1. We had some "minor" excitement in our neighborhood. I'd like to point out that we really do not live in what some would deem "the 'hood," contrary to what some readers may infer. Please click here to read more. Its a link to my friend Kara's blog who once again writes about a snippet of my life. What she failed to mention at the end of her post is 1. The other exciting thing we saw out the window - a charming man carrying flowers home for his wife who just had her braces removed and 2. When eluding police one should not wear a red jacket (it is just too bright and a dead-giveaway) and one's baggy pants should be cinched up at the waist otherwise it would slow-down your "running away from the cops thing."
2. In honor of my braces being removed, I thought I'd post our favorite way to make popcorn. (Really we stole the idea from Giada deLaurentis). Take a pretty big (like 14 inches in diameter)and deep (maybe 3-4 inches) sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. Put the pan over medium heat, pour in 1/2 cup of Orville Redenbacher kernels (really don't use the store brand, it just isn't as good) and a 1/4 cup of olive oil (yes, olive oil). Put the lid on and wait until you hear some popping. Then every once in awhile carefully shimmy the pan over the heat. When the popping slows down turn off the heat. Carefully open the lid and pour the delicious contents into a very large bowl. Sprinkle with Kosher salt (I don't know why we choose that in particular except we always have it on hand and we like it). Enjoy!
3. In regards to the lasagna hunt from September, here are my final thoughts on the matter. All of the recipes that were sent were great. But in the end I went with a Martha Stewart one (crazy, yes but sometimes the truth seems crazy) that I tweaked to meet my needs. Click here for her recipe and then see below for my changes.
- I did NOT use fresh lasagna noodles. I'm sure they would have been great, but I did not have the time, patience, nor the counter space to devote to such an endeavour. Instead I used the Barilla no-cook lasagna noodles and they were fabulous.
- Fresh Mozzarella is good, but the regular kind works wonders. I prefer to have a ball of the regular stuff and then grate it. It has a better taste and consistency than the pre-shredded packaged stuff.
- I added about 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to the Ricotta. It breaks up the Ricotta some, has a slightly different taste, and makes it all a bit more cheesy (which is a good thing when it comes to lasagna).
- This is my curve ball - before beginning to make the marinara sauce, I sauteed some finely chopped onion and Chicago-style Italian sausage (sorry to be so geographic about it, but the Chicago-style Italian sausage is incredibly delish and I haven't found anything to substitute for it. I live five hours away from the source as it is; life will sure be tough when we move over 2,000 miles away from it!). The sausage should be removed from its casings and then cooked through. When its about halfway to its goal, add in the garlic. Your house will smell so tasty. Towards the end of your cook time, add enough oregano and basil to make yourself happy and throw in a pinch of rosemary and a teaspoon or two of sugar for good measure. This will help your taste buds rejoice.
4. I just want to let you know that I ate a piece of licorice with Grace yesterday and it was a joyful experience.