14 June 2007

Lasagna Spinaci (with how-to)

There are times when my mom thinks I can do anything culinary-wise when I really, really can't. All I am is adventurous. Sometimes she'd just buy a whole bunch of ingredients and say something tantamount to, "turn this into that." And that is the story behind my Spinach Lasagna:
Lasagna Spinaci
One day she bought a whole bunch of spinach and, being a fan of spinach lasagna from restaurants, she told me to turn it into lasagna. But wha--!? I've never cooked spinach before! So I quickly got on the internet and found the most reasonable method of cooking spinach-- the microwave.
Steamed Spinach
What you do is put the cleaned and spun-dry spinach in a microwaveable bowl, put a microwave-safe plate on top, and nuke it for a few minutes until wilted. In my case it only takes about 2 minutes on HIGH.
Wrung Spinach
When the spinach is tolerably hot on your hands, wring all the water out of it. The last time I did this I made the mistake of cooking something else during the whole process, and it cooled down too much. The water re-equilibrated and the spinach was mushier and harder to wring to very compact bundles. I also once made the mistake of thinking that the water was a big waste since it probably had a lot of vitamins and minerals, so I drank it unseasoned. BIG mistake. It tasted like feet. I gagged immediately and threw the rest into the sink.
Chopped Spinach
Chop the bundles of spinach. That is, by the way, my favorite Chef's knife. It does everything. At this point you can cool it then freeze for a few months in a ziploc bag. This you can do ahead if you want to save time.
Cheese for Lasagna
The original recipe calls for ricotta and parmesan. A cup of Ricotta cheese is P233 ($4.60). Yeah, I wasn't going to buy that. I buy 2 tubs of cottage cheese (2 cups) for P180 ($3.60). Then I add two types of really cheap cheese-- processed cheese food. Specifically, Kraft Eden and Magnolia Quickmelt. They have the salty properties you'd want from Parmesan and the chewy properties of Mozarella. They don't have much depth of flavor, but if it tastes good, go with it. Plus, I save a lot.
Spinach Filling
This is after I've mixed everything together. I place it in the fridge because I did this in advance. When I wake up, I just add 2 eggs. My tomato sauce is made from canned diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili flakes, white wine, spaghetti sauce, and chopped flat-leaf parsley. Not too complex but it tastes good.

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