Friday, April 30, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

As I mentioned earlier, I've checked some cookbooks out of the library. My favorite is The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book--maybe this is because baking is my not-so secret weakness. Since I have the cookbooks on a short loan, I perused them and marked them with bookmarks for the recipes I want to try.

I must admit, I didn't use local strawberries for this. They were from Texas (Whole Paycheck had Texas grown strawberries), but weren't as sweet as those I picked a couple of weeks ago. I just couldn't gather up the initiative to drive an hour and corral three children to pick strawberries. Forgive me. The rhubarb was grown locally though. I bought several stalks of rhubarb at least 3 years at Boggy Creek Farmstand which I had sliced and frozen. The container had been lurking in my freezer waiting for a recipe just like this. The best part was that there is enough rhubarb left for at least one more cake.

This worked perfectly. I mixed this cake up, gently placed it in the oven, and headed out on a 17 mile bike ride. When I got home, the cake was done (and almost half eaten by the 4 people I left at home). It went perfectly with the hot coffee that was waiting for me. It was a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast! (And the small leftovers were pretty good Sunday morning too!).

Strawberry-Rhubarb Breakfast Cake
from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

2 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

4 lg eggs
1 1/3 c sugar
3/4 c canola oil
3 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t slat
4 c (1 lb) fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
1 - 2 stalks (4 oz) fresh rhubarb, cut crosswise into 1/2" slices or 1 c thawed, frozen, sliced rhubarb

In a small bowl mix together 2 T sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon. Set aside.

Beat together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl in an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add the oil and beat until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix on low speed or with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Gently fold in the strawberries (and their juice) and the rhubarb using a silicon spatula. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do not over mix. Pour batter into greased 9" angel food cake pan with removable bottom. Evenly sprinkle reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture over top. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 60 - 70 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove from sides of pan immediately and place on wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, remove bottom of pan. Place cake upright (not inverted) on a serving plate.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Insalata Rustica

We got frisee last week in our box for the very first time ever. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I loved the way it looked--all curly. After consulting my three library cookbooks (more on those another time!), I turned to epicurious. Once again, epicurious rose to the challenge!

The pairing for this was wonderful--the sweet of the grapes and tart cherries offset the peppery, slightly bitter greens. I made it twice this past week, each time with a slightly different assortment of toppings for the salad. I would stick with the roasted grapes, tart cherries, and Parmesan every time. The rest I think you can rotate in and out depending on what you have on hand in your pantry. These proportions will serve 4 adults easily.

Insalata Rustica
adapted from Bon Appetit
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 oz thinly slice prosciutto, cut into 1/2" squares (opt)
1 c stemmed, seedless grapes
1/2 c dried tart cherries
5 c loosely packed frisee and arugula (or radicchio)
1 Bosc pair, cored, 1/2 cut into matchsticks, the other 1/2 thinly sliced (opt)
1/4 c toasted pine nuts (opt)
thinly sliced Parmesan cheese (no bigger than 1" x 1" squares)

1/2 c very good extra virgin olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice

Toss grapes with 1 T olive oil on rimmed cookie sheet. Roast in preheated 350 degrees oven until grapes begin to shrivel, 15 - 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet. While grapes are roasting, place dried tart cherries in a small bowl. Add enough hot water to cover cherries by 1 inch. Let cherries soak for 15 minutes to soften. Drain. Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in lg skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto, a little at a time so it doesn't clump together and saute until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. (Grapes, cherries, and prosciutto can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use).

To make dressing, shake 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice in a small jar to emulsify. Set aside. Mix greens, matchstick-size pears, prosciutto, grapes, parmesan, and cherries in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with pear slices and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve dressing on the side (if you prefer you can mix dressing in when you combine the greens. I prefer to let people add their own dressing).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicken and Radish Fajitas

Don't let the radish in the title scare you away.

I hate radishes. It's been awhile since I've started a post being so honest about my food dislikes. I used start every other post, I don't like.....(fill in the blank with a bunch of different vegetables). I've learned to like most of the vegetables since then. Cabbage? Yep. Eggplant? Yep. Beets? Yep. Swiss Chard? Yep. Not raw radishes. I taste them periodically just to check. Their bite (I don't know how else to describe it) still gets me. No one in my family is a big fan. So, the radishes were collecting in my refrigerator. I decided it was time to do something about it.

I found this recipe and was curious. I decided to go for it. It used a bunch of radishes and had other flavors as well. I figured if I didn't like them, I could just pick them out.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I liked it! So did Curtis, and M (I can't remember how well J ate them...). I have found a radish recipe! I find it all very exciting. I didn't use boneless, skinless thighs. I bought regular thighs and took the bone and skin off myself. This will serve 4 adults. Here it is:

Chicken and Radish Fajitas
adapted from Bon Appetit

9 lg boneless, skinless chicken thighs (see my note above...), fat trimmed and chicken cut into 1/2" strips
4 T fresh lime juice
1 t mild chili powder (I like Central Market's Light New Mexico Chili Powder)
6 T olive oil
9 green onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
1/2 c chicken broth or water (I used water and it was fine)
18 radishes, thinly sliced crosswise
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped

12 hot corn tortillas
a little queso fresca or goat cheese

Combine chicken, 1 1/2 T lime juice, and chili powder in a lg bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and toss to blend. Let stand 10 minutes. Heat 4 t olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and saute 3 minutes. Stir in the green onions and broth/water. Cover and cook 3 more minutes. Uncover and stir until chicken is cooked through and most liquid evaporates. Stir in 1 1/2 T lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and keep warm.

In same skillet, heat 2 t oil over high heat. Add radishes and saute 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 T lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Add radishes and cilantro to bowl of chicken and toss to blend.

To serve, place a little chicken and radish mixture in a corn tortilla. Add a little cheese, fold up like a taco, and eat.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Go-To Chocolate Chip Cookies

For years, Cowboy Cookies (choc chip cookies with oatmeal) were my go-to cookies. That changed in December. These cookies replaced the cookie of my childhood (sorry, Dad). The recipe is pretty similar, it just adds peanut butter, cinnamon, and a little nutmeg. I love these cookies and can't begin to count the number of times I've made this cookie since January. Finally, I decided to share. Just the recipe. Not the actual cookies. For the chocolate chips, I've been enjoying using Ghiradelli's bittersweet chocolate chips. These are more chocolatey and slightly larger than your normal semi-sweet chips. They are worth it. This recipe may possibly make 60 cookies if you don't make enormous cookies or eat too much raw cookie dough.

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

3 c oats (not quick)
1 c flour
1 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter, at room temperature
1 c peanut butter (don't use natural)
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c chocolate chips (about 9 oz)

Stir together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minutes after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and blend on low speed until just mixed (don't overmix). Mix in the chocolate chips. If you have time, chill for at least two hours (cookies will hold their shape better).

Drop rounded T of dough 2 on baking sheets, allowing room for cookies to spread. If the dough is chilled, slightly flatten dough with the heel of your hand (cookies should be 1/2" thick). Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 13 - 15 minutes. The cookies should be golden and just firm around the edges (or baked to personal preference. Curtis likes his cookies crunchy, I'll take mine soft and gooey, please).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Risotta alla Primavera

I had been looking for asparagus at the Farmer's Market for a little, but evidently the wrong Farmer's Market (Wed at the Triangle). I came up empty handed and succumbed to the desire to consume asparagus and bought some at the grocery store. (I did find wonderful fresh asparagus at the Barton Creeks Farmer's Market on Saturday. Yippee!!! It was totally worth taking two cranky preschoolers out on a Saturday morning and getting caught in a torrential downpour). I was feeling like a risotto and made the following recipe.

We all liked it. Baby I (who isn't a baby any more--he just turned one!) devoured it. M ate it rather well too. Curtis and I liked it and had the leftovers several days. I adapted the recipe slightly to use the vegetables I had in my fridge---carrots instead of fresh peas.

This recipe will feed a small army. Next time, I'll halve it. It easily serves 6 - 8 adults as a main dish.

Risotto all Primavera
adapted from Bon Appetit

6 1/2 c chicken broth
3 T butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 medium leek (or 2 small in my case), white and light green parts only, sliced crosswise into thin rings
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
1 c 1-inch pieces asparagus
1 c carrots, cut in half and sliced (if large carrots, otherwise, just sliced is fine)
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring broth to a simmer. Cover and continue to lightly simmer. In a separate large sauce pan, melt 1 T butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion, leek, and garlic. Saute until wilted and almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice and stir until rice is translucent at edges but still opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Add wine, simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Add broth 1 c at a time until rice is about half cooked, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Stir in asparagus, carrots, and parsley. Continue adding broth by cupfuls and stirring until rice is tender, but still firm to bite and mixture is creamy, about 8 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and 2 T butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cilantro Carrot Salad

After 3 (or is it now 4?) months of carrots, M and Curtis are finally tiring of them. It is a sad day, mostly because we are still getting large bunches of small-medium sized carrots. What to do with them? It's been too warm to think much about roasts (beef or a roasted chicken) lately. I haven't been feeling the motivation to make a carrot cake or carrot muffins. I needed a carrot outlet--one that would use two weeks worth of carrots without flinching.

Which once again took me to my trusty Moosewood---the best cookbook of all things vegetarian and vegetables. Moosewood didn't let me down. I found not one, but two carrot salads, neither of which used orange jello. I attempted the Cilantro Carrot Salad.

Curtis and I loved it. I really didn't expect the kids to eat it--it will need to show up at the table about 50 more times or so before M will try it. That's ok. I am fine with not sharing. I didn't peel the carrots for this salad--in fact, I don't think I've peeled any carrots this winter---their outer flesh isn't hard, but nice and tender. Why waste perfectly good carrot? This version is a 1/2 recipe--it will serve 2 - 3 adults as a side salad.

Cilantro Carrot Salad
adapted slightly from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

1 1/4 c peeled (optional) and grated carrots
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 t fresh cilantro, minced
1 t fresh parsley, minced
1/2 t salt
1 T fresh lemon juice
a small pinch of cayenne

Place carrots in a small serving bowl and set aside. With a whisk or in a small glass jar, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss well. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ham and Bean Cabbage Soup

I love ham for Easter, however I always have a hard time coming up with ways to use the leftovers. There seems to be a plethora of leftover turkey/chicken recipes, but ham ones are harder to find. I used some of the ham in a ham/noodle casserole and would have loved to have made a ham and asparagus quiche, but I haven't had any luck in my very, very limited search for local asparagus. It was kinda chilly last week, so I decided maybe I could swing a soup.

Mmm...I was glad I did. This soup is a step beyond your basic ham and bean soup with the addition of potatoes, cabbage, parsley, and thyme. It was wonderful, especially with the large baguette croutons dipped into it. I altered the recipe to use my leftover ham, the original called for ham hocks. I was able to cut my cooking time down considerably by using my already cooked sliced ham. To see the original version of the recipe using ham hocks, click here. You could also cut down on preparation/cooking time by using canned beans. That just isn't as fun though and probably not as tasty either (because ingredients don't have time to marry). I soak the beans overnight so they are ready to cook when I get up the next day (but I never cook them quite yet). You can also cook the beans, and then cool and refrigerate until you are ready to make the rest of the soup. This serves 4 - 6 people as dinner.

Ham and Bean Cabbage Soup
adapted from Gourmet

1 c dried white beans (like Great Northern, navy, or cannellini), picked over and rinsed
1 whole clove
1 medium onion, peeled and left whole
1 lb cooked ham (don't slice until later in the recipe)
3 qt water
6 fresh parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb potatoes
1 lb cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2" pieces (about 6 c)
1/4 c butter, softened (but not melted)
12 (1/2" thick) slices from a baguette

Soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches at room temperature for between 8 - 12 hours. Drain in colander.

Stick clove in onion. Bring beans, ham, water, onion, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic to a boil and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are almost tender, 40 - 50 minutes. (You can stop the recipe at this point and finish about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat). When the beans are almost done, peel potatoes and cut into 1" pieces. Add potatoes and cabbage to beans, then simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, 20 - 25 minutes. Remove the hunk of ham from the beans and cut into bite sized pieces once ham is cool enough to handle. Return to soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf and onion.

Meanwhile, while the vegetables cook, spread butter on both sides of the bread, then toast in batches in a 12" cast iron skillet over moderate heat, turning over once, until golden, about 2 minutes total. Serve soup with toasts.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Frozen Jeff

This is really one of those recipes I should have renamed. The name does nothing for me. Except that I like it and it makes me smile whenever I think of it. For that reason alone, the name stands.

We are rediscovering smoothies in our house. A couple of weeks ago, I was in a clean-out-the- freezer binge and found some old frozen berries (store bought). I decided it was a good day for a smoothie day and the kids definitely didn't argue. Then when I was looking for recipes for a carrot salad to make to take the JBG Potluck (which I promptly forgot to make), I found Frozen Jeff.

Frozen Jeff isn't quite a smoothie, but still a blender drink. It isn't quite as thick as a smoothie or Orange Julius type drink. Because of the crushed ice though, it does have a little bit of bulk though, just not to smoothie quality. We all loved this drink, so much that I made it two days in a row (until all our freshly picked strawberries were gone). These proportions will make 4 not huge servings.

Frozen Jeff
slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

2 c orange juice
6 or 7 fresh strawberries, rinsed and stemmed
2 T fresh lime jiuce
1/2 t vanilla
2 T sugar
1 - 2 c ice (I like 2 c or even more of ice. Just add until you get desired consistency)

Combine all ingredients except ice in a blender. Whirl until strawberries are well blended with orange juice. Add ice and puree until smooth (adding as much ice as you want to achieve your desired consistency). Put in fun cups, sit outside, and enjoy spring.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

It's official everyone! The strawberry fields at Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls are officially open. Since I've been hankering (to put it mildly) for fresh strawberries for about a month, we headed out the second day the farm was open. Sure enough, as soon as we got there, it started raining. The above picture is exactly how muddy one mother and two children (who didn't even pick any strawberries) can get while picking strawberries. (Curtis and little I stayed in the car during the rain shower). After having our shoes get stuck in the mud, we abandoned them at the end of a row and picked in barefeet. It was glorious.

We picked about 15 pounds worth of berries. I had absolutely no plans on making strawberry freezer jam--Easter weekend is too hectic to throw jam in the mix as well, even if the jam is incredibly simple to make. We ate homemade strawberry shortcake for breakfast Saturday morning and oodles of just plain strawberries. We gave some berries away to neighbors. About 2 pounds were set aside for a Strawberry Mascarpone Tart.

I am looking for the perfect strawberry dessert. Curtis pointed out it doesn't get much better than homemade strawberry ice cream or strawberry shortcake. I need a dessert with a crust. I am not in love with the strawberry pie recipe I've made. Only way I like it is if my mom makes it. She's 1500 miles or so away, so that's not happening. I think this recipe comes pretty close. It's not overly sweet. The mascarpone cheese is subtle and not too rich. The strawberries can shine.

I attempted a non-alcoholic version of the glaze and failed miserably. Next time I'll either make the Port glaze or leave it off entirely. The strawberry juice by itself was too thin and ran off the tart onto the cake stand and thus into the crust--not exactly what I was after.

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
from Gourmet

For the shell:
1 1/4 c flour
3 T sugar
fat 1/4 t salt
7 T butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t fresh lemon juice
3 T cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 lbs strawberries, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/3 c sugar
3/4 c ruby Port (optional)
1 lb mascarpone
1/4 c confectioners sugar
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t grated lemon zest
3/4 t vanilla extract

To make the tart shell: Blend together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl with a pastry blender (or your finger tips or pulse in a food processor---many options!) just until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-sized butter lumps. Beat together yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and water with a fork, then drizzle over flour mixture and stir with a fork (or pulse) until mixture comes together. (You can add some more water if absolutely necessary to get the dough to hold together). Knead gently with floured hands on lightly floured surface until dough forms, then gently knead 4 - 5 more times. Press into 5" disk. Place in center of tart pan and cover with plastic wrap. Using your fingers, spread and push dough to evenly cover bottom and side of 10" fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Pick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Remove from freezer and line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees oven until side is set and edge is pale golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and continue to bake until shell is deep golden all over, about 20 minutes more. Cool in pan about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Stir together the strawberries and granulated sugar in a bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Strain in sieve set over a small saucepan, reserving berries. If using port glaze, add port to liquid in saucepan and boil until reduced 1/4 c, 10 - 15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool slightly. Meanwhile, whisk together the mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff.

To assemble the tart, spread mascarpone mixture evenly in cooled tart shell, then top with strawberries. Drizzle port glaze all over tart (if using).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lebanese Potato Salad

While potatoes aren't quite in season yet, potato salad is. Let me clarify. Here in Central Texas, it is prime picnic season. This is the best time of year to find a park somewhere, preferably off the beaten path so it's not to crowded that you can't enjoy being outside, and have a picnic. Potato Salad is a typical picnic salad. Many potato salads are laden with so much mayonnaise, you feel like you are risking your life with each bite (yikes---salmonella poisoning). I prefer my potato salad lighter and spring-ier tasting. How much more like spring and outside can you get than some good extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley?

This is our quintessential potato salad. I made it for Easter lunch to go with our ham (due to having young kids, we needed a lunch we could immediately upon walking in the door after church. Mashed potatoes just weren't happening). I think it stole the show right away from the slightly over cooked ham (ok, very overcooked, dry ham) and divine deviled eggs (is that an oxymoron?).

This is the only potato salad recipe you will ever make again. Mmm...I wish there were some leftover for my mid-afternoon snack today! This makes 4 - 6 servings (probably not 6 servings if Curtis and I are helping to eat it).

Lebanese Potato Salad
from Extending the Table...A World Community Cookbook

4 large potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c green onions, finely chopped
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1 t salt
1 garlic clove, minced
dash of pepper

Toss all ingredients together. Chill several hours before serving.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Not Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna

I thought I should clarify right off the bat that this isn't a vegetarian recipe. I am sure it could be adapted to be such, but I used meat.

I liked this ok. Baby I loved it. He scarfed this for I don't know how many meals. My complete was that it tasted too much like wine. I've decided that next time I make this, I'll do it differently so I am including two recipes--the original slightly adapted one I made, which Curtis liked a lot and I liked it ok, and the recipe I plan on trying next time. I'm sure if you wanted, you could leave out the wine entirely, just substitute more tomatoes or other liquid in it's place. M helped me make this which was a lot of fun. She and J ate it just fine the first time around (or so I am told, I didn't eat with the fam this evening), but neither of them would eat it as leftovers.

Not Vegetarian Spinach Lasagne
adapted from Gourmet

The first time around bolognese sauce recipe:
1/4 lb bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 c dry white wine
1 1/2 c whole milk
1/4 c tomato paste
1 c diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 t thyme leaves

What I am going to do next time:
1/4 lb bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c dry white wine
1 1/2 c whole milk
1/4 c tomato paste
2 c diced tomatoes with juice (or maybe even more than this. I'll let you know!)
1 1/2 t thyme leaves

For the Ricotta filling:
10 oz fresh spinach, coarsely chopped or 2 (10-oz) pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 (15-oz) containers ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 Parmesan cheese
1/2 t grated nutmeg
3/4 c whole milk, divided

To assemble use the above plus:
12 no-boil dried lasagne noodles (from 1 box, original recipe recommends Barilla brand)
1/2 c grated Parmesan

To make the sauce: Cook bacon until it is crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain some of the fat, but leave 1 - 2 T in the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pan, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden and softened, 12 - 15 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps, until meat is no longer pink, 6 - 10 minutes. Stir in wine, milk, tomato paste, thyme, 1/4 t salt, 3/4 t pepper, and diced tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated but the sauce is still moist, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the ricotta filling. Whisk together the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, 1 1/4 t salt, and 1 t pepper in a large bowl. Transfer 1 1 /2 c of mixture to another bowl and whisk in 1/4 c milk. Set aside. Whisk spinach into remaining filling with remaining 1/2 c milk.

To assemble lasagna, soak noodles in a bowl of very warm water until pliable, but not softened, 3 - 5 minutes. Place on kitchen towel (but you don't need to pat dry). Spread 1 1/2 c bolognese sauce in baking pan and sprinkle with 1 T parmesan. Cover with 3 noodles (leaving space in between). Spread half of spinach filling on top, then 1 c bolognese sauce, and top with 1 T Parmesan and 3 noodles. Repeat. Top with remaining bolognese sauce, 1 T Parmesan and remaining 3 noodles. Pour reserved ricotta mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c Parmesan.

Cover pan tightly with parchment paper and foil (to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. You can also just butter the foil). Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top is browned in spots, about 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 - 30 minutes before cutting.

If you are making this ahead of time, you should probably bake it you are making it a day or more ahead of before you are going to serve it (because the noodles aren't cooked prior to going into the oven). To serve it, reheat in 350 degrees oven, loosely covered with foil. If it is just a couple of hours ahead of time, you are safe to refrigerate until you need to bake it.