My top secret marinara plus no-fuss lasagna

by Steve, September 30th, 2012

Put 'em in a pot

Okay, not so top secret. It’s different every time I make it, anyway. Here’s How I did it today.


    Big bowl of sauce tomatoes from the garden (“federle” variety, start from Fair Weather Farm, Lebanon, Ore.)
    2 onions
    3 stalks celery
    1 bulb garlic
    1 bunch fresh basil (from Gathering Together Farm, Philomath, Ore., bought at Beaverton Farmers Market)
    3 small zucchini (from Dennison Farms, Corvallis, Ore., bought at Beaverton Farmers Market)
    2 red bell peppers (Dennison)
    Dried herbs: oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, crushed red peppers (the hot kind)
    Salt and pepper
    Olive oil

Start a saute with olive oil (don’t be shy, use a little more!), chopped onions, garlic, celery and red pepper. Add salt and pepper, crushed red pepper and dried herbs. I use just a pinch of tarragon, and a good dash or two each of oregano, thyme and basil. Let it cook to bring out the sweetness.

Gad zukes!

While the saute is working, look in the fridge and add any other veggies you can sneak in (this will all be blended later, so you can do just about anything if you’re trying to sneak it past a picky eater). This being September, I found some zucchini.


Add extra veggies to the saute, and cook some more.


While that’s cooking, start cutting up the tomatoes. If you’re really picky, you can parboil them and peel them, but I’m not picky. I never do this. Just dice them into small enough pieces that the skins don’t get huge and curly in your sauce. Add the tomatoes as they’re chopped, and cook all day.


After simmering all day, chop up the fresh basil and mix it in. Turn off heat and puree with a hand blender.


Then, make lasagna!


    Sauce (see above)
    1 box no-boil noodles
    1 32 oz. container ricotta
    4 eggs
    Mozzarella, grated
    Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350. Mix eggs, ricotta and a dash of nutmeg. Ladle a generous layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Layer with noodles. Space them out and don’t overlap; they’ll expand. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture and another layer of sauce. Add another layer of noodles, then more sauce, and ricotta mixture. Top with grated mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

sauce & salsa time!

by Steve, September 22nd, 2012

Pico de gallo this morning, marinara tomorow.

Pico de gallo (crow of the cock)

    Lime juice

Chop all ingredients and mix in a bowl. If you like it spicier, increase the proportion of onion, chilis and cillantro to tomatoes.


by Steve, September 22nd, 2012

Stay tuned… have a couple new tracks in the works with live traps (instead of midi).

Tualatin River Diaries, Day 3

by Steve, September 9th, 2012

River mile 37.4 – 38.4 (approximate)

Don't laugh, mariners.

For our third paddle on the Tualatin River, we hoisted the barge on top of the van and headed to Hillsboro’s Rood Bridge Park.

Couple things about this park: 1) Damn, what a nice park. Clean, well maintained, and beautifully planted/restored. 2) It’s adjacent to the Rock Creek Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility, which has significance we’ll talk about later.

We first parked at the wrong end, where they were setting up for a wedding (or was it a quinceaera?). After a stroll through the grounds to a map, we drove to the other end of the park (take a right when you enter, not left), and found the river access point. There are a half dozen parking spots there, and a steep ramp that ends in a rough and steep dirt put-in area. Not ideal, but doable. Tualatin Riverkeeprs notes that there are many impassable logjams just upstream from this spot, so we headed downstream.

There was more current than our first two days of paddling, so we enjoyed a nice coast through a riverscape that could have looked the same 500 years ago. It’s so quiet once you get on the river, just birds and the breeze and the trickling sound of the water against the hull.

There were quite a few logs and trees to dodge, and just ahead a splashing sound and… white water? No, couldn’t be.

But something was going on. The water was foamy, and the closer we got, we could see there was some kind of high volume underwater discharge roiling the surface. What could it be, we wondered.

(Remember that sewage treatment plant? Oh, right.)

Anyway, there was a sign about it being “clean water” yada yada “air bubbles may cause harmless foam” yada yada and holy crap, we’re paddling through sewage. Didn’t smell too bad. Oh wait. It was a little stinky, but we convinced ourselves that it was just the usual river stank from algae and fish. We paddled on. Until we heard thunder.

Yeah, thunder. And then again. And again and again. It was 87 degrees and sunny, but somewhere just over the left bank there was a thunder cell unleashing frequent lightning. We turned back, judging it not the best place to be in a thunder storm. The banks of the river are very steep and thick with vegetation. No place to take out. So we paddled hard against the current, the storm cell seeming to pace us to our right, past the poop plant and back to Rood Bridge under a light sprinkle.

We landed between crawdad traps a couple had placed just after we put in, and hauled out. It’s a ten mile stretch from this spot to the next access point down river, so we probably won’t do this again until we’re ready to do a two-car one-way trip (next summer?) Next up (today, if weather cooperates): Schaumburg Bridge downstream to where we left off on day two.