Posts Tagged lasagna

Cauliflower Ricotta?!

Cauliflower Ricotta, indeed.  This is Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta from Appetite For Reduction.  To make the ricotta, you roast cauliflower then combine it with tofu, nutritional yeast and some other tasty stuff.  Genius!  I pulsed my ricotta in the food processor instead of mashing it like the recipe said to do, and it turned out thicker and a little more difficult to spread, but it was no biggie.  I roasted the cauliflower the night before to speed up the prep work and get lasagna in my belly more quickly.

I substituted beet greens for the spinach, since I was having beets on the side.  I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce, because I can’t seem to make red sauce without them.

I really enjoyed this lasagna for the flavor and comfort factor, and even more so because it was much lighter in comparison to most lasagnas.  If you eat the cauliflower ricotta on its own you can kind of taste the cauliflower, but in cahoots with the whole dish you would never know the secret ingredient.

Reminder – there’s still time to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Appetite For Reduction by going to this post and leaving a comment with a healthy cooking tip.  The contest closes at midnight PST Wednesday 3/9.

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July CSA’s – Pizza, Almondine, Beety Potatoes & Delicious Italian Food

I’m considering participating in VeganMoFo this year.  (If you don’t know what VeganMoFo is, check out Kittee’s post here.)  While some people save up pictures and posts to meet their self-set VeganMoFo post quota, I would like to catch up to at least fairly recent so I’m not blogging about food I ate three months ago!  It’s harder to remember the details of all these dishes, but I will do my best…

7/1/10 CSA:  cauliflower, gypsy peppers, green beans, zucchini, basil and lettuce

peaches, tomatoes, grapes, carrots and a watermelon

Taco salad!  Lettuce, tomatoes, roasted corn, cilantro, a quick ranch dressing made from Trader Joe’s reduced-fat mayo (which explains the weird color and sheen), and to be honest, I don’t remember what the taco part on top was.  I think it might have been sauteed peppers, mushrooms, onions, spices and other stuff – Whatever it was, I remember it being good!

Zucchini pizza on a brown rice tortilla with basil and Daiya mozzarella.

Tofu Almondine with Lemony Green Beans, adapted from Clean Eating Magazine’s Chicken Almondine recipe.  I also had some dry-roasted cauliflower on the side.  The flavor of the tofu and green beans was really good, but it was kind of dry.  I felt some sort of sauce would have brought it together.

7/15/10 CSA:  grapes, lettuce, beets, purple basil, corn and a lemon cucumber

peaches, tomatoes, plums, an onion, a cantaloupe and carrots

I wanted to eat the corn raw, and I remembered that when I was in England I tried corn mixed with tuna salad and actually really liked it.  So, I made some chickpea tuna salad, mixed in the corn, and rolled it up in a Flat Out with lettuce.  Those are Food Should Taste Good chips in the background.  I love their chips!  They’re so good that I don’t buy them very often, because I’ll eat the whole bag much too fast.

I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided that I would make beet-stuffed potatoes.  I baked the potatoes and beets, sauteed some minced leeks, scooped out the potatoes then mashed the insides with the beets, the leeks, some parsley and probably some sort of vinegar, knowing me.  They turned out a little dry, but tasted really good, and turned everything red!

Clean-out-the-fridge Roasted Veggies:  sweet potato, onion, portobello, tomato, swiss chard and possibly some other things.  I roasted everything except the chard, then tossed the hot veggies with the greens to wilt them slightly.

7/29/10 CSA:  watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers & corn.  I don’t know why they keep sending me watermelons!  I don’t like ’em!

tomatoes, an onion, nectarines, grapefruit and grapes

Salad:  lettuce, corn, black beans, lime-marinated cucumbers, salsa & pepitas.  Super tasty and light!

Caponata over gluten free pasta.  I used this recipe for the caponata.  The raisins and red wine vinegar and capers made this TOTALLY delicious.  The eggplant seemed a little undercooked, but that might have been because I reduced the oil called for a little.  I would definitely make this again.

To go with the caponata and add some protein, I made mashed white beans, I think using this recipe.  They were easy and tasty, with a very satisfying mouthfeel.

I was going to slice the zucchini into long, thin strips and use it as the “noodles” in a lasagna, but I was feeling really lazy the night I planned to make it, so I sliced it into half-moons instead and threw the lasagna together as a free-form casserole.  Still just as tasty.  Also in there was tofu ricotta, spinach, jarred sauce and Daiya mozzarella.  This post makes me feel like I eat a lot of Daiya since I’ve mentioned it twice, but I’m pretty sure the cheese here was leftover from the pizza above.

This isn’t CSA-related, but I wanted to share it because it was really good – Tofu Migas for breakfast.  I’ve never had real migas but have read several descriptions, so I figured I could wing it.  I scrambled the tofu with Mexican spices then added salsa, tortilla strips and some green onion.  I would definitely make something like this again if I had an extra tortilla laying around.

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More Personal Cheffing

For the rest of my externship, I did a few personal cheffing sessions.  I met with the client to assess their needs, planned the menu, grocery shopped, prepared the food in their kitchen, and cleaned up.  All of my “clients” were friends, so it was pretty fun!  Exhausting, but fun.

My first client was Miles.  Miles is a healthy, active guy, so I was sure to include plenty of protein and good fats in his meals.  He is trying to eat low gluten and low soy, so I took that into account as well.  I packaged his meals individually so he could grab them on the way to work.

For the first meal, I made the Quick Red Posole with Beans from Viva Vegan, served with Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale (also from Viva Vegan), toasted pumpkin seeds and quinoa with lime juice.  The kale is really great for such a simple recipe.

Since Miles strives to be mostly soy-free, he makes really interesting stuff like hemp tofu and Burmese tofu, made with chickpea flour.  He had prepared a batch of Burmese tofu, so I made Fragrant Burmese Curry with it.  The chickpea tofu held together much better than I expected.  I served the curry with brown basmati rice and roasted broccoli.

This is “tuna”-stuffed tomatoes with Italian pasta salad.  I used this recipe for the tuna, substituting hemp seeds for the sesame seeds and using an adaptation of this cashew mayonnaise recipe instead of prepared vegan mayo.  The pasta salad was based on this recipe, with gluten free pasta and Zesty Italian Dressing.  Miles didn’t care for the pasta salad much, but he said he loved the tomatoes.

My next clients were Alex & Kristin, an awesome couple who, apart from a few allergies and dislikes, aren’t too picky.  I packaged their meals for two, so that they could reheat and eat together.  (I forgot to bring my camera that day, so please enjoy the craptastic cell phone pics!)

Kristin reeeeeeally wanted lasagna, so lasagna she got.  I’m not sure I would make lasagna again for a client becuase it takes me forever to put together, but it was worth it to make her happy!  I based my lasagna on the recipe from Veganomicon, with the VCon marinara, spinach, tempeh sausage, and cashew cream with plenty of nutritional yeast.  I would’ve also added mushrooms, but they don’t like mushrooms.  The horror, I know!

This White Bean Salad with Mint was the side dish for the lasagna.  I’m not huge on fresh mint, but I think it was pretty tasty.

Atrocious picture.  I know.

Alex & Kristin love Indian food (who doesn’t?), so I made the Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and some saffron basmati rice pilaf.  Alex called it biryani, which I guess is what it was.  The slivered almonds totally made the rice.  I also made some kale saag, which tasted nice but photographed so horribly that I can’t bring myself to post it.  It’s unrecognizable as food.

To use some seasonal vegetables, I made succotash from a recipe I printed from Food Network’s website many years ago which doesn’t seem to be there anymore.  Instead of the bacon called for, I add a dash of liquid smoke.  I served the succotash with polenta cakes.  I wanted to do grit cakes, but the grocery store I went to didn’t have grits.

My last clients were Raelene and Wayne, and their adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter.  I packaged their food family style, which basically meant just putting the whole recipe away in the fridge or freezer.  I brought my camera that day but totally forgot to take pictures, and then left my camera there!  They were nice enough to take pictures on my camera when they tried the meals.  They wanted to eat kind of “light”, and they basically like everything, which made it easy to choose recipes.

First up, Quinoa-Corn Chowder and Classic Cabbage with Cilantro-Citrus Vinaigrette, both from Viva Vegan and both tasty and easy.

The next meal was Two-Broccoli Stir-Fry on Soba Noodles from Vegetarian Times, and Fat Free Vegan’s Double Mushroom Miso Soup.  I wanted this meal to be filling yet light, if that makes sense, and I also wanted to sneak in some seaweed 🙂

Lastly, we wanted to try freezing one of the meals, which worked out well since Raelene just had surgery (she’s fine), and they pulled it out of the freezer last night for dinner.

This is Curried Cauliflower Frittata from Vegan Brunch, with added spinach, and Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon.  Looks like the served it with some chutney – Good call!

A few people have asked me about my experiences with the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, so I thought I would share a few opinions here.  I enjoyed it overall, and I’m very glad that I did it.  Yes, It was difficult to attend the classes and complete the homework while still working full time, but I basically decided to dedicate my time and forgo a social life for six months.  The program is not vegan, but it is vegan-friendly, and I was never asked to taste or work with any non-vegan ingredients.  My classmates were super-cool about working with me and making sure I had enough to eat at the end of class.  The instructors were educated and experienced, and if they ever didn’t know the answer to a question they would find out before the next class.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian in the program, you do have to be okay with being around meat for a few classes, but you don’t have to work with it.  Also, you may have to listen to some talk about the merits of stuff like the Weston A. Price Foundation that you may not agree with.  Basically, you have to be understanding with your classmates, the same way you would want them to be understanding with you.  Overall, the program is extremely vegan/vegetarian friendly, and very approving of plant-based nutrition.  Also, because the program is a condensed six month program, you have to know going into it that you’re not getting the same education or experience that you would at a three-year culinary school.  In the end, I feel like I still have a lot to learn and to cook, but that I have a better basic understanding of food and nutrition, and a much better foundation in knife skills, cooking techniques, ingredient knowledge and kitchen timing.  Again, I’m very glad that I completed the program.  If you are considering attending Bauman and have any other questions about my experiences, e-mail me at jamboxrock AT hotmail DOT com and I’ll try not to take forever to answer!

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Three-Cheese Spinach, Mushroom & Sausage Lasagna

As another use for my ever-shrinking log of Teese, last night I made lasagna.  I layered homemade chunky marinara (with celery and green pepper), uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles, tofu ricotta from the Unstuffed Shells recipe in Vegan Vittles, frozen thawed spinach, baby bella mushrooms, leftover VWAV tempeh sausage crumbles from last week, almond parmesan and shredded Teese.

Here’s one of the inside layers, I thought it was pretty.

lasagna

Just out of the oven.

lasagna

lasagna

I also made Cauliflower Leek Puree.  I discovered leeks last week and now I want to put them in everything.  For the puree, I boiled a chopped head of cauliflower and the green parts of the leek, sliced, for 15 minutes.  I drained it, whizzed it in the food processor with a dash of rice milk, a couple Tbs Earth Balance, salt, white pepper and a dash of nutmeg.  It was really nice, and easy to make for sure.

Here’s the pan after I ate two pieces for dinner, gave two pieces to bf, and packed a piece for lunch today.

lasagna

After I finally ate dinner last night just after 9PM, I remembered why I rarely make lasagna.  Firstly, it takes so long to make!  Sure, if I used jarred sauce instead of homemade I could shaved off 45 minutes, and also I’m so OCD about equal distribution of ingredients that it took me over a half hour just to assemble.  Then an hour to bake and cool.  Okay, so it takes ME so long to make.  A normal person could probably accomplish it in half the time.

My other problem is that it’s so dang delicious that I want to eat it all up, quick.  I already had another piece after lunch today!

Problems aside, this is the best vegan lasagna I have ever made, so hopefully when I have it in me to make it again in about a year it will be just as good.

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