Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fancypants Lasagna. Gluten-free style.

The other day, I noticed gluten free lasagna noodles in the refrigerator case at my favorite local health food market, Rosewood. RP's brand, made in Madison, Wisconsin.

Seems like a great excuse to make a lasagna, particularly since I have been craving it with the cold weather. First step: make a killer sauce. 

This one wanted tons of vegetables: seared cauliflower, caramelized mushrooms, white corn, baby peas, and spinach, on top of a mirepoix (red onion, carrot, celery) and many cloves of garlic. Also, just one Marconi pepper in a nod to the trinity.

Oh, and like 2-3 pounds of meat: thick bacon, fancy Caw Caw Creek Pastured Pork sweet Italian sausage, and local ground beef.

Also: two big cans of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, over half a bottle of Nero d'Avola red wine, some beef stock, 2 little cans of tomato paste, and a bunch of dried thyme, fresh oregano, rosemary, parsley & basil from the autumn garden. Good olive oil, salt, pepper, black pepper.

Definitely went for it. Much simmering ensued. The next evening, time to layer up. Cheeses? Ricotta, gorgonzola, parmesan & mozzarella.

 Bake time. 

Cut it. 

The gluten-free lasagne noodles, made with brown rice flour, are fantastic. Love them. Will use them again in a heartbeat. Also will cut them to make short pappardelle and maltagliate. Victory.

Monday, December 10, 2012

French venison stew, bourgignon style

As we near the end of deer season, the hunter's spoils come the way of the lucky. You can't buy or sell local wild game meat in South Carolina -- if you want it, you have to hunt it -- or be on a hunter's gift list.

My cousin Owen, a fearless master of beasts who usually hunts with a bow and arrow, "'Cause a rifle is too easy," took down a buck recently and butchered it himself, which I think is thoroughly fierce. Generously, he gave me a big, honking bag of fresh venison, as red and lovely as great, grass-fed beef, but leaner and fresher to the nose.

I tweaked a great venison bourgignon recipe I found on a blog called A Spicy Perspective:


Go to that link above for the recipe. My tweaks:

I added 4-5 stalks of celery, didn't bundle my fresh herbs (just threw 'em in), used beef stock, and might have been a little heavy-handed with the bacon. You've got to love any dish that requires an entire bottle of red wine, no?

I used Gnome Grown oyster mushrooms from the Soda City Farmers Market instead of crimini mushrooms.

Oh, and this is important: I simmered it overnight for about 8 hours on super low heat on the stovetop. My heavy lidded Le Creuset cast iron pot was essential for that, so that none of the steam or liquid could escape from inside while cooking.

In the morning, I consulted Mastering the Art of French Cooking by her highness Julia Child to see if I couldn't be taught an old trick: making brown roux. (I like the above recipe's shortcut of making a butter-flour paste, but I was in the mood to nerd out.)

I used bacon fat and grapeseed oil and locally milled Adluh Flour to make my roux. Reincorporated it after much whisking with cooking liquid in a separate saucepan, and bang: gorgeousness.

Fresh gigante parsley from the yard, a little Maldon sea salt, and it was done. So awesome. I can't believe it had been so long since I'd made any variation on Beef Burgundy, or Boeuf Bourgignon, if you're feeling snooty today.

Going to revisit that recipe soon, for sure!

If I'm lucky.