This week was an especially busy one. Glen had a lot of evening meetings, I had an evening meeting working with the Westford Community Garden Group, and time to cook was going to be slim. I went spelunking in the chest freezer to see what was available. I had one bag of Springdell frozen spinach left from the summer, and a package of Sweet Italian Pork Sausage. I decided to make a lasagna happen, nothing fancy, but fancy will not be required when working with delicious ingredients. Lasagna is such a great way to use just about any combination of Springdell veggies!
After a trip to the market for some lasagna noodles and ricotta cheese (two things that could be made at home if time were on my side) I was ready to roll. Shredded mozzarella is a staple in my house and we always have plenty on hand. After browning the sausage and cooking the noodles, I mixed the standard filling of spinach, ricotta, eggs and mozzarella using the directions printed right on the box. Instead of sauce, I used my Springdell tomatoes from last year’s summer bushel. I mixed in some minced Springdell garlic and oregano with said tomatoes, and then some of the juicier ones were layered on the bottom of my pan. Four noodles then went down, followed by half of the spinach mixture, all of the sausage, and a little more tomato.
After another layer of noodles covered this loveliness, I put down more tomato and the remainder of the spinach mixture. A final layer of noodles with a sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan and it was ready to pop in the oven. (I follow the box directions for cooking times).
Now this is something that my family will eat for dinner several days in a row! I’ll change up the accompanying side salad to keep dinner interesting in the days to come.
After the community garden meeting, I made an attempt at baking apple brownies and thought I’d share the experience with you. I say “attempt” because I believe these brownies turned out not quite what they were meant to be. When I cook, I like to take liberties of changing ingredients and being creative. This sometimes turns out badly, but it’s a risk I love to take. I have not yet learned that this risk is exponentially higher when it comes to baking. The outcome of this recipe might move me one step closer to learning that lesson (though probably not).
I put in extra apples (I couldn’t help myself). I used pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. (My pastry flour was local, my all-purpose flour was not, and having come directly from the Community Garden meeting before baking these, I was inspired to go local). I had barely enough baking powder left in my can so I substituted a tiny bit of baking soda & cream of tartar to compensate. I could have decreased the amount of sugar to account for the sweetness of the apples, but I didn’t. I also did not wait for the pan to cool before digging in. So many rules were broken, I could have been thrown in baking jail… I’m happy to say that despite all these changes, I got totally lucky. Though my alterations caused the texture to be more reminiscent of apple crisp than brownies, the results were still fabulously delicious.
So I originally found this recipe in a randomly obtained National Grid employee cookbook entitled “Recipes for Success”. Unfortunately, I have been unable to “officially” cite the recipe as there is no info in the book with which to do so. Fortunately, there are many copies of this recipe in various forms, and I found one that is identical online. I’m not sure which recipe came first, but I found this particular recipe to be almost as common as apple pie. Here is one identical version of the recipe, so that you may follow it to the letter, or go off the grid. Whatever you choose, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Oh, and don’t forget to crisp up that apple peel for delicious apple chips! I find these golden delicious peels are great with or without cinnamon.
I hope this dinner/dessert post has planted a seed (apple, if you will), for some variations of your own. I look forward to chatting this weekend for Sunday Dinner!