Urban Legend

 

When you consider yourself to be a decent cook, adroit in the kitchen, you take certain things for granted.  Ju-boy, the technical writer, has always told me that you write for your audience.  Sometimes it’s difficult to gauge exactly who makes up your audience.  Do I discuss the intricacies of proofing yeast, or am I wasting your time, and even worse, word count?  Am I talking above your head, or treating you like a culinary child?  Where exactly do I start to take things for granted? 

Which brings me to a little piece of high school apocrypha.  The story I am about to relate may or may not be true.  Even the participants don’t remember the exact details.  But in the mumble mumble years since 11th grade this story has grown wings and taken flight, becoming an urban legend within the limited demographic in which it took place.

Back in the Seventies SW and her family were refugees from South Africa.  Her parents saw what was happening to the country in general and the Jewish community in particular and moved the family across the ocean to another hemisphere, and settled in New York.  South Africa’s loss was my gain, she and I became friends.  And so begins the legend. 

In our New York eyes SW had grown up in a very priviledged state.  We studied apartheid in school and whatever propagaganda we heard led us to believe that our friend was a modern day Scarlet O’Hara, with her own personal staff to tie her shoes, fetch her breakfast, brush her hair.  One day one of our little group (no one remembers whom anymore) received a phone call…

SW:  I’m alone in the house and I want to make some tea.
SW’s Friend:  That’s nice.
SW:  Urm, I’ve never done this before, how do you make tea?
SWF:  You put the tea bag in the cup, and then you add boiling water.
SW:  Urm, how do you boil water?

If this is the case with some of you, then perhaps my recipes are a little too complicated.  Do you really need me to hold your hand and tell you how to cook pasta or peel a potato?  Just in case you are a total newbie cook, Recipezaar has two wonderful recipes just for you:  Boiled Water and Ice Cubes

So whatever happened to SW?  We’re still friends, so many mumble mumble years later.  I’d like to tell you that she went on to master boiling water and is now a famous Food Network chef, but my good friend does not count cooking among her hobbies.  She views it as something she *has* to do.  Every now and then I will get a frantic phone call with SW on the other end of the line, “The family is coming over for dinner, what can I do with a tub of cottage cheese  and an onion?”  Miriyummy to save the day!  Actually, I exaggerate for the sake of what I hope passes as humor.  SW is an excellent, if unwilling, vegetarian cook.  I was at her house a few weeks ago and she made me a great cup of instant coffee, and I can vouch that she boiled the water beautifully. 

I actually had SW in mind the other week when I started playing around with some vegetables and cheese.  As I may have mentioned before, I’m low carbing it at the moment, and came up with this version of lasagne that doesn’t involve noodles.  Those of you that dread recipes that start out with the words “one pound of pasta, cooked” may now breathe a sigh of relief.

Pasta Free La Sag Nee (Lasagne)

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, grated

olive oil for sauteeing

1 largish eggplant, unpeeled and thinly sliced into rounds

2 medium zucchini, unpeeled and thinly sliced into rounds

3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (buy it, make it from scratch, borrow from your neighbor, you get to choose)

400 grams (1 pound) grated cheese (again, you get to choose, I use a mix of mozzarella and the Israeli Gilboa, an Edam-like cheese)

oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste

  •  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). 
  • Saute the onion in the olive oil until golden.  Add the grated carrots and saute for one minute or two more.  Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  • Coat the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ (33 x 23 cm) pan with a bit of the pasta sauce.  This is to prevent the food from sticking to the pan.  It will still stick a bit, but at least you tried.
  • Layer half of the eggplant rounds on the bottom of the pan.  Add the carroty-onions and spread evenly over the eggplant.
  • Add a layer of sauce and then a layer of cheese.  Sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Layer the zucchini rounds next.  Add another layer of sauce, then another layer of cheese.  Sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add a last layer of eggplant rounds.  Now add the cheese, and then the sauce.  This is to prevent the cheese from burning and sticking to the silver foil that you will use to cover the whole thing.
  • Cover the whole thing with silver foil (for those who didn’t bother to read the above instruction).
  • Bake for about 50 minutes. 

Messily served straight from the oven

Let it cool for a bit before slicing into servings. In fact, this serves up prettiest when completely cooled in the fridge and then cut into neat, serving-size squares which are then reheated in the microwave. If you like your food fresh and messy, then serve up straight from the oven.  When low carbing it I usually make up a batch of this stuff and eat it throughout the week.  This also freezes well. 

This may have tons of calories but hardly any carbs!

I didn't have grated cheese here, so used sliced mozzarella. Still yummy!

SW!  I’m coming over, put the kettle on!

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About Miriyummy

All I want to do is live happily ever after.

Posted on 15 June 2010, in Dairy, Low Carb, Passover, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Wow that looks good! Maybe I’ll try it later this week…

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  2. That urban legend may well be true.

    While at university I had a friend from Turkey. He was brought up in an extremely affluent home where males were not allowed in the kitchen. Cooking was women’s work, and kitchens were an area that men were barred from. J used to eat all his meals at the uni canteen.

    For Friday nights on campus, we occasionally hosted pot-luck suppers – the idea being that people brought along something vegetarian for Shabbat. J complained that he couldn’t cook so what could he bring. I suggested that he could bring some hard-boiled eggs.

    That Friday he came with a box of eggs. I still can’t forget his expression when we cracked open the first one to find that it was raw. He was probably more surprised than we were that it wasn’t hard. He had no idea at all that you need to boil eggs to make them hard-boiled. (I guess I could include a recipe for hard-boiled eggs here, but that would be stepping on your toes so I’ll leave that to you).

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  3. wheresmyrollingpin

    Great story. I love the mumble mumble 🙂

    Recipe looks delicious. I’m not low carb, but I could definitely combine this with my regular lasagna recipe. I grate the zucchini into the sauce, but adding eggplant is genius.

    I have a friend who knows her boiled eggs are ready when the shells crack 🙂

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  4. love the legend, love the recipe. and yes, indeed, you *are* funny! 🙂

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  5. … My addition to these legends: A very newly married friend who’s husband had never cooked but was at least willing to have a go when she was working late to meet a deadline.
    The first recipe instructions told him to ” cream butter and sugar” and the second recipe directed: “put into an oven-proof dish”.
    He rang her at work and asked ” why doesn’t it say how much cream to use?” and ” How do I oven-proof the dish?”
    Tres logic …

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  1. Pingback: Don’t Pass Over These Recipes « Miriyummy

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