Monday, March 9, 2009

That Smell: Dinner and Dessert

Penny and I recently suffered an odiferous onslaught every time we walked through our front door. At times it smelled like gym socks, at others fetid meat, at still others rotting cabbage; it wafted in and out, reaching a stasis that was more nuisance than gag-inducing. Baffled, we wandered around the apartment, sniffing every nook and cranny. Both tired (of smelling) and hungry, we decided our time would be better spent masking it with smells delicious to both nose and tummy: homemade lasagna and peach-blueberry pie. Yum-city!

My grandmother was an expert crust-maker; I, however, am not so good.
*Take two sticks of butter, cut them into 1/2 inch slices, place them in a bowl, then freeze them for an hour or so.
*In a medium-large bowl, place 2 1/2 c flour, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar. I used Grandma's sifter to combine them.

*Using a pastry cutter (or in my case, my hands/fingers) incorporate the frozen butter. I like fingers because it feels like you're making a mudpie, but more delicious. The texture should resemble pebbles of differing sizes.
*Add ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time (usually between 4 and 6 total), mixing (with hands or pastry cutter) until dough holds together.
*Divide the dough in half; wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

For the filling, because my hankering would not mind the seasons, I used frozen peaches and frozen blueberries.
*In a bowl, mix 4 1/2 c peaches and 1 1/2 c blueberries with 3 T cornstarch, 2/3 c sugar, 1 1/2 teas cinnamon, and 1 T lemon juice.
*Remove dough from fridge, roll out into 12" circles. Place first round in 9"pan, pressing down to make a snug fit.
*Pour in the filling.

*Roll out the second round. Place on top.
*Trim to within 1" of the edge; fold the top crust over the bottom and pinch together.
*Brush top with milk, sprinkle with sugar, and cut 4 2-inch slits.
*Bake at 375 with foil covering the edge.
*After 40 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 20.

When I was younger, my mom would butter the scraps of the crust, then sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar, and bake them on a cookie sheet until brown: all so that we'd have a sweet snack while we waited for the pie.

Though some of our closest friends are vegetarians, Penny and I savor meat.

*For our lasagna, we browned 1/2 pound of bacon, 1 pound lean ground beef, an onion, and 3 cloves of garlic.
*After draining most of the fat, we added a 16oz can of tomato sauce and a 16oz can of canned tomatoes.
*We seasoned with basil, tabasco, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes.
*Penny made a bechamel sauce with 1/4 c butter, 1/4 flour, and 1 1/2 c milk, in a small saucepan on the stove. When it thickened, we added a small handful of asiago cheese.
*Prior to the browning and the rouxing, Penny sliced zucchini, whilst wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt (inadvertently keeping with the theme).

In the bottom of a 9X13" we placed a thin layer of the tomato sauce. Then lasagna noodles (we got some Barilla that didn't require cooking beforehand). We placed more tomato sauce, then the bechamel.

Followed by grated mozzarella, then noodles, then tomato sauce, then zucchini, then bechamel, then grated mozz, then noodles, then zucchini, and so on and so forth. Since we were drinking, it was hard to keep track of layers. We finished with a layer of zucchini, topped with grated mozz, asiago, and parmesan.

*Cover with foil, bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.
*Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, til cheese is brown and bubbly.

For dessert:

Though the yummy smells eventually dissipated to reveal the lurking malodorous stench, Penny and I were too sated to sniff it out.


  1. everything looks so tasty. i miss all your treats--savory and sweet. i'm happy that the princess palace's legacy lives on.