Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vegetarian Lasagna

Justin and I just tried out a great recipe for eggplant and zucchini lasagna. Since it was the first time we tried the recipe, I didn't photograph the process, but it was really easy and really good.

1 large eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided (don't skip the salt. I did, and ended up needing to add it back in for more flavor)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (I used dried oregano)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (I used large curd cottage cheese instead)
Cooking spray
1 (8-ounce) package precooked lasagna noodles
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, oregano, red pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Combine basil, ricotta, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over tomato mixture; top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini. Spread ricotta mixture over vegetables; cover with 4 noodles. Spread 1 cup tomato mixture over noodles; layer with remaining eggplant and zucchini slices. Arrange remaining 4 noodles over vegetables, and spread remaining tomato mixture over noodles. Top evenly with mozzarella. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until browned. Cool for 5 minutes.

I froze a portion in tupperware to see how it saves. I'll let you know how it turns out, one desperate evening when there is nothing to eat.

Recipe from Cooking Light Aug 2008.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shameless promotion

Justin's new website is up and running, and he has some great new items for sale. If there are ornaments, candle votives, jewelry items, wine glasses, and anything in between on your Christmas gift list, take a look and give a unique handmade gift. He also takes custom orders if you have something special in mind.

Check it out:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shout Out!

This dog was so cute, waiting outside of a local grocery store for his Person, I thought he deserved a post of his own. This IS Love Dog Ranch after all.

Happy Fall!

Vegetarian Chili (aka Taco Soup)

My friend Tiffany and I spent one summer in Seattle eating this chili approximately every day. That might be an exaggeration, but we really did eat it a lot. And we were excited every time. And it was delicious. One of the reason's I like this recipe is because it's quick, easy, and filling. Also, most of these ingredients regularly live in my cupboards or fridge so it's easy to throw together last minute. We had taken to calling this "taco soup", but it is not exactly taco or soup so much as it is chili... so no squabbling.

Taco Soup
(serves 6)
2 cans kidney beans (mostly drained)
2 cans black beans
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 can corn (drained)
1 packet (or 2 to taste) Hot taco seasoning mix
small yellow onion (chopped)
chopped fresh jalapeno(s)
bunch green onion
bunch cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

I've come to realize that for most of my recipes I don't measure since I do everything to taste. In a large pot over low heat combine the drained kidney beans and corn, and the cans of black beans and stewed tomatoes. Throw in some chopped onion, chopped jalapeno (I use a lot, with seeds, because I like it hot), chopped green onion, some cilantro, and add the taco seasoning mix, stirring together. Put on the lid and allow to warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve in warmed bowls, garnished with chopped cilantro, green onion, cheddar, and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I publicly declare my love for quiche

Yes, it's true. I love quiche. It's so easy to make, its great for any meal, and it keeps well for leftovers. Also, if you're having a dinner gathering you can make it in advance. I save time by using frozen pie shells because, honestly, I would rather pay $2 than take the time to make one myself and have to clean up that mess, and I like having them ready to go in the freezer any time. One of my favorites:

Spinach Quiche (serves six)
You will need:

4 eggs
1/2 cup milk (any will do and I have used soy in the past and that worked too)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or regular salt, but I like garlic in almost everything)
black pepper
1 box frozen spinach (quick thaw and drain/squeeze out liquid)
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 frozen deep dish pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and pour into shell. Keep a little bit of cheddar to garnish (melt on top just before the quiche is done, or if you have shredded parmesan instead, that's a nice touch too). Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Seriously, could it get any easier than that? I can't wait to eat my lunch today! (its the little things in life...)

P.S. My dog is cute.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Adventures in Spokane

Yes, I know my title might sound like a contradiction, but I broadly define an adventure as any experience that deviates from the plan (which is why life itself is an adventure).

I did the solo drive over to the east side of the state on Saturday morning, and arrived to Aubrie and Garrett's in the afternoon. We got a short visit in with Grant, Kristol, and Atalie (and her precious cheeks) and then drove up to Walter's Fruit Ranch in Green Bluff where it's prime season for apples, apple cider, and pumpkins. I have many fond Green Bluff memories from my college years so it was fun to go up with my old college friend & her new baby. Sort of a time travel experience in both directions. We also stopped by Trezzi Farm to pick up some homemade Italian food to go. I haven't tried my pesto lasagna yet, but I have heard rave reviews from Aubrie.

I had planned to do the drive back to the west side Sunday afternoon, but due to a dust/wind storm and the closing of Interstate-90 my return trip was delayed until 6am this morning. Happily, stuck in Spokane did not mean stranded, thanks to the extended hospitality of Aubrie, Garrett, and Claire. Thanks for the delicious soup and apple pie!

My hospitable hosts:

Aubrie & me up at Green Bluff:


Loving the role of "Auntie Brooklyn"