Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 1: IT BEGINS! Also, lasagna and babies.

Ah!  I am using the computer for the first time since we got home from the birth center.  (For those playing along at home, I had a baby on Monday!)  So I'm reading the PPK and what do I see but a bunch of threads about Vegan MoFo starting.  "SHIITAKE!" shouts I, "IT IS OCTOBER ALREADY!"

Well, as you can expect, I'm not up and cooking anything really at this point.  Actually, my new life consists of napping, eating, feeding my new little creature, and napping while feeding my new little creature.  It is a pretty good life.

Wisely, we froze a LOT of food before the baby was born, so there's a lot of deliciousness hanging around waiting to be eaten.  Including THREE Epic Lasagnas!

What is Epic Lasagna?  Well, I don't have the time/energy to retype it entirely, but here's what I said about it on Facebook when I originally cooked it:

Cut the tops off 5 lbs of tomatoes, drizzle with oil, and roast with whatever tasty crap you have around for about an hour. Fish out anything non-edible (rosemary stems primarily) and discard.

Caramelize a gigantic onion or two, with lots of garlic if you're not suffering from fetus-induced garlic intolerance. 

Pour onions/garlic into a stock pot and deglaze the onion pan with a generous amount of red wine. 

Add three or so jars of store bought sauce to stock pot, stir, then pour in the roasted tomatoes et al from earlier.

Take a potato masher or a big fork and mash gently, so that the baked tomatoes aren't pulverized entirely and your sauce is kinda chunky. 

Add more chopped rosemary or other fresh herbs. Bring to a simmer and mix in a butt ton of chopped basil.

Taste for seasoning... add more salt and pepper as necessary, and maybe a little more wine if it's not quite right yet. Congrats, you've finished the sauce!

Prepare your "cheese" mixture. If you are vegan as hell, this entails making a delicious cashew ricotta that is a bit of an adventure in and of itself. Anyway, make sure your cheese or equivalent is ready and put it in the fridge while you do other stuff.  (Note:  this is the Veganomicon cashew ricotta, of course!)

Boil lasagna noodles according to package so that they're just al dente (mushy lasagna BAD) and set aside to cool.

Figure out what other vegetables you're going to put in here and separate into vegetables that need to be cooked first and ones you can put in uncooked.

In my case, I am using eggplant which is sometimes tough if you don't cook it on its own first! So I will brush it with oil and roast it and then let it sit while I do other stuff.

Other than that, I am just chopping up a ton of zucchini and swiss chard.

So then you are finally to assembly! You get one gigantic pan or a couple of smaller pans. Depth is good but if you don't have any deep pans, it's okay, you will just get shorter lasagna.

Cover the bottom of your pan(s) with sauce. Then a layer of noodles, then one of cheese equivalent, then one of vegetables, then another of sauce. Continue until you are at the top of your pan. It doesn't really matter what order you put these four things in, but the top and bottom layer should always be sauce.

Cover the pans in foil or use glass lids if you have something awesome like that on hand. Put them in a pretty hot oven (maybe 425?) for a while. Like, forty minutes maybe. Then take the covering off, drop the temperature to something cooler like 350, and bake for another twenty to thirty minutes. It should be bubbly as hell and have crispy bits around the edges.

Then it's all over except cooling and eating!

That's it!  Happy MoFo everyone!


Bex said...

I've been kinda craving lasagna so this is kinda putting me over the edge. Kinda. Ok lasagna here I come!

Jeni Treehugger said...

Congratulations on the birth of your baby - awesome news.
Reading what your recipe made me laugh, that's exactly how recipes should be written.

Anonymous said...

I read your birth story on the ppk and am so happy for you and your family. I love hearing about happy healthy vegan babies. That lasagna sounds pretty incredible!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Congrats on the baby!!!!

Zoey said...

Yum, that sounds good. Freezing lasagnas before you had your baby was a really good idea.

And congratulations on the birth of your baby!