Friday, October 12, 2007

Moussaka



I always hesitate to call veggie versions of traditional dishes by their traditional names - and I generally don't like to suggest to anyone, by making such dishes, that I think they can be 'just as good' (to omnivores) without the 'essential' ingredient of me*t. Calling this dish Tofu Eggplant Bake, however, wouldn't quite convey the nature of the dish, so 'Moussaka' it is! I had a nice eggplant and some mushrooms but couldn't find my Veg Moussaka recipe in a hurry. I hunted on the net and somehow printed out a version of Vegan Moussaka for 25 people - a bit of overkill for our household of two humans, wouldn't you say?! The recipe did, however, remind me of the kinds of seasonings/spices I used to use in my veggie moussaka, and that's what I was really after. You can find the recipe I found for 25 (a Greek wedding!) here:

http://www.vegcooking.com/InviteElegant_TradD2.asp

I did make some changes - of course, and not only in quantities! For one thing, I do not keep in pasta sauce unless I have some homemade in the freezer. I don't use 'vegan beef crumbles' at all (too salty, for one thing, and I don't like the taste for another. It tastes too much like, well, beef!!!), although I know many people just love fake me*t and I do think it's great that they make it especially for people like us if we want it. (Whew! I wriggled out of that one, I hope!)

Anyway, here's what I did:

1 eggplant at around 1 lb, sliced in 1/4 inch slices and steamed (you could fry in olive oil) until just cooked and set aside.

The Filling:
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, mostly chopped but some left in slices for texture and interest
Tbsp or two red wine vinegar
375 g. package firm low-fat tofu, crumbled up to resemble, er, ground tofu (that's what!)
sprinkle of dried rosemary (I'm not fond of the stuff, so . . . .)
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon (or maybe a tad more)
1 tsp of dried oregano
lots of black pepper, freshly ground
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes (I pureed some sodium-reduced tomatoes from a can)
salt if you use it (we don't)

Put first four ingredients in a large-ish saucepan and cook on medium until the onions are soft and the mushrooms have given up most of their liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another five minutes or so. You don't want this to be too wet. Set aside.

The Topping:
1 pkg soft silken tofu
1 tsp chopped garlic (I used some from a jar)
1 Tbsp white miso (this was the only salty item we used) - it adds a great flavour
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (for a cheezy flavour)
3/4 Tbsp egg replacement powder (from the original recipe - so I used it too)
LOTS of grated nutmeg to taste (we can't get enough of it, but you'll want to exercise your own judgement)
salt to taste, if you use it

Blend until smooth.

Assembly:
1/2 cup pureed tomatoes (I used tomatoes from a can - pasta sauce was called for and would work even better)
Seasoned bread crumbs (I used a crumby topping I make myself)

Now, Put it Together:

Preheat oven to 375.
In a square or oblong pan, put in enough tomato puree to keep the eggplant from sticking to the bottom. Add half the eggplant, half of the filling, and a spoonfull or two of the tomato puree. Repeat. I like to top with some of the eggplant too, but it's up to you.
Spread the creamy topping over the whole thing and shove in the oven for about 25 minutes to half an hour. Sprinkle with crumbs and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes.

We preceded ours with a nice green salad with apple and raisins, accompanied it with some steamed chard (gotta get yer greens, right?), and followed with some fresh plums, pears, etc., from our never-empty fruit basket.

Yummy!

NOTE: Some may prefer to use veggie crumbles for the greater depth of flavour. Others may like to marinate the tofu in a little brags or whatever to make it look darker. We liked it as is.

4 comments:

Jackie Vetter said...

River: Looks really good. I just saw a recipe for Moussaka yesterday and thought I should try it, so I guess this is confirmation! :)

Ken is with you on calling a vegan version of something by it's real name. He says, if it's mashed cauliflower, call it mashed cauliflower. If it is vegan millet loaf, call it that not vegan meatloaf! :)

Thanks for the recipe link!

Jackie

River said...

Oh if you do try that recipe you found, do please let us know about it on your blog, okay? I'm always on the look-out for new recipes, things to try. I have also made a variant of this moussaka with tvp, and next time I may try those small brown french lentils.

Cheers to you and to your Ken ;)

Courtney said...

That looks and sounds amazing! I cannot wait to try it--thanks for the recipe!
Courtney

River said...

Good luck with it :) Let me know how it worked for you? And thanks for the kind words. Nice to see you here!!! Hugs and love.