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let them eat bread (lasagna) June 9, 2009

Filed under: baking,home cooked — katrinacake @ 7:29 pm
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if you’re anything like me, you always have masses of bread sitting around that gets thrown out (thank you crispy inn!). it seems like i have to dispose of half a loaf of bread at least once a week! such a shame! one yummy thing to do with bread is bread and butter pudding. another winter fave is croutons. but there’s only so far that will take you!

when i saw the rustic bread and eggplant lasagna on vegan yum yum i was quite excited! i never make lasagna because a) i am too lazy to make my own pasta sheets, b) i never have the pre-made pasta sheets in my cupboard, c) the once occasion i DID have them it took me literally three months to get around to creating lasagna.

inspired by ben’s fabbo efforts at making “meaty” lasagna a couple of weeks ago, the addition of cheese sauce was a must for my culinary satisfaction. contrary to my expectation, the bread didn’t go soggy at all! i used quite a thick tomato sauce which presumably helped.

lazy bread lasagna

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ingredients

  • stale bread (about half a loaf of the nice crusty stuff)
  • a big eggplant or two
  • olive oil (plenty!)
  • two cans tomato (diced or crushed)
  • a brown onion
  • half a head of garlic
  • italian” herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, etc)
  • one cup white flour
  • three big desert spoons of nuttlex / vegan margarine
  • two cups soy milk
  • one cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • two desert spoons tahini
  • a teaspoon of mustard (not the seedy type)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt (to taste)
  • some fried garlic (optional)
  • cracked pepper

equipment

  • shallow baking pan
  • large deep fry pan
  • saucepan
  • lasagne dish (i used a square one)
  • chopping board and knife
  • veggie peeler (if you like)

this takes a little co-ordination, so it’s good to have a little think about how long things take so it all comes together!

1. pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.peel the skin off the eggplant/s – i like to leave it on – and slice the eggplant into 1cm-ish slices. dizzle in oil and place in the baking pan. bake for 20 mins or so.

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2. dice the onion and saute in some olive oil until translucent. add in the garlic and herbs, and saute for a further 2 minutes. mix in the two cans of tomato and simmer on a low heat. the aim is to reduce the sauce until it’s nice and thick.

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3. whilst the tomato sauce simmers, it’s time to make some “cheesy” white sauce! melt the margarine in a saucepan. sift in the flour. it will look really lumpy and thick – this is ok!

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4. add the soy milk, half a cup at a time, stirring constantly. let the mixture slowly heat up and combine before adding more milk. don’t panic – it’ll come together just nicely!

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5. once the soy milk is combined, add in the nutritional yeast flakes. you may need to use the back of the wooden spoon to crush any large bits into the mixture.

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6. stir in the mustard, tahini, lemon juice and salt. adjust salt to taste. once the sauce reaches the desired thickness (should be pourable, but not runny), take it off the heat.

7. by now the eggplant should be baked thoroughly. take it out of the oven and let it sit for five minutes. in the meantime, slice the bread into 1cm slices. now we’re ready to get layering!

8. spread a thin layer of tomato over the bottom of the pan, and cover with a layer of bread. try and cover most the the pan – you may need to cut some bread slices in half to make them fit better.

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9. spread another layer of the tomato sauce and cover with eggplant slices.

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10. repeat, layering tomato sauce, then bread, then the last of the tomato and the remaining eggplant. if you are a garlic fiend like me, sprinkle some fried garlic over the last layer of eggplant.

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11. cover the lasagne with the cheese sauce. don’t be shy – make it nice and thick! sprinkle with cracked pepper for a little extra kick. bake for half an hour, or until the top is nice and crispy.

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12. serve and enjoy!

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variations:

  • breads – this would work nicely with any sort of crusty bread, sourdough or pumpkin loaf is what i’d like to try next.
  • add some different veggies – baked capsicum, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes or whole tomato slices
  • crush some nuts (e.g. pine nuts or almonds) and sprinkle on top of the cheese sauce for a crunchy topping
  • add herbs / spices to the cheese sauce for an extra lift!
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breathless brunch beans! May 4, 2009

there is something so great about digging into a tasty bowl of beans at brunch. not those pathetic “baked beans” they sell in over priced chat cafes, but really tasty, flavour-full, melt-in-your-mouth beans.

this is also a great way to use up some slightly tired looking veggies in the fridge. for me: corn, rocket, chilies and tomatoes.

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i have a ridiculous collection of jars filled with dried beans, and i only cook with them once a week. in an endeavour to clear these jars out i soaked some tasty black eyed peas overnight. soaking overnight really does help bring down cooking time! i put the beans in a plastic container, cover with boiling water and leave to sit overnight. you can’t really put too much water in there as these babies soak it up. an equal height of water above the height of the beans is good (ie if there is 2cm of beans in the container, fill with water so there is at least 2cm of water above the beans). make sense?

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you could always just use canned beans, but i have a feeling that this is more energy intensive and carbon emitting. does drastically reduce cooking time though.

a note on onions:

please cook your onions thoroughly! be patient and wait until the bits are transparent! these are NOT translucent onions:

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brunch beans

ingredients:

  • 1 cup black eyed peas (soaked overnight and then rinsed); also great are butter beans and fava beans.
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • two green chilies (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • some chopped rocket
  • a cob of corn, shucked
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste
  • juice of one lemon (lime is good too!)
  • vegetable oil (a spoonful?)

how to:

  1. dice the onion and saute in oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. finely chop the chilies and garlic. add to the onion and saute the whole lot until the onions are see through. be patient!
  3. stir the spices into the onion mix (approx 1 teaspoon of each, except cayenne paper. just a little of that.). don’t be afraid of spices*!
  4. stir in the beans, veggie stock and can of tomatoes. bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. continue to simmer and add the remaining veggies – corn, cherry tomatoes and rocket. allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  6. when most of the liquid has evaporated off, taste a bean. is it crunchy? add more water and simmer for longer. does it melt in your mouth? proceed to step 7.
  7. take off the heat and stir in lemon juice.
  8. serve in an over-sized soup mug. these are handy devices, as you don’t burnt your little hands on the sides of a hot bowl. genius!

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variations / additions:

  • you can add any sort of veggies that take your fancy – small bits of potato or kumera would be ace, as would capsicum, and mushrooms.
  • a mix of beans can add variety, and variety is the spice of life!
  • soy cheese crumbled on top is delectible!
  • a side serving of warm bread, particularly corn bread.
  • tasty guacamole on top!

* do be wary of adding the correct spices. do these two look the same to you?

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they did to me! as a result i got a bit excited with the cayenne pepper (thinking it was paprika) and made the whole thing rather spicy! yeow! hence the breathless-ness…

 

some recent food adventures August 29, 2008

i’ve been missing nz and all that tasty vegan food SO last weekend i made┬ásome particularly delish things: fresh humous, breakfast beans, lemon drop shortbreads, and scones (ably accompanied by CWA jam). when in doubt, EAT!