Posted in Chef Lane, Food

Chef Lane: No Noodle Lasagna


I’m working out how to utilize all the produce from my Bountiful Basket order.  First up, today, was the eggplant.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it, but when I started to work, I realized that the bottom quarter of the plant was not usable.  So, I switched gears and turned it into a lasagna.

No pictures again, but this time because it smelled so good I kind of dove into it before I thought to take any.

You will need:

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 3 leaves of fresh basil (or dried)
  • 1/2lb of ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup pasta sauce of your choice
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1tsp Cilantro Paste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Slice eggplant into paper thin rounds.
  3. Dredge the rounds in egg (I added a dash of salt to the egg), then coat with bread crumbs.
  4. Place the coated eggplant on a cookie tray and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, turning the rounds halfway through.
  5. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. Finely chop basil leaves.
  7. Slice onion into thin rounds.
  8. Leave half in rounds, and finely chop the other half.
  9. Mix garlic, cilantro, and chopped onion into lamb, then brown in skillet on stovetop. While meat is browning, add half the basil leaves.
  10. In a small casserole dish, pour a small amount of pasta sauce and cover bottom of dish. Layer the bottom with the baked eggplant rounds. Add a layer of onion rounds. Use half the goat cheese and create a cheese layer.
  11. Pour in the entire meat mixture for the next layer.
  12. Cover with a layer of pasta sauce
  13. Add the rest of the goat cheese and cover layer.
  14. Cover with the rest of the eggplant rounds and the rest of the pasta sauce
  15. Top with parmesan cheese and the remaining basil.
  16. Cook at 350 for 35 minutes.

This makes about 6 heaping 1/2 cup servings, and works out to the following per serving numbers (according to MyFitnessPal):

  • 253 calories
  • 17 carbs
  • 15 fat
  • 14 protein
  • 4 fiber

Thor ate his up!  This means I got eggplant, onion, basil and cilantro into the boy without his knowing it.  Yay!

 

 

Posted in Chef Lane

What’s Cookin’: Tofu Tacos


Tofu Tacos were what was for dinner tonight.  They were nice enough that B ate all of his!  Thor was with Grandma, and so was spared the indignity of being served faux meat.

Some prep tips:

1.  Julie Anne Rhodes taught me that the way to prep your tofu for any kind of crumbles is to freeze, then thaw overnight.  The ice crystals breaking down does something to the texture that makes it easier to work with.

2.  You’ll be working with hot peppers, so if you are at all like me (forgetful and itchy), wear gloves.  You’ll be less inclined to rub your eyes with latex on your fingers.

3.  To warm your soft tortillas, put 4 at a time in the microwave for 15 seconds, then flip them and nuke for 15 more seconds.

4.  To get the goody out of an avocado, slice it longways, all the way around, then twist the halves until they just slide apart.  You can slide a spoon between the skin and the meat, and work it around the edges to pull the meat out whole.  Do the same thing with the pit–just work around it with a spoon until it pops out.  I learned this watching the guys at Dino’s Subs.

 

You will need 1lb of extra firm tofu (prepped as above), 2tbs of brown sugar, 2tbs of Gourmet Garden Mexican spice (or your preferred taco seasoning), 1/2 each jalapeno, poblano, red pepper (seeded), 1 small sweet onion, salt to taste, 2 Tbs of sunflower oil, 1 avocado thinly sliced, and shredded cheese and sour cream to taste.
Slice and seed your peppers. Watch your fingers! Just the skin of a jalapeno can transfer oils that will make your eyes water for days if you rub it in them. Save your produce bags for little trash bags to use as you go. You won’t want to put the pepper stuff in your garbage disposal.
I used a nutmeg grater to grate down the jalapeno. I just used half of the pepper. If you want it hotter, use the whole thing.
I use my “as seen on tv” slicer doohickey to slice my poblano and red peppers, and my onion.
Saute your peppers and onions in 1Tbs of sunflower oil. Onions should be transparent and peppers tender.
While your veggies saute, work on your tofu.  It is going to be soaking wet. Wring it out like a sponge until it is pretty dry. Then, use your fingers to crumble it into bits until it is the texture of taco meat. I was talking and crumbling and crumbled this a little too much and got a cornmeal texture.
Add your brown sugar, Mexican seasoning, and grated jalapeno to the tofu, then mix, mix, mix.
Veggies come out of the skillet, and tofu mixture goes in with its own 1Tbs of oil. Use scissors to chop up the peppers and onions into confetti.
Brown your tofu.
Warm your tortillas. Slap on a little sour cream, add a couple of slices of avocado, spoon in your “taco meat”, spoon on your peppers and onions, sprinkle on a little cheese and fold.
Serve hot with a side salad and some chips. This recipe made 6 totally stuffed soft tacos with enough left over for…
Part of tomorrow’s salad. I sliced the remaining poblano and red peppers, and mixed those with the sauteed peppers and tofu. I added about 2 tsp of Balsamic Vinegar and put it in the fridge to let the flavors marinate. Tomorrow, I will serve this over greens with tortilla chip crumbles.