Well, I probably shouldn't do this, but I've started another Blog. Like I don't already spend too much time at the MacBook. As some of you might have guessed, I like to cook and I love to eat. So I thought I'd share my recipes, humble as they may be and an occasional dinner menu at our house. I am somewhat "reluctant" to share this project right now, but caution to the wind. The plan is to be discovered by the Food Network for my cooking show Cranky Franky's in the Kitchen.
Am I ready for critics? Probably not. I know my instructions are not always clear or precise. Let me know if something doesn't make sense. Anyhow, if you're interested, check out "Dinner's Ready"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Not Your Grandma's Moussaka

Not my grandma's moussaka - mine only made parmigiana.

This is a variation on a theme: Given that the garden has offered up a small bounty of eggplant and the given the fact that I am no Greek, I am still going to call tonight's dinner "moussaka".

I am a bit lazy, and always trying to find shortcuts. So here goes:

Take a couple of Italian eggplants and a few Japanese eggplants, peel them leaving just a little of the skin. I halve the Italians lengthwise, slice them all in about quarter inch slices, toss them with some olive oil in a roasting pan with salt, pepper, chopped garlic. Put them in the oven at 400 for about 30-35 minutes, tossing once during the cooking. (Most recipes call for frying the slices - which would take time - this way you can get the other ingredients ready while the eggplant is in the oven.)
2 Italians and 3 Japanese

Sautee a diced onion, a couple of small chopped cubanelle peppers and a diced hot pepper in a little olive oil.

Remove the mixture and into the fry pan put a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage meat.

After the meat is cooked through, drain off the grease, return the onion mixture to the pan, add a can of tomato puree, a little water, chopped fresh basil, fresh parsley, and fresh oregano. A little salt and pepper. Let the meat cook in the sauce for thirty minutes or so.

Roasted Eggplant
Meanwhile make the béchamel sauce.

My philosophy used to be "more is better" and I and Leon would certainly eat more. We are watching things now since Leon has lost over fifty pounds and I was down thirty. So my new philosophy is "less is almost as good." So I went a little easy on the béchamel which in some moussaka recipes is a layer of  up to a half inch. Compared to that, mine is a drizzle.

2 tablespoons of butter, melted and hot in the saucepan, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour until the flour forms a paste. 

Slowly add 1and 1/2 cups of 1% milk (I don't bother warming the milk - I'm lazy). Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens.

Add a dash of nutmeg. Remove from heat. Add about 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese. (Don't add the parmesan while the sauce is over the heat or you will produce a congealed mess.)

(Of course I didn't get a photo of the finished béchamel)

Distribute the tomato meat sauce over the roasted eggplant. Top with the béchamel, a little crumbled low fat feta and some Italian flavored breadcrumbs. 

Moussaka usually has a thick layer of Béchamel (calories)

Bake in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes or until heated through and bubbling hot.

Serve with a salad - tonight is green bean salad.

Steam the fresh green beans just until barely cooked. Rinse in ice cold water. In a bowl mix a little olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, some chopped garlic and toss in the cooked green beans. You can add some fresh tomatoes if you like. Chill in the fridge or serve at room temperature.

We are foregoing the crusty Italian bread tonight - (carbs and calories), but it would definitely be my choice.