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October 23, 2011 / Cate

Fall Greens, Lasagna … and an Award!

Just when I think I’ll have to abandon this blog forever to the demands of job and family, something happens to keep me going.

Last Saturday morning, after four frantic weeks of teaching, grading, cooking, and transporting little girls hither and yon, I opened my email to a message from Hannah:  I have an award for you … Happy Friday!

Hannah’s from Seattle, and she’s been a regular follower and commenter on the blog since she found it through the food52 review last May. She also maintains Blue Kale Road. I adore Hannah for her dedication to her blog, (this week alone she wrote 3 posts), her willingness to try crazy new things (like chocolate bread and stuffed pumpkins), and her unflagging support of emerging bloggers like me. (This last thing is something I am not very good at – see below.)

 So when Hannah passed The Versatile Blogger and Cherry on Top awards to me, it felt like a kick in the pants … the kind that makes you stand up straighter and get yourself in order because, dammit, someone thinks you’re okay, and that someone must not be disappointed.

To get myself back on the blog bandwagon, I’ve sworn to post at least a few times this coming week, and all on the topic of seasonal fall greens – kale, escarole, Swiss chard, collards, arugula, lettuce. The dishes have all been made, the photos all taken … now I just have to find time to write the essays to accompany them. I have stories whirling around in my head, I swear. It’s just finding time to clatter away at the keyboard …

But. Without further ado, here is the first of the fall greens recipes, followed by fun facts about me (a requirement of the lovely award), and the beginning of my reciprocity to the blogosphere.


Lasagna with Sausage and Kale. Winner of my personal ultimate comfort-food and sneak-green-into-your-child’s-belly award, this lasagna from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food is worth every second of the prep work. And I adore the no-layering-of-ingredients approach: the noodles are broken into pieces before boiling, and once they’re 2 minutes from al dente, just mix them in a large bowl with the other ingredients – lots of ricotta, grape tomatoes, kale, spicy Italian sausage, and onions.  Pour into a 9×13 pan, sprinkle generously with Parmesan, and you’re forty minutes from heaven.  (The leftovers will also feed the family for at least one more meal and/or give you lunches for days.) I’m just linking over to the recipe since I didn’t change a thing … and I never will.


The rule for the Versatile Blogger and Cherry on Top awards is that you have to list seven facts about yourself and then pass the award on to 15 other bloggers.  The fact part took about an hour to write since I’m neurotic about exactly how much of myself to put out into the e-universe.

Coming up with 15 bloggers is taking quite a bit longer because, well, I am not the best when it comes to trolling the blogosphere. Not because I don’t want to. But if I can’t make time to write a post, there isn’t time to read (and when there is, I promptly pass out at the computer screen and wake up fifteen minutes later with a keyboard pattern embedded into my forehead.)

So. I’ll pass the award to 5 bloggers at a time for the next 3 posts. I hope you like these first 5 as much as I do. They run the gamut from cooking to farming to chicken adventures and sustainable living; their attitudes are just as diverse – some snarky, some dreamy, some down to earth … but all supremely enjoyable.

1840 Farm

Fresh Basil

In Praise of Leftovers

Internet Cooking Princess

Tall Clover Farm

And oh yes, those 7 facts about me:

1. I’m a poetry nut – so nutty that I went and spent two years on an MFA.

2. I dreamed that I took my chickens into another country, and when I tried to return home, the chickens were confiscated at the border. I woke up crying.

3. Favorite books: Goat Song by Brad Kessler, Truck: A Love Story, by Michael Perry, SuperSadTrue LoveStory by Gary Shteyngart, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky, The Adderall Diaries, by Stephen Elliott, Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, poetry by Maxine Kumin, Tomas Transtromer, Elizabeth Bishop, Marie Howe, Larry Levis, and William Carlos Williams.

4. Last Saturday I went to The Red Palace on H Street in DC and cheered (well, screamed and laughed myself silly might be more accurate) for fantastic burlesque. You should go, too. Then head two doors down for amazing Pan-Asian cuisine at Sticky Rice.

5. Best summer: Krakow, Poland, 1999.

6. No iPod, so I still rely on the 6-disc changer in my truck. Its contents: Carolina Chocolate Drops; REM; Smashing Pumpkins; Taylor Swift; Toots and the Maytals; Au Revoir Simone.

7. You know that light feeling in your chest when you’re speeding down the highway, the trees are russet, orange, scarlet, and gold, and the sky is so blue it might just crack open and grant you all the possibilities you’ve ever dreamed of?

 I love that feeling.


Leave a Comment
  1. pb / Oct 23 2011 9:05 pm

    you deserve it!! also, i love that you mention au revoir simone! that is one of paul’s all time favorite bands.

    • Cate / Oct 24 2011 1:47 pm

      thanks, patty … and i have you to thank for aur revoir simone … you sent it with a whole bunch of other cds when you worked the concert scene. it’s on permanent rotation. i love those girls and their keyboards.

  2. Annie / Oct 24 2011 10:22 am

    I’m glad you’re back. My husband is a high school teacher so I figure you are probably as busy as he is and that’s why you’ve been silent…blogging takes time. Which is why I don’t do it! I’m looking forward to trying the kale and sausage lasagna. I love sneaking greens into lasagna.

    You should also check out my friend’s blog, My Pantry Shelf. She’s a high school biology teacher from Northern California and has some seriously tasty recipes. (Waffles, pancakes, peppered peach and rosemary jam, to name a few of my favs.) Anyhow, I thought I’d suggest her for one of the 15 blogs you have to pass the award on to. Congratulations and welcome back!

    • Cate / Oct 24 2011 1:40 pm

      Hi Annie – Great to hear from you! Yup, teaching is keeping me pretty busy – tell your husband I send my condolences 😉 And thanks for the blog recommendation – I’ve heard of My Pantry Shelf and keep meaning to check it out. Now I definitely will!

  3. Hannah / Oct 24 2011 5:21 pm

    Thank you for your kind words, Cate! I’m so happy you are feeling inspired…I do love your blog and enjoy reading about your cooking adventures. I appreciate learning more about you here, too (I can relate to your chicken dream…).

    I love fall greens and can’t wait for your recipes! Your lasagna here looks divine…I’ve marked it to make this week.

    Be well!

  4. Jennifer Burcke / Oct 25 2011 9:46 pm

    Thanks for mentioning my blog. I appreciate your kind words and enjoy reading your posts. The recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks again. I look forward to reading more posts with recipes for seasonal greens. I’ve got beet greens and swiss chard in the hooophouse and can always use new inspiration!

    • Cate / Oct 26 2011 7:52 am

      Hi Jen – Envious of your hoophouse! Keep a lookout for a new post later today … swiss chard in a ricotta and egg pie. And by the way, I love your chicken posts, especially the one from last winter when you wrangled a few bolts and washers together, then speared a cabbage for your bored, overwintering hens. Good to know someone else is a crazy chicken lady 🙂

      • Jennifer Burcke / Oct 26 2011 11:31 am

        I can’t wait to try the chard pie! I’m so glad that you loved the post about the boredom buster. I definitely fall into the category of crazy chicken lady. It’s nice to know that I have such good company!

  5. margaret / Oct 26 2011 11:59 am

    Hi Cate! Thanks for the shout out! I love your essays so please don’t quit. And I am so going to make that sausage and kale lasagna. Thanks for the recipe!

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