Monday, May 23, 2011

Vegetables Delivered, Results in Casserole

Living Social had a daily deal for organic vegetable delivery from Ms V's Organics. Small box of various fruits and vegetables delivered once a week for 4 weeks all for $71. That's $17.75 a week, which is pretty cheap for what amounts to nearly a weeks worth of produce for 2 people.

Downside, that didn't include delivery which cost me another $10 a week. So really the whole thing was $111 or $27.75 a week. If they had more flexible pickup option I would gladly save the delivery cost, but I digress.

It has been nice knowing more produce is arriving on Friday. Makes me eat more vegetables. Creates a need to cook vegetables in larger quantities. The result is a vegetable "lasagna". Its not really a lasagna in that there are no noodles. Its just layers of vegetables with a cauliflower based white sauce holding it all together. A more accuract name could be vegetable casserole with cauliflower puree.

The sauce
Software
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 backing potato, rough chop
Some parsnips (left over scraps from the lasagna below)
Half and half
Crème fraiche
Optional: Any diary available will do, just trying to muscle up the sauce

Hardware
Pot of boiling water
Food processor

Low boil the vegetables until soft enough to puree.

Spoon vegetables into food processor. Pulse to chop them up.

Puree on low setting while slowing adding whatever dairy you want until its a nice thick but liquid consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The Lasagna
Software
Carrots
Parsnips
Zucchini
Big onion
Cauliflower puree (above)
Olive Oil

Hardware
Mandoline
Rectangular casserole dish, mine is pyrex, any over safe thing will do. Size according to how many vegetables you have.

Preheat oven to 425.

Use mandolin to cut all the vegetables into long wide strips, about 4-5 inches long, 1/8 to a 1/4 inch thick. For example, I cut the carrots in half then ran them through lengthwise. Cutting in half first made the mandoline hand protector easier to use. I did not bother peeling anything, but you could.

For the onion, you are looking for round slices so do the best you can.

First add some olive oil to the casserole dish. Then a layer of onion circles. Keep them as together as possible, this makes a nice base for everything else. A little salt on the onions here. I think this helps them cook.

The next layers can go in ny order but I tried to keep the same vegetable on each layer:
Carrot
Puree
Zucchini
Puree
Parsnip
Puree

Finished it off with more onion on top along with olive oil. These onions weren't in circles anymore.

Put it in the over, uncovered. It will take at least 45 minutes, probably over an hour. When done a sharp knife should push through each layer with some resistance.

It is easier to serve if it cools significantly, then you can cut it just like a lasagna.

Result
Its a pretty good casserole. Goes will with most any protein or just by itself. It was time consuming to prep the vegetables, but it made 8 big servings.

I ate it for breakfast a few times. Reheat in the microwave with some shredded cheese then two over easy eggs on top.

Variations
You could do lots of stuff with this.

I'm thinking about adding a layer of sautéed greens to change up the flavor. Or add a fresh herb layer. Ricotta in the puree maybe.