Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Open Faced "Sausage" Lasagna Piled High with Christien Summers, Arundel and Natalie Walker

Every fighter has their nemesis, the one who forces them to go where no one else can. Hulk Hogan had Andre the Giant, Muhammad Ali had Joe Frazier, Oscar De La Hoya had Fernando Vargas. My grandfather, a gurgitator long before the sport was famous, faced off many times against his arch enemy, pasta. Year after year the two would square off at a church spaghetti dinner. School age kids brought out plates that were piled a foot high with spaghetti. A fat kid like myself couldn't even dent that semolina mountain. But my grandfather attacked, like acid rain on limestone monuments, and he finished not just his two plates but the leftovers from everyone else as well. They say the stomach can hold up to 3 liters of food. My grandfather was probably pushing six.

The spaghetti dinners have long since ceased, probably because my grandfather cost them so much money, and worthy opponents have dwindled to where there is only one left. Datz Deli offers a massive open faced lasagna. It is so big they had to create its own special plate. I have witnessed a number of people try to finish the entire dish. From large males to petite females to slumped over rednecks all have tried and none have succeeded. Could this finally be the nemesis my grandfather has never had?

Open Faced Sausage Lasagna (inspired by Datz Deli)

-1 order of vegan sausage
-1 block of tofu, drained and crumbled
-2 tsp. lime juice
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-2 Tbs. olive oil
-3 Tbs. fresh basil
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
-salt and pepper
-1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
-2 Tbs. Parmesan, grated
-4 sheets of lasagna noodles
-tomato sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the directions for the vegan sausage. Crumble or slice into little sausage chunks. Place in an oiled frying pan and cook until starting to brown (about three minutes each side).

2. As the sausage cooks, combine the tofu, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, basil, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir. Set aside.

3. In a large pot of bowling water cook the lasagna noodles until they are almost al dente. Place in ice water to stop the cooking. Pat dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels.

4. Line the bottom of an oven safe round baking dish with tomato sauce. Layer on the noodles, sausage and tofu ricotta. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. If so desired, roll the ends of the lasagna noodles up. Bake for 15 minutes (or until cheese is melted and browned). Acid Rain on that pasta parade.

All this carb loading put me in the mood to dance to disco. Not old school songs but some new stuff. Like Christien Summers "Shoot the Breeze" which is the perfect summertime anthem. An EP, Cloud One, is coming this summer. You can also catch her tomorrow in Toronto at The Silver Dollar Room.

If disco isn't your genre of preferred dance music try out the buttery electro sounds of Natalie Walker and her vocoder. "Cool Kids" comes from Walker's Spark EP which was released last week. Get it on iTunes.

Not so danceable (unless you are the fog or the scream that echoes in the cave) is Arundel's remix of "Jungle" by Emma Louise. He slows down and distances the original to make it more ambient and dreamy. The original version (here) is better but the remix is not bad. That's something you don't often hear me say.