Wednesday, October 18, 2006

vegetable perception

I really enjoyed meeting everyone at Whole Foods and I'm sure the library will put my 5% to good use. I thought I'd post quickly to give everyone the web address for The Kretschmann Farm delivery and some veggie photos. For a more comprehensive view of what's in the box this week, go to my flickr photos.

And, as long as I'm wearing my sometimes food blogger hat I thought I'd post a recipe I've referred to at Kitchenography (thanks for asking!) and Eat and probably elsewhere too, the meatless Mushroom Moussaka from The New M--sewood Cookbook. While it may be against the law to publish this recipe here, Katzen would do better to chase down the Martha Stewart's Everyday Food staff, who routinely copy her recipes. Unless she's sold them to Everyday Food, in which case I say all's fair.

Without further ado, Mushroom Moose-aka.

1. Slice 3 medium eggplants into 1/4 inch rounds. Salt them and layer them in a colander, or between towels. Stand 20-30 min.

Meanwhile, start the mushroom sauce.

2. Cut 2 lbs mushrooms into quarters, at least, or smaller if that's your style. Heat 2 tbs olive oil your tomato sauce pot. Add 2 c onions and salt, and cook over med heat until the onions are translucent. Don't rush this. Add mushrooms and garlic, cover and cook 10 min or so.

3. Add 14-20 oz of tomato, some paste if you've got it, fresh if you want, whatever. Adjust your cook time accordingly.

4. Add 1 tsp or more cinnamon, black pepper to taste, 1 tsp each basil and oregano. Bring to a boil then simmer at least 15 minutes. The recipe calls for 1/2 c breadcrumbs and 1/2 c parm at this stage but I don't add bread unless I've got something sitting around that really wants to go in. And I usually throw in my parm rinds, which I keep for the purpose of making sauces. Do they teach you this on TV? Well, do it. Add 1 c packed fresh minced parsley.

Let the sauce cool and return to your sweaty eggplants. I wipe them now.

5. Lightly oil a baking sheet and pop your eggplant slices in the oven at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Now, for the not really Bechamel at all.

6. Fill your vintage 4 c Anchor Hocking measuring cup with 2 c milk and heat in the microwave. Or whatever.

7. Heat nice and hot 3 tbs olive oil in a small sauce pan.

8. Drop, one by one, stirring to a slurry, 6 tbs flour into the hot oil. Let it brown, let it stick a little, but don't let it burn. I've done this with a fork, or a whisk. You can turn down the heat as you go. When the flour paste is a nice dark yellowish tan, lift the sauce pan off the heat and cool it a moment.

9. Then pour in the milk, with the heat off, or low. Stir till smooth.

10. Keep the heat low and leave the sauce with 1/2 c feta or parm. Stir occassionally, don't let it scorch, wait for the cheese to melt and the whole thing should become smooth. I add a few whole cloves of garlic here, and a good pinch of nutmeg. And salt. All together now.

11. Put a double layer of eggplant in a casserole dish, or two, or whatever fits. Cover with mushroom sauce. Then a single layer of eggplant. Then the not-Bechamel.

Bake uncover'd in the 375 F oven for 30-45 minutes.

Making 2 sauces and cooking the shit out of the eggplants (why this dish works at all) can be a little athletic - you might get breathless but don't lose your concentration - it's part of the Pittsburgh winter triathalon, along with shoveling snow. Let me know if I've left out any details; I'm not very experienced at plotting this kind of thing. Good with green salad.

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Anonymous Julie said...

That sounds really, really good. As in, I have to make this soon.

That cookbook sat in my mother's kitchen for all of the seventies and eighties and nineties and I haven't checked lately but I'll bet it's still there. I can't remember her ever cooking a single thing out of it.

BTW, the Pittsburgh winter triathalon sounds fun so far. I sort of enjoy shoveling snow. Of course, we don't get anywhere near as much as Pittsburgh does and I don't have a particularly large amount of sidewalk to shovel. I might feel differently if I lived in Pittsburgh and had a larger area to shovel.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Kathryn said...

It was so nice meeting you today. Of course, tomorrow I'm going to window shop for shoes.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yessir, I will make this. Possibly this weekend.

3:11 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

I like my eggplants sweaty too. And this sounds too good not to try even if it might take all day. I never learned the parmesan rind trick watching Food TV, but I did read about it in the blogs. Do they melt away or just kind of get slimy?

The Greek diner near me serves a moussaka made with meat and potatoes with sides of rice and potatoes. It doesn't make any sense but it is one of my favorite things.

3:52 PM  
Blogger zp said...

You know, Julie, this is actually the only thing I regularly make from the Moosewood Cookbook. The other really good things in there - things like basic veggie lentil bulgar salad - are things I feel I know how to make off the cuff or wouldn't look there for a recipe. The rest of the stuff in there is, well, very 70s loaf.

As for the snow shoveling, we don't have much area to cover but Pittsburgh has hills almost everywhere. Benj thinks the official city slogan should be: "Pittsburgh. It's your gym!"

Shoes, Kathryn. One of my posts that never happened was a photo montage of my latest Filene's shoe purchases. I bought one pair for each of my favorite Golden Girls - Blanche (black heels to wear with pants), Dorothy (late summer sale sandals, kind of Grecian and flat) and Ma (heeled loafers with a cute buckle) . . . good to meet you too, I loved it!

Andy and MZN, I didn't mean to overstate the elaborateness of the recipe; it won't take all weekend or even all day. And you can stop it at lots of different stages.

As for the parm rinds, they become rubbery on the inside and slightly slimey/melty on the outside and you can fish them out of the sauce pot and eat them on a piece of stiff toast.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Is there some reason you wouldn't just make a real bechamel sauce, with butter, or does the olive oil flavor complement the eggplant? It's not like the dish is vegan or anything. I had this cookbook for decades, also, but the only thing I remember making from it is the cornbread.

It was great meeting everyone today, too, and thanks for suggesting it!

9:03 AM  
Blogger zp said...

I think the first time I made this I didn't have butter in the house. And when it worked with olive oil, I figured why not for sat fat and cholesteral reasons . . .

9:28 AM  

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