Eggplant Tofu Ricotta Disaster…


So this hasnt been updated in a while….Kristina is home sick, and school just started for me! My students are amazing so far, but wear me out! I guess middle schoolers tend to do that though…

This blog is going to be written a little differently, I am going to write as I cook.

Tonight’s meal comes from a pinterest post, and the blog “The ‘V’ Word: Extreme Vegan Makeover: Eggplant Rollatini Edition” (http://theveeword.blogspot.com/2009/09/extreme-vegan-makeover-eggplant.html)

I had made tofu ricotta before, two sad eggplants were residing in my unused cheese drawer in the fridge, and I had tomato sauce from a few days ago…so the recipe is a must try!

First step: cut eggplants, add oil, salt and pepper. Easy enough.

Nope I was wrong, this is not easy. The recipe calls for 1/2 inch slices…mine are way too thin. Going forward with it anyway, on to the baking sheet and into the 400 degree oven!

Second step: prepare the spinach tofu ricotta.

ingredients:

1 lb firm tofu
14 oz spinach (frozen and thawed)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Spinach is on the stove while all of the ingredients are dumped into my blender. The blended mix is too salty! I decided to add more of the spices and three large mushrooms…when in doubt, add mushrooms!

Spinach still cooking…checking on the eggplant, I realize that it is time to flip the slices over. After flipping the two, I realize that the size instruction was partly to help them not stick to the baking sheet. Two slices were lost while attempting to flip to the other side.

Spinach is still trying to defrost…this is taking too long.

I realize that I had not actually checked how much tomato sauce I had, it does not look like enough! This recipe is going downhill fast….

Spinach done, doused in cold water, drained, and patted dry with paper towel. The spinach does wonders to the ‘ricotta’ and it actually tastes pretty good!

Eggplant is ready to come out, and looks really wimpy. There is way too much ricotta to make the original dish with the amount of eggplant. Emergency altercation of recipe to eggplant lasagna!

There is still not enough tomato sauce, it is going to be a stretch. A sparse amount coats the bottom of the pan, and three slices of eggplant nestle inside. A heaping amount of tofu and spinach generously covers each of the three pieces with a dollop of tomato sauce. Three more eggplant pieces go down with the same proportions of toppings, until there are three layers of each. The remaining tomato sauce is painstakingly scooped out of the pot to cover the rest of the dish.

Hoping for the best I throw the entire thing in the oven at 350…

15 minutes in the oven and my apartment is starting to smell really good! After 20 minutes I take it out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

The photo is atrocious…the dish is good though!

Hopefully next post Kristina will be here to help salvage the next dish!

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Rolled and Baked Chicken with Feta and Sun-dried Tomatoes


Sunday rolled around this week with a simple question from Jenni, “What are we going to cook today?” she was feeling particularly un-vegan and had a craving for chicken, and so like the good friend that I am I suggested that we amend that urge and give into our more carnal needs for poultry. 

and now for Jenni to explain how we did the chicken, later I will explain how I made 2 different sauces to go with our meal.


 

Tonight, in the most non-vegan manner, I decided to branch out and create a pseudo stuffed chicken recipe (fake in that it is really rolled chicken….and yes, I used real chicken!). Now, you cannot just have chicken for dinner without a wonderful side dish! In addition to my stuffed chicken I sauteed mushrooms and spinach which made a plate overrun with healthy flavors (while simultaneously cleaning out the excess of spinach and mushrooms in my fridge).

Chicken Ingredients

Chicken cutlets
Sundried tomatoes
Feta cheese

This is insanely simple! Take a chicken cutlet, in the middle of it place some sundried tomatoes and feta cheese. Roll the cutlet into a..well…roll. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (or until cooked thoroughly). Enjoy!

Spinach and Mushroom Happiness

Ingredients:

fresh spinach
crimini mushrooms
white mushrooms
olive oil
garlic (sliced)

There are not specified quantities because it really depends on how many people are eating, and how big you would like your portions to be! Please remember that spinach and mushrooms loose a lot of their mass when sauteed, so you may want to add more than usually deemed necessary.

Again, something incredibly easy (but makes the house smell amazing!). Coat the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. Slice criminis, white mushrooms, and garlic and place in pan. Add a healthy portion of spinach to the top. Cover the frying pan and cook on medium, stirring a few times to ensure that everything cooks.


Kristina here again, now I said earlier in this post that I made to different sauces to go with our rolled chicken. One of which was an Kalamata Olive Aioli and another a roasted red pepper sauce. Now, I have a habit and love for making things off the cuff, and that is exactly what I did.  

The Aioli is simple. it’s base is mayo and I used ruffly half a cup. Traditionally you would use more mayo but I was trying to keep it reasonably healthy and mayo is really fatty. 

Kalamata Olive Aioli:

1/2 cup Mayo

1 cup Kalamata Olives

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Pepper

Salt

and 2 cloves of garlic.  I used 4 but that is because I have an unnatural love for all things garlicy. 

The second sauce, was made entirely on whim and I didn’t measure anything so I’ll just tell you what I put in it. 

1 roasted red pepper

Kalamata Olives

Sun-Dried tomatoes

olive oil

garlic 

both of these sauces were put in the food processor until creamy and used as wanted on any part of this dish.

 

Enjoy! and check out the rest of our posts~

Chickpea Obsession: Baked Falafel and Spinach Pesto Hummus

Baked Falafel, Spinach Pesto Hummus

Top right clockwise: Falafel Pita, Spinach Pesto Hummus, Baked Falafel, Mushrooms and Tomatillos

 

My name is Jenni, and I am obsessed with chickpeas.

The lunch meal choice is a culmination of pinterest cooking board wishlists, an excess of chickpeas in my pantry, and an untimely shortage of spinach basil hummus from the farmers market.

Baked Falafel Balls

My first step was to make baked falafel balls. Having made the fried ones before (and subsequently an awful mess in my kitchen), I was eager to try a baked alternative. For those of you who have never had falafel…or even those of you who have only eaten prepared falafel, the procedure is simple: cook slightly dried hummus (use less oil!). So grab your favorite hummus recipe (or use mine below…or follow the one on the original link, he has awesome pictures Frugal Feeding: Spicy Baked Falafel), add flour, and start cooking!

Jenni’s Hummus Ingredients

  • chickpeas (either half a cup dried, or a can of cooked beans)
  • garlic cloves
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • red pepper flakes
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • parsley

I prefer a spicy hummus. My mom makes a fabulous humus with just chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, and oil. Feel free to add whatever ingredients you like!

I included measurements for both dried and canned beans. I prefer using dried beans and cooking them in my rice cooker…it is cheap, no sodium is added, and I believe it tastes better. If you are stressed for time though, canned beans do work!

After you make the hummus, add a bit of flour so that the mixture clumps together. Roll into balls (think medium size meatballs!). Place in the oven at 250 and bake for 25-30 minutes. The original recipe called for eggs and breadcrumbs…I had neither of these in my apartment, so I went without!

 

Spinach Pesto Hummus

I love living near a farmers market, and I really adore the hummus people. One day, while picking up the best spinach pesto hummus in the world, I gushed to the vendor “I do not know how you can make this so wonderful!” He pointed to the ingredients listed on the container and simply stated “you put this into the blender…and blend it”. Fine. As to not infringe on their brilliant recipe, I left out the citric acid, and added a few extra ingredients. I used the following:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (equivalent to two cans!)
  • 1 handful of pine nuts (these are expensive!)
  • two big handfuls of leaf spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • parsley
  • enough olive oil to allow for a creamy mixture.

Place everything in the blender…and blend. The amounts listed made a rather large amount of hummus…maybe too much hummus…oh! i know! I can bake some of it later!!

 

A super chickpea pita

Now that I have my falafel, and my hummus, I need a vehicle on which to place my chickpea obsession. I took a whole wheat pita, ripped about a half inch off the top of one side, carefully spread the pocket open, and microwaved it. I then smeared the pesto hummus on it, added leaf spinach (ok, a bit crazy about spinach too), mushrooms, tomatillos (wanted to use tomatoes but they were not ripe… the tomatillos gave an interesting twist), falafel, and a squirt of italian dressing. I rolled the pita and ate it burrito style.

I deem this meal a success!!