The kitchen’s been busy here at FB: Eastside. Chris made a triple batch of gumbo, except instead of chicken, he used a lot of the pheasant he shot this fall.
(If there is someone in your house who hunts – even wee, tiny, tasty birds like quail and pheasant – I will assume that you have a deep freeze. If you don’t, you should get one before next fall! Otherwise, there’s nowhere to store any frozen food that’s not dead birds, and what will you do when, hypothetically, someone volunteers to have all eighty pounds of birds from the group hunt overnighted to his house? Hypothetically. Also, would anyone like some pheasant?)
This is Chris’s super-fancy Superbowl Sunday gumbo (he made it last year, too, when the real black-and-gold team was playing), and it’s fantastic. He takes it very seriously – a few weekends ago, he spent an entire Sunday afternoon making the pheasant stock that he used for the gumbo today. The triple batch is great because now we don’t need to make gumbo again for at least six months.
Meanwhile, I made a double batch of spinach lasagna. Two of our neighbors had babies recently; one of the mothers is a vegetarian, so we gave her a full pan of lasagna tonight. I’m making a pan of poppy seed chicken casserole for the other neighbor, who we’re feeding on Tuesday. So, why the double batch of lasagna? Looking out for number one. I divided the second half of the batch into two smaller pans, which – I’m living on the edge, Villas – I assembled completely, cooled to room temperature, and then wrapped in foil and plastic. They’re now in the freezer (one in the kitchen freezer and the other in the garage, because remember the part about the
damn dead birds?).
The version of the spinach lasagna I made today differs a little from the version posted here. I used the recipe published in The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, which calls for fat-free ricotta and allows you to use frozen spinach. The recipe instructs you to thaw, chop, and squeeze the frozen spinach, but I chose to go even further out on the edge and buy frozen chopped spinach that I defrosted, a little, and then just dumped directly from the bag into the bechamel. And – woo hoo! – it was just fine. I also used no-boil noodles, which the original recipe calls for, and the lightened recipe permits as a substitute for boiled noodles, but without (if you’ve made the original recipe, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about) requiring you to soak the noodles, which saves a tremendous amount of counter space and clean towels.