Monday, November 12, 2012


I would say we’re survivalists, but yogurt goes bad. So there is no excuse for this except poor “What’s already in the refrigerator?” communication.


Just… I don’t understand it either.

Or the eggs.


There was also a large bowl of pasta… piled on top of another large bowl of pasta.

Clearly, the refrigerator needed an intervention… and in an added bonus, I wanted lunch.

Yogurt being the most pressing issue, I thought back to yogurt bechamel from this Cooking Light recipe that had always piqued my interest. But didn’t have the classic ingredients for moussaka, per the recipe, so instead I fancied a version of pastitsio, another Greek classic (not dissimilar to lasagna, but it uses tubey pasta, which I already had- perfect!)

Sauce commenced. It begins like a classic bechamel… whisk together fat (olive oil, in this case) and butter and cook til it smells boss.


In a traditional bechamel, you’d add cream, but this recipe had you add milk and strained yogurt. It thickened, albeit in a separated-y way, and it didn’t get that thick (but once it baked it did- I’m not dissing the recipe, I’m reassuring anyone interested in trying it that yes, it does thicken. We clear on that now?)


Then you add pepper, nutmeg, cheese, and an egg yolk (the white went into that handy container waiting for it; then into an omelet for me today. But did you know you could freeze egg whites? My cousin Rachel told me all about it. HELPFUL!)


So I took out the old and tired pasta…


… and dumped half the bechamel on top of it (there were chunks of cheese, clearly. For some reason I find using a grater exhausting so I just cube cheese generally. To me, there are worse things than melty cheese chunks in my dishes).


Meanwhile, I’d had some veggies going (traditional pastisio is made with ground meat but I didn’t have any handy and wanted to get some veggies in my stomach anyway). I rehydrated some dried shiitakes (to get some umami flavor), and also dumped in some fresh mushrooms, some cooked butternut squash, some random green tomatoes I picked, part of a can of sliced black olives…


And on it went to the pasta.




I baked it for, say, 30 minutes in my handy dandy toaster oven.

And whaddya know, it was GREAT!


Rich rich rich comfort food! And really not at all unhealthy despite its decadent taste (the pasta was whole wheat, too!)


This would be a great meal if you had, like… really bad cramps. It’s that good.

Later that day, I fancied Caribbean food. Steve had bought some Caribbean chiles at the farmers market and I was eager to get my paws on a few of them.

Then a little research led me to these Jamaican black eyed pea patties. A hunt through my Moosewood cookbook hadn’t had the veggie patties I wanted but led me to this coconut lime banana bread whooooooooa. And finally my Gourmet Today cookbook had a recipe for braised plantains with cilantro and lime. Oh and finally finally there was leftover rice after making the bean patties so I mixed it with s’more cilantro and lime, and a little butter cause the texture was weird. Steve proclaimed it “the best rice ever”, which is why I love him.

Also cause he lets me photograph his plate, see below. He ate more than this, obviously. Which is another reason I love him- isn’t it so wonderfully gratifying, having someone house a bunch of food you made?


THIS WAS A REALLY GOOD DINNER GUYS. Who’d’ve thought to braise plantains? They were really good that way, and not quite the heart attack of their usual deep fried preparations. Also, the coconut banana bread was one of the greatest things that I have ever consumed. Do yourself a favor and click on the above link. Unless you are allergic to banana or coconut, in which case do not do that and just cry for awhile instead.


I also posted what I was making on Facebook and several people invited themselves over. Always the sign of a good menu.


My one regret was how brown it was. Oh and also how it was essentially a huge pile of starch. But see that is what I love, guys.

1 comment:

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

"Do yourself a favor and click on the above link. Unless you are allergic to banana or coconut, in which case do not do that and just cry for awhile instead." (amazing)

Excellent creativity with your Bechamel. From the piece you let me sneak, I can attest to its glory. Also, I made rice with lime and cilantro shortly after trying yours - you completely inspired me. (This is from the guy that makes a rice variety every day and was sure that nothing could alter his technique.)

You're such a wonderful cook, Ileana.