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    « Buffalo Jumpin' | Main | Just ... Thinkin' »

    December 29, 2003

    Comments

    christopher

    No sugar!?!? And no really rough red wine. Oh, erk, nope, can't be, no no no. I could forgive you the mushrooms (personally I cook them in butter and sherry before chucking them in) but this is beyond the pale.

    Nils Ling

    Hmmm ... red wine, I could try .. I don't usually cook with it, because I rarely have much around, not being a wine drinker. But sugar? I saw sugar in a couple of the recipes and flinched ... perhaps I ought not have ...

    Cyn

    The sugar just tones down the acidic kick in the tomato sauce. I prefer Italian food without sugar myself, but I do like a little splash of the red wine.

    Jean

    Lasagna without sugar...that would be like using cottage cheese in place of ricotta. (or to speak for Christopher...using Dream Whip instead of whipping cream) Somethings you just don't mess with.

    Nils Ling

    OK, then ... how much sugar? How much red wine? I'm intrigued ... if it'll make my lasagna better ("Inconceivable!" he once thought)I'm all ears ... and taste buds ...

    Rob MacD

    How about, instead of ground beef, trying cubed and fried chicken breast...and instead of sugar, you use...don't laugh... chocolate chips. I haven't made lasagna for over 10 years (since my kid refuses to eat it), but I've been known to make a wicked chili, and occasionally make it chicken instead of beef, and occasionally, use chocolate chips.

    I don't know how chicken would transfer to lasagna, but it works quite well with chili.

    Nils Ling

    Yeah, I've tasted chicken lasagna and it'd work just fine substituting it for the beef in this recipe. And I'm not laughing at the chocolate chips ... I'm completely curious. How "present" is the chocolate taste?

    Rob MacD

    It's hard to say how present the taste of chocolate is. The people who've tasted mine, not knowing what that mystery taste is, don't ever seem to guess 'chocolate', so I'd say there's the presence of a 'different' taste, but not necessarily defined as chocolate, if that makes sense?
    To anticipate your next question: "How much?" I'm not really the kind that measures or sticks to recipes. Sometimes I'll have an extra can of tomatoes, or extra kidney beans, etc. But I'd guess that for, say 3 chicken breasts cut into cubes, 1/4 cup of unsweetened chips or grated chocolate would be a good place to start experimenting.
    In chili, the chocolate would get mixed into the pot near the end of simmering. Not sure when or how it'd fit into a dish of lasagna.

    Jean

    Nils...I tend to cook like my mother. Put in a bit here and there until it tastes right. I use brown sugar. It depends on how big your batch of sauce is. Just put in a bit at a time, just to get the sweet taste and like Cyn said, it cuts the acid from the tomato. If you put too much in, then that's a bad thing. I guess it's safe to tell you to put in just enough until it suits your sweetness level. I have never used wine in lasagna but would be willing to try that sometime. Our son sauted mushrooms in wine when he was here last week and they were incredible. As for chocolate chips - they probably would be okay but ....I'll have to think on that one. Oddly enough, very few people use sugar in their lasagna, but always comment on how much they like it when they eat our lasagna.

    Nils Ling

    Sold on the wine, sold on the sugar, at least as an experiment ... but still pondering the chocolate chips ... I'm very tempted, I gotta say ...

    Jean

    As I am always telling our now grown children...you must be open to trying new and different things. Happy New Year to you and your family. May New Year's Eve find you seated around the table, together with your beloved family and cherished friends. May you find the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper, and the pleasure much more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily do that night. As for us, we couldn't decide what to do, so we are going for a bite to eat at D'Arcy McGees with friends.

    Alan

    If you are agin wine for temperence reasons, a splash of balsamic has much the same effect. Another way to do mushrooms is saute in butter, deglaze with ruby port and bolster with heavy cream.

    christopher

    Wow, that started something! Rob is absolutely right - chocolate has a wonderful affinity with many things - I use it in sauces for beef and game quite often. Despite my pulling of her leg (when it's not in traction), the food Chez Jean is always wonderful and it's a special treat to be invited when her son is driving the cooker as he enjoys presenting many wonderful exotic combinations. She is quite right that sugar is added bit by bit to taste, tho I confess I use white sugar. Now, I didn't even raise using B├ęchamel sauce as well as cheese... Alan, yes yes, but tawny port and a hint of tarragon.

    Jean

    White sugar, Christopher darling...not acceptable. As my doctor told me when he was discussing what I should be eating in order to bring my cholesterol down "the whiter the bread, the sooner you are dead!" The point he was trying to make was that anything white, whether it be sugar, bread or rice is all treated as carbohydrates by your body. If it is brown, then the extra fiber works in your favour lowering your cholesterol. Having said all this, I just remembered that you do have excellent cholesterol in spite of all your horrible British eating habits...50% cream, butter, bechamel sauces, 18% coffee cream, etc. You're right...I am jealous and this has absolutely nothing to do with lasagna. But I feel better now.

    christopher

    er, I'd have a wee peek closer to home, Jean. That's not exactly wheat germ and low fat yoghurt with a side of salt-free celery that Dale dishes up :-) Furthermore, Lady T's cheescakes are a Epicurean delight and cannot be total strangers to calorific content either. BTW, Nils, the clove in the B├ęchamel really fills out the parts of the lasagna the herbs don't reach and I confess to throwing in a pinch of nutmeg .

    Jean

    Tu chez, Christopher...but we only serve those high caloric dishes to visitors. Regular fare at Tingley Manour most days is brown bread and water which accounts for Mr. T. being thinner than God.
    Nils...if you try everything that has been suggested in your next lasagna, I'd be very interested in the outcome. What has been suggested thus far -- brown sugar, wine,chicken, chocolate chips,white sugar and now bechamel sauce and nutmeg. Oh my nerves...

    christopher

    But I am sure the flour is hand-ground in a quern by your own fair hand and the yeast lovingly captured from the ripe purple skins of the grapes growing in the vinyard on the gentle slopes above Stately Tingley Manor. The water is fetched down from the foot of the glacier on Mont Blanc and carried down in oak buckets by village maidens, and thence flown by DHL to STM, arriving on the helicopter pad every morning just before dawn. Lord T obviously thrives on the diet.

    Jean

    You are nuts. Speaking of which, perhaps a handful in the lasagna would be a nice touch.

    Nils Ling

    OK .. check .. check ... check ... jeez ... we're straying away from lasagna and into the realm of "soup" ...

    christopher

    Oh ye of little faith. And Jean is quite right - some nice toasted pine nuts would go a treat. Why not whip it up and bring it along to Rob's blog bash?

    Laura

    Chilis in lasagna??!!!! never heard of such a thing. talk about kicking it up a notch ;) I almost always use brown sugar in my spaghetti or lasagna sauces; roughly 2 teaspoons or so, depending on the size of the pot. it helps "de-acidify" the tartness. (have fun with that one, hmmm?.) Chocolate shows up in mexican chili recipes from time to time. All of this sounds delicious. and I want the recipe for that fruit cup. i'll trade you one out of this world brickle recipe for it ;)

    laura

    btw, CANNED mushrooms???? unforgiveable.. just unforgiveable.... :)

    Kelly

    After reading, I had to add my mother's special ingredient in beef stew... 1/2 cup of strawberry jam. Quite by accident one evening, my mum reached into the fridge to get a margarine container of leftover gravy to add to the stew, instead grabbed a similar looking container of homemade jam. Without looking she dumped the whole thing into the pot, gave it a stir and said "what the hell?".
    Now, that's all there was for supper that night, and there was no going back, so, mum served it up, we all raved, and then she told us what happened while enjoying our after dinner tea.

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