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Presto Manifesto Lasagna

September 19, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

This recipe is on p.140 of the Vegan Fusion World Cuisine cookbook, by Mark Reinfeld and Bo Renaldi.

I had set this goal of cooking one new recipe each week. Little did I know what a major calamity it was going to turn out to be. Today was literally a comedy of errors. Where to begin? Well, I had this all planned out; I was supposed to shop for ingredients at 3pm and begin cooking at 4pm. Luckily, I did the bulk of my shopping at around noon. So, I took my ingredients home, started to lay them out on the kitchen table and realized I had missed about 4 key ingredients. I decided it would be a good idea to combine my 60-minute walk which needed to occur either today or tomorrow, with my walk to my local co-op, so I headed out with my backpack and hoped it would not rain too much for my 2+ mile walk. I picked up my ingredients and walked home. I set the timer to see how long this recipe would actually take me to cook, because it says prep time is 50 minutes and cooking time is 30 minutes. It actually took me 2 hours and 42 minutes from the time I set out all of my ingredients.

So I began preparation for the second time. And I realized that I had missed part of the recipe completely…just one more key ingredient missing…2 1/2 cups of fresh basil for the pesto part…duh. Hopped into the car, raced to the co-op and found a 1/4 lb bag of fresh basil. Asked the grocery clerk if this was the same as 2 cups, and he promised me it was. Um, no. The recipe calls for the basil to be tightly packed. It turns out that 1/4 lb of basil, when tightly packed is about 1 cup. Oh, well. I couldn’t make another trip to the co-op. Time was running out.

Here are my strange changes which ended up tasting ok:

  • The recipe calls for grilling the vegetables. I don’t have an accessible bbq at this point in time and I don’t know how to grill vegetable otherwise, so I pan-fried them which is ok according to the recipe. When grilling, the recipe book tells you to flip to p.194 for grilling instructions, something I had not noticed before…so at p. 194, I realized I was supposed to have all of these ingredients for Babu’s Basting Sauce – yikes! Then, I wasn’t sure how or if I was supposed to use basting sauce if I was not grilling, but frying the veggies…I decided to used the sauce (I only made half of the quantity suggested) to cook the veggies and tofu in. And, as a basis for the pesto. This turned out to be an excellent idea as it used up the whole amount of the sauce and added more flavor overall.
  • I used macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts in the pesto – yum!
  • I couldn’t find black sesame seeds for garnishment, which I think is ok.
  • Ok -the recipe calls for way too much lasagna…20 oz for a 9×13 inch casserole dish with only 3 layers of pasta??? I think an 8 oz box of pasta would have been fine. Now I have a significant amount of cooked lasagna noodles to do something with…hm. Oh, also…I didn’t notice much of a difference in using spelt noodles as compared with traditional noodles.

Lessons learned:

  • Read completely through the recipe before writing down the ingredients to shop for. I could even lay out the ingredients I already have if I am shopping the same day.
  • When putting lasagna in pot to pre-cook, drop each piece in separately so that they are not so hard to take apart later.

Possible Improvements:

  • This ended up being a bit runnier than I would want it to be. I think more vegetables are required to hold it together.
  • Maybe some of the tofu could be replaced with vegan sausage to add some more flavor.
  • Maybe additional layers of tomato. The tomato layer on the top was really good, so add tomatoes to each layer for more flavor.
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