Friday, July 30, 2010

National Lasagna Day & CSA Week 6

(I started this post yesterday then fell asleep in the middle of it... so it was yesterday July 29th that was National Lasagna Day)
I found out that today is National Lasagna Day on twitter when I was on my way home from work. This was ironic because I had found a recipe for Pesto Lasagna from The Italian Dish that I wanted to make tonight.  So it was perfect timing.  I also got a big bunch of Basil yesterday at my CSA (see below) so I had all the ingredients to make this lasagna. 

It was rich, creamy and filling. I added in shredded zucchini, added cheese to the bechemel sauce and used no-boil lasagna but other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe.
Pesto Zucchini Lasagna
Pasta:10 - 20 no-cook lasagna noodles or fresh pasta sheets, cooked or regular lasagna noodles, cooked (next time I would not use no-cook noodles.. there isnt enough liquid in this recipe so not all the noodles cooked through)
3 ounces of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1.5 cups milk (fat free)
1/2 cup cream
1/8 cup of mozzarella cheese
Topping & Filling:
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups of shredded zucchini
Make the pesto: Add the basil, garlic, cheese and pine nuts to food processor.  Process, using pulses, till finely chopped.  With machine running, add the olive oil until pesto is smooth. 
Make the bechamel: In a heavy medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and stir for a couple of minutes, until the flour is cooked.   Add about a third of the milk, slowly, and whisk over medium heat. When the sauce is smooth, add another third of the milk and whisk.  When the sauce is smooth again, add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth. Add in cheese until thick creamy sauce forms.
Assemble lasagna: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In an 8x8 pan, place about 1/3 cup of the bechamel to coat the bottom of the pan. Lay first layer of lasagna noodles.  Add enough bechamel to coat the noodles.  Add some pesto and spread into the bechamel.  Add a handful of the grated Parmesan.  Add another handful of shredded zucchini. Continue to layer the noodles, bechamel, pesto, zucchini and Parmesan until the last layer of noodles.  On top of this, just spread the bechamel only, add the rest of the Parmesan and top with the mozzarella.  Sprinkle the oregano on top.  Wrap tightly with foil (preferably Reynolds No-Stick foil). Bake for one hour (if using regular, cooked noodles) or one hour and 15 minutes (if using no-boil noodles). Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more, until top is golden.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before slicing.
I had leftover bechemel sauce (because clearly I don't measure anything) so I added 1 ear of corn cut off the cob, the leftover shredded zucchini and a handful or two of kale and sauteed that down in the sauce for a nice side.
While the lasagna was in the oven, I decided to bake.  I've been getting a TON of CSA Blueberries and I've seen a bunch of recipes for Peach and Blueberries Pies, Cakes, Crumbles, Crisps.  I decided to make a cake inspired by Shannons blog over at tri2cook.  Shannon made a Raspberry Peach Cake but I adapted it to make a Blueberry Peach Cake.
Blueberry Peach Cake
1/2 cup oat flour (just ground oats)
1/2 cup white flour
1t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
1/4t salt
1/2-1t cinnamon (whenever I see this in a recipe, I use my pumpkin pie spice instead)
4T butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar

 2 large eggs
2T applesauce
1/2t almond extract
1 small container of Choabani plain greek yogurt
3 small peaches, thinly sliced
1c blueberries
1t granulated sugar
2t white flour

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours through pumpkin pie spice).
In a mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. (Mine never got really fluffy- I didn't feel like there was enough butter for that..) Add the eggs, then add applesauce and almond extract. Fold in half of the dry ingredients, the the yogurt, mixing as you. Then add in the rest of the dry ingredients.  Pour into an 8" cake pan sprayed with nonstick spray.   Shake the pan to spread out the batter.  Bake for 15min. While the cake is baking, combine the topping ingredients (peaches, blueberries, sugar and flour) and lightly toss together so the flour and sugar get absorbed by the fruit.  After 15min in the oven, remove the cake and top with the berry mixture.  Return to the oven and bake 25-30min more. Cool the cake for 15min in the pan on a cooling rack.  Then serve with ice cream or a little powdered sugar on top.

Okay, so after 30 minutes, my cake was not cooked through.  I probably cooked this cake for longer than 45 minutes.  But in the end, it was really tasty and tasted like it was sort of healthy!  If you ask my friend Gretchen, I am usually pretty scared to bake because of the 1-2 sticks of butter that is usually required.  When I saw this recipe, I was excited because it only had 4T of butter in a whole cake!  I had never used Oat Flour before and all I did was ground up my regular oats.  I felt like that was the part of this cake you could taste the most.  All in all, this was really good.  The peaches and blueberries tasted so fresh and perfect!  I love how blueberries turn this beautiful purplish-pinkish color once cooked!

Moving on... Wednesday I picked up Week 6 of my CSA.
CSA Week 6:
Free Range Eggs
Corn on the Cob
Spring Onions
Romaine Lettuce

And just to make a long post even longer... here's what I made Tuesday night... whose eaten Tempeh before? 
I bought Tempeh at Whole Foods this weekend.  After Saturday, Sunday and Monday of over-indulging on meat and seafood, I felt we needed a vegetarian dish.  I looked on Heidi's 101cookbooks blog to find some recipes.  I decided to make Heidi's TLT Sandwich which stands for Tomato, Lettuce and Tempeh. I changed her recipe quite a bit based on what I had in my house (no cherry tomatoes, no maple syrup)
TLT Sandwich
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar (or maple syrup)

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
8 ounces of tempeh, cut into 1/3-inch thick strips

1 Large Tomato tomatoes sliced thinly
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil olive oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar
scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 small head of romaine lettuce, cored, then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1large avocados, mashed with a pinch of salt just before assembling
4 whole grain bread, well toasted

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and pepper. Pour 1/3 of the tempeh marinade into an 8x8 baking dish (or something comparable) - you want a dish that is just big enough to hold the tempeh in a single layer - this way it will be fully enveloped by the marinade. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover and keep in the refrigerator for a couple hours, overnight or until ready to use. (Yep, I just refridgerated for a half hour) While the tempeh is marinating, roast the tomatoes. Mix together the olive oil, sugar, and salt and pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, and place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet. When the tempeh is done marinating heat a large pan over medium-high heat and cook the tempeh slices for a few minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches if you don't have a big enough pan. Set the tempeh slices aside until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.To assemble each sandwich take one slice of bread and slather a generous layer of mashed avocado, then add some salt and pepper. Place a small helping of the shredded lettuce on top of the avocado, a few tomatoes, then a few slices of the tempeh, and more tomatoes. Enjoy either open faced or topped with another avocado-slathered bread slice.

I had extra tempeh and extra marinade so I also made Roasted Vegetable Tempeh Pasta by roasting whatever veggies I had- tomatoes, summer squash, brocolli, green beans, snow peas and mixing it with the tempeh and the marinade and whole wheat pasta shells.  I also added in the extra avocado on top.  This was a good dish for lunches and we enjoyed it all week!
Alright, that was a long post with lots of delicious food!  I'm looking forward to an enjoyable Friday with lunch at Neptune Oysters  with my blogging friends mixed in and a 15 mile run in the AM! 
Stay tuned..


  1. ooh, peaches and blueberries are another great combo!! I think mine was done way before the fine cooking recipe, so my oven temp might be off... need to buy an oven thermometer! yup, the oat flour is just ground oats :)

    that lasagna looks fabulous! can't get enough pesto after my trip to italy :) have a great weekend!!

  2. nice job on the lasagna and celebrating national lasagna day. there is a day for everything!

    such a great afternoon with you! how was the cupcake?! ;)

    I like tempeh! I usually mix it into cold grain salads; I find eating it as a "slab" a littleoff-putting, but crumbled, I like it alot!

  4. Those sweet potato cakes look awesome!!! Of course, every single one of these recipes seem absolutely delicious :)