Saturday, April 11, 2015

Mission impossible: to find the bay leaf........

I love the blues and green mixed together in this bracelet!
Jerry loves lasagna - course who doesn't love lasagna?   And I make a mean lasagna... but it's more on the sweet than savory side, and it's good to try new recipes.  The rule around here is follow the recipe exactly as presented, then tweak as needed.  

So Jerry picked out this recipe for a lasagna, and one of the ingredients was bay leaf.  I've never used bay leaf before, and the directions said to remove the bay leaf before making up the lasagna layers... so you used it for flavor but don't eat it.

That puzzled me, but I thought nothing of it.  It also had directions to add basil only after the sauce has simmered , just before you put it in the casserole pan.  That really puzzled me.. I've used basil for years, and I think it improves the longer it simmers in the sauce!   But again, in the spirit of things, I tried to follow the directions.  (and people who use basil have very strong feelings about it, so what the hey, I'll try it once) 

It called to mix cottage cheese and ricotta cheese together for the creamy cheese layer.  I'm good with that.. I love ricotta cheese, but Jerry is a fan of cottage cheese, and mixing it together works well, making the layer less runny ( cause no matter how much you drain the cottage cheese, it's always  runny in that layer)  that part of the lasagna had lovely texture.

It was only after the lasagna was in the oven and baking that I realized 2 things: 
     1.  I forgot to remove the bay leaf
     2.  I didn't add the basil


Now I needed to know why you remove the bay leaf... is it poison?  that makes no sense, why would you cook with it at all???  buy why do you have to remove it then?

Thank goodness for the Internet... the reason is the leaf  itself has sharp edges and cans puncture the inside of a mouth or lodge in the throat, and in extreme cases slice up your stomach.  ouch! 

So Jerry and I have been carefully eating our lasagna.  so far 1/2 of the leaf was found.  There are 2 portions left in the fridge, so it's either in them or someone ate it.. but how you wouldn't be able to tell I don't know.  the 1/2 leaf was in my portion... it was like chewing sharp spiky leather. 

Honestly the lasagna wasn't bad, it certainly wasn't sweet! I missed the basil in it, and next time I'm gonna add it in with everything else. But frankly this supports my long term believe that while lasagna takes time to make, it's really a simple dish and hard to muck up.  

will I use the bay leaf again? honestly I want to make it without once to see if it's worth the effort.  The dish had a lovely savory mix of flavors, and much more complex herbal taste that my personal "sweeter" version of lasagna.  I don't know how much of that is from the bay leaf.  From reading about cooking with bay leaves it really can add under tones to your food.  I have a whole little jar full of them right now.....

I think experimenting with food is almost as much fun as playing in the studio!!  

Now, if only someone else did the dishes........

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