Thursday, October 7, 2010
Michael Symon's Mom's Lasagna
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Let's talk about Marie Claire.
A magazine, for those of you who've never read it, that is specifically geared towards women, it tends to feature articles with titles that claim to help you lose ten pounds in five days, learn how to give a good blowjob, and choose clothes that best suit your hair color. (Yes, I did just write blowjob on a food blog. I should probably put some kind of NC-17 warning at the top of this post. I have a feeling there might be quite a few four letter words in your near future. And a whole lot of French.)
My point being that this magazine is not the kind of thing that's really looking out for a girl's best interest, in my opinion. I probably wouldn't want my 14 year old daughter to be reading it.
For those of you who are at all involved in the healthy living blog community, you'll know that earlier this week, Marie Claire published an absolutely scathing, vindictive, and one-sided article about the six most popular bloggers within this community (in food blog terms, they would be the Smitten Kitchen, Joy the Baker, and Pioneer Woman's of the healthy living world).
The author of this article portrayed the girls as eating disordered, fitness-obsessed individuals and all but implied that they were out to brainwash the nation into becoming anorexic and bulimic gym rats. She manipulated things that they had said and connived her way into attending a Healthy Living Summit that they arranged (basically, the healthy living blog version of Blogher Food) only so that she could blatantly ignore the positive and supportive community that such an event fostered, instead focusing on the fact that the conference's attendees ate fruit and yogurt for breakfast instead of croissants and danishes. The horror.
After reading it. I was inflamed. Livid, to say the least.
And I spent a lot of time wondering why. Because I'm not really part of this community, even though I've met two of the six girls at BlogHer (we had lunch together, which included a huge plate of dessert goods), have read three of their blogs for years, and do consider myself to be pretty healthy in general.
I think my irritation stems from a lot of places. The first of which being the thing that I don't ever talk about on here, which is that I was anorexic for a good year or so of my life. It was a terrible time. I was basically stuck inside a mind that was constantly berating me, criticizing me, telling me that I was going to gain weight from eating something as miniscule as a grape. I lived in mortal fear of going out to eat or having dessert and would do anything to get out of social situations that involved food that I wasn't in control of. I would exercise for hours and I think everyone in my life was just so scared at the time. And so was I.
When I hit 100 pounds, I realized just how terrified I was that I was going to go below that number. And so I decided to recover. It was about this time that I started reading these healthy food blogs. And I found hope in them. Hope that I could live a well-balanced life, still eating healthy foods and exercising. But in moderation. I didn't find these girls triggering or extreme, although perhaps to most of the population who has never set foot in a gym, they are.
However, do I think it's wrong to want to have vegetables at every meal? Or to crave going to the gym everyday? Um, no. I don't. Nor do I think it's something to belittle or chastise someone for.
I have found so much strength in the blogging community as a whole. And I think another part of my irritation stems from the fact that this woman was too blind-sided by her own motives to see that. Even if she didn't agree with the message behind these girls' blogs, I can't imagine that she didn't see all the hope in promise involved in forging such a community. And if she truly didn't. Well, then I think she needs to go back to journalism school and work on her observational skills.
I'm sorry this wasn't a cute funny adorable post. A little heavy for a Thursday afternoon. But this is something that I really felt strongly about. As someone who purports to be a health food blogger (to some extent), I often get comments questioning the health value of some of the food that I post. And this goes back to the idea that I'm not perfect. I'm not God. I never really set out to the spokesperson for the food pyramid or the AMA. I'm a real person who sometimes is going to eat cupcakes and greasy food that is absolutely stuffed with cheese. And I'm okay with that. So if someone would like to write an article about how I'm a hypocrite who's spurring on the nation's obesity crisis, then so be it. But don't bother questioning me on it. I'm going to refuse to comment.
Possibly because my mouth is going to be too full of this fabulous lasagna. That, though it's not the healthiest lasagna on the block (case in point) is possibly one of the tastiest. I ate the sauce with a spoon out of the pot. No lie.
And really, as long as you eat a moderate lunch (and even if you don't) I'm pretty sure you can indulge in this. No guilt required.
Serves 4, adapted from Live To Cook
NOTE - I completely played with the ratios in this recipe for a few reasons but mostly because I couldn't for the life of me understand why 3 pounds of meat, 2 pounds of ricotta, and 1 pound of mozzarella was really necessary for a dish that supposedly served six. That seems a bit excessive, no? So in general, I halved the recipe but only used 1 lb of meat, 1 lb ricotta, and somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 lb mozzarella to make an 8x8 tray that serves 4. If you want to see the original, though, you can find it here. I'm going to post the recipe as I made it.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1/2 lb no-boil lasagna noodles (I'm pretty sure I actually used less than half a pound...I used 5 sheets because that's what fit in my pan, but it's best to have a whole box on hand just in case).
1 lb fresh local ricotta cheese
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/8 cup chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese (again, I just grated this on top of the lasagna before I popped it in the oven, so I'm not sure how much I used. anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 lb)
1. In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the ground veal and sausage, stirring and breaking into crumbles until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes, and their juice. Stir in the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the browned bits up. Season to taste with salt and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, basil, parsley, eggs, and parmesan with a pinch of salt.
3. Preheat the oven to 350.
4. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Cover with another layer of sauce and then all of the ricotta mixture. Add a final layer of noodles, a final layer of sauce, and cover with grated mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake, uncovered for another 30 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by Jennifer of Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat. It is also going to Symon Sundays, hosted by Ashlee of Veggie By Season!
I'm hosting a CONTEST over at MarxFoods with some AWESOME prizes. You guys should all run over, check out the details, and think about entering! Here's the link.
ALSO. I haven't had a modicum of time to even think about posting the Regional Recipes round-up yet. But I'm going to announce the next country anyway. In case you haven't noticed. It's October. And you know what happens in October? OKTOBERFEST! Um, yeah. We are headed to GERMANY! Please email me your entries by October 31st!