Well, here it is, as promised, my One Year Anniversary post, featuring our Valentine's Day dinner. Wow, I still can't believe a whole year has gone by. I am anxious to get this next year started! So, I will begin the new year with a series of posts detailing the recipes from our dinner. Also, be on the lookout this week for a little giveaway I will be having. Just a little something to say "thanks" for sticking with me!
First, the menu:
* Rosemary Cheese with Fig Preserves & Sesame Crackers
* Marinated Olives w/Lemon, Thyme & Rosemary
* Herb Salad w/"Heart" Beets, Goat Cheese Pistachio Marbles & Honey Vinaigrette
* Wild Mushroom Lasagna w/Creamy Béchamel & Agave Glazed Rainbow Carrots
* Bee Mine Cake
Today I begin with the main course simply because it was so darn good. The combination of the wild mushrooms, rosemary, wine, madeira and lightly sweet béchamel was simply luscious. To top it off, the original recipe can be found here on the Cooking Light website (no guilt!). Last year I made the recipe as written, this year I made some changes to try to make the recipe even more heart and waist friendly. I used whole wheat lasagna, a Bordeaux wine (from Trader Joe's) and Madeira. In the béchamel I made a few changes including swapping the milk out with light plain soymilk. If you are not a fan of a lightly sweet béchamel then I would suggest an unsweetened soymilk. The consistency of the sauce was lovely, but it took longer to thicken up, so be patient. I love the taste of leeks so I split the onion quantity to half leeks and half white onion. For the mushrooms, just use the combination of fresh that you like or are more available/affordable. I used a combo of shiitakes and baby bellas, wonderful (can't wait til the farmers' market shrooms are available). The beauty of this dish is that you can prepare some, if not all of it a day in advance. I chose to just prepare the filling in advance knowing that the mushroom prep would take some time. The resulting dish is rich and earthy and I would challenge any meat lover to try it!
Wild Mushroom Lasagna w/ Creamy Bechamel
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried porcini mushroom (about 1 oz)
1 tbl olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts
1 cup chopped white onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
11 cups total, sliced mushrooms, (shiitake and baby bellas were my choice)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup Bordeaux wine
1/4 cup Madeira
1 tbl low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 cups light plain soymilk
2 tbl earth balance spread
3 tbl sifted whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 80z package of precooked whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 cup (4oz) great fresh Parmesan cheese
To prepare filling, combine water and porcini in a small bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Drain porcini through a sieve over a bowl, squeezing porcini to extract liquid. Reserve 1 1/2 cups liquid; discard remaining liquid. Rinse porcini, and drain. Chop coarsely; set aside. While the porcinis are soaking you can clean and slice the mushrooms and slice, rinse and drain the leeks.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté 5 minutes or until mushrooms release moisture and begin to brown. Stir in porcini, wine, madeira and soy sauce. Cook 4 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Stir in parsley and rosemary. Add the reserved porcini liquid; bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup (about 10 minutes) Actually, it took much longer for mine to reduce down. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
To prepare béchamel, place milk in a 4-cup glass measure. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes or until hot, stirring after 2 minutes. Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stirring with a whisk, and cook 1 minute or until bubbly, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a simmer; cook over low heat 8 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens, stirring frequently The sauce should just coat the back of a spoon, it will thicken during the baking process. Like I said before, it took mine much longer to thicken, more like 25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Note: please do yourself a favor and buy your nutmeg whole. Use your microplane to grate when needed. The flavor is much nicer (and prettier).
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread 1/2 cup béchamel in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over béchamel; top with 1/2 cup béchamel. Top with 1 cup mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers three times (dish will be very full). Cover with foil; place baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover lasagna; bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
The finished product just out of the oven. Yeah,baby! Cover back up with your foil and let it sit about 10 minutes or so. I find it sets up a bit better.