end in sight.

Click here for the recipe. I suggest using more than a pinch of nutmeg, and adding a teaspoon of vanilla to the dough when you're mixing in the egg. I'm planning on attempting a chocolate mint version of these over March Break (next week! wheee!).

Also on the March Break to make list: Meyer Lemon and Rose Marmalade and about a million DIY things for our guest room/eventual baby room. Who wants to bet I get none of that accomplished?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...