Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lasagna and jazz, all in 2011.

"In these last few days I have thought a little about where things begin and how they end. It seems to me that although things may start and be maintained without too much consideration, they often require a lot of work to complete."

These are the first sentences of the preface of a certain KTH doctoral dissertation in math, written years before this blogger graduated from high school. (Not the kind of source you would have guessed, right?) I have always like this quote a lot, as it seems to apply to many different things. (And this is no doubt how it was intended.) I usually think of something else in connection with is, but it does apply, in a way, to this food blog as well.

Then, at the end of the same preface, the author extends his thanks to the master musicians of the past for composing the music that has comforted him during difficult times. I agree completely with this sentiment, but I would like to add that good music also provides a frame and soundtrack for happy times, crazy times, confused times, and boring times, the year 2011 being no different. This first post will feature this mathematician's humble attempt at music writing, before turning to the food itself. Hopefully, a reader or two will make it through. And hopefully 2011 will be a great year for Swedish-Oklahoman cooking!

In keeping with this blog's sometimes (always?) pretentious tone, I would like to take the opportunity to enthuse a little over music that has made me particularly happy lately: the brilliant work of saxophone great Pharoah Sanders. Take the track called "You've Got To Have Freedom" that I've been playing over and over-so great! Sanders' initial saxophone howls convey a sense of necessity and urgency; he will not be denied. It's a clarion call-we all need freedom, this is important! Sanders playing is often thought of as abrasive and extreme (his early work with Coltrane), but here I feel he is spot-on. Then John Hicks effortless piano playing takes over; fearless and confident, yet laid-back (that recurring but slightly changing falling figure at the end of his phrases!). Sanders then alternates between melodic solos and high-pitched screeches. Add a swinging rhythm section, that beautiful sax riff, and it's impossible not to feel happy and free.

This energetic recording provided the prefect soundtrack for tonight's vegetarian lasagna! It is effortless-try it yourselves.


lasagna plates
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1/2 onion

cottage cheese
2 carrots

peppadew jack cheese

olive oil
salt and pepper

First, chop up the (half American giant, whole Swedish regular) onion and the pepper. Then, in a frying pan, sautee the onion and pepper in a little olive oil. Don't forget salt and pepper. Chop up the tomatoes without losing the precious juice. Add the tomato chop to the mix, and let stew for a few minutes.

Next, pour the cottage cheese (I used half a 24 oz. can) into a bowl. Peel the carrots, and let them meet their shredded demise at the hands of the cheese grater over the bowl. Add lots of pepper, and mix it!

Turn on the oven, medium temperature. It is now time for the layering of the lasagna. The experts disagree here, but I do it thus, starting at the bottom of a glass cooking pan:

tomato sauce
cottage cheese mix
tomato sauce
cottage cheese mix.

Once you're done, take out your favorite cheese.  I like something that has jalapeno in it for this; this time
i used peppadew jack cheese. Grate the cheese and sprinkle it on top of the last layer of cottage cheese. Add pepper and thyme, and into the oven it goes.

Relax for a while with some music, preferably jazz but traditional Italian canti might be ok. Check the lasagna with a fork. Once it goes right through without a crunch, and the cheese on top has deliciously melted, it is done! Enjoy.

Serving suggestions: "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane on the side, a bottle of New Grist, a sorghum and rice beer from Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI.

No comments:

Post a Comment