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Sunday, November 8, 2009

MANIC MONDAY: Just a LITTLE Lasagna please...not the whole damn plate!

This video is the perfect way for a foodie to start their Monday.

Go ahead...his PLAY:

My sister and were talking about food and love and desire and emotion again today. It's a constant discussion with us.

Here is the Big Questions I'm obsessed with and why I take so much time to write on this blog:
  • What is the drive in us to eat when we aren't hungry?
  • What emotional needs are we secret fulfilling when we either eat too little or too much?
  • Why do we feel we have no control when we over eat?
  • Why do some people starve themselves and look sickly and undernourished?
  • More disturbing, why do we find the starved look attractive and the obese look disgusting?
I can't tell you how many people have told me they cannot stop eating bad food even when they know the food is bad.

Even when they have been told my doctors they are going to die if they don't stop. Even when lovers have left them, even when they feel like shit about themselves as they shove bite after bite in their mouth or shove their fingers down their throat or refuse to eat more than a tiny plate of veggies and steamed rice.

What kinda fucking truck has to slam into them to make them WAKE UP?

It's a self-hate.

It's most evident with celebrities.

Look at Madonna or poor Maria Cross of Desperate Housewives. Madonna is a nasty, hedonistic hag so it makes sense she'd eat too little, but Maria Cross? It saddens me to see how awful she looks on Desperate Housewives. I really like Ms. Cross. She's a smart, intelligent woman who is in a spiral. My guess?

She got pregnant, gained a little weight, and desperate to be a hot Desperate Housewife again (she never wasn't; the woman is striking), she forced herself to train endlessly and eat less to look 'good'.

MEMO TO MS. CROSS: EAT. PLEASE. You look like shit. I mean that with all due love and respect, sweetie.

Like Madonna, Ms. Cross is starving herself and lifting too many weights. Both women are grotesque; they look like emaciated middle-aged Lithuanian female boxers training for a prize fight.

Don't think the irony the actress playing Bree Van de Kamp has an eating disorder escapes me. Unlike Madonna (whom I do enjoy seeing suffer - if one more gay man tells me she moved the gay movement forward I'm gonna fucking scream - Madonna is all about making money people, plain and simple), I have nothing but empathy for Ms. Cross. She needs help. Now.

Look at poor Kevin Federline. Oh dear. He was a trim dancer, cute and dumb and white trash and now he's obese, former Mr. Britney Spears and is going on a reality TV show to lose the weight.

People all over America are like this. They either eat too little and looks angry and hard (probably because they're so fucking hungry), or they eat too much and lose their sense of self-respect and hide in shame from those who love them.

Both extremes are desperate cries for help. How do we heal this in this country?

Why DO we eat at night when we're not hungry? Do we feel our lives are unfulfilled and we crave feeling and sensation, so we dive into food which feeds this craving?

Do we need the tastes to feel we're living?

Why DO we eat chips at night when we know a healthy, trim weight is the key to feeling GOOD as we age? Do we want to use a cane by the time we're 50?

Why DO we obsess over needing people's approval and praise to 'look good' and thus eat too little and deny ourselves the pleasures food inherently has?

I am mixed on how to answer and deal with some of these questions. There was a documentary in the 70's that had everyone talking. It was violent, in-your-face and shocking. And it changed people's lives.

It was called Scared Straight.

Now, am I saying we need to get obese people or anorexics in danger of killing themselves into a room with other formerly nearly-deceased obese and anorexic people and have them scare them scare the living shit out of them so they change?

No, I don't think that's the answer. But I think the movement behind the intention of this action is something a growing population of this country needs.

Let's get real - isn't that partially what Jillian on The Biggest Loser is doing? Giving Tough Love to the most desperate kind of overweight person in this country?


Think about how much more powerful that would be if SHE were on the verge of death because SHE used to be obese but changed.

Don't you just wanna do this sometimes?

According to the latest edition of Business Week, over 40 billion dollars was spent last year in the diet industry but people keep getting fatter and they keep starving themselves to death.

Endless books on how to cook right, endless data, endless options to exercise, endless TV shows on the issues of being overweight and underweight and yet, portions of people in this country to not change not matter what is told to them or what they read.



I don't have the answers. Clearly, very few of us do.

But I can tell you this - there is not one person I know who does not have at least a slightly complicated relationship to food and how they eat; over half of those people have a VERY complicated relationship to food and how they eat.

Shit - I know I do. I always feel fat. I always feel I must lose weight. I feel like I want to reward myself with a burger and fries after doing something well. Or when I have a terrible day. I don't do it, but I feel like I deserve to.



Fascinating stuff which consumes this country. We have to keep this discussion alive. It's not about removing the food we love; it's about finding balance.

And speaking of balance, today is MANIC MONDAY! And one of the sure fire ways to make your Monday is LESS Manic is to make a great Sunday night meal you can eat Sunday night, at work Monday for lunch and then, if you want, for Monday dinner.

The trick is balance. B.A.L.A.N.C.E.

Here was Sunday's meal:

served with

This is who I always listen to when I cook on Sunday:

I've posted my lasagna recipe before, but I've learned to streamline this one, to reduce the calories and truly amp up the hardcore part-Italian husband swears by this meal and he's one tough critic when it comes to lasagna.

And you can eat this over three meals if you wish by adding DIFFERENT sides to the lasagna and mixing up the salad...and plus, we all know homemade lasagna tastes better over time, right?

Let's cook!Bold

For the sauce you'll need toss 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large dutch oven. Add 2 finely chopped yellow onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add 10 cloves of diced garlic and let cook for a minute or two.

See?Now add 3/4 hot sausage and 1/2 pound ground sirloin with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the raw red color is gone, about 10 minutes.

Now add 1/8 cup heavy cream and 1/8 cup 2% milk. Let the meat absorb the cream and milk until it's mostly gone, anywhere from 5-15 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup red wine (preferably Merlot) and let the meat absorb again.

Now add 1 28-ounce can of tomato puree and 2 15 ounce cans of no-salt diced tomatoes. Stir. Add 2 teaspoons dried oregano and one teaspoon granulated sugar.

Turn on low and let it simmer as you work on the cheese mixture. Make sure and mix the tomato mixture from the bottom up.

In a large bowl, add one 15-ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, 1 large bunch of basil diced very small (take a tiny handful and throw in the sauce on the stove behind you), 1 large organic egg beaten, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Mix just until mix. Don't overmix.

Open your box of no-boil lasagna noodles. If you haven't used these, you must. They are fantastic. They cook in the sauce. Great stuff. Buy Barilla brand. Most authentic on the market and everywhere. There will be three noodles left from the package from this recipe.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Put your oven rack in the center.

Get out a baking dish which comfortably fits three noodles with a little room to breath. Taste your sauce. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Remove the sauce from the stove and put on the counter next to pan you'll cook the lasagna in. Have the ricotta mixture on the side. You are creating a little 'lasagna station.'

Now, pour a small spoonful or two of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay down three noodles, side by side. Scoop three teaspoons of the ricotta mixture down the center of each noodle. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the noodle/cheese mixture.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of 2% mozzarella cheese over the noodles.

Repeat this twice and when you get to the TOP layer, lay down the noodles, the ricotta mixture of the noodles, pour the rest of the sauce over the top so all layers of the noodles are covered, sprinkle 1/2 cup 2% mozzarella over the lasagna and then sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan.

Parmesan goes a long way, so you never, ever need as much as most recipes indicate. I've seen recipes saying I should add up to 2 cups of Parmesan to this. What?! You really, REALLY don't taste the difference with more Parmesan in this dish. Trust me, my husband would bitch and moan if it didn't taste cheesy, so when I say this hits all the lasagna marks, it hits all the lasagna marks.BoldBada Bing!

Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with Pam olive oil spray, cover the lasagna, bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil, bake anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes longer, until it's to your liking in terms of top browning.

As the lasagna bakes, let's prep our French Harlot green beans with shallots, butter and olive oil and the salad.

I grew up on green beans. I love green beans. My parents has a really cool mini farm in the back of the house where we grew beans and I loved them.

I am a firm believer in tasting the vegetable and not bathing it in cheese sauce or butter. What's the point? As a kid, sure, give me cheese on cauliflower or give me death, but not as an adult. This is why I made these with a classic French/Italian twist.

It's very simple. And fast.

Snip off the end of the green beans. Contrary to popular conception, there is no 'string' inside of string beans. You simply need to snap off the ends, rinse and put in a large bowl. The snapping of the ends is the hardest part.

Boil a scant about of water in a stainless steel skillet. Throw in 1 1/2 pounds beans. Cover and boil about 5 minutes. As they boil, chop up 2 large shallots.

Take off the lid, remove the beans to a separate bowl. Most of the water in the pan should be evaporated. Toss in a bit of unsalted butter, a tiny chug of olive oil and the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Throw in the beans. Cook 2 minutes, add a dash of salt and pepper, a tiny shaving of parmesan and you're done.

Serve with a side salad of 2 heads of meaty and tasty Butter lettuce, diced radishes, slices carrots, freshly baked spicy black pepper and onion powder croutons. Add a homemade dressing by mixing 6 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar and mix it up in a jar.

Sprinkle over and here she is:



  1. That's one big plateful of food, buddy boy! Wish I was there to weigh in(hahaha) on what I think of your lasagna. Now, my loving husband would enjoy your lasagna by having 3 servings...portion control....yikes. It is amazing the intense and complex relationship we all have with food. So basic, really...After our talk last night I ate more than usual after 8:00.....who knows? XO

  2. Hey Sis...well, this is the great part. After having the green beans and salad we could only eat half the lasagna! And we felt satisfied!!