Thursday, November 10, 2011

It takes a village people

This is how I'm feeling today. Some days the life of the Arts Exec of the year is giving lectures and feeling like a smarty pants while certain others its nursing a week long head cold while crawling around a dirty warehouse building a mini golf hole and cleaning up garbage. A life in the arts is NON STOP GLAMOUR I tell you. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I may not be rich but I certainly ain't bored either.....

That said this shit is pretty sweet. The holes turned out great! There are 9 of them and you can play them. In recent months Verge has picked up some new studio artists who will have their studios on view this evening as well.

Best of all the founder of the reincarnated Ruhstaller Brewery will be there with his RAD vintage truck serving up BREW!!!!!!

In the meantime everyone gave it there all like Amanda here. All smiles!

Biggert came by and helped me lay astro turf. Total pro.

Alek cutting text.
These little ships are rocking my world. I really want one separate from the hole itself. So cool.

Anyhoo, the level of teamwork it takes to pull off a Verge event is pretty humbling and inspiring. Head cold or no, tonight is gonna be AWESOME!!!!!

P.S. In case anyone is wondering what's going on with my crockpot currently, last night I made Japanese curry and it was delish! I know the world cares about these issues.....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If I can't cook it in a crockpot I ain't interested

Up until recently my crockpot resided at the Verge where I only blew Nate's sawdust off it long enough to fill it with mulled wine at movie night. For reasons I can't quite explain I've become like a woman possessed in recent days cranking out two dinners and yogurt in my pot. Maybe I'm returning to my Nodak roots....

Where has it been all this time? Seriously. Dinner today took me 10 whole minutes to throw together. I may never cook any other way.

For starters here's that yogurt I mentioned. Easy peasy.

Next up lasagna....

Pardon the photo, I was too anxious to get eatin' to do any better. I've been training for the run to feed the hungry which has created a frenzy these days come dinner time.

Crockpot lasagna according to me -

1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 28oz can plum tomatoes
1 T oregano
1 T thyme
1 T olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
1 lb of baby spinach
4 bell peppers chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 container of ricotta
1 handful flat leaf parsley chopped
1 box lasagna noodles uncooked (doesn't have to be the quick kind)
1 bag of Italian shredded cheese blend
2 t salt

Make the sauce by combining the oil, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and garlic. Once assembled in a bowl hit it with an immersion blender or throw in a food processor.

For the cheese filling combine the ricotta with the rest of the salt and the parsley.

Begin layering in your crockpot starting with a layer of sauce, then noodles (break 'em up to fit), then a layer of the ricotta mixture, an assortment of veggies, shredded cheese, then more sauce, and so on until you reach the top. Once you place the last layer of noodles on this masterpiece add one last layer of sauce and cheese pour about a 1/4 cup of water around the perimeter of the pot (I used the sauce can for this to wipe out the last bits of tomato business) put the lid on and turn it to low.

7 hours later you got a perfect lasagna! It's like magic and totally defied my expectations. Juicy but not soggy, rich in flavor, perfect lasagna in my book. I found some other crockpot lasagna recipes online which this is a modification of, mostly because the others included jars of premade sauce, etc which, while I know is part of the whole convenient crockpot ethos is a bridge too far for me. Jarred pasta sauce is the ick IMHO.

Moving right along this evening I made tamale pie in 10 minutes flat. I feel giddy typing this. It's like I have a new lease on life. Delicious dinner AND chill time. Win. Win.

Tamale pie:

1 jalapeno diced
1 red onion
3/4 c cheddar cheese
1 can corn drained
1 can pinto beans drained
1 T Mexican oregano
1 t chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin
4 tomatoes chopped or two 14 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes
1 batch cornbread mix (I like Arrowhead Mills as a solid health food quality cornbread mix which is pretty dense)

Fresh salsa, sour cream, and green onions to garnish

Put the tomatoes, corn, beans, soyrizo (you can use actual chorizo instead or ground turkey or beef with taco seasoning but this would require pre-browning which would negate the 10 minute scenario I'm so pleased with), oregano, cumin, chili powder, onion, and 1/2 cup of the cheese in the crockpot.

Mix up the cornbread according to package directions and add the jalapeno. Stir to combine and pour in an even layer over the filling. Top with the 1/4 cup of remaining cheese and set on low for 6 hours.

Unbelievably the cornbread rose as though cooked in the oven but far moister as a result of the steam trapped in the pot.

I had it with a Barsao Garnacha and was feeling no pain.

Now to comtemplate what's gonna go in the pot next.....