Jordon loves lasagna and from all accounts, his mother made an excellent one. We never had it growing up and Marion died before I had a chance to learn her recipe. I discovered this recipe in a Chatelaine magazine and thought I would share it here. It’s not the traditional Cooper recipe but it is excellent and worth trying out.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low. Whisk in flour until mixture forms a paste, about 2 min. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot, until sauce thickens, 7 to 8 min. Stir in salt and nutmeg.
Spread 1/2 cup béchamel in the bottom of a 9 × 13-in. baking dish. Top with 3 noodles. Spread 1 1/2 cups Bolognese meat sauce evenly over noodles. Drizzle with 1/2 cup béchamel. Top with 3 more noodles. Spread ricotta evenly over noodles. Season with fresh pepper. Spread another 1 1/2 cups meat sauce evenly over ricotta. Drizzle with 1/2 cup béchamel. Top with remaining 3 noodles. Spread remaining 1 1/2 cups meat sauce evenly over noodles. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup béchamel. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella.
Cover pan with foil and bake in centre of oven, 45 min. Remove foil, then sprinkle with parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 more min. Let lasagna stand 10 min before serving.
MELT butter in a large heavy pot over medium. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 min. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring to break up meat, until no pink remains, 3 to 4 min. Add milk and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 7 to 8 min. Add wine and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 6 to 7 min. Stir in passata. Boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 min.
Jordon grew up with lefse and it was a Cooper family favorite.
Lefse, thin potato-dough flatbreads like Scandinavian tortillas can be found on holiday tables wherever Norwegian families immigrated to North America.
The riced potato mixture that forms the basis of the dough should be very, very cold when it is rolled out, to prevent stickiness.
Jordon’s grandmother used to a ice cream pail for each day the family was home which is impressive when you realize it is a thinly rolled flatbread. I don’t make that much of it but the family does fly through it.
5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform size
⅔ cup canola oil
1 (5-ounce) can
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook potatoes until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.
Rice potatoes into a large bowl, continuing until you have 8 cups. Add oil, evaporated milk, sugar and salt, and mix well. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
When ready to make lefse, add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix well. Divide dough into two logs if you have a lefse grill, and four if you do not. Dough should be sticky and hold together, but not so sticky it’s impossible to work with; if necessary, add remaining 1/2 cup flour. Cut each log into 9 or 10 pieces, shape into small balls and place on plates in refrigerator.
If you have a lefse grill, heat it to 400 degrees. If you don’t have a lefse grill, set a wide, low-lipped nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
Generously dust work space with flour and flour a rolling pin. Roll one dough ball in flour, then use the heel of your hand to press it into a thick disk. If you have a lefse grill, gently roll dough into a large, thin circle (if you are using a regular pan, roll into a thin circle just smaller than the size of your pan), lifting and flipping frequently so it doesn’t stick; use more flour as needed. Brush excess flour from dough. Use a lefse stick to carefully transfer to grill (use a thin spatula if cooking in a pan). Cook for 1 minute, or until lefse is steaming and small bubbles appear on uncooked side. Using lefse stick or spatula, flip lefse and cook for 45 seconds or so. Place lefse on a clean dish towel and cover with another. Repeat, stacking lefse atop one another between the dish towels.
Lefse can be eaten fresh with butter or some like butter and maple syrup. You can also wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerated for a day or so, or frozen for up to a month.
Jordon noted on his blog that we are almost done getting ready for Christmas. Most of the Christmas shopping is done and all that needs to be done is putting up the Christmas tree and tossing gifts into gift bags and wrapping paper.
I set up our ceramic Christmas village this week. I’ll post some photos but first I need to replace some light bulbs.
I am taking Christmas Eve off this year so I will be home with the boys. Jordon has to work but we will kick of festivities when he gets home. On Christmas Day we have a quiet day planned with the boys that will be a lot of fun.
The initial plan is to take Oliver and Mark to The Spring Roll Restaurant for lunch, the take the dogs for a long walk and tire them out. We will also find some time to play a cut throat game of Risk. I plan on destroying both of them. We will order some pizza in from Santa Lucia Pizza and then Once the presents are open, we will have a quick charcuterie board and a glass of wine before heading to bed.
Christmas Day will start early with some Eggs Benedict (I am going to try Gordon Ramsay’s recipe – video here). After that we will head downtown as a family and take some photos of an empty city. Later that day we have some (surprise) plans before heading back home for some slow cooked roast beef and we will have some French Dip sandwiches. I know it’s not a traditional turkey dinner but our afternoon plans will make it impossible for me to cook a big dinner.
So that is what the season is looking like for us.
On Sunday, Jordon and I decided to take the boys (and dog) for one last hike. We checked the weather and it said that Waskesiu would be about 6 degrees above zero so we decided to go for it. I don’t think it ever got that warm but it was nice enough to hike and explore the Kingsmere Lake Trail which goes between the north part of Waskesiu Lake to Kingsmere Lake.
As you start, you go 500m down the trail towards Grey Owl’s cabin until you come to a long flight of stairs to the stream below. After crossing a bridge you follow the portage rail track until you get to the Southend Campground before heading back. It wasn’t the longest hike but it was a nice way to end the season and the boys had a great time exploring one more trail in Prince Albert National Park.
For those of you who noticed the ridiculous socks that Jordon is wearing, they are compression socks and are supposed to help his leg heal. For the record, they aren’t working.
To get there, ascend the steep, winding trail through a white spruce and balsam fir forest. The trees along this path are among the oldest and largest in the park. As you descend, watch for a spur trail to the right. It leads to a small, fern-edged creek, dark and cool.
To access the trail, enter the Prince Albert National Park and then drive 17.6 km down the Narrows Road. After you are done the hike, make sure you check out the beach at the Narrows Marina or Paighton Beach.
These were the first bunch of photos I took with the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 II from Don’s Photo. The big difference is that I had Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens on it. I hadn’t had a lot of time to play with the camera as of then (or now) but I am really happy with it.
The Trailbeard Trail is close to the Narrows Marina and Paignton Beach. After the hike we went back to Paighton Beach where we had a picnic lunch. Jordon made a fire for the smokies while I used Mark’s stove to cook up some Knorr Sidekicks.
The day was gorgeous so Jordon managed to talk Mark, Oliver, Marley and myself to take a quick wade into the icy cold water of Waskesiu Lake. Jordon somehow managed to avoid wading into the lake.
I am not very organized and have struggled for years to find a way that works for me. I have tried Daytimers, PDAs, apps, and everything and I have hated it all until I read this post on Lifehacker about Caterina Fake’s organizational method.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I like pencil and paper, probably more than most people in tech. I use a Field Notes 80 page steno notebook for taking notes, and a Clairefontaine 4.5″x6.5″ notebook for my to-do list. I like to number each thing I accomplish, and when I get to the end of the notebook, the number of things I have done is close to 5,000. In my current To-Do list I am at task #603. I admit to sometimes adding things I have already done, and then crossing them out, for an extra frisson of accomplishment. I am also a pencil snob, and am an aficionado of the Palomino Blackwing 602. I make a lot of mistakes and use the eraser a lot, so I have eraser replacements too.
I picked up a fake Moleskine at Dollarama and I have started to carry it with me everywhere doing the same thing. I number them and strike them off. It’s the lowest tech but best solution for keeping me organized that I have ever encountered. Thanks for Jordon for telling me about both the solution and the post.