Making Lasanga Vegan

I love epicurious.com soo much, well besides for their newly pixelated front page images…

crunchy images

Yikes.

Despite the fact that I can see their pixels, I freaking love their website.  It was the first place I went to when learning how to cook!  I found a recipe for a eggplant lasagna a few months ago, and have been tweeking it little by little each time I make it.  Everything I make at home is a mixture of raw+vegan, so lasagna was a challenge.  No cheese.  No meat.  An attempt to make it wheat-free.

The original recipe is here: click me for non-vegan recipe!

So here’s my recipe:

For béchamel

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 5 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups vegan non-dairy milk
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a large dash of  fresh cracked pepper

For everything else

  • 2 medium- large eggplant
  • 1 purple onion
  • 1 head of broccoli or cauliflower
  • whatever other veggies that are in the fridge that need to be eaten.

For ramesean cheese

  • 10ish cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup brazil nuts
  • a  dash of salt

The eggplant takes the most amount of time, so I always start there. I cut the eggplant lengthwise, and lay out on a cookie sheet or a few plates.  I salt the crap out of it and set aside while the oven heats up, usually about 20 minutes.  I shake off the water that comes out of the eggplant, and lay them out on a (different) cookie sheet and slather them with oil and salt.  Into the oven they go, for about 20-25 minutes.

I followed the lines of the béchamel pretty closely, but instead, using only half as much milk as the original recipe, and substituting whatever milk we had in the fridge.  I used coconut milk once, and it was actually really really good.  I saute the garlic and the margarine, and make a roux by adding the flour.  I add the remaining ingredients and set aside until I’m ready.  It turns into a paste pretty quickly, but don’t be discouraged!  This has the appearance of a really delicious cheese oozing everywhere, and has a slightly sweet taste.

The dough for the pasta gets super sticky because of the high gluten content of the semolina flour, so more whole wheat flour might be needed to calm down the stick.  I just throw this in the food processor and let it run wild on the dough setting.  It is fun to get your hands messy and kneed it by hand, too!  I roll out the pasta, pretty thick, cut into strips, and set aside to firm up a bit. No need to pre-boil or pre bake the pasta, since it’s fresh, it’s good to go.

The ramesean cheese is a raw recipe that is a great topping for pretty much everything.  It’s just raw garlic and nuts blended to hell in a food processor.  A perfect marriage really, and it doesn’t taste like you think it would.  It has a slightly sweet taste.  And, eating raw garlic is good for you, it’s an anti-fungal!  For this recipe, I throw the garlic on the top of the lasagna and let it get crunchy while baking.

After the eggplant, béchamel, ramesean, and pasta is all prepped, I use cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to saute the onion, cauliflower and any other veggies (bok choy, kale and collard greens in this particular case) quickly, and leave it slightly al-dente, since it’s going to be baking in just a minute.

To layer the lasagna, I use a generous portion of the béchamel on bottom, then layer pasta-eggplant-veggies until I run out of everything.  I top it off with the ramesean and bake for about 30 minutes.

And VOILA!

Advertisements

Hans Hansen

Hans Hansen is my best friend.

taken in Tijuana with a Holga.

Hans continues to inspire me, and I adore him more every day.  He is incredible driven, and he continues to be impressively curious as the years pass.  He recently just came back from a trip to Africa, where he hitched trains across the desert.  I mean, really, who does that?

I hope to someday retire to a trash-made-into-abode in the middle of the desert with Hans.  We’d have a bountiful garden, and a darkroom, of course.

The other day, he sent this to me:

So I had a dream last night that you and I were drafted into the army and shipped out of Fort Dix to the Carpathian mountains in order to trap Transylvanian wolves to interbreed with Greenland Huskies so the army could form a top secret crack winter commando unit for use in Afghanistan. We danced and drank with gypsies and ate lots of Ajvar. The army didn’t need any photographers.

This is a man I never want to lose.

The Story of Stuff

After an interview on the Daily Show, I’ve become obsessed with The Story of Stuff.

Not only is it cute and simplistic, the issues addressed are incredibly important.  I’m a big fan of the resources page, and hope to get some of my ladies involved with some activism and fundraising in the near future.

Check it out even if you don’t have time! Seriously fantastic site!

Eat.

I didn’t know I could cook until I lived in my first Brooklyn apartment that had a super awesome kitchen.  I discovered I loooooved cooking, then I discovered I loved cooking for other people, then  I discovered raw food, then just really really good food.  I continue to learn more and more about food, and I refuse to get set into a couple of recipes.  I was a butcher in my early twenties, I definitely love meat, but until the US has better farming practices, I am a vegetarian.  I eat cheese if someone offers, but I will never cook with cheese.  The man in the house is vegan, so there are no animal products in the house whatsoever.  That is, if you don’t count my eclectic honey collection.  Love those bees!

I get as close to a Locavore as possible.  This will be my second year buying a CSA in New York City, and I am very excited to see how this years harvest pans out.  We are trying out a new farm, all organic and all local. I try to eat only fruits and veggies, but a few nuts sneak into the mix.  The man likes bread, so I learned how to make bread.  I keep it simple, most of the food I make is considered,  slow or from scratch.  What I hate the most about eating out, is that I have no idea what kind of crappy ingredients are being used.  They buy the cheapest shit available.  THEY don’t even know the ingredients of some of the stuff they use. I decided that adding fresh bread to my diet was okay every once in a while, as long as I baked it myself. In my own home, I can use all organic ingredients and make higher quality foods.

I enjoy finding recipes not intended for an alternative eating audience, and turning them into vegan gold.  I’d like to start posting my vegan and raw recipes, because maybe I’m on to something.

This one is for Mum.

I recently cleaned out the fridge of any lingering veggies from the season, and decided to honor each winter vegetable for the passing of the season.  I had a Kabocha squash, and decided to make a meal out of thin air.

I started out with just roasting the squash, super hot oven with olive oil. I found heirloom tomatoes, garlic, onion, and a bit of shiitake mushroom lingering in my kitchen. Here goes!

I have never made ravioli.  I think that a squash ravioli would be delicious this time of year, and decided to whip it up.  I roasted the tomatoes and two heads of garlic while the oven was hot, and mashed them together with the squash.  Meanwhile, I sauteed two whole onions and the cup or so of shiitake mushrooms in olive oil and mixed it in with the mash.  There was a dash of truffle oil thrown into the mix as well as an overwhelming amount of fresh cracked pepper.

I found a basic recipe for eggless pasta, which consists of:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups organic whole wheat flour

I have an excellent food processor and used the ‘dough’ setting and walked away for a minute while it did all the work.  I rolled out the dough and cut different geometric shapes and set them aside.  I nurture the homemade look(and I kinda didn’t know what I was doing), so I went as abstract as possible.  I threw the squash mixture in, and sealed with a fork.  I boiled the ravioli for about 2 minutes, and topped with a delicious sauce I made up from other lingering ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegan margarine (like Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

Oh, my lord.  They were absolutely delicious.  My pasta-grubbing man said it was some of the best pasta he had ever had.  It blew my mind how delicious it was.  We froze the remaining rav’s and I can’t wait to tear into them on a day when I don’t feel like cooking.  All in all, it wasn’t so terribly difficult to create, and easy on the pocketbook, as well.

To make eggless pasta is the easiest thing I have ever done, and it was so delicious, that it has to be done again in the future.

Tell me more.

I can’t think of a better title for a blog.

The internet has given us all the self-important duties of checking in with our peers by way of stalking their pages without a proper hello, and the constant mindless updates.   I’d like to rid myself of unimportant social networking sites such as facenook, and meespace, and I would like to have a collection of entries documenting true interests and day-to-day.  I’d look at my “profiles” and notice that I was keeping something from the “public” which were in essence my “friends” and see that I would censor.  I wouldn’t give my full self.  I would like to change that.  I have been driven to be an anti-social person due to all this online networking, but would prefer that I keep a timeline of my life for anyone to read.

I keep making blogs for specific things, one for my pain, one for my prose, my cooking, my travel.  This should encompass everything.  I am going to spill it all here.  I’d like to start doing artist interviews that include my photographs.  I will update and share images of what I’m working on.  I think it’s important to share what it’s like to be an adult student returning to academia.  I need to start sharing recipes I create, the delicious raw food I create and the vegan recipes I make out of non-vegan ones.  And just be honest.  I have a huge year ahead of me, and I plan to make it though with gusto.  I have deadlines, goals, tons of projects, and a few gallery openings.  This year is going to be so much better than the last.  I will be stronger and tougher and thriftier this year.  I hope that we can all say that.

I will not censor myself.  I invite you to do the same.