Even though February is a short month, it packs a punch with fun things to do. At our house, Jeff’s birthday is the main event. He’s a Valentine’s Day baby so all the attention goes to him. I’m making his favorite meal: stuffed grape leaves and kibbe. Definitely a time intensive request, but he’s worth and its a family crowd pleaser. Also in store for us this February is a joint Christening for my niece and nephew, a quick ski day, and a visit from my parents.
I’m excited to kick off my monthly Buy, Do and Try List! Each month I’ll be sharing this list so make sure to be on the lookout for more.
WHAT YOU SHOULD TRY:
Usually, during the week Jeff eschews carbs and has a “Faturday” over the weekend. On those days, anything goes: lunch at a pizza spot, quesadillas, and pasta of course. We live close to Eastern Market and like to pick up some pasta at the local Italian market Radici. Jeff always cooks these indulgent meals and last weekend he really outdid himself with lasagna. I can’t even remember the last time I ate lasagna, but it was soooo good! Now, this is an labor of love so if you plan on making it, give yourself plenty of prep time. I mean, nothing says love like lasagna, so if you’re fresh out of Valentine’s Day gift ideas and want to go the homemade route, give this a try.
From: The New York Times, Regina Schrambling
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, finely diced
- 2 large cloves minced garlic
- 8 ounces pancetta, diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups good red wine, preferably Italian
- 2 28-ounce cans Italian plumtomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¾ pound ground sirloin
- ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
- 2 eggs
- 10 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
- 2 large whole cloves garlic
- ½ cup flour
- 1 pound Italian sausage, a mix of hot and sweet
FOR THE LASAGNA:
- 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2 cups freshly grated pecorino Romano
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 1 pound mozzarella, grated
- 16 sheets fresh lasagna noodles
- For the sauce, heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy Dutch oven or kettle over low heat. Add the onions, minced garlic and pancetta, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, add the wine and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan, and add their juice. Add the tomato paste and 2 cups lukewarm water. Simmer for 1 hour.
- Combine the sirloin, cheese and eggs in a large bowl. Chop the parsley with the whole garlic until fine, then stir into the beef mixture. Season lavishly with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Shape into meatballs and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour, shaking off excess, and lay into the hot oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides (do not cook through) and transfer to the sauce.
- In a clean skillet, brown the sausages over medium-high heat. Transfer to the sauce. Simmer 1 1/2 hours.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino Romano, parsley and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Remove the meatballs and sausage from the sauce, and set aside to cool slightly, then chop coarsely. Spoon a thick layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spoon more sauce on top, then add a third of the meat and a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers, using all the meat and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
THINGS TO DO:
- The Olympics kick off on February 9th. Host a potluck and ask guests to bring a dish to cheer on the USA or their home country. Serve some Korean Braised Short Ribs.
- This Valentine’s Day, the moms at Marielle’s play group are having some mom-osas after pickup. Schedule a mom’s night out!
- It’s the Year of the Dog this year starting on February 16. Jeff and I are headed to The Source for some Asian Fusion. Grab a few friends for a dim sum brunch.
- Have a self-care Saturday. I heard the other day that this is the best time for single New Yorkers. Rather than focusing on the dating scene, they are taking care of themselves on the weekends. Grab a book, and relax with some sheet masks, long baths, and treat yourself from head to toe.
- Keep your 2018 goals going strong and book a workout class with a friend. The motivation to not flake out will ensure you won’t hit the snooze button at 5:45 AM.
WHAT I NEED TO BUY:
Let’s start with the grocery list. It’s still winter time and all those hearty vegetables are still in season. One of the best ways we’ve been taking advantage of this is the Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch salad mix. My friend Ali introduced it me and it’s awesome. I recently served it as a side when we had guests over for dinner. It’s a mix of kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage. It goes great with a rich, flavorful dressing like Tahini Honey.
For beauty, my empties are piling up. I’ve used up my Ren Foaming Facial Cleanser, Tatcha Water Cream, Herbivore Coco Rose Body polish, Ursa Major Vitamin C Serum, and Shiseido Benefiance Day Cream (which I ordered by mistake when I thought I was getting the Night Cream). This February, I want to add a few new items and replace the Tatcha Water Cream. It’s just so lightweight and nice that it made me sad when it was all gone. I now have the beautycounter nourishing cream cleanser and exfoliating one, so I’m pretty set with products to wash my face. With dry winter skin, I always rely on a body scrub in my shower and have a Himalayan Salt Scrub as a backup. For my Vitamin C, while I really did like Ursa Major’s serum, I want to give the Drunk Elephant C-Firma a try. After reading the Beauty Insider’s Travel Essentials, I’m adding Eve Lom muslin cloths to my Sephora basket and redeeming some VIB points!
Lastly, I need to start planning for my upcoming trips. If anyone has any favorite ski gear I would love to hear!
Wishing everyone a great February. Also, a very happy birthday to all the Aquarius and Pisces beauties!