Wednesday, September 02, 2009

culture shock and good vegetarian lasagna

What would lead a Portuguese Jew to read a German account of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is beyond my comprehension. I befuddle myself on a daily basis. But I do like many aspects of the pilgrimage concept and as a lover of long walks , when I saw the book recommended on some blog of respect I decided to get it. It was written by Hape Kerkeling, a German "comic" I knew nothing about, The title is "I'm off then" and so far it has done little but make me angry. To quote "The triumph of Swedish Reason", as if they hadn't had enough with their triumphs ohh...of the Will, perhaps. His constant criticisms of dark and filthy evil intentioned Portuguese and Spaniards as opposed to the visions of the Nordic ethereal blue eyed angels he encounters are nothing if not racist. The Germans are cleaner than the Spanish. The Swedes are a delight while the "Girl from Ipanema" as he calls a Brazilian woman is just on the trail to find a man to marry, besides being loud and brazen and ohh so different from his cool angelic friends from the North. Ah the Germans. As for it being funny, I've yet to read one phrase that I find the least bit amusing. He's fat, he's lazy and he's too good to share the nights with the other lowly spiritual seekers. No trace of spirituality or even humanity. What an offense of a book!It feels like something straight out of Nazi Germany...and that is not the least bit funny..and it sold more than 3 million copies...I forgive you Paulo Coelho!

Mushroom Spinach Lasagna Recipe:
My attempt at writing down my recipe for the vegetarian lasagna I make:
Whole wheat lasagna pasta
1/2 gallon of milk
2 pounds of julienned Mozzarella cheese
sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
5 Tbsp Maizena flour or the regular kind
2 quarts of tomato sauce pre prepared or made at home
1 large bunch of spinach
1 pound of mushrooms
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
To make the Bechamel sauce which I substitute for Ricotta cheese:
Heat up most of the milk. Use the cold milk to mix the Maizena or flour in and add to hot milk. Mix in pepper, salt, nutmeg and lemon to taste. Constantly stirring let it thicken and put to the side, mixing frequently to keep it smooth.
On two Lasagna deep pans pour a quarter of the tomato sauce, Add a layer of the spinach and mushrooms.Cover with lasagna pasta. Cover with an inch high dose of Bechamel and top with Mozzarella, Be generous with the cheese.
Repeat with tomato sauce, spinach and mushrooms, pasta and again cover with Bechamel, and Mozarella. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and let bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and let cook for another 1/2 hour or until the pasta is soft. Cut in portions and serve. It is usually very liquidy but if you leave it overnight, it will harden up and if you want to present a neat dish it will be easier to do so. Serve with a light salad.
This recipe makes 2 pans and can feed 8 or more people. I like to make two at a time as it is a time consuming dish and only gets better with reheating.

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