Replay from Summer 2015 | Cooking with Private Chef Marisa Franz | The Kitchen in Missoula | Enjoying your Organic Produce | Week 2

Cooking with Private Chef Marisa Franz | The Kitchen in Missoula | Enjoying your Organic Produce | Week 2

The Kitchen in Missoula, takes your culinary expectations to new heights. They provide awesome food at reasonable prices for events and weddings.

Private Chef Marisa Franz shares her cooking expertise with us about how to use the food you get in your CSA share, from the Farmer’s Market or what you grow in your own garden!

Week 2 | Friday | July 17, 2015

Last week we talked about the different stuff I had gotten at the CSA this week and then I ended up doing none of what I talked about. I had the house to myself Saturday and I didn’t have anything else planned so I decided to make myself a lasagna because when I make lasagna it usually takes 4-5 hours, cause I make the sauce from scratch and all that jazz.


So what I did was I took the zucchinis and eggplants I got from the CSA last week, so I sliced them up in the Mandolin so they’re thin slices, so they’re really great for layering…

Mandolin is a kitchen gadget, basically, it’s a slicer, and you can get matchstix out of it too all different things. It just makes it! It”s really hard to explain. I did almost slice my finger off of it, using it, because the blade is that sharp.

So with the eggplant and the zucchinis, what you do is you lay it sideways and run it along the mandolin and these beautiful long slices come out on the underside, which makes it really easy for layering.

I think my mom gave me one of those, it is like a grater on a stand with a round knob with things that go into the fruit, or vegetable that holds/grips it?

So I just use the slicer blade, but every time I’ve used it I’ve basically cut my finger off  …

So listeners need to be careful ~

So Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite things to make, it’s another one of those things that you can use kind of a garbage dump, as in let’s clean out the fridge, let’s clean out the vegetable crisper.

That’s a lot of what my cooking involves, I’ll think I have pork chops in the freezer and I have these vegetables in the fridge, or this cheese, so I think what can I make with it all? or I have the apples that are gonna go bad? That’s a large part in how I cook.

So this lasagna came from that. Ok, so I’ve had some lasagna noodles in the pantry I’ve had for a while, let’s try to finish this box off, and let’s use these veggies while they are still yummy and delicious!

I sliced the eggplants and zukes on the Mandolin and laid the eggplant out and salted it. I just did that while I started making the sauce. When the salt brings out the water and  moisture, it turns brown a little bit but it gets crisper. You just wipe it off with the paper towel and pat it’s good to go.

Now, are you putting salt on the zucchinis you could I guess, the principal is the same, but they don’t need it right?

The principal is the same, but they don’t really need it. So maybe I’ll try that this week.

Red Sauce

Half an onion – chopped. I had bought a Shallot, I like that they taste better then onions and I try to eat them as often as I can when I find some good ones. So I chopped all that stuff up and I fried it in olive oil, maybe a little butter. Then I added a red pepper, added to the sauce. Let it simmer, for a while. Then I deglazed it with a little red wine.

I always add some red wine to my tomato sauce, I think it adds a little flavor.

I heard this on America’s test kitchen podcast the whole point of simmering is for the flavors to concentrate and so that wine flavor will eventually go into the sauce, but if you add another splash or two of wine 10-15 minutes before you serve it, you’re gonna get that flavor back. That’s just a little tip I picked up this week that I had never done before.

Deglazing the pan, means you put some sort of liquid in, it can be water or chicken stock or broth, it can be wine or beer, it just depends upon what you’re cooking, and it kind of releases everything up from the bottom of the pan so you get all those little bits of goodness that sometimes get stuck to the bottom of the pan

Add Tomatoes

You add your tomatoes, whether you’re adding just a jar of sauce, and tomato sauce, and canned tomatoes, and plum tomatoes there’s a million different ways to make a good red sauce. But what I always do it add some fresh herbs from my garden so I added some oregano, rosemary and thyme just to give it a nice bit of freshness.

I only let it simmer for about an hour, mostly because I was getting really hungry and I knew the lasagna was gonna have to cook for an hour so I wanted to get it in the oven ASAP!

Get a glass cooking pan, like a pyrex dish spray it with non-cooking spray, then put half a cup of sauce in the bottom layer, then layer your noodles. I had made a mixture of, most recipes use ricotta, but my Grammy uses cottage cheese …

Granny Love

who still has her tax receipts from 1961, I love them to death but they never threw anything away made, and never spent money on anything that they could have got for cheaper. And so my Grammy who had 4 boys to feed and a husband, so let’s try to stretch our dollars cause that’s a lot of food you go through.

So instead of ricotta would use cottage cheese.

2 eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper, and then some shredded smoked mozzarella, Shredded about half the pack into it, so that would be a nice creamy layer in the lasagna. The other half of the pack went into top of the lasagna layer.

No boil lasagna noodles… I don’t ever want to waste my time again, and have the lasagna noodles


Dried pasta, right next to all the dried pastas.

Barillano-boil lasagna noodle recipe is right on the package.


Lasagna noodles, cottage cheese mix,

layer of sliced zucchini, then sauce all over that, make sure you push it into the corners and cover everything, so the noodles get that moisture! Then another layer of noodles and sauce in direct contact, again so they get enough moisture. Then more cheese mix, more sauce, another layer of eggplant another layer of noodle and then another layer of eggplant and zucchinis, a third layer, and I also put a huge wad of spinach, fresh, just put it in raw, it’s gonna get cooked with all that sauce. Final layer of lots of sauce on the top, plenty of cheese, and then you put it in the oven at 350 degrees is safe bet for most of the recipes you’re gonna find. So I put it in the oven at 350˚ for 45 minutes with foil over the top and then last 15 minutes take foil off, that way the cheese gets all bubbly and a bit browned.

So you take it out after an hour, need let it rest, like a nice NY steak give it 10 minutes to set up so when you slice a square out its not running all over.

Long running joke, in my family heading to NJ for my grandmother’s 85th birthday. I spent 5 hours making lasagna for her birthday. 5 brothers, a good dozen people for dinner

We fly out from Montana, the next morning I go to the store, and buy everything to make lasagna. I’ll be honest I started drinking wine in the middle of the afternoon, because my family was stressing me out. And my Grammy, God bless her, and she says that looks interesting dear, I make eye contact with my mother, and we start giggling because whenever Grammy says, “that looks interesting” it means she’s not quite sure it’s gonna taste good.

“Yep grammy sauce from scratch!” This woman grew up in a generation of margarine and box things, I recently acquired all of her recipes, and a lot of them are prepared, cream of mushroom soup, and frozen corn into a casserole, cause that’s how they cooked in the 50s and 60s. My aunt Rita who is Italian, because m mom is from Italy.

She loved my lasagna for the record!

to see me making lasagna from scratch was interesting..

Aunt Rita,

Mom is from Italy.

Loved the recipe

This would

Next time I will fly out from Montana with the Lasagna on my lap.

Any time my cousin an I make lasagne, we would text a picture of it, and say won’t that taste better tomorrow, oh too bad I’m gonna eat it tonight!

Don’t you think it would taste better tomorrow.

The key taste better the same day, is giving it that 10 minutes. It’s still gonna be piping hot, it’s still gonna be edible, hopefully in a delicious way! so I used most of the veggies up for that.

This week’s CSA, I’m not the one who separates our share The 3 other women I share it with break it up at the office. So one of them leaves it on my porch. So there’s an entire head of kale, a single beet, a single piece of kohlrabi, and some peas…

“Really you’re giving me all the kale?” They said, “You’re the only one who knows what to do with it!”

“Great, That doesn’t mean I want it! I’m kaled out at the moment!”

That being said I’m gonna make this cool recipe, it was surprisingly good, it was a vegan recipe!

I know it’s good when the love of my life, who is a meat and potatoes kind of guy and he’s like this is so awesome!

It’s a recipe from Oh She Glows which is a vegan cookbook.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out

A lemon tahini sauce, like a dressing, Tahini is a sesame paste, kind of.

Some lemon zest, a little bit of olive oil and nutritional yeast as a thickener, a lot of vegan recipes use nutritional yeast in macaroni and cheese because it has that yellowish color. And it’s also a good thickener.

Lemon zest is the very outer side of a lemon, you need a zester for it, you quickly rub the lemon on the zester and you get those beautiful lemon flakes, you never want to get the pith, which is the white part. Lemon zest is great for if you need any brightness… it’s great fro homemade dressings and sauces, it’s really awesome!

Can’t you just use the smaller side of a cheese grater? And you use the peel right?

It’s the peel, just the yellow part. That’s the dressing.

You take lentils and make them separately.  Simmer them in water for 30 minutes or according to your lentil directions. You do the same with quinoa, and farro or some grain. So I made it with lentils and quinoa so it would also be gluten free.

Then you do onions and garlic and red pepper and kale or spinach and sauté it in olive oil, then fold in, or add in the quinoa, and lentils add the dressing, and you serve it warm.

It’s one of the heartiest winter meal, so it’s also a great garbage dump recipe. That’s thing about recipes I know a lot of people are uncomfortable cooking so following a recipe to a tee is useful for them. What I usually do is I follow a recipe pretty closely the first time and then I play with it.

And playing with it can mean something easy as I’m gonna add some zucchini and broccoli to my vegetable mix, or you know what I’m gonna use swiss chard instead of kale. Knowing what’s interchangeable makes you’re ability to use a recipe a lot easier and a lot more universal.

I was just talking about this with some ladies last night at dinner. We have a group of friends and we have Indian food night sometimes. There’s only recently been an Indian restaurant in Missoula. They all belong to the CSA I do.

They were like “Can you please talk about how to open your fridge and make something. How do we use what we have?”

I think you should make a cookbook called the “garbage dump.”

No because there is a woman out there who makes what she calls dump recipes and she makes money and I think they’re total crap, and it’s like lets take a can of this and a can of that and I think that’s gross to me. I can’t believe she’s making money off of that idea.

How about the kitchen sink? Everything but the kitchen sink.

At this point I have so much stuff in my freezer that I stocked up over the winter, so now that it’s summertime, I do’t have to spend so much time in the kitchen making meals. I can take out the bag of meatballs, I made 6 months ago and reheat a few of them on the stove, and make a sandwich or add a salad, or make noodles and have spaghetti and meatballs really quick.

Any meatball recipe, it will make you 5-6 dozen meatballs, which unless you have a family of ten people, you’re never gonna get thought before they go bad. So I think it’s great to just make that huge batch and freeze it!

That’s like the flip side, people always can from the summer for winter.

I love to cook in the winter…

I would come home from school and take the dogs for a run I would go home and cook because what else are you gonna do if you weren’t involved in church or anything?

Even in the winter here, that’s my cooking time a lot,

I don’t know how to cook for just one or 2 people, I just cook in bulk, I think at any given moment when I was single, I would invite people over and be like I just made this thing come over and eat.

Chirizo Chili

I don’t have it in me to just cook for just myself, I always make way more then I need to. In the past year or two I have been freezing stuff, so hey, we don’t really want to go out to eat maybe we were skiing all day, I can go grab some Chirizo chili out of the freezer, put it on the stove and there’s dinner. So many people are adamant about canning things from the summer time, in August and September. At the end of summer, that’s the last time I want to have my stove on, I mean I will. Why not take some of those long winter months, and make some things for when you want to be out playing.

Basically freeze what you can, label it, date it. I like to lay things down flat, use big gallon ziplock bags, write down what they are, and then lay them flat in the freezer so once they are frozen you can stand them up like a library, and then you can store a lot more that way. With soups and sauces, those are some of the easiest things to freeze. Marina sauce, any kind of soup you want to make, meatballs are great. Just have some bread on hand, make a quick salad … really easy simple meals to redo.

The kale recipe is supposed to be served warm, which we did too, but I thought it would be good cold too.

Like a salad type of thing?

That’s another thing that with the bounty that is summer harvest right now. I like to have a container of lentils all the time, or a container of quinoa or farro.

Ok what is Farro?

I first read about it in a Sunset Magazine that had a salad. You cook it much like quinoa or barley, bring it to a boil,a and let it simmer for about 30 min, then drain water off of it, great cold grain, I like to use it in salads just to make it a little heartier. Then whatever vegetables you have around.

Farro is not gluten free I think. Quinoa is a great gluten free option. Farro is not gluten free, but considerably lower in gluten then wheat! Farro is one of those whole grains you should be eating, according to those people, whoever those people may be, the omniscient “they!”

Then making homemade dressing… I can’t tell you the last time I bought a store bought dressing. Cause I just make it myself. There is one dressing that I have bought. The last time I bought Litehouse chunky blue cheese … I have been known to eat it out container – one of my 2 secret shames.

It’s been so cold here, it’s only like 80 degrees.

I never think of making lasagna in the summer. 

I think it was like 70 and had been pouring rain all day.

You know what I use in my lasagna is beet greens.

Beet greens and I have a sort of love hate relationship. I realize I can eat them in about any recipe, but I just choose not too.

It’s pretty delicious. Make lasagna before it’s 95 degrees again and you don’t want to go outside because it’s too hot.

Any other questions?

What are you drinking with your lasagna?

I had some friends Kelly and Ryan get married, I catered all their deserts. Also their wedding coordinator, I did it as a favor, but they gave me a case of wine as a thank you, it had a screw top but it was great, it was really great. I was unpacking the wine at the wedding, I was like these are all screw tops! That’s brilliant!

Save’s so much time at a wedding. You can get so much wines with a screw top lid anymore.

So there’s a pro tip for all of you brides out there, get yourself some screw top wines, it makes life a whole lot easier!

Also this week, I started a Kitchen in Missoula  Facebook page, for anybody who’d care to I’d love it if you went and like it, there so there I’ll be posting will be recipes and information on the take out meals when we get it geared up and ready to go, and amazing tips!


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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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