As many of you may know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that each year, over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 die. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is not a disease only of women because for every 100 women diagnosed 1 man will be also. Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year.
If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 96%.
Ley of Cilantro and Lime is hoping to promote awareness of breast cancer and its effects by posting information about it on her blog and drawing attention to the issue through our participation in her event Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness . There are only 5 more days to get your entry in!!!!! In Ley's own words you can bake something healthy, you can decorate your entries with a theme, or you can make it pink- whatever you choose, just make sure it's obviously tied in to breast cancer awareness! She is not even going to be picky about the definition of "baking"- it doesn't have to be sweet, it doesn't have to be carb-y, and, you know what?- it doesn't really even have to be "baked." Bake a healthy chicken, make a pink trifle, create something that looks like boobs. It doesn't matter. Just make it. And spread the word."
Each of us in our lives has been touched by cancer in one way or another. Either a good friend, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, wife or even ourselves has struggled to come to terms with the disease. In each of our communities there are individuals or organizations creating awareness and raising funds. Breast cancer is not age related at all. It affects us all!
Here are a couple of sites you may find interesting about food choices:
Natural Health Web
Cancer Fighting Foods
Earlier today I started off by making a dish I saw Ricardo Larrivee prepare on the Food Network. It appealed to me and would have been perfect for this event. I was looking for something that utilized tomatoes with their cancer fighting properties. But with all the best intentions this recipe turned into a disaster!!!!! The dumplings did not hold together...that will teach me to half a recipe!!!!!
So what to do with all this lovely spinach/garlic infused ricotta...well...pesto spinach lasagna I thought. It would have been so good but on browsing through the cupboards I only had 3 lasagna sheets left. Now what? Well I decided to just throw the whole thing together with some uncooked pasta, throw in a little more tomato sauce to create an atmosphere for the pasta to cook in the oven and top it with cheese. VOILA!!!!This disaster turned into something delicious if not photogenic!!!!!
I started off with all the best of intentions by creating a special Italian dish of Spinach Polpetti. As so happened the dish was a complete disaster and did not hold up!!!Being of the "my dish is half full" philosophy I decided to buck up and remake a completely new dish with these same ingredients....just make the best of it!!! As a metaphor for someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer the polpetti did not hold up in the boiling water. Life has a way of throwing us lemons and challenges... my dish or a person inflicted with disease may feel that all is lost. I took the ingredients from this dish and created something tasty and delicious just as a cancer survivor would pick up the pieces of their life and with all the support and well wishes create a new lease and perspective on life and be all the stronger for it!!!!!!!
I give you the two original recipes I wanted to try.
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 can crushed plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. (6 cups) fresh spinach
1 clove garlic, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. (2 cups) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 cup flour
Fresh basil leaves to taste
Tomato Sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Polpetti :In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, wilt the spinach in the oil. Transfer to a sieve, drain well and let cool.
In a food processor, purée the spinach, garlic, ricotta, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and eggs. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Using two tablespoons, shape about 30 ml (2 tablespoons) dough into an oval dumpling. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Drop the dumplings, about 10 at a time, into salted simmering water. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes. Drain and coat lightly with oil. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Transfer the sauce to a large, shallow serving bowl. Set the dumplings on the sauce. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and basil leaves. Season with pepper. Serve family-style.
**Pesto Spinach Lasagna**
1/3 cup prepared pesto
2 containers part-skim ricotta
2 large eggs
1 package frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 tsp salt
1 jar prepared marinara sauce
12 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
6 or 9 sheets (7x3 noodles)
Heat oven to 375F. Lightly coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. Blend ricotta, spinach, 1- 1/2 cups mozzarella, pesto, eggs and salt in large bowl. Pour 1 -1/2 cups marinara sauce into bottom of prepared baking dish. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spread with half the cheese mixture. (Noodles and cheese do not need to meet sides of dish. They will expand when baked.) Pour 1 cup sauce over cheese; place another layer of noodles over sauce. Spread remaining cheese over noodles; top with a layer of noodles. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes; uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until center is hot. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Makes 8 servings.
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