one man's ceiling
Saturday, January 20, 2007
  the spinach mushroom lasagna thing (and a zuska secret)

i already mentioned the mushroom-spinach lasagna thing in the previous post which prompted the call to make it again. the recipe below is what i just finished making; it's never the same recipe twice, and its adaptability is what makes it good.

first, it has no noodles in it. my substitution is eggplant, but it can be made simply by layering ingredients like a lasagna. then i guess you can call it a casserole. if you'd prefer a layer of zucchini it would work just as fine, as would the elimination of that layer altogether.

also, this time it was made with sweet pork sausage. i recognize this eating of meat thing may offend some but the carnivores of the house would just as easily eat my flesh if i forced vegetarianism on them so i just roll with it. the dish originally is totally meatless and i've included adjustments if you're eating meat free.

it isn't vegan because it requires cheese. yes, requires. cheese. what donuts are to homer simpson, cheese is to various occupants here at chez frommage.

also, this takes a bit of prep time. almost two hours before i tossed it into the oven, then another 30 to bake. good if you've got the rest of the fam doing something else (and this would be the previously hinted at secret) like playing video games. yes, while i was sauteing and slicing and whatnot my lovely zuska was sitting on the floor in front of the tv playing with my prehistoric playstation. you'll notice there's no number following the word playstation because the original unit had no number. yes, we're in the 20th century gaming stone age here, and it's a marvel that we've kept the game locked up and away from the girls for this long.

so zuska slipped easily into her gaming childhood playing spyro while i was in the kitchen making...

eggplant-spinach-mushroom lasagna to prepare the mushroom mixture:
place olive oil in large skillet and heat to medium
add sausage meat and cook, flattening and crumbing until mostly done, about 7 to 10 minutes (obviously you skip this if you aren't using meat)
add chopped onion and mix until soft, another 3 to 5 minutes
add the mushrooms and mix again
add basil and oregano and salt, mix, and lower heat to medium low and let sit
meanwhile...

to prepare the spinach mixture:
heat butter to a large saucepan on medium until melted
add garlic and saute until fragrant, not too long
toss in the spinach and mix. if the spinach is still a bit frozen (or even all the way) don't worry, it'll still work.
mix occasionally and let the water cook out
meanwhile...

to prepare the eggplant:
fill a large bowl with cold, salty water
slice the peeled eggplant extra thin using a mandoline
put the slices into the water to leech out any bitterness, about 10 minutes or so
remove from the mater and pat dry
finally...

to assemble the lasagna/casserole:
preheat the oven to 375 degrees
drop a half cup of marinara into the bottom of a 9x12 pan.
note: if you have a real lasagna pan that at least 3 inches deep, great, otherwise get out a 9x9 square pan and make a second, smaller dish as you go (this usually ends up in the freezer and eaten the following weekend as a lunch or an emergency meal)
separate the eggplant slices into thirds and line the bottom of the pan(s) with a layer of eggplant
take one third of the tofu and crumble onto the eggplant (this replaces the usual ricotta, with few people ever knowing the difference, which cuts the dairy fat and adds some healthy protein)
sprinkle one fourth of the mozzarella cheese atop the tofu
next layer is one third of the mushroom (and sausage) mixture followed by
one third of the spinach mixture
top with another half cup of marinara and do it again
after the third layer top with marinara, then mozzarella, the the parm

into the oven for 30 minutes, let sit for a couple after it's out, serve to loved ones

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Comments:
um, i'd never played Spyro the Dragon before in my life.

but yeah, e. and I killed 3 hours.

it was fun, though. and scary just how innate it is for a 10 year old to operate the controls of a video game.
 
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