Indio, California: We have been observing Passover this week, thus avoiding all grains. It certainly does not mean we have been missing out on delicious foods. It is a privilege to be able to choose to not eat leavened bread, a super-small sacrifice, considering what The Chosen People had to endure on their exodus from slavery.
I made a brisket. I made chicken soup with matzo balls. I made a stew with left-over brisket. We have dined alone. We have dined with friends. We have enjoyed fine wines and fine company.
The kids are still back in DC:
Leo had a snow cone on the National Mall. Our Beautiful Daughter was on a swing, and wearing a jacket for the first time in a very long time. They went to the zoo to see the pandas. Lenny took Leo to the home opener of his beloved Nationals. They are having a very good time!
This is a time of big change in our resort. So many people leave for the season the first week of April. Mid-April, the temperatures grow very warm and many Motorcoach Country Club residents do not wish to deal with the three-weekend chaos of Coachellaand Stagecoach. As many owners leave, many renters arrive to stay here during the basically-next-door music festivals. (No one EVER refers to the Coachella Valley Music Festival as the Coachella Valley Music Festival. It is always just “Coachella”.) By the way, if you are interested, SiriusXM will be broadcasting the festival live this year.
We are having a little cooling trend in the desert. We’ve had some wind and for the first time in over a month, the fireplace has been switched “on” in our covered patio after dinner. After weeks of 90+ degree temperatures, I had to go searching through my closet for a pair of jeans to wear this chilly evening. Los Angeles had rain today and snow is falling in the mountains. Much much much much much needed.
For years I have been reading about “matzo lasagna” – substituting matzo for lasagna noodles – and I decided to finally give it a try.
DT drove me a fancy market and on the way to the grocer, I “casually” mentioned my plan. As predicted, he scrunched-up his face. Usually he trusts me, but this time, I am pretty-sure he thought he would be eating tomato-sauce-soaked soggy crackers. Honestly, I wasn’t 100% sure myself.
After reading 25 recipes, there wasn’t even a concise plan. Some cooks soak the matzo for a minute or so in water. Some recipes call for the dry cracker-bread. I was winging-it. Completely.
I sauteed half a chopped onion and several cloves of minced garlic in olive oil, added a pound of ground beef, a jar of red pasta (tomato basil) sauce and a good splash of red wine. This sauce bubbled for an hour or so and then it was cooled and placed in the fridge. The lasagna was not assembled until just before baking.
I placed a little of the sauce in the bottom of an oiled 8x8-inch baking dish, then alternated a sheet of matzo, sauce and shredded mozzarella (this dish mixes meat and dairy). I used three sheets of matzo and a lot of cheese.
The casserole was covered in foil and placed in a 375° oven for 30 minutes… then the foil was removed and the lasagna baked for an additional 20 minutes. It was DONE. After a ten minute rest, it sliced beautifully and I dare anyone (except Marcella Hazan) to tell me it wasn’t regular ol’ gooey cheesy lasagna. The matzo sheets could easily be compared with the no-cook lasagna “noodles” I often use when cooking in the motorhome.
Garnished with a little parsley from our herb garden.