Saturday, December 24, 2011

Good King Wincelas

Good King Wenceslas

 looked out, on the feast of Steven. And the snow lay round about nice and thick and even....

Hear Good King Wenceslas.

So I'm in Prauge under Good King Wenceslas' castle. It is a lovely city and the Christmas market they have set up in the square adds to the ambiance.

The aroma of bratwurst cooking on wood fires, ham, and the ever-present hint of hot gluhwein, the hot spiced wine, is in the air.

I wanted something to eat and settled on a potato, sausage, onion, cabbage, and cheese concoction. It turned out to be a little bit bait and switch with the price of something else hanging above it. Oh well it didn't matter. The same thing happened a year ago with a ham sandwich here. Should I catch a pattern at the Christmas markets?

The food was as good as you can imagine as I hummed good King Wenceslas. Ok if you didn't go to the link I provided you must now and listen to the Army choir preform this old hymn.   Now the King was a kind hearted man and was known for feeding his serfs and giving out blankets to those less fortunate.  Sort of a perfect benevolent King. I leave you to read where it got him but what the heck I followed suit...

I decided I'd eaten plenty and offered a prayer for it's next owner and consumer while I carefully placed it next to the trash can. I took 10 steps and turned to see an excited new owner. I think he enjoyed it more than me and I was happy I got the opportunity to repeat the actions of the good King Winceslous.

Non Vegetarian Lasagna

I'm a big lasagna fan. The cheese, the sauce, the sausage, all layered between the sheets of pasta makes a great comfort dish.

When I was a kid and would get a stomach virus the last thing I wanted was food. But as I was recovering Mom would ask what sounds good to me. Lasagna was always my food of choice. Not a typical stomach perhaps? The point being it is feel good food.

It is also a great dish to please your vegetarian friends. There are certain vegetables I'll put in it and those I won't. Cabbage, broccoli, radishes, or any strong flavored veggies I avoid. A great trick is adding grated carrots to the sauce. When it cooks down you hardly notice it. Being mostly carnivore I sneak meat into my vegetarian lasagna. Well I wouldn't do it to a vegetarian but I do think the flavor is so much better when you add sausage.

This is how I did my last one. I was in a hurry so I skipped the grated carrots in the sauce trick. In a skillet I sauteed mushrooms, chopped onion, a couple of sweet red and yellow peppers in oil and red wine. I also had some tomato paste in the freezer I wanted to use up. I was wishing for a stick of celery but didn't have it. I added Italian spices and let that cook down and I then added spinach. I used fresh but frozen or even canned could have just as easily been used.
At this point I was still motivated to empty some dibs and dabs which were leftover in the freezer. I had some cooked and crumbled Italian sausage and a baggie of cooked chopped chicken which I added.

Mean while I mixed mozzarella, cottage cheese, Parmesan, Italian spices, and an egg. Now my cheese mixture was prepared.

I was short on lasagna noodles so I had to add lib at this point with some other pasta. I usually don't pre-cook the pasta it's easier, you retain some B vitamins, and they absorb the liquid flavor.
Now the layering process. Not a right or wrong way, just do it.
Notice I also layered tomatoes, and zucchinis. I was intending to grate the zucchinis but got lazy and thought it might look cool.
I topped mine in an ending layer of the two mixtures mixed together with additional cheese. I poured more red wine over it so the pasta could drink it up. Baked it at 325 for 45 minutes to an hour and it was ready!

Ah lasagna, got to love it.