Sunday, March 12, 2017

Roasted Garlic Vegetarian Lasagna

For about a week I have been waiting impatiently to use the quart of leftover red sauce I found in the back of the freezer.  The sauce was labeled "Extra Chunky Red Gravy" and I instantly remembered this AWESOME concoction that was the result of me cleaning out the fridge and utilizing a lot of great veggies that were on their "last leg".  Most vegetarian lasagnas have eggplant in them.  I like eggplant.  I don't love eggplant, but I do like it.  So when I woke up today after coming home late and drunkenly promising my wife a homemade lasagna when she got home from work I realized that we have eaten a LOT of eggplant over the past few days.  Much more eggplant than I normally consume.  I decided that I didn't want any eggplant in this.  I thought about the flavors I did want and settled on yellow squash and zucchini.  I like sautéed spinach in my lasagna but since I was making something new I decided to try kale instead.  I also wanted to sub the ricotta with cottage cheese - something I had recently read in an article that bragged that the cottage cheese actually ends up making the final product creamier than ricotta does.  The fact it is healthier is one of those bonuses that I will ignore if you do too.

1 head garlic
2 zucchini sliced to half inch thickness
2 yellow squash sliced to half inch thickness
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 head of garlic
16 oz kale, stemmed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup of vegetable stock (or water)
16 oz low-fat (or non-fat) cottage cheese
16 oz mozzarella, grated and separated in two halves.
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice*
1 box of no boil lasagna noodles
5-6 cups of left over homemade red gravy (chunkier the better)
Extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange the slices of squash and zucchini on two parchment lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle the slices with salt and oregano.  Add the head of garlic and bake for about 30 minutes.  Put aside and allow garlic to cool enough to handle.
  2. Meanwhile, add tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the red pepper flakes and the kale.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the stock (or water, if using) and cover.  Cook 15-20 minutes.
  3. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from it's skin and add to a large mixing bowl with the cottage cheese, parsley, lemon juice and half the mozzarella.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add a small amount of red gravy to a lasagna pan treated with spray oil (I like the coconut spray oil).  Add a layer of noodles, then cheese mix, kale, noodles, vegetable slices, red gravy then repeat the noodles, cheese, kale, noodles, slices, red gravy, repeat, etc.
  5. Finish with a layer of noodles.  Top with the remaining mozzarella that wasn't mixed in with the cottage cheese.
  6. Bake as instructed on the box of your no-boil noodles.  Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Serve with a salad and/or garlic bread.

If you are making this for only two people you can half the entire recipe and bake in a loaf (bread) tin.  (Don't half the number of layers - just the ingredients). I like doing this because although I can't get enough lasagna it isn't my wife's favorite so I avoid having too much left over.  However for this maiden voyage of a recipe I decided to go all out and share the love and pack up some slices of this for friends, family and neighbors.

* Believe it or not: I truly think that the lemon juice is the secret weapon of this recipe.  It makes the cheese mixture come alive and become three dimensional.

Monday, February 20, 2017

CDBaby has been offline for over 85 hours

I  use CDBaby.com for most of my online sales and distribution. Their website has been offline since before Friday, February 17th at 10am when I first noticed it was down for maintenance. Every week I download my sales reports and streaming info so I can keep track of royalties that I owe and that are owed to me. It's how I pay my rent. This week I get a maintenance pop-up. It's happened before in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep and decided to check when my ...mind drifted and I was curious which of my Christmas songs was getting the most Spotify play that month.

Back to 2017... On Friday I - along with what I assume were many others - were told it was routine maintenance and it would be back up soon (exact wording: ASAP). On Saturday we were told it was taking longer than expected. On Sunday we were told a database issue occurred but it will be fixed by tomorrow. On Monday we were told it would be up in 3 hours. It is now almost Tuesday and we are back to routine maintenance is taking longer than expected and it will be up ASAP.

Like other full-time musicians I have scheduled and targeted e-mail blasts, radio promotional spots, paid for ads in print media that utilize a QR code to point to online retail, internet ads and much more that all must be now cancelled (if possible) or altered to now point to alternative retail outlets. It's not impossible but it's something I could have spent Saturday and Sunday and Monday doing instead of sitting in a limbo being told to "give it a few".

Come on, CDBABY... WTactualF?! I have paid you flat rates for your services and turned over a percentage of what I have made in royalties and sales for 10 years. All that adds up to a pretty nice chuck of change that I fork over. I need some transparency from you here. If something got fucked up just relay that info to us. Things gets fucked up all the time! It's life. I would gladly accept being told that something got royally fucked up. But passing something off as nothing but routine when in actuality it is significant and may result in loss of business for the thousands who use you as a subcontractor for music distribution in both physical and digital product is a BIG DEAL.

Thank you. I never rant and I think I got it out of my system.

But, seriously, you better have an easy out for those of us who want out if this doesn't get fixed in the next 24 hours.

To those of you who have tried to purchase music: I am truly sorry. I have responded to those of your who have emailed me and hopefully my offer for an email of mp3s or a snail-mailed CD will suffice.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

A photo posted by Höķm Guerrerø (@revmcnasty) on

Before we "went vegetarian" one of my wife's favorite dinners was the individual Shepherd's Pie made by Chef Carl Drake.  The other day a conversation with a friend, who is also vegetarian and lamenting the Shepherd's Pie from his childhood, inspired me to try and come up with a solid vegetarian version.  I had two ideas on substitutes for the ground lamb*, the easiest being Bocca crumbles.  The more complex idea was to use a trick I learned from Cook's Illustrated from their Ultimate Vegetarian Chili.  They used a combination of ground walnuts, millet and powdered mushroom to recreate the texture and flavor of ground meat.  Since I didn't have walnuts or dried mushrooms I decided to skip going to the store and use the Bocca crumbles that were in my freezer.  I will make another attempt using the more complex method and post results in the future.

For this I used two 20oz ceramic baking dishes.  I have bought them to make individual Chicken Pot Pies a few years ago and felt they were perfect for this usage.

for the topping:
1 Russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper

for the filling:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 cup vegetable stock
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup Bocca soy crumbles
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place potato in medium pot with 5 cups cold water.  Add a pinch of salt, bring to boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Drain and transfer to bowl.  Add the butter and cream and mash.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In now empty (and wiped dry) pot heat the oil and flour on medium heat, making a chocolate roux.  Stir constantly so not to burn, adjusting heat accordingly.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook about 8 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme and rosemary and bloom them for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the stock and carrot, making sure to scrape up and tasty fond that may have collected on the bottom of the pot. Bring to boil and simmer for about 7 minutes to slightly thicken.
  5. Add the Bocca crumbles, peas and corn.  Keep the heat around medium to have a slight simmer.  Do not bring to a full boil.
  6. The potatoes should be slightly cooled so whisk in the yolk. 
  7. Add the filling to the two baking dishes.  Top with potato mixture.  Star from the outside and work inward.  You can use a fork to make fun textures and patterns.  The "spikey" parts of the potatoes will brown and crisp up faster than a flat smooth layer..  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the topping is beginning to brown.  
  8. Cool for about 15 minutes before serving. 

* Okay,  personal pet peev and rant time:  Shepherd's Pie is never made with ground beef.  Never.  Any person or restaurant who uses ground beef and calls it Shepherd's Pie is wrong.  They are wrong.  You can inform these misguided souls that if you use beef it is called Cottage Pie.  Also: If someone serves you a pork chop and calls it chicken breast they are wrong too.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ultimate Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

A photo posted by Höķm Guerrerø (@revmcnasty) on
This is my first post in a few months.  We have been cooking up a storm in our house, but nothing original.  For my birthday I got a great cookbook, The Complete Vegetarian, and we have been working our way thru that doing about 3 recipes a week.  Today I felt inspired with items in our fridge and put this together.


for the salad
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, quartered so they lie flat
1 head of broccoli cut into bite-sized florets
1 15 oz can of artichoke hearts, chopped
1 4 oz can of black olives, sliced
1.5 cups of good mozzarella (not the kind in water), cut into half inch cubes
1 12 oz box of tri-color rotini, cooked to your liking and cooled

for the dressing
roasted tomato "drippings" (with garlic pieces)
1/5 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/5 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of mustard (dijon works fine, but I like a horseradish mustard for this)
3 teaspoons mayo

  1. Turn on your broiler after adjusting the rack to be about 6 to 8 inches from heat source.  On my oven that is the second from the top.
  2. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, tomato past, brown sugar, pepper flakes and garlic.  Wisk together and then fold in the tomatoes to coat.  Place tomatoes on a small, lined, sheet tray and put under broiler for about 15 minutes.  The tomatoes will burst and the sugars of the dressing will cause a nice black caramelization.  When the tomatoes are done, remove the tray from oven and let cool.
  3. On a second larger, and lined, sheet tray add the peppers and place under broiler - skin side up - until the skin chars, about 8 minutes.  Place the blackened peppers into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  This will steam the peppers and make the skin extra easy to remove once they are cooled.
  4. Place all the broccoli on the sheet tray that you removed the peppers from and place that under the broiler.  Cook until the broccoli has a slight char, but not burned.  About 8-10 minutes.  Keep a close watch, because they go from perfect to overdone pretty quickly.
  5. Once the tomatoes are cool use a slotted spoon and carefully place the tomatoes in a bowl for later.  Make sure to shake off any "juice" onto the sheet tray.  Once all the tomatoes are removed, pour the "juice" and any roasted garlic bits into a small jar with lid (an old Grey Poupon jar works nicely). This will be the base for your dressing. 
  6. Remove the skin from the roasted peppers and slice into strips, or pieces...  Whatever you like: it's your salad.
  7. In a large bowl combine the pasta with the cooled roasted vegetables, mozzarella, artichokes and olives.
  8. Combine dressing ingredients in the jar that already has the "drippings".  Close lid tightly and shake for about 30 seconds to combine everything.  Pour on the salad.  Let salad sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.  Make sure to stir the salad well before serving as the juices will have set on the bottom.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Puntenesca Calzone

I made up the dough recipe for this one.  I was running low on all my flours and couldn't pick "just one".  It came out a nice mix of white and wheat.  A little crispy (bread flour) and a little chewy (all-purpose flour) with a smacking of whole wheat flavor.  I will probably keep these rations for future calzones, but for pizza I still prefer the "beer pizza dough" recipe I have, but I didn't have beer or enough flour to use it today. 

makes 4 calzones

for the dough
1 and 1/4 cups water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dries basil
1/2 teaspoon diced italian parsley
1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast

for the tomatoes
1.5 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

for the filling
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
1 pint of shiitakes, chopped
8 oz pack of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
7-8 garlic stuffed green olives, sliced
2 or 3 teaspoons of lemon juice
2 cups grated smoked provolone (or smoked mozzarella)
  1. Make dough with the dough ingredients.  I use the dough setting on my bread machine so I dont have to kneed/let rise. I am pretty sure it rises twice.
  2. Preheat the broiler with the top rack about 6-8 inches from heat source.  Wisk together everything for the tomatoes except the tomatoes until its a thick dark red mess. Fold in the whole tomatoes being careful not to puncture any. Place them all on small roasting tray and place under broiler. Cook until there is a noticeable black char on more than half the tomatoes - about 8-10 minutes. Don't be afraid to over cook.  Place roasted tomatoes (and all the juices) in large mixing bowl.
  3. Sauté the onions in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat for 6 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and two pinches of salt. Cook until most of the moisture from the shrooms has cooked away.  Add to the large mixing bowl.
  4. Squeeze all the water out of the thawed chopped spinach and add to the large mixing bowl, pulling into small pieces as you do so.  Add the lemon juice.
  5. Everything except for the dough and the cheese should be in the mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula fold all the contents together.
  6. Add the sliced olives to the large mixing bowl.
  7. Preheat the over to 375 and place the rack in the middle of the oven.  Quarter the dough and make four 10-inch rounds.  Let the rounds sit for about 10 minutes, the dough will shrink.  Rework the dough to reform the 10-inch rounds.
  8. Place one quarter of the filling off to one side of the rounds, leaving a border.  Top with the cheese.  Fold the other side of the dough over and roll the to separate edges together to seal in the goodness.
  9. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden.
I wasn't sure if I should cut vents in the top to let the steam out, so I experimented by putting two small incision on two of the four on my first attempt.  My conclusion: the vents are not necessary for this recipe.  Maybe because there was less steam because most of the water had already been cooked out of the mushrooms?  Or maybe because I the thawed spinach was squeezed dry?  Who knows, but you do not have to vent the calzones.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Eggplant Jambalaya


1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup unsalted butter
3 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayanne pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TB tom paste
1 TB Bragg's Amino Acids
dash of liquid smoke
1.5 cups white rice
3 cups veg stock
4 links of To*furky Chorizo Style Meatless Sausage.

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil an butter over med high heat.  Add celery, peppers, onion, salt and 1 tsp of Paprika.  Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies are browned (10 minutes). 
  2. Add eggplant, Thyme, Pepper, cayanne and remaining paprika.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until the eggplant softens (and begins to "melt").  
  3. Stir in garlic and tom paste and cook for 1 minute.  
  4. Add the Soy Sauce, Hoisin and liquid smoke, stir, cook 1 minute.  
  5. Add rice and stir to combine.  Add the veg stock and bring to low boil.  Remove from heat, cover and place in oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven (DO NOT UNCOVER) and let sit away from heat for 10-15 minutes.    Fluff with fork. 
  6. While the Jambalya is sitting, slice To'Furky Sausange into discs and place on cookie sheet.  Cook them in the oven (still at 350 degrees) for about 8 minutes.  Add them to Jambalya after "fluffing". 

Serve with crusty baguette and hot sauce. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Vegetarian/Vegan Italian Wedding Soup


Last week I realized I hadn't had Italian Wedding Soup since I stopped eating meat.  All the recipes I found used "vegan meatballs" and I didn't want that.  My favorite non-vegetarian version of this soup had chick pea sized meatballs and that got me thinking: WHY DON'T  I USE CHICK PEAS IN PLACE OF MEATBALLS?!?!?!?!  Here is what I came up with.  It took under an hour from start to finish.  The end result is a hearty vegetable soup that, with a salad and garlic bread, makes a satisfying meal.
 
extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, two minced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced basil
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup uncooked ditalini or orzo pasta
1.5 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed until water runs clear *
1 8 oz package of spinach +
salt and pepper

  1.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion and  the two minced garlic cloves and cook about 5 minutes.  
  2. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the oregano and basil and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the stock and parsley and bring to boil and reduce heat.
  4. Add pasta and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the chick peas and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. In a saute pan with high heat add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the last garlic clove.  After clove starts to color, about 3-4 minutes, add all the spinach and cover.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Turn heat off and using tongs stir the spinach.  Cover and let sit off heat for another 2 minutes.
  6. Remove garlic clove from spinach and add the spinach to the soup.  Simmer for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with grated Parmesan or Percorino cheese. If you don't add cheese this is a vegan recipe.


* This may seem annoying, but 1 can was not enough and 2 cans seemed like too many.  Use your left overs on a salad or something.  Or roast them.  Or just put 2 full cans in the soup.  It's up to you, I don't care. 

+ You could also use a pack of frozen chopped spinach.  Thaw it and then drain the water.  Skip step 5 and just add the thawed spinach to pot in step 6.