Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Don't Judge an Eggplant Lasagna By Its Cover

I would be lying if I said I never pre-judged a recipe by it's picture.  But we all know, sometimes that beautiful roast turkey is bone dry, and sometimes the prettiest salad is hiding something you can't stand (i'm talking to you, frisee)

But sometimes, just sometimes, the opposite happens.

Sometimes, the carefully planned dish you're spent days dreaming of and gathering ingredients, and choosing a nice bottle of wine to go with, and cleaning your house so it looks nice when your future in-laws come over for dinner, and imagining how pretty and wonderful it will be to post pictures of it on The Yellow Spatula; just looks like a pile of mush!

But then, it makes your whole house smell so wonderful while it cooks and you can't wait to try it even though it looks a little crazy. So you serve it up and dig in, and it's half gone even before you can take a picture of it!

This is the story of the next dish.  I call it:

Don't Judge an Eggplant Lasagna By Its Cover

Serves 4 with plenty of leftovers

Here's what you'll need:
1 peeled eggplant, sliced in long, thin pieces (I used a mandoline slicer)
1 can drained kidney beans
2 chopped zucchini
2 chopped carrots
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups spinach
1/2 chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 minced garlic cloves
To taste: crushed basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, pinch of salt/pepper
Tomato sauce (leftover works fine)
Daiya cheese (I used shredded pepperjack)
Cashew cheese (Basic cashew cheese recipe from here; I left out the lemon because my favorite wine consultant Bob told me the acidity in the main dish would catastrophically destroy the delicate flavors of the wine he helped me choose. If you too would like a wine consultant, I can't recommend this guy enough. Please go visit his store and buy lots of wine from him.)

Here's what to do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Set a cookie sheet underneath the oven shelf where you'll bake the lasagna (prevent spillage!).
Grease your baking dish (I used TJ's coconut oil spray).
Sautee all the veggies, carrots first, until soft but not mushy.
Drain and rinse the beans, add them to the sautee.
Let the layering begin!
Put a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
Follow it with a layer of eggplant on top. It's ok if the eggplant slices overlap a bit to fill up the dish.
Top it off with a layer of cashew cheese.
Repeat: sauce, eggplant, cashew cheese until you've used up all the eggplant.
Sprinkle the top of the dish with the daiya cheese.
Cover with tinfoil.
Bake for about 40 minutes until everything is bubbly .
Remove tinfoil and broil for about 3 minutes until the cheese is melty and browning and incredibly wonderful.  Don't leave the oven while you work on this. In fact, don't let your hand leave the oven door handle while you watch the browning action like a hawk, or you'll burn it and things will get sad.
Remove from the oven and please let it sit for about 5 minutes so your guests don't burn their tongues.
Serve, with some perfectly paired wine like this one (but Bob has a better price).

It's like, really good.

And the moral of the story is, beauty is in the eye of the forkholder!

Have fun, Spatulettes!  Au revoir 'til next time!

Future in-laws enjoying lasagna!
I didn't even have to trick them into eating cashew cheese!

Clean Plate Club. Didn't let the dogs help.

Served with Matzah Popovers.
I'll tell you about 'em sometime!

Totally unrelated, but LOOK! This happened!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Most Interesting Salad In The World

I'm not gonna lie... this was the most TIME AND LABOR INTENSIVE salad in the world...
And it was worth every precious second of prep!

I was inspired by OhSheGlows and a rare, leisurely Tuesday afternoon. Because it literally took all Tuesday Afternoon.  I could have taken a few shortcuts here and there like not making home made salad dressing and hummus from scratch. Or using a can of tuna instead of making vegan almond "tuna" salad. But I didn't. And  here's what I got:

YEAH! I know, right!? It was as delicious as it was gorgeous.  It called for some celebration, so I took advantage of the lingering Tuesday afternoon sunlight to take some pictures of my creation and we ate it outside on the patio.  Eating dinner outside when it's still light out is a rare weekday treat that I believe should be taken advantage of whenever possible!

So here you go, Spatulettes. It's...

The Most Interesting Salad In The World

Here's what you'll need for the Salad:
  • 2 to 3 cups Mixed Greens
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 sliced cucumber
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Half avocado, sliced 
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds 
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds  
Assemble in a bowl in the prettiest way possible.

And the Dressing: 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup cashews, soaked for about 4 hours, then drain and rinse (I had leftover cashew sour cream that I used)
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons of dill
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
Put it all in a food processor or blender (I used our Blendtec) and make it go!
And the Hummus:
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes 
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons of Tahini
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • A smidge of olive oil
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika (or Trader Joe's South African Smoke!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt  
Chop up the garlic in a food processor (or little cuisinart chopper).  Add the garbanzo beans, tahini, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Whiz until smooth. Add in the water a little at a time to thin your hummus to the desired consistency.  You can also add more lemon juice or olive oil if you're so inclined. 

Don't eat it all yet so there's some left for the salad.

And the "Tuna Salad": 
  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked for about 2 hours, rinsed, and drained 
  • 2 stalks of finely chopped celery
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons of mayo (I used leftover cashew sourcream, but you could also use extra cashew puree from your salad dressing)
  • 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard (I used grey poupon because it's fun to say)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper
Put the soaked and rinsed almonds into the food processor and pulse until all of the almonds are chopped up and starting to look like tuna.  Add the rest of the ingredients to a bowl with the almonds as you would make regular tuna salad! This is seriously SO GOOD.

Assemble the Minions! I mean... Assemble the Salad!
Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Sit down and eat because you're going to be starving at this point. Unless you snacked on the hummus and tuna already while you waited for your dinner date to get home.  I think I enjoyed taking pictures of this salad as much as I enjoyed eating it, so i'll leave you with some eye candy.

Enjoy, Spatulettes!

Dining al fresco!
All dressed up and ready to eat!
Flash says, "i don't know what is salad but i will eat it, please."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Detroit Fried Matzah

Ok Spatulettes, what do you call this?:

My family calls it Matzah Brei. 

The family i'm marrying into calls it Fried Matzah. Maybe it's a Detroit thing. 

Whatever you call it, whether you make it in a pancake or a scramble, it's delicious and if you've got to eat Matzah for a week, it may as well be like this!

So in honor of the Levy's in California and Michigan, whom we were sadly unable to join for Passover this year (Next year in Jerusalem Detroit!), I bring you:

Detroit Fried Matzah

Serves 1
The main difference between Detroit Fried Matzah and Matzah Brei is two words in the title of the recipe.  Just change the name for maximum Detroit-ness.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 Square of Matzah (I used gluten free because sometimes I don't eat normal things anymore)
  • A splash of milk (I used coconut. See above.)
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Maple Syrup (I used melted coconut oil with some cinnamon mixed in but it's probably not very authentic) 
  • Berries (and/or powdered sugar) to garnish
Here's what to do:
  • Crumble up the matzah into small-ish pieces, bigger than an oyster cracker, but smaller than a saltine cracker.
  • Soak the matzah pieces in the scrambled egg mixed with milk and spices until it's nice and mushy.
  • Cook like you would a round omelet; pour the mixture into a heated pan (make sure you oil the pan first if it's non-non-stick).  Swish it around and pull the edges in with a (yellow) spatula to allow more egg mixture to fill in any cracks.  Let it sit for a a bit until it's sturdy enough and toasty enough to flip. Cook through.
  • Serve smothered in berries or syrup or whatever else you like. Go wild!

So really though, tell me in the comments; what do you call this delicious Passover staple?  Bring it up at your seder to spark some conversation when your relatives start saying things like "These potatoes are too salty!" because you accidentally put two tablespoons of salt into the potato casserole when you should have used two teaspoons. Not that I would EVER do anything like that...

Happy Passover, Spatulettes near and far!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pizza! said the lady with the alligator purse

Cauliflower crust pizza has been popping up online everywhere and I simply had to try it!  I made it detox-friendly so it's totally dairy, gluten, soy, and processed-sugar free. And it was also AH-MAZING.
I adapted mine from this recipe HERE.

Superscrumptious Cauliflower Crust Pizza


For Crust

    • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower - should yield close to 3 cups once processed
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Sprinkling of dried basil 
    • Sprinkling of dried oregano 
    • Sprinkling teaspoon garlic powder
    • A bit of of crushed red pepper
    • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I used Trader Joe's which is brown rice flower)
    • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy flavor)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 egg
    • Nonstick cooking spray (I used coconut oil from Trader Joe's in the spray can)

For Toppings

    • Rice Cheese (I used a block of Daiya cheese that I grated about half of onto the crust but I think the Daiya shreds would have been easier)
    • Olives
    • Mushrooms
    • Onion
    • Pizza sauce (I used a can of tomato paste with half a can of water, mixed with dried basil, oregano, marjoram, and garlic because I couldn't find any premade sauce at the store without added sugar)


  • Preheat the oven to 450, with a pizza stone or baking sheet on the middle rack
  • Spritz some parchment paper on top of a cutting board with cooking spray
  • Wash the cauliflower. Food-processor it until it looks like snow
  • Microwave the cauliflower snow for 30 seconds covered to cook  it a bit
  • Once the cauliflower has cooled a bit, put in a clean dishtowel and wring out ALL the water.  This takes a little time and some elbow grease.
  • Add the cauliflower to a bowl, along with the spices, flour, nutritional yeast, olive oil and mix it together.
  • Beat the egg in a small bowl, then to the mixture and keep mixing. I used my hands. It was a delightfully mushy sensory experience.
  • Flatten your "pizza dough" out onto the parchment paper covered cutting board
  • Use the cutting board like a pizza paddle to CAREFULLY place the parchment paper with the pizza dough onto the pizza stone in the oven.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges are crispy but not totally burnt because it's going back in the oven with the toppings for a little while longer.
  • While the pizza crust is baking, sautee your onions and mushrooms (or prepare your pizza topping of choice)
  • Once the crust is ready, carefully take the crust out of the oven with your cutting board and lots of potholders.
  • Slather on some pizza sauce, grated "cheese," and the olives, mushrooms, onion (the works)
  • Bake again, just long enough to melt the cheese
  • Slice it up and enjoy with your fiance and remind him to wait a minute or two so he doesn't burn the roof of his mouth.
This was REALLY really good. I think the crust would have been crispier if I had worked harder at wringing the water out of the cauliflower, so keep that in mind if you try it yourself!  And don't forget to let me know how it goes!

That's all for now Spatulettes! Stay tuned for next time!