Just couldn’t do the Dark Days local winter eating challenge this week, I’m afraid. With the conference in California last weekend and Retrogrouch’s department ski retreat this weekend, plus a backlog of week squeezed in between and during, I had no time to shop or cook, much less seek out the rare, edible, non-moss, winter green in the Willamette Valley. So let’s consider this my “vacation,” a foodie’s fast food foray into airport food and such:
(I love SFO.)
I came closest with the roasted vegetable and seed lasagna that I made for the ski trip potluck, but even that hardly qualifies, what with its commercially produced pasta, ricotta and parmesan, (already shredded!) mozz, and non-local fennel. I did manage to use a local delicata squash, hand-harvested bronze and Italian fennelseed, and a jar of my tomato sauce, though. So maybe I am a half participant.
The tricks to a good lasagna, by the way, are making the tomato sauce as thick as possible before adding it to the pasta, and using plenty of ricotta and sauce. I actually use a bit of paper towel (or bread) to soak up the excess tomato juice on the sides before I put the dish in the oven.
I roasted delicata squash, and a blend of fennel, fennelseed, and the squash seeds the day before making the lasagna, then layered the vegetables in between the pasta sheets. I thought I had made a tactical error with the roasted squash seeds, but people seemed to like them for their crunch and nuttiness. Unfortunately, layering the seeds inside the lasagna made them less crunchy and nutty, so I think I’ll just add them to the top next time.
Other news in Eugenialand involves citrus. The Minneola tangelo crop is good this year, and I’ve been indulging myself with California fruits (what else is new, you might ask). All I want to do is eat oranges. I guess it could be worse. I’d like to do a longer post on another (more local) citrus find — The Rabbit‘s delightful clear citrus juice cocktails — but I’ll mention it now for the earlybirds. Check ’em out. Friendly bartenders Amy and Rico, who have taken over the Eugene cocktail scene as the hottest thing in black-and-white, have collaborated with creative chef Gabriel Gil to create perfectly clear citrus juices via some molecular gastronomic magic, and the ensuing cocktails are lovely.