Kale and Mushroom Lasagne (page 34)
I used the full amount of vegetables and mustard for a half batch of the sauce and it turned out quite flavourful. A bland sauce was one of the things I feared about this dish. Combined with the cooked kale, it in no way resembled creamed spinach. The second of my fears proven baseless! I used a little more than half the pasta, six dried noodles (125g) trimmed to make three layers in a small casserole dish. I've never had much luck baking dry noodles in a lasagne so I pre-cooked them.
With layers of garlicky sautéed mushrooms, tender pasta, and creamy, cheesy kale, this turned out to be a hit. Delicious but quite rich, it's a once-in-a-while sort of dish.
Spelt (Farro) Salad with Squash and Fennel (page 72)
Cauliflower with Toasted seeds (page 108)
Family really enjoyed the bright and nutty flavours of this raw cauliflower salad, and I loved that I had another use for that jar of sumac in my pantry. It was easy to put together but slicing the cauliflower with the mandoline was a messy business with bits flying everywhere. Fortunately my dog wandered by - actually he was waiting patiently for the "ok" to come in to the kitchen - and did the preliminary clean up of the floor for me.
The toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds complemented the cauliflower nicely and the lemon-sumac dressing added some zing. The dressed salad held up really well and would be perfect for a packed lunch.
Pasta with Greens, Garlic, and Chile (page 261)
Consisting of pasta, wilted greens and a few choice ingredients for added flavour, this dish came together very quickly and easily. I used fresh spinach, which I added not to the pasta cooking water but to the pan of onions, garlic, and chile just before the pasta went in, cooking it briefly to wilt it. This was a simple dish but it had great flavour and I'll definitely make it again.
Artichoke and White Bean Dip (page 303)
I learned just how well artichokes and white beans went together from the warm salad I made for CCC in October and like that recipe, this dish was very easy to make using pantry ingredients. I was only able to find marinated artichokes which provided most of the flavour, with more coming from cooked onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and marjoram, oregano's milder relation, and with the beans adding body. This was very good freshly made but the flavours melded together and improved over time......something to keep in the fridge for snacks and quick lunches.
Roasted Potatoes and Eggplants (page 351)
A great alternative to plain potatoes, in the roasting time provided, the potatoes were crisp with a fluffy interior and the eggplant sweet and chewy, caramelized almost beyond recognition (a good thing around here!). The garlic slices added part way through roasting cooked unevenly and didn't add much to the dish unless you ate a slice, and then it was a bit too much! I think minced garlic might have worked better, or perhaps whole cloves added at the start of roasting. I added optional lemon zest and parsley with the lemon juice to finish, which I'll do again, but hot paprika sounds good as well.
Big Baked Mushrooms (page 385)
These were really tasty! The roasting instructions worked perfectly and the little bit of garlic was perfect with the portobello mushrooms. Since they were destined for some burger buns, I added extra cheese, Gruyère, a favourite here with mushrooms. With having to drain the liquid from the caps and blot them dry first, achieving a cheese topping that was "golden and bubbling" took a little extra effort. Until grilling weather is once again upon us, this will be my go-to preparation for large mushrooms.
This has been a fantastic start to Cottage Cooking Club's new year. Let's see what Andrea of the Kitchen Lioness, intrepid founder and leader of the group, has in store for us in February!