Welcome to Kelly Martin's Blog! Here I share my stories from my blessed life as a wife to a super-talented man, Jason, mom to my precious kids, Lucy, Jack, and Connor, and friend to my amazing girlfriends who inspire me every day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

They're rude but rational...MONDAY MEALS

*"Monday Meals" will be included at end of post ;-)

It's a well-known fact that "New Yorkers" are generally quite rude. We've had plenty of experiences that confirm that stereotype on this trip, that's for sure, but I personally learned that - while they're very rude, they're also rational...

We stopped at Cafe Napoli, in Little Italy, yesterday.

A few of us needed to wind down after our little "scandalous" rendezvous on Canal Street ;-) Anyhow, we encountered an incredibly rude waiter. He must have had a bad morning or something, because he first approached our table with an attitude. And my friend Jake was with us, who's a true new yorker, and certainly didn't scream "tourist" as the rest of our group did ;-)

Long story short, the food was probably the best Italian food I've ever put in my mouth, but the waiter hardly tended to our table, scoffed at me when I asked about refills for my diet coke, and when Tiffany's friend (who met up with us from DC) accidentally dropped his glass, I thought the busboy was going to pull a gun on us!

I was running low on cash, so I volunteered to put the tab on my amex and have everyone pay me their share. As I was double checking the bill, I noticed they automatically added a 17% tip. I'd have no problem with a 17% tip - and in fact usually I tip 20% for good service - but paying 17% for an asshole waiter was not something I was okay with.

And as you know, I'm not one who's about to let something like that go by without providing my feedback.

I gave the waiter my credit card, paid for the lunch, and while handing the envelope back to the waiter, I very politely said:

"I just want to provide you with some feedback...I noticed on the bill that you automatically added 17% to our tab. Normally, I would not have any problem with that, but considering you've been incredibly rude to us from the get go, I think 17% for tip is way too high."

Well, he scoffed again at me, rattled out some quick comments I couldn't quite interpret, and yanked the bill out of my hand. Something about, "take it off...," I'm not sure. But he came back with a new receipt just charging the base amount. To which I added a more appropriate (for the dining experience) 10% tip.

I wasn't expecting him to do that, and in fact told him I just wanted to provide important feedback, after all I already paid the bill when I gave him "my two cents", but then I decided, it was actually most appropriate for him to take off the 17% tip and allow me to tip as I felt was deserving.

So, whatada' know...like I said, "rude but rational..."

I've had the opportunity to visit NY several times now; I think I've had enough of that "Concrete Jungle" for a lifetime...Had an absolute blast with my girlfriends, and wouldn't take back the trip for anything, I'm just saying in general, after four trips to the Big Apple, that'll do it for me. We were talking about where the next "Girls' Trip" was going to be, and I quickly threw out the idea, "Spa Week!!!!!"

Anyone, anyone????!!!! ;-)

So, for the recipe today, I'm choosing my friend, Jeri's, amazing lasagne. It's so wonderful, that when I once served it to our friends who were visiting from Atlanta, and the husband HATED lasagne (woops! I didn't know that ;-0), he went back for seconds! It's delicious. Double the batch and make one for the freezer!

Lasagna with Herbed Meat Sauce (makes 1 9x13 pan, or 2 8x8 pans)

Jeri Lamy

2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts discarded and torn into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 Tbsp plain yogurt thinned with 2 Tbsp milk
1 pound ground meat (mix of 3/4 ground beef and 1/4 ground pork, or
your choice of meat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 large egg
1 Tbsp minced garlic (divided)
3/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
28-oz can crushed tomatoes
6-oz can tomato paste
2 tsp italian seasoning (or any mix of oregano, basil, thyme, sage)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

12 oz small curd cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

package of lasagna noodles (can use no-boil)
3 cups shredded mozzarella

For the Meat Sauce:
Combine bread and buttermilk/yogurt mixture in a small bowl, mashing
occasionally with a fork until a smooth paste forms, about 5-10

Mix ground meat, parmesan, parsley, egg, 1 tsp of the garlic, salt,
and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add bread/milk mixture and
combine until evenly mixed.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick saucepan over
medium-high heat. Add meat mixture and brown, stirring frequently,
until meat is cooked through and browned. Clear a small open spot on
bottom of pan and add remaining 2 tsp of garlic to open spot. When it
starts to sizzle, add tomatoes, paste, and herbs, and stir. Add salt
and pepper to taste and simmer until sauce thickens a bit, about 20-30
minutes. (If using no-boil noodles, I will typically add a bit of
water to the sauce after it is finished cooking, about 1/3 of a cup)

Assembling Lasagna:
In a medium bowl mix cottage cheese, egg, and black pepper.

Spread a small amount of meat sauce in bottom of pan to keep noodles
from sticking, about 1/4 cup. Layer noodles, 1/3 of the meat sauce,
1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture, and 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese.
Repeat layers and use remaining meat sauce to dot the top of the
lasagna and spread around, so that cheese doesn't brown too much or
burn. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes...remove from oven and let stand
10 minutes before serving.

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