Comfort Food

It’s cold. It’s been cold. It’s going to remain cold. I’m definitely the hibernate/stuff-your-face-while-you-wait-out-winter kind of person. I’m a big believer in comfort food. During the holiday I snacked a lot on my homemade ricotta cheese, but I had several tubs of the stuff. I decided to make lasagna rolls to use some of it up. I didn’t feel like making a whole dish of lasagna for just the two of us when we had so much other stuff in the fridge, so this seemed like a better idea.

6 sheets of lasagna
Ricotta Cheese
3/4 cup ground pork mixed with salt, pepper, cooking wine, garlic, and fennel, and browned, or crumbled sweet Italian sausage
Tomato Sauce
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Boil each sheet of lasagna and set aside. I brushed mine with a little olive oil just to keep them from sticking to anything. Then spread ricotta cheese over the length on each sheet, and covered with a layer of the ground pork, and rolled it all up, using a bit of ricotta to seal it. Line up the rolls in a baking dish, and covered it with tomato sauce, sprinkled cheese over it, and baked for forty minutes at 200C.

I made meatballs and spaghetti as well. I had a lot of ground meat in the freezer to use up, and I wanted to try and make them a little bit healthier, so I made them with half chicken and half pork (curse China for not having ground turkey available except for exorbitant prices)

1 pound ground chicken
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Soy sauce, cooking wine, Maggi seasoning, salt, pepper, minced basil
4 shallots, minced (because I didn’t have any onions)
3 eggs

Mix all of the ingredients together. Form into small balls, line up in a baking dish, and bake at 200C for 20 minutes, turning over with a pair of tongs halfway through. I finished them off in a pot with tomato sauce and served over spaghetti.

The best thing about it being cold is that you can justify drinking a cup (or two) of steamy hot chocolate. I didn’t feel like shelling out an overpriced amount of kuai on a container of subpar cocoa mix at Jenny Lou’s, and Sawyer had ever so kindly made room in his luggage to bring me back two boxes of dutch-processed cocoa powder, so I whipped up a small batch of my own using Alton Brown’s recipe. I don’t have anything big enough to keep 5 cups of mix in, so I made rough estimates on the amounts.

Hot Chocolate
1 small glass Ikea bowl of powdered sugar
1 small glass Ikea bowl of powdered milk
2/3 small glass Ikea bowl of dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tiny Ikea glass bowl (about 2 tsp.) of corn starch
A pinch of salt
A pinch of cinnamon
A smaller pinch of chili powder, for a bit of a kick

Whisk together until thoroughly mixed. I took a jar with me to work today, because after a week of vacation, the office feels like a refrigerator. I’ve already had two cups just to stave off hypothermia. So much for being healthy.

And on a side note, being healthy is killing me. All this waking up at 6 am, dragging my butt over to the gym is terrible. All of my movable parts are angry at me and I’ve got a blister on the bottom of my heel and I’m about to pass out on my desk from sheer exhaustion (okay maybe I shouldn’t have stayed up ’til 1 AM reading another James Clavell novel). All I want is a slice of chocolate cake and to hide in bed and never get up until it’s at least 65 degrees outside.


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