Monday, August 6, 2007

Italian-Welsh Tricolore Lasagne

When my sister cleaned out her apartment and headed to Wales, she left us her canned goods, non-perishable food, and one half-jar of spaghetti sauce. None of this is stuff we cook with. Among the stranger discoveries--and frankly, any time you look closely into another person's kitchen, there can't help but be surprises--was the fact that my sister considers lasagne noodles to be a staple. She had three partly-used boxes of lasagne noodles, all of them different. There were regular white ones; green spinach ones; and red whole wheat ones. Thus was born my idea to make a tricolore lasagne with a different color of noodles for each layer. Then somehow I became convinced that a great art project would be making this lasagne with only "found ingredients." Sort of a simultaneous homage to my sister and a way of using up her food. The only question was, because we are a cheese-free household, how to best create the consistency that a firmish layer of lasagne requires.

Win noticed these nuts. We had recently been inspired by The Chocolate Lady to make squashes stuffed with ground cashews, and they are perfect for holding stuff together. Plus they are delicious and proteinaceous.

As per instructions found on the internet, we soaked the noodles rather than boiling them.
Tomatoes, salmon and a variety of herbs made the first layer.
Corn, ground cashews and horseradish (yes, horseradish) made the second layer. It does look more yellow than white, in the end.
Green beans with ground pepitas and balsalmic vinegar made the final layer.
The layers did rather well at remaining distinct. The two invited guests made polite comments such as, "it's not really a lasagne, it's more of a casserole." They did have seconds, however.

Although I possess a natural disinclination to use things from cans, I was pleasantly surprised by the corn, which retained a considerable corn-like flavour. The same can not be said of the beans. There remains also a project in figuring out how to use the clams and pineapple. I'm thinking I won't attempt them in a single dish.

Interestingly enough, although I conceived this tricolore lasagne as an homage to the Italian flag, I find that it shares the colours of the Welsh flag. Also, August 5, the day on which we cooked this lasagne, is the anniversary of the establishment of Plaid Cymru, a Welsh political party promoting the Welsh language. Thus, in double honor of Italy and Wales, we offer up this lasagne.


Winnifred said...

Winnifred here. I would just like to add that for me the highlight of the meal was the iced tea we made with green tea, lime juice, a little honey (no sugar in the house) and some big leaves of fresh basil that I somehow bought by mistake.

Javier Hernandez-Miyares said...

Conceptual cuisine is art that tastes good. i enjoy your posts.

Carol said...

I have to say you two that you lost me at the salmon and the horseradish. I truly fell down the slope at the mention of the balsamic vinegar. I do however applaud the project as a whole, especially the lack of cheese, which doesn't really come from cows but from Satan. The iced tea sounds good though, especially with a shot of vodka.
I think a mangosteen project should be next.

mg_65 said...

Wow, that sounds intensely good. Alos, buying herbs by mistake is deeply cool. We will definitely come visit, and/or beg to be adopted. (This is Moi, by the way.)

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

I heartily endorse this project. I'm with carol and javier h-m on everything except the cheese. Today's paper has a timely article on mangosteens.

FJ said...

Since Winnifred is allergic to cheese, I'm sure she's happy to know it comes from Satan. Not missing much there, honey! Thanks for the terminology--"conceptual cuisine"--I will use that. The mangosteens will be fully investigated anon, and we will try the iced green tea with vodka and let you know. Meanwhile, MG, the thing about basil is that it looks a lot like virtually any other green leafy thing, so you can go out to get arugula for a salad and end up with more basil than you can really use... unless you like it in your iced tea, which apparently we do. Perhaps this lovely, refreshing drink would overcome the Chocolate Lady's basilphobia?

Sierra said...

Basilphobia does sound rather an unhappy state. Does it mean, like, no pesto, ferchrissakes? Cheeses!

I wonder what horseradish in your vodka iced tea would be like?

mg_65 said...

!@#$%! Sierra? Yikes! That was me, mg_65.