As we grow closer to the Christie’s auction I decided I couldn’t bear to let the Warhol Heart go without actually being there to watch it go under the gavel. I feel like I’m saying goodbye to an old friend again, and it just felt wrong not to do so in person. Since my love of art began with my mother, I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have there by my side, so we decided to take our first ever mother-daughter trip to New York, just the two of us.

Portraits-Julie-Anne-and-Johnnie-Friedman

Posing as mom’s muse, and a mother-daughter outing back then

Our impromptu trip feels a little bit like my favorite book when I was a little girl, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The story is about a young girl and her brother who run away from home and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They sleep on a Louis XIV bed at night, and use money from the wishing well to purchase their meals during the day while blending in with the tourists.  The pair ultimately become master sleuths when a sculpture marked artist unknown comes into the museum. Sigh, what fun that would be!

The Heart will be auctioned Thursday morning, November 13th at Christie's

The Heart will be auctioned Thursday morning, November 13th at Christie’s

We may not sleep on any historic beds, but I’m sure mom and I will do our share of visiting the museums and galleries – not to mention a little theater, shopping and catching up with friends. While we get up to mischief in the city, I thought I’d share one of mom’s recipes that goes down a storm over the holidays.

Julie An

It’s easy to double or even triple when feeding a crowd, keeps your vegetarian guests happy, and is easily portable for pot lucks or homemade hostess gifts.

Artichoke Lasagna

Mama’s Artichoke Lasagna

Hot melted mozzarella cheese and creamy béchamel sauce, with artichoke hearts and lots of Parmesan cheese come together quickly, easily, and in advance –  making it an ideal vegetarian recipe for a dinner party dish that won’t keep you slaving away in the kitchen instead of enjoying the company of your guests (although you may have a hard time keeping them out of the kitchen once they get of whiff). It is also a great way to get your kids to eat some vegetables – who doesn’t love lasagna? This one is elegant enough to serve to adults as well, and can be served as a first course, or a main course.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Mama's Artichoke Lasagna

  • 20 ounces canned artichoke hearts drained
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles

Directions

Mama's Artichoke Lasagna

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Make bechamel sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly to keep any clumps from forming. Stir in the seasonings, and continue stirring until the sauce thickens and coats the spoon, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Grease an 8 inch by 8 inch lasagna pan bottom and sides with butter. Place a single layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom, spread with half the artichokes, sprinkle with 1/3 of both cheeses, and cover with 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Repeat with another layer. Repeat, ending with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The pan should be about 3/4 full. If you do not plan to eat this right away, I suggest cooling and storing properly at this point, and baking it off later - when you want to serve it.
  4. Bake the lasagna in the 400° F preheated oven until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Mixed green salad and garlic bread.

Heat To Eat

Bake the lasagna in the 400° F preheated oven until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes; or vent lid of container and heat in microwave 3-5 minutes.

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