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!

apple and peanut butter green smoothie

We had the best weekend ever in Fargo!! We were there for the first annual Fargo Hotdish Festival which was the greatest thing in the world. We ate 11 different hotdishes that were all unique and amazing. There was a spätzle hotdish, a hotdish with gigantic homemade tater tots, a hotdish with lingonberries, a kugel (!!!!), and so many other incredible interpretations that filled me right up, physically and inspirationally. We also got to Fargo in time for the Unglued Craft Fest, where I fell in love with these gnome watercolors and mind-blowing cow-to-cone gelato from Duchessa. And somehow we also found the stomach space for ramen at Slurp, knoephla at the HoDo, thick squishy toast at Youngblood, and an Ube cupcake and some gummies from Yeobo. It was delicious in every way and felt like a mini babymoon! Now I’m back and continuing to chug along with meal prep, baby prep, and recipe testing for recipes that I’m planning to post during my maternity leave and recipes that will go in the remaining episodes of season 3 of Girl Meets Farm.

This week I have a freezer friendly version of my regular breakfast routine for you! For years now I have been the biggest fan of loading up on veggies at the start of my day. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something first thing in the morning and like I’m ahead of the game for the rest of the day. I feel like superwoman when the rest of my meals for the day are heavy on the vegetables, which is what I always strive for, but in the event that I have a big cake testing day and end up accidentally taking too many test bites and then barely have an appetite for dinner, I feel a little bit less bad knowing that I ate at least some type of plant in the morning. In the summers when our garden is bursting, I love making breakfast salads with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, fresh herbs, lemon, and olive oil or tahini sauce, piling them over a plop of greek yogurt, and scooping them up with toast. But when it’s not the summer, I’ve been having this here green smoothie!

This is a beginner’s green smoothie, or a green smoothie for people who in their heart of hearts would really rather be eating scrambled eggs with ketchup and extra crispy hash browns and toast with butter at Darcy’s Diner every morning, but are looking to add some reasonable nutrition without going full on brain dust. It’s made with a simple set of ingredients that I stock up on at the beginning of every week (the gigantic bag of pre-washed kale, the bulk bag of honeycrisp apples, and Smucker’s all natural peanut butter or, if I’m splurging, unsweetened almond butter). In the beginning of my green smoothie journey, a little over a year ago, I’d also add some celery, a small piece of ginger, and a few shakes of turmeric, but when I was in my first trimester and suddenly needed to simplify a lot of the flavors entering my mouth, I scaled back to the bare basics and haven’t gotten around to reintroducing these other things. I like the straightforwardness of apple and peanut butter flavor in a blanket of green. It’s sweet, nutty, creamy, and fresh! And delicious.

Also when I got pregnant and read about the increased importance of Omega-3s, I started sprinkling on Trader Joe’s super seed mix at the end which is a nice crunchy mix of flax, chia, quinoa, and a few other seeds. I’m going to call these sprinkles.

One important step that makes this smoothie (or any smoothie really) extra good is blending it into oblivion in a high powered blender. If you feel like your blender is going to launch into outer space, you’re doing it right. I use my Vitamix and blend it until it’s as smooth as possible, milky almost. Blending for too long could warm it up though, so I typically blend for the time it takes me to refill my ice tray, place it back in the freezer, and then retrieve my cups and straws. When I look in the top opening of the blender and see that it’s very smooth, I know it’s ready.

A few fun things that have made my morning routine cuter include: these pretty silicone straws, this sprinkle ice tray, my Marian cups, and the lid that I always use to cover up Eggboy’s half so I can stick it in the fridge for when he comes in for lunch. These aren’t necessary obviously but, like I said, they’re fun and cute.

I’m posting this now because I’m planning to prep a bunch of blender-ready packs for my freezer before Poppy Seed’s arrival! These are great for the freezer and make blending a breeze (assuming that baby isn’t sleeping…). Directions for freezing and blending from frozen are below.


Apple and Peanut Butter Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

Ingredients

1 honeycrisp apple, chopped

1 squeeze of lemon juice

2 heaping tb (40g-ish) unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter

1 oz (about 1/2 c firmly packed or a nice big handful) fresh spinach

3 oz (about 1 1/2 c firmly packed or 3 big handfuls) fresh chopped kale

6 large ice cubes

1/2 c cold water (I just stream water in from my tap for 2 seconds)

Optional additions: a few shakes of turmeric, a small chunk of ginger, 2 chopped celery stalks

Super seed mix, for topping, optional

Clues

In a high speed blender (and in this specific order), add the apple, lemon juice, peanut butter or almond butter, turmeric/ginger/celery (if using), spinach, kale, ice cubes, and water and blend on high for about the time it takes you to refill your ice cube tray and stick it back in the freezer, or until very smooth. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with super seed mix, if using, and enjoy.

To make these freezer friendly: in quart sized deli containers or quart ziploc bags, pack in the apple, lemon, peanut butter or almond butter, turmeric/ginger/celery (if using), spinach, and kale. Make a bunch at a time! Seal and freeze for up to three months. When ready to blend, add the contents to the blender along with 1 cup of water. No need to add ice. Let it sit for a few minutes so that it can defrost slightly and then use a butter knife to carefully break it up into slightly smaller chunks, just so it’s not one huge mass. Blend on high, using the tamper to help everything incorporate, until very smooth. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with super seed mix, if using, and enjoy.


knoephla soup

We have had a great big week! On Friday, we wrapped filming and ate a bunch of fried food to celebrate. It was so sad to see everyone go, but unlike the past two seasons when I didn’t know if the show would be renewed or not before wrapping, this time I knew they’d all be back in July! And they’ll be able to meet Poppy Seed! Over the two weeks of filming, Poppy Seed grew soo much and also flipped to be head down. For a little while I kept patting what I thought was her head but then we went to the doctor and confirmed that I’d been patting the butt this whole time. Hehe. Even though the counter became further and further away, my carpal tunnel symptoms luckily subsided (there will be a lot of pre-chopped vegetables in these episodes!) but then my brain turned to mush! Toward the end of the run it sometimes took me like six attempts to explain the simplest things like how to put sprinkles on the rugelach. And I dropped an entire tray of choco tacos. But thankfully I was able to hold onto my energy for the most part and avoid back pain, which were my two greatest fears other than over baking the potato bagels. On my evenings and days off, I recharged by swimming, watching figure skating, and descending deeper into my bachelor obsession. 

After wrapping, Eggboy and Poppy Seed and I were thrown the most beautiful baby shower by our moms (soon to be grandmas!), sisters (aunties!!!), and friends. It was sprinkle and hotdish themed, and they took my fear of baby shower games seriously so it was a lovely afternoon of eating confetti petit fours and tater tot hotdish, hanging out with friends from near and far, writing funny things on diapers, and unveiling the sweetest gifts that ranged from ultra practical (mountains of diapers!) to ultra homespun (like cousin Elaine’s hand knit sprinkle cupcake hats!!) to ultra hippo. I’m obsessed with this hippo. He’s sitting right next to me and I can’t stop looking at him and giggling. Eggboy and I felt soo loved and got even more excited to bring Poppy Seed into our extremely rad mishpocha. 

Continuing on with my list of foods that I plan to stock in our freezer for my maternity leave, I have to share this soup with you that is the best kept secret of the upper Midwest. Knoephla soup is right up with tater tot hotdish as my favorite new food that I’ve learned about since moving here. Knoephla (neh-fla) are little chewy dumplings that made their way to this area with German immigrants and are most commonly enjoyed in creamy potato soup, but can also be sautéed with sauerkraut and sausage or put into hotdish. They are kind of like plumper smoother spaetzle and the frozen store-bought ones look a lot like mochi bits. Knoephla soup is traditionally made without meat, just potatoes, vegetables, a bit of cream, and my favorite (from Dakota Harvest, r.i.p.) had the most warming hit of nutmeg. The texture of the dumplings and the pure comfort of it all makes this the kind of soup that I just shovel into my mouth with abandon. We had it at our wedding and for years now I’ve wondered why it hasn’t seemed to pick up that much popularity outside of the upper Midwest. The #knoephla hashtag is my favorite hashtag to follow on IG but all of the posts are from North Dakota! Many of them are from Kroll’s dinner, which has a killer version that you can supposedly buy by the bucket (?!), just in case you find yourself at one of those. This is probably one of the only areas where you can buy frozen knoephla at the grocery store, but not to worry, they are very easy to make. I have a recipe in Molly on the Range for knoephla soup but this is a new and improved version because over the past couple of years I’ve started adding more herbs to it, including an egg in the dumplings for added chewiness, and making a much bigger batch so that I can freeze some. I’m not sure if adding dill would be considered the most traditional move, but as I become closer and closer to being a Jewish mother, I’m more inclined than ever to channel severely dill-y matzo ball soup vibes into, like, everything. So while it’s still winter, make a gigantic batch of this and then eat it on the couch from under a fluffy blanket. 


knoephla soup

Serves 8-10

instructions

3 tb unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp nutmeg

10 c chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 sprigs dill, chopped

4 sprigs parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 lb (680g) red potatoes, chopped into 1/2” pieces

1 1/2 lb (680g) store-bought frozen knoephla or homemade knoephla (recipe below)

1/2 c (120g) heavy cream

clues

in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. add the onions, carrots, celery, a good pinch of salt, and a few turns of black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. add the garlic and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes, until fragrant.

stir in the stock, herbs, bay leaves, and potatoes, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. if using store-bought frozen dumplings, add them when the soup reaches a boil. if using homemade dumplings, begin making them when the soup reaches a boil and then add them for the last 20 minutes of simmering.

stir in the cream. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. remove the bay leaves before serving.

enjoy!

to freeze, let cool and transfer to freezer safe containers. freeze for up to three months and defrost in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, and then reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

knoephla

3 1/4 c (422g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

black pepper

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 c (236g) water

1 large egg

to make the knoephla:

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, a few turns of pepper, and the nutmeg. stir in the water and egg and mix to form a shaggy dough. turn it out onto a clean work surface and knead it for a few minutes, adding flour as needed, until you have a smooth and stiff dough. roll it into 1/2”-thick blob, cut into 1/2”-3/4” squares, dusting with flour so they don’t stick together, and drop them directly into simmering soup.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett! dutch oven by great jones!

overnight cinnamon rolls with tahini cream frosting and pistachio rose dukkah

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Helloooo, vest weather!!!!! It's here! It's here! I got off the plane yesterday from L.A. and there was a cool refreshing chill in the air, the kind that says cozier days are a comin'! I promptly put on my vest for our evening walk and did a happy dance because vest weather (and quarter zip fleece pullover weather) is the best weather. 

Now I'm just doing all of my laundry and packing right back up again to head to Unglued Camp for the weekend but before I leave I want to talk about these cinnamon rolls that I'm going to be making for all of the campers! (I also wanted to post these in time for Yom Kippur break fast menu planning purposes since the fact that these can be prepped a day in advance makes them perfect for that meal!)

In my kitchen, tahini and cinnamon function together in a similar way that chocolate and espresso, broccolini and lemon, and melon and salt work. In each of these pairs there’s one true star and the other enhances. You add espresso to make chocolate more chocolatier, a squeeze of lemon over broccolini brightens it into its truest best self, and behind every great bite of melon there is some salt (or salty meat). When you add a little bit of cinnamon to anything with tahini, its warmth adds depth to the flavor that’s subtle but great. 

With these rolls though this relationship has been inverted and it works just as well: in their heart, they are cinnamon rolls. Buttery, soft, doughy, delicious classic cinnamon rolls. It’s cinnamon’s time to shine! The tahini plays the roll of support, offering its seedy richness to an otherwise very tangy cream cheese topping. That nuttiness bridges the gap between sweet, tangy, and cinnamony for a beautifully autumnal swirl of tastiness. And a pinch of cardamom also adds a very special something. On top, I like to finish these with a dukkah that's heavy on the crushed pistachios and rose petals, for color and crunch!

You can prep these a day in advance or--if you're up before the roosters--you can make them in a few hours. And if you don't have tahini (why don't you have tahini???) peanut butter or almond butter or pistachio butter would be dope in its place. 


Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Tahini Cream Frosting

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 c (236ml) whole milk

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter

4 1/2 c (585g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (100g) sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

a pinch of cardamom

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

2 large eggs, room temp

 

Filling

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter, melted

1 c (200g) brown sugar

2 tb cinnamon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

 

Frosting

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter, softened

4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened

1/4 c (64g) tahini

2 c (240g) powdered sugar

A pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Sprinkles and/or pistachios, rose petals, sesame seeds, turbinado sugar, and flaky salt

Clues

Combine the milk and butter in a large saucepan and heat over medium, stirring gently, until the butter is just melted and then remove from heat. It won’t be very hot, just warm. Set it aside to cool slightly while you combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once that’s combined, check on the milk/butter mixture to make sure it’s just lukewarm or slightly warmer than room temp- you don’t want it to be hot otherwise the eggs will cook. Add the eggs to the mixture and whisk to combine. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients and then knead, either on a work surface or with the dough hook, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7-10 minutes. Place in an oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and roll it out into a large 16” x 14” rectangle. Brush it with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Roll it up tightly the long way, and pinch the edges to seal. Cut into 8 rolls and place in an 8” x 11” baking dish. (Alternatively you can roll it out into an 18” x 12” rectangle, cut 12 rolls, and place them in a 9” x 13” baking dish.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or let rise at room temperature for another hour and then go directly to the baking step.

When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the rolls are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. 

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting: beat the butter, cream cheese, and tahini together in a mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla. 

Spread the rolls with the frosting right when they come out of the oven. Sprinkle with sprinkles, pistachios, rose petals, sesame seeds, turbinado, flaky salt, and any other pretty toppings you’d like, and serve. Enjoy!


-yeh! 

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

necklace by marian bull // dress by whowhatwear // glasses by warby parker