In the 20 plus years that I have been using OXO, I've seen the product range expand from the traditional Kitchen gadgets (like the peeler I've held on to since 1996) to small appliances to baking equipment. I have been fortunate to test many of these appliances and they've been a firm and permanent fixture in my kitchen.
The latest from OXO product line is a fantastic set of bakeware and glass storage bowls with airtight lids. The first feature that grabs your eyeballs is the weight of the pans ans you carefully pull it out of the packaging. Like it or not, glass bakeware has a tendency to make food stick to the bottom. (just think of how many dish cleaning products base their ads on this one fact), and my first instinct as my arms adjusted to the weight of the baking dish was 'I wonder if the heavy base will minimize the scrubbing afterward'.
I did a test run with the 9 inch square baking dish using a ready made brownie package and it aced the test. once the brownies had cooled down, they could be cut and scooped out with minimal crumbs stuck to the pan, which made cleaning a breeze.
As is the case with any product oriented post, I always worry myself silly about what I should make. Its a natural reaction, you want to showcase the product with a fantastic recipe that really catches the reader's attention.
This 14 piece package from OXO was a combination of bakeware and storage bowls. A 9 inch pie plate, a 1.6 qt loaf pan (awaiting a recipe for my baking series later this week) 2 baking dishes - a 2 qt. square and a 3 qt. rectangular dish. The snapware storage bowls are available in 4, 2 or single cup capacity and they are so watertight and sturdy, that they can even be used to send lunch for potentially clumsy elementary school kids (and yes, I personally did that validation successfully)
While I debated between a new variation of a biryani or a colorful beet terrine, a flashback to a facebook conversation made up my mind for me.
Raghavan Iyer, the James Bear & Emmy winning chef had posted a picture of a dish he simply referred to as Potato Lasagna. The photograph has no indication on what the ingredients were, or the technique, nothing, nada, zip zilch. This was a perfect inspiration to create a new dish that I decided to make up as I went along. Once the idea struck, it was a focused shopping trip to get the ingredients.
The dish could have gone in two directions, Pasta sheets layered with a potato based filling which would have rendered the dish Carb-centric. Naah, that would have been just another pasta dish.. so this alternate version was what I went with and the results were DELICIOUS!
- 10 - 12 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes
- 32 oz Ricotta Cheese (I used Part Skim, but feel free to use the full fat version)
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cup Panko Bread crumbs
- 4 - 5 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
- 1/3 cup Basil Pesto
- 4 tablespoons tomato flakes
- 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Korean chili threads or chili flakes for topping (Optional)
Combine the Ricotta, Panko and the Herbes de Provence and fold well to ensure that it gets well mixed. Season with Salt and pepper and taste to adjust.
Divide into three equal parts. Combine one part with the tomato paste and one with the Basil Pesto. Leave the last bowl alone, just seasoned with the Herbes de Provence. Let these sit in the refrigerator while you prep the potatoes.
Wash and peel the potatoes. Using a Mandoline (I used the OXO handheld slicer at the thickest setting '4' ), Slice the potatoes. Place these slices in batches in a steamer basket and par cook them until barely limp. Take care not to completely cook the potatoes or else they will disintegrate, Conversely you do not want to use raw potatoes since it will be difficult to layer the ricotta mix over crunchy potato slices.
Place the potatoes in a single layer, overlapping slightly so as to not leave any open gaps in between. Gently 'drop' the first ricotta layer (the Tomato flavored one) and press down to evenly spread out over the potatoes, covering them. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of Mozzarella cheese.
Repeat the sequence with another layer of potatoes, followed by the white layer (seasoned with just the dried herbes de Provence), season with salt and pepper and 1/2 a cup of mozzarella. Finish off the final layer using the Pesto infused Ricotta mix.
Combine the remaining Mozzarella with the shredded Parmesan and top liberally over the Ricotta
-Pesto mix. Top off with the Korean Chile threads or chili flakes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F , and bake the dish for about 30-40 minutes until the top turns golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting the Lasagna into serving size pieces.
|Notice how cleanly the lasagna can be scooped up from the glass dish w/o sticking..|
The three layers of ricotta show up beautifully with their respective colors, Try as I might I could not capture it well enough when the lasagna was fresh and warm, but the leftovers, once covered and stored overnight (in the baking dish itself), show up the layers beautifully
Using the bits of potato and fillings left over from the big dish, (there was just about enough for a personal one cup version. I used the 1 cup Snapware glass bowl to assemble, bake, refrigerate AND pack it of to school for lunch. You better believe it, it does go straight from oven to fridge with no hassles.
Thank you to OXO & Ms. Veronica Chan to test the new OXO glassware. Stay tuned for a bread recipe coming up using the OXO loaf pan later this week.