spring veggie white matzo lasagna

I am so curious to see what our opinions are re: matzo after Passover is over this year because since last year’s Passover, we have basically kept the itsy bitsy Kosher section of our grocery store in business with our aggressive year-round matzo eating habit. I ate an insane amount of it while I was pregnant, with peanut butter and jelly, with Kewpie mayo and sliced cheese, and in extra shallot-y matzo brei covered in ketchup. Matzo was my go-to 3am snack, in bed. I am pretty sure Bernie is 1/3 made of matzo. Eating matzo is different when you have the option to eat bread though, right? Which is why we never got sick of it. This week without the option though, I’m afraid we’ll get sick of it and I’ll have to find another easy 3am snack. What a dramatic life we lead! 

When it came to baby meal prep, I was told over and over to make lasagna! So a matzo lasagna, one big enough to provide enough leftovers for a few good days, was an obvious choice for Passover. And I wanted to make sure it was veggie packed, so I converted my spring vegetable quinoa hotdish in Molly on the Range to a freezer-friendly layered situation. The matzo pieces get nice and soft with the white sauce, and the flavors of leeks, chives, ricotta, and peas whisper spring! Even though it’s totally loaded up with cheese and milk, the ricotta and bright flavors add a nice sense of airiness. And there’s layers upon layers of spinach in this. So go ahead, have seconds!

Thanks to Our Family for partnering on this post and providing all of the cheese for this delicious Passover supper!


Spring Veggie White Matzo Lasagna

Makes one 9” x 13” casserole

Ingredients

Sauce

1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter

2 large leeks, chopped

4 scallions or ramps, chopped, white and green parts separated

Kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 tb matzo meal

3 c (720g) whole or 2% milk

1 c (236g) vegetable stock

1/4 c (75g) chopped chives

1/2 c (55g) fresh or frozen peas

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp onion powder

Black pepper

Hot sauce, to taste

Filling

1 large egg

1 (15oz) container our family part skim ricotta

3/4 c (3oz) our family shredded parmesan cheese

2 c (8oz) our family shredded mozzarella

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 c (5-6oz) fresh spinach

9 sheets matzo (I use lightly salted matzo)

Directions

If planning to bake immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If prepping ahead, see directions below.

To make the sauce, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks, the white parts of the scallions or ramps, and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, and then stir in the matzo meal and cook for another minute. Add the milk, one cup at a time, stirring until thickened after each. Add the vegetable stock and continue to stir until thickened. Stir in the green parts of the scallions or ramps, the chives (reserving a small handful for the topping), peas, nutmeg, onion powder, a few turns of black pepper, hot sauce, and salt to taste. Remove from heat.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl, mix together the egg, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, and the salt.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” casserole pan (see specifics below on type of pan you should use if you’re planning to freeze). Layer in the following: 2 sheets of matzo, a third of the cheese filling dolloped all over, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, another third of the cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, the remaining cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 sheets of matzo broken into pieces, and the reserved parmesan, mozzarella, chives, and a few turns of pepper.

Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes, and then for an additional 15 minutes uncovered, or until golden brown on top. Enjoy!

To freeze: I’d recommend using a foil pan that you can place directly in the oven from the freezer. Otherwise, you can use glass or enameled cast iron pan, but it would be best to defrost it in the fridge overnight before baking to avoid cracking the pan. Once the lasagna is assembled, let it cool slightly and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake at 350ºf covered in foil for 1 hour 30 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

this recipe was created in partnership with our family!

rhubarb rose jam

Happy Sunday!!! It feels weird to have my computer open on a Sunday but Cousin Elaine and I made this rhubarb rose jam yesterday that I am first-day-of-summer-camp excited about. I wanted to write it down ASAP so I wouldn’t forget it and also so that we can all have time to make it over and over before rhubarb season ends. 

It is based on Claire Ptak’s rhubarb and angelica jam from The Violet Bakery Cookbook, only I’ve swapped out angelica and added vanilla bean and rosewater. Rosewater might be my favorite friend of rhubarb and because I was making this jam as party favors for Rob and Hansaem’s very elegant wedding in Paris later this month, I figured rosewater would be the perfect addition. And the vanilla bean just kind of gives the whole thing a luxurious hug. 

The measurements below are for a very big batch (triple of Claire’s), this made enough to fill 25 cute 2-oz Weck jars, and my 5.5 quart dutch oven was the perfect size to hold everything. If you don’t have a jungle of rhubarb in your yard that you need to use up or a zillion party favors to make, you can either get your calculator out and calculate a third of these ingredients (the timings stay the same), or come over and take some of my rhubarb. 

In a good container with a tight fitting lid, this will keep in the fridge for up to a month, but of course you can also can it with sterilized jars and seals and the whole bit. Yesterday was my first time doing the latter! Cousin Elaine is the canning expert of the family, so she and I spent the afternoon sterilizing jars and dipping things into boiling water to kill the cooties. Canning always seemed intimidating to me when I read about it on paper but when Elaine walked me through the process it all made complete sense. So if you’re considering canning for the first time, my biggest recommendation would be to get yourself a Cousin Elaine.

Happing Jamming!!


Rhubarb Rose Jam

Makes enough to fill 25 cute 2-oz jars

ingredients

1,500g (3 lb 6 oz) rhubarb, chopped into small pieces

1,125g (5 1/2 cups + 2 tb) sugar

juice of 3 lemons

1 tsp rosewater

1 tb vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped

clues

In a large heavy pot, combine the rhubarb and half of the sugar. Cover and macerate at room temp for 1 hour. 

Add the remaining sugar and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once it comes to a boil, let it boil rapidly over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. It might get a little spitty, so be careful and wear an apron, and if it gets too wild you can reduce the heat a little bit. It’s ready when most of the rhubarb is translucent and the consistency has thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Reduce the heat to low and stir in the rosewater and vanilla bean. Carefully give it a taste to see if the rosewater is where you want it. 

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal or transfer to containers and keep in the fridge for up to a month. 


-yeh!

rhubarb cake!

It is my birthday! And also Doug’s and the eve of my Dad’s and the dawn after Stefani’s. And maybe also yours??? Happy birthday to all of us! It’s a great day to turn 29. 28 was honestly starting to feel a little stale, although it was a great year! It had a solid ratio of time spent doing things I love (making cake! traveling about! sitting on the couch with Eggboy watching tv eating dinner with my favorite spoon!) to things I don’t love (brushing my hair! cleaning the fridge!) so I’ll try to keep that going. Overall I think one big takeaway from this year was that I learned to like doing healthy things more, like drinking green juice and being up to date on my dentist visits. Kind of vanilla, right?!? My 22-year-old self would have felt so ashamed that this was my big birthday takeaway but well here it is. It’s probably just that my older wiser brain can now see further into the future and know more easily when something that feels fun at the time, like putting too much mayonnaise on my french fries, isn’t going to feel good in my belly after an hour. Which doesn’t mean I don’t do that anymore I just do it less. 

So with that I’d like to announce a temporary hold on my birthday breakfast sandwich tradition, for I will be having a green juice. And then I’ll be working out, and then getting a massage with the strongest masseuse in town, then I’m going to lunch at the museum cafe, and then I’m going to sit down with my favorite cookbooks and plan really awesome dinners for the rest of the week until dinner time when I’m going to make chèvre chaud salads for Eggboy and me. A salad! For my birthday dinner! I barely recognize myself. I’ve just been craving it soo hard since Paris (omg cannot wait to tell you about Paris) and fried cheese on a salad is my favorite form of balance. 

There will also be this rhubarb cake but not until the weekend when I defrost this sucker for some friends!! It was going to be an alpaca cake until I realized that llama has a silent “l” at the beginning and that’s way more quirky and cool than the trendy alpaca. No offense, alpacas. So this is a happy llama cake! It was inspired by this embroidered llama and I used this cookie cutter. My biggest challenge was making it not look like a baby shower cake, hence the mustard yellow frosting. 

I’m so happy that I could use some of our backyard rhubarb in this. Before it even popped up, I knew I wanted to make a pink fluffy buttery cake. Just like Stella's and Adrianna’s strawberry cakes but rhubarby. Only when I googled rhubarb cake the only things that came up were cakes with entire stalks of rhubarb in the batter or upside down cakes. So I experimented, using my sprinkle cake as a general roadmap and turning to Stella's and Adrianna’s cake as examples for incorporating fruit purée. I thought I’d have a long road of hibiscus-cake-style tweaking ahead of me since rhubarb is quite sour and anytime you change the pH of a batter you need to pay attention to the leavening amounts, but it turns out strawberry and rhubarb have extremely similar pH levels. So the first go was deeelicious! Fluffy, buttery, fruity, and bright. A handful of moisture tweaks later and here it is! It's so tasty and the sourness of the rhubarb balances the sweetness really nicely. To emphasis the rhubarb flavor, I’ve added a layer of rhubarb jam between the layers, along with buttercream. I like a basic vanilla buttercream with this but if rhubarb buttercream is speaking to you then go for it!


rhubarb cake

makes one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

cake:

10 oz (284g) rhubarb, chopped

1/4 c water 

1/2 c whole milk

2 3/4 c (352g) cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c (50g) flavorless oil

1 1/2 c (300g) sugar

Red or pink food coloring, optional

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

 

assembly:

vanilla frosting (recipe here) or rhubarb frosting (recipe below)

rhubarb jam (1/4 c per layer)

sprinkles, marzipan, optional but recommended

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 350°f. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8” cake pans with parchment and set aside. 

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then combine with the milk in a blender and purée until very smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar, and food coloring, if using, and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing after each, and then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry ingredients and rhubarb purée in three alternating additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over-beat. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and spread it out evenly. Give them a tap on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and then bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make your frosting of choice! 

Stack up the layers with a thin layer of frosting and rhubarb jam in the middle. If you want to get really fancy and have more rhubarb jam distributed throughout you can slice the layers in half to make four very thin layers. To make the cake pictured, add a layer of funfetti cake in the middle.

Decorate with sprinkles and a marzipan llama. Or alpaca. Up to you.


rhubarb frosting

makes enough for one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

8 oz (226g) rhubarb, chopped

2 tb water

1 1/2 c (338g) unsalted butter, softened

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1/4 tsp rosewater, optional

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 tb heavy cream

pink food coloring, optional
 

clues

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then purée in a blender.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until combined. Add the vanilla, rosewater (if using), and salt and then gradually mix in the cooled rhubarb puree. It may look curdled but continue to beat for 3-5 minutes until combined. Add the heavy cream and food coloring (if using) and beat until combined.


-yeh!

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

Pictured: Sweater (cuyana), Funfetti socks (old navy), cake stand (mosser glass)



P.S. Thank you, friends, soooooooooooo much for all of your sweet messages about Girl Meets Farm!! I am so darn thankful for your support and I cannot wait to show you behind the scenes pics and vids and tell you all about the process of filming. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 24th, 11am eastern/10am central/11am pacific!
 


fresh mint olive oil cake with labneh and honey

This color is real!!! And, no, Kermit was not harmed in the making of this. This is really just a basic olive oil cake that simply has a bunch of fresh mint purée mixed in to give it the most delightfully fresh herbal flavor and of course this bright natural color. It’s inspired by a dessert that Lily, Alana, and I had at The Exchange Restaurant last month that was basically a bowl of crumbled bright green cake topped with yogurt sorbet, a lemony drizzle, and baklava crumble. We ordered it expecting a regular yellow olive oil cake but when it arrived and we saw the color we were like omgomgomg and immediately did that thing where all three of us suddenly block out everything that’s going on around us in order to decipher what’s happening in our mouths and in front of our eyes. We poked at it, snooped around its every nook and cranny, and took very deliberate tastes in order to figure it all out. It’s so good eating with them. The only thing that could have improved such a moment is if one of us had raised up a monocle or magnifying glass. We figured it must have been a few different herbs in there, basil maybe, or parsley even, and then we got on the subject of spinach cupcakes (ew?), and finally had a chat with the server about what all was happening. And it turned out that it was just mint! Which is wild because it didn’t taste specifically minty, the most minty thing about it was that it had a faint version of that fresh feeling you have after brushing your teeth. Past that it was sort of generically herbal, which was cool because it allowed the yogurt sorbet and pistachio baklava crumble to shine through. And above all it was delicious. One of the best most inspiring desserts I’ve ever had. I turned around faster than I’ve ever turned around in my life and flew home and started experimenting with olive oil mint cakes. 

And I came up with this one! It’s a riff on the grapefruit olive oil cake from Yogurt book and it is really fun to make. You might think that the mint purée color would fade in the oven but it stays so bright. Sorry I am like one month late for St. Patrick’s Day, but actually I’m just 11 months early. 

I originally intended to slather this in a classic sweet cream cheese frosting but at the last minute before bringing it to Mackenzie’s birthday party I decided to go deeper into my nod to The Exchange dessert and just use labneh with a honey drizzle and pistachios. I loved it because it was so aggressively not sweet. It was definitely not your typical happy birthday sugary cake though so because of this I was trying really hard to figure out what all of my friends thought of it. The thing about being surrounded by so many nice Midwest people however is that they will not tell you if your cake is bad!! Emily said it tasted *fancy* so there is that?? I’ll leave you with this: when it comes to assembling this cake, choose your own adventure. If you’re hankering for a classic sweet frosting use a standard cream cheese frosting. But if you’re celebrating a sophisticated 30-year-old birthday party then try out the labneh option (as written below)! You can always add more honey drizzles. If you can’t decide, use some of the cake scraps as test bites and concoct your frosting accordingly.  


Fresh Mint Olive Oil Cake with Labneh and Honey

Makes one 2-layer 6” cake

Ingredients

Cake:

1 c (50g) firmly packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 c (118g) whole milk or unsweetened almond milk

1 1/2 c (190g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (56g) almond meal

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

Zest of 1 lemon

3/4 c (150g) extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 c (250g) sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Assembly:

About 1 1/2 c (338g) labneh

crushed pistachios

honey and/or turbinado sugar

lemon zest

sliced kumquats, optional

Clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottoms of two 6” pans with parchment and set aside.

Rinse the mint leaves and then ring them out very well. In a high powered blender like a vitamix, blend the mint and milk together until very smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and sugar until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking very well after each, and then add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mint mixture in three alternating additions, whisking after each until just combined. Pour into the pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Level off the tops.

Spread half of the labneh on one of the layers and top with pistachios, honey or turbinado, and a little bit of lemon zest, and then place the other cake layer on top and spread on remaining labneh. Decorate as desired with pistachios, honey or turbinado, lemon zest, and sliced kumquats, if using. Enjoy! 


-yeh!