Yet another weekend filled with food and entertainment. Things start off on Friday evening for finishing up my first attempt at making Lasagna. Saturday was chicken and waffle night at the house; and I spend most of Sunday recovering. Jen’s portable fire pit is a frigging awesome replacement for the go board that we normally congregate around while outside.
After the posting about the ragu made a few days prior, friends decided to graciously invite themselves over to serve as test subjects to my first foray into lasagna making; how very thoughtful of them. Starting off on Friday evening, my original plans for getting off work around 5:30 fell through and I didn’t get to leave until an hour or so later. I still needed to pick up the final ingredients for last two parts of the lasagna.
The second part of the lasagna is the bÃ©chamel, which is a big fancy word for white sauce. It starts off with your basic roux: flour and butter. The mixture of 5 table spoons of flour and 5 table spoons of butter is cooked and mixed together for about three minutes. Stir constantly so that the roux does not burn and ensure that all the flour is incorporated with the butter.
Next up, two and a half cups of whole milk is gradually poured in and mixed with the cooked roux. This cooks for 5 minutes and will thicken up rather quickly, so continue to stir and set the heat low so that the bÃ©chamel does not burn. This is also a good time to add in salt and pepper to flavor the bÃ©chamel.
One and a half cup of parmesan cheese is grated, and also set aside with the ragu and bÃ©chamel.
The lasagna noodles are cooked until tender but firm to the bite. This will cut the cooking time for the lasagna down. Once the noodles reach the tender/firm stage, run them through cold water to completely stop the cooking process on the noodles. With the noodles ready, the lasagna is ready to come together. The oven is heated up to 400 degrees. The bottom of the lasagna pan is buttered, then the first layer of noodles is placed. Next is the bÃ©chamel, about a half cups’ worth is placed over the noodles. A cup of the ragu is the next layer, followed by a quarter cup of the cheese. I added some mozzarella in addition to the parmesan . This layering is repeated another three times. with the last layer noodles and cheese at the top.
The lasagna is placed into the oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees, and baked for about half an hour. After a half hour, the lasagna is taken out and set to rest for another 10 minutes before cutting and serving. During the resting time, I deep fried some spinach leaves, seasoned them, then plated it with the lasagna.
The lasagna was fairly successful. There are a few changes I will be making for the next one; but for all intents and purposes, I think it went off fairly decently. The next few changes should work to improve upon everything. Jen brought over her traveling fire pit that she picked up from target a few weeks ago. We moved the go board and cleaned up the backyard a bit. Nothing but cigarette butts, ash, and trash from the douchebags that hang out in my backyard but NEVER bother to clean up after themselves. Well, we cleaned up everything, and set up the fire pit and just enjoyed the rest of the night under an amazingly bright full moon.
Chicken and Waffle Night
On to Saturday. A few friends came over for chicken and waffle night, our attempt at marrying fried chicken and waffles. We had Angel’s waffle maker, mine, and a hello kitty waffle maker that Jen brought over. The chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks were marinated, coated in a mixture of flour and corn starch, dipped into my standard spiced beer batter; and for the interest of cooking time, flash fried in the deep fryers at the house. After frying for a couple of minutes to get a decent color on the chicken, they were taken out and the oil is allowed to drain off them. They were then placed into the oven to finish cooking.
Terry brought some deviled eggs, Annabelle brought a salad – and after all the back and forth we went through about the hassle of making collared greens. *sigh* We set out bananas, nutella, syrup, grape soda, blueberries, strawberries, grilled sausages, and whipped cream. Christis walked into the house with a can of reddiwhip and I called for a lynching as there is nothing worse in this world that whip cream out of a frigging aerosol can. Angel’s responded with: “It wouldn’t be chicken and waffle night without a lynching!”. The reddiwhip is ignored as we make our own whipped cream; adding in a bit of sugar and some baileys irish cream. Yeah, the whipped cream went over quite well with the folks.
And as predicted, most folks could only eat one or two pieces of chicken and one waffle. Roscos’ what?
The rest of the night was spent enjoying the fire pit and alcohol. The few clouds cleared up and the full moon, granted not as bright as the previous night, was still bright enough that I brought out my tripod and snapped a picture. I think it came out quite well for your run of the mill point and shoot camera.
As the night wore on, people left here and there. Art had disappeared and passed out in Helen’s room for a couple hours. He made his triumphant return later that evening. Once everyone had left, it was just Jen, Art and I, and I figured I’d cook up the rest of the waffle batter so that it doesn’t go to waste. I ended up with seven more waffles. We heated up the sausages and a few pieces of chicken, and they sat down to a second round of chicken and waffles. This was about 2 in the morning. The fire was going out, so we threw on one of those quick burning logs and started the pit back up. The fire dies down after an hour or so, as we constantly pick at the log and break it up so that we get more flame and heat. 4 in the F-ing morning, we’re huddled around the glowing embers that are the final remains of the fire pit. The fire pit has been going for 11 hours now. Not wanting the embers to go to waste, we start thinking up ideas of what we could possibly cook; so we start off with some raw eggs. Wrapped in aluminum foil, we bury the eggs into the smoldering embers and cook them for about 10 minutes. The loud pops as the eggs explode from the high heat causing a pressure build up scare the crap out of us and we quickly move back from the fire. At the 8 minute mark, I remove my egg and check it. It’s cooked all the way through. There are some cracks in the shell from too much heat; but the foil seemed to have given a good amount of protection. On to the next food item, raw italian sausage. It’s 5 in the friggin morning and we’re experimenting with cooking food in the fire pit. The sausages are wrapped in foil and buried. We end up with crispy sausages that are decently tasty albeit burnt on the outside. The last experiment of roasting garlic in the pit ended up with burnt garlic.
The lesson learned is to use more foil or a thicker layer of heat protection. In hindsight, I could have just taken out my cast iron pan and cooked a decent breakfast meal on the damn fire pit. 5:30 in the morning, they decide to throw yet another quick burning log onto the pit. I’m falling asleep while sitting in front of the damn thing, so I ended up going inside to shower at the early hours of 6 am. Taking my cue of being tired as all F, Art crashes out on the couch and Jen drives home. I climb into bed at 6:30 and get about 5 hours of sleep before waking up and starting my Sunday. At least this weekend I had some recovery time on Sunday after the Lakers beat the Celtics by one point; so I’m not suffering as much as I was the previous week. Nothing planned for the coming week, so it should be nice and relaxing before the annual ski trip that’s coming up the week after.