I have a bit of a morbid side to me and there are various days when I wonder what people will say in my eulogy when I'm gone. I know that there are writing activities in school where students have to write about what they believe (or want) to be said about them once they have gone. I've gone through a few of my own mental eulogies in recent weeks, and for the record, I'm in great health, so it's not for any pending reasons that I've thought about it.
I know that I want people to remember me for my humor, how much I love to joke, laugh and be silly. I want to be remembered as a person who was not afraid to make fun of myself, and never took myself all too seriously. I want the words to be something to the effect of, "Joanne Choi was the first person you sought out in a room, when you wanted to laugh."
But on the flip side, I want to be remembered for my intelligence, my insight and my perception. Maybe I think too highly of myself? Maybe this is not what people will talk about. Maybe most people won't even remember me for this at all.
I do think I will be remembered for the food. I know that many will talk about meals at my home, the dishes that they ate, the recipes that they tried. I hope they also talk about how I was passionate about feeding the family well, feeding others good food, and the importance of eliminating processed food, as much as physically possible, from a family's diet. I hope that Week of Menus is still going strong then, and that people still find inspiration from it. Maybe I will have died a famous cookbook author?
I hope that some remember me as a good committed teacher, one who taught them how to write better, and maybe someone will even say that I turned writing around for them. I hope I am not remembered for bad coffee breath (highly possible given the amount I do drink) or smelly lunch breath.
I want Children to remember me as a good mother, mostly patient (but with a semi-ferocious temper), but one who laughed a lot and had a smile on her face most days, and not a frown. I hope they think of the hours I put into piano, homework, practice, driving, and all the many things that I physically did for them, and even if I didn't always say, "I love you" they felt it from my actions and my work. I pray that they remember the good days far more than the bad, and the laughter far more than the tears.
There are many things I want to be remembered for, and it's hard to keep track of them all. There are days when I think to myself, AH yes, this is what I want people to remember me for and the next day it will be something else. But on this day, I want to be remembered for cleverness. I want people to remember me for the fun that is in an individual lasagna that one makes for oneself. This actually came about because I was trying to come up with a dish that five and six-year olds could cook for Daughter #2's birthday, and I had settled on "make-your-own-pizza." I was ready to go, when I began talking aloud with friend SH about other options. Another friend GC, told me that little mini muffin tin lasagnas were fun to make. Suddenly an idea of lasagna in little individual loaf pans came into my mind and I began working on it. I wanted the lasagna to be more than just meat and cheese and so the idea of adding blanched kale came to mind.
These pans make this dish possible. (order from here OR buy from your local Walmart of Safeway.) I did pay about $.75 PER PAN, so it's not cheap in that regard. But the pans make it fun to take home. They are significantly cheaper without the lid, so if you can find it and you don't need the lid, go ahead and buy those instead.
Sausage Kale Lasagna
Makes 5 personal lasagnas, each in a 1 lb loaf pan OR one 9X13 lasagna
1 bunch of kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
½ lb box uncooked lasagna noodles (do NOT use the no boil type) - each lasagne takes 1 ½ noodles
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, casings removed,, your choice (Trader Joe’s Chicken Sweet Italian is really good)
8 oz ricotta cheese
¼ chopped basil
3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or bottled
½ lb shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook kale for about 2 minutes, until bright green, and remove from water and allow to cool. Cook lasagna noodles in same water, according to package directions. (one pot to wash) Carefully drain lasagne noodles, cut each one in half, and lay flat, rubbing each with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
In a fry pan, cook Italian sausage, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon until fully cooked. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together ricotta cheese and chopped basil. Set aside.
Once all your ingredients are ready, being layering. Start with a nice spoonful of sauce to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Lay one half noodle over sauce. Lay kale on top. Sprinkle kale with sausage. Drizzle a bit more sauce on top. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese. Another layer of noodle. Spread an even layer of ricotta cheese. Another noodle. Kale, sausage, sauce and cheese. Noodle. Sauce. Mozzarella cheese. (or however you want to layer it, but I loved the combo of sausage and kale.)
Bake for 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Remove from oven, and allow to cook for 5 minutes, before enjoying.