Monday, January 19, 2009

Lame Lasagna

I was all ready to try Isa's much raved about Tofu Ricotta in my very own lasagna this past weekend. Everyone in blogger land seems to be sharing similar vices for getting through the yucky winter weather that has gripped at least one hemisphere for the last month or so - Comfort Food.

There is no comfort food like my mom's cooking. She was the best for cooking just the right thing for her kids: Magic Squares (made with coconut, chocolate, and condensed milk), mac and cheese, cheese cake and of course - her amazing lasagnas. I am convinced that more than one of my boyfriends dated me purely for my mom's lasagnas. So, of course, I wanted to try and weave some of that magic into mine and Kevin's lazy Sunday, which we spent in bed, at the market and then on our respective coaches reading, suduko and crossword solving and physics tests marking - oh the wild lives of teachers.

I got to work on the Tofu Ricotta, changing the recipe only by the addition of some spinach. I was very mindful of Isa's warning to dry out the tofu as much as possible, which I did with some squeezing, patting and massaging. The recipe was dead easy to follow and it looked a doppelganger to Ricotta. Kevin came up short on his hunt for vegan lasagna noodles at the shop, so he made the executive decision and came home with cannelloni shells - good plan. But, alas, after being boiled for the 5 minutes recommended by the box instructions, they began to crack at the seams. I was unwilling to be beat by some wayward noodles, and decided to go with it and pulled them all apart, making exactly what I had wanted in the first place - a lasagna. Now, I will admit that in my lazy Sunday mode I did not make a sauce from scratch, but went with a nice Italian pre-made import to start and finish my layers - it was a pretty good sauce.

Alas, although I went in for seconds, I wasn't a happy camper. It just wasn't what I wanted. It wasn't my mom's lasagna, it was more like Aunt Jill's - love her loads, but she always used the more powdery cheese, versus my mom's pension for the gooey mozzarella. It just wasn't what I had wanted, and that made me a little sad.

All drama aside, it was a pretty good lasagna, might try to make a creamy cheese to go with each ricotta layer next time - I think that might bring me closer to the mecca that is my mother's comfort food talent.

Tonight I am making a Roasted Butternut Squash and Potato Soup. I have been roasting the squash all day, and can't wait to see how that will impact the flavouring of the soup.


jessy said...

oh no - i'm sorry your lasagna was a bit disappointing! supersadface! it looks really tasty to me though! :)

i think your idea to use a creamier cheeze with the ricotta might be just what you're looking for. dan & i used a cashew cream (silken tofu, cashews, lemon juice, sugar, sea salt) along with the ricotta and it was so good. made for such a tasty combination!

i can't wait to hear about your roasted butternut squash and potato soup - it sounds like it's going to be most stellar, indeed!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I hate it when recipes let you down :o/

On the brighter side, you can't go wrong with winter squash!

River said...

Way to improvise with those wayward noodles! Sorry it wasn't everything you were hoping for... there's always next time!

Anonymous said...

Sadness indeed. I hate getting my hopes up for a recipe and then it fails to live up to my expectations. I hope one of these days you're able to better recreate your mom's lasagna.

Anonymous said...

RecipeZaar has a recipe for vegan wonton wrappers and those would make excellent raviolis for your tofu filling I use it for all the leftover veggie concoctions I've made and have grown tired of eating as is (there being only one of me for each creation!) Just make sure the "filling" is thick and dry You can then just boil them gently for 5-6 minutes and drain using EVOO and sea salt or or Braggs or can then layer them in sauce

Anonymous said...

Bummer! It's such a drag when you're craving something - especially when you're pregnant! - and it's not right. When I was pregnant I was craving birthday cake! Go figure. I didn't know how to sift flour then and had never made anthing more complicated than pasta so I didn't get to nix my craving. It was terrible!
I've made tthis twice, but both times I used homemade sauce - and way more than it calls for, and I also combined regular tofu with black olive & herb tofu, just because.
I hope the soup was rockin'!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Jessy's idea of adding a nut cheeze sauce might do the trick. I haven't tried making lasagna since going vegan, but I did love VCON's pumpkin ziti which I think had a cashew cream sauce. Hope next time works out better!

Mihl said...

That's sad. It looks beautiful though.

Lauren said...

Sorry about the lasagna. At least it looked really yummy!
Yum! That soup sounds great!

Jen aka Jewbacca said...

i don't like food flops, they make me sad. for me the key to good ricotta is getting all that water out. i use a punk rock tofu press: sandwich the tofu between two plates and set one of my hand weights on top of the plate. set timer for 15 minutes, drain, press, repeat four times.

how's your belleh?

Sal said...

sorry it wasn't what you were looking for exactly but for what it's worth it looks awesome to me.

Bianca said...

Well, it looks delicious to me. If you have any leftovers, send them my way. Of course, they'd probably be old and moldy by the time they made it over here. Oh well...

Vegetation said...

I'm sorry your lasagna wasn't the best, I hate it when you go to so much trouble for a dish that comes out....ordinary or worse!

I look forward to your soup, it sounds delicious!

Yrouel aka Goofy Cloudy said...

I'm sorry to hear that, it's so disappointing when recipes don't turn out as expected.
IMHO you should use lots of homemade tomato sauce, white sauce and maybe even some tahini mozzarella (recipe here to get the right "richness".
everyone loves my lasagne - I don't want to sound big head, probably it's because in england all the students are so used to ready meals that are simply amazed by the idea of an italian girl cooking lasagne from scratch - and my tricks are:
a) use ragu'(bolognese sauce, off course made with fake mince) instead of simple tomato sauce and cook it for a LONG time to blend the flavour and make the tomatoes really sweet (sometimes I add some mushrooms too)
b) use quite a lot of homemade white sauce, made cooking soy milk with rice flour, lots of yeast flakes and some garlic powder (to give a cheesy flavour) until it's thickened
c)sprinkle the top of the lasagne with a mix of yeast flakes, ground almonds and ground oats and extra virgin olive oil to add a little bite to it.
I hope to be useful, I've just discovered your blog and I LOVE it :)
Let me know if you'll give it a try