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Sunday, October 30, 2005 

Remiss in reviews

I've been very lax in posting my latest restaurant reviews here, but now I've got the perfect excuse: the computer is all packed up for the move, and we won't have Internet access for a little while as we wait for GCI to figure out how the phone system works.

However, my friend Terri has read some of my descriptions of meals I've cooked on my other blog, and has requested recipes. What better way to share them than through my food-related blog?

On Thursday, Oct. 27, James and Phillip finally installed the TOYO stove in our new cabin. To thank them, I cooked up a big meal in the main cabin. These recipes come from Didi Emmons' fabulous Entertaining for a Veggie Planet.

Roasted pear, blue cheese and toasted pecan salad with raspberry balsamic dressing
Portobello and goat cheese lasagna with basil-scallion sauce
Hazelnut-pear torte

Roasted pear, blue cheese and toasted pecan salad
with raspberry balsamic dressing

4Bosc pears
2heads of lettuce
8 ozcrumbled blue cheese
1/2 cchopped pecans
1 bottlestore-bought raspberry balsamic dressing
Preheat oven to 375. Cut pears in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Lightly oil a small baking pan and place pears in it cut side down. Bake 30 minutes and let cool.
Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces. Chop pecans and spread in a single layer on a toaster oven pan. Toast about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.
Arrange lettuce on plates. Cut pears into thin slices lengthwise and place on top of lettuce. Top with blue cheese, toasted pecans and raspberry balsamic dressing.

Portobello and goat cheese lasagna with basil-scallion sauce

2 1/2 lbred or Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
6 ozgoat cheese
2 Tbutter
3/4 cupmilk
1/2 cup plus 3 Tolive oil
1 1/2 lbportobello mushrooms, chopped
4garlic cloves, minced
1 ozdried shiitake mushrooms, minced
3/4 cMarsala or Madeira
1 cred lentils
1 csour cream
1/2 cParmesan, shredded
1 cfresh basil leaves
6scallions, green and white part chopped
2 Tlemon juice
1/2 lblasagna noodles, cooked
Preheat oven to 375. Oil a 13"x9" baking pan.
Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pan. Mash with a fork or potato masher and stir in half of the goat cheese, the butter and milk. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 3 T of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the portobellos until they soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the dried mushrooms and Marsala or Madeira and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, bring 2 c water to boil. Add lentils and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, remaining goat cheese and 1/4 c Parmesan.
Line the bottom of the baking pan with a single layer of noodles. Use a slotted spoon to scatter the mushroom mixture evenly across the noodles, leaving the juices in the pan. Add another layer of noodles and top with mashed potatoes. Add another layer of noodles and top with sour cream mixture, then lentils. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan across the top, and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
While lasagna is baking, combine basil, scallions and garlic in a blender or food processor. Slowly add 1/2 c olive oil and process until smooth. Add lemon juice and 2 T water and blend. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove lasagna from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces, and top each piece with a drizzle of basil-scallion sauce.

Hazelnut-pear torte

1 1/3 cupshazelnuts
1/2 cup plus 6 Tbutter, softened
1 cup plus 4 Tsugar
2eggs, at room temperature
2 TFrangelico or cognac
1/2 talmond extract
1/2 cup plus 2 Tall-purpose flour
2Bosc pears, peeled
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" springform pan. (A 9" pie pan can be used as a substitute, but torte will be more difficult to remove.)
Lay hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking pan and toast for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer warm hazelnuts to a dishcloth. Gather the ends of the dishcloth together, forming a loose sack, and rub the hazelnuts briskly to remove the skins. Don't worry if you can't remove all of the skins. Lift the hazelnuts out, leaving the papery skins behind.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup plus 3 T of the sugar until light. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the Frangelico or cognac and the almond extract. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and hazelnuts. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Cut pears in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice crosswise into thin half circles. Layer pear slices in concentric circles on top of batter. Sprinkle torte with 1 T sugar.
Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and serve.