Gluten-Free Italian Vegetarian Dining: Grilled Vegetable Spinach Lasagna Recipe

July 18th, 2008 yum Posted in Bette Hagman, Gluten Free Pasta, Italian, Vegetarian, cheese 2 Comments »

As you may know, we will be moving to another apartment later this month, and I’ve been going through our stuff sorting and packing like CRAZY. One thing I needed to do something about was our scary, scary freezer. I have a habit of making extras of things and then packing up meals and labeling them to be stored in the freezer. It’s great to be able to pull out a homemade loaf (or even a slice) of gluten-free bread and have it right away, or to have tofu meatballs at the spur of the moment with no prep time at all. One of my most precious goodies in the freezer is the small batches I store of Bette Hagman’s wonderful bean flour pasta, and the last time I went through the freezer I found a precious, precious sealed bag with sheets of homemade GF lasagna. I put it on my menu for early July, and made a lasagna that turned out better than I ever expected. I found halfway through the process that I didn’t have any prepared pasta sauce, so I ended up making a classic pasta sauce from scratch (well, starting with canned tomatoes and tomato paste), and I was surprised at how much I liked it, especially with the fresh herbs I added from my garden. I had made a bunch of grilled pattypan squash for another recipe but had lots left over, so I decided to make it a spinach-grilled pattypan squash lasagna. You know what? Even though DH doesn’t like squash much, and hates spinach, he ate every bite and snuck off to the kitchen for seconds. Apparently the cheese makes all the difference. For those of you who can’t tolerate dairy, I recommend

my pine nut cheese recipe
a tofu vegan ricotta recipe

as excellent substitutes- I think the recipe would be just as good with un-cheese! If you can, do make homemade pasta, because in my opinion, that’s what takes this dish from tasty to sublime. Somehow homemade silky soft, tender gluten-free pasta just sings on the tongue with the other ingredients, and even though it’s a little bit of trouble, it’s well worth it in the end.

Want more pattypan recipes?
Try my grilled pattypan on tortillas recipe
my Soy-free Fried Rice with Petit Pan grilled squash recipe.


Gluten Free Vegetarian Grilled Vegetable Lasagna Recipe
Tomato Sauce:
2 14 oz cans chopped, unseasoned tomato
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. GOOD olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves
fresh oregano, thyme, and basil
Italian seasonings
1 tsp sugar or honey
freshly ground pepper

Grilled Pattypan Squash:
4-5 pattypan squash (pref. combination of yellow, green, zucchini type)
your favorite oil (I like sesame oil)
your favorite seasoning blend, esp. mesquite or italian seasoning type

Gluten-Free Lasagna noodles (homemade or purchased, Tinkyada or Debolles)
1 small bunch Spinach
Mozzarella Cheese, grated (3 oz or more) [OR your favorite dairy substitute- tofu ricotta, pine nut un-cheese, or soy cheese]
asiago or other sharp, hard cheese, grated 2 tbsp. or more

Tomato Sauce:
Combine 1 whole can of chopped tomato in a blender, including pieces and juice. Strain tomato pieces from other can and reserve, discarding juice of second can.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan or dutch oven. Sautee chopped onion and garlic until transluscent. Add fresh herbs and italian seasonings and combine. Add your blended can of tomato and stir. Throw in your strained tomato pieces from the second can and let simmer. Add sugar or other sweetener to taste. Let simmer while you get the rest of your ingredients ready.

If needed, boil your GF lasagna noodles. (No-bake GF lasagna won’t need to be boiled.)

Clean and slice your pattypan squash horizontally so you have circles of squash. baste with a little sesame oil (or your favorite oil) and season generously with your seasoning blend. Grill on a REAL GRILL if possible until marked on both sides with grill marks. When done you can cut into bite sized quarters or leave as is.

Now, layer your lasagna in a pan with 1/4 of your tomato sauce, pasta, grilled squash, cheese, and fresh, clean spinach leaves. Repeat until all ingredients have been used, ending with pasta, any extra veggies, tomato sauce and ending with cheese.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, covered in aluminum foil. Remove foil after thirty minutes and bake for another 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. (If you use no-boil GF lasagna like debolles, follow directions- usually 1 hr. covered).
Let cool slightly before you cut and enjoy!

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Gourmet Breakfast: Gluten Free Vegetarian Eggs Benedict Recipe

June 12th, 2008 yum Posted in American Homestyle Cooking, Bette Hagman, Eggs, Mushrooms, One Dish Meal, Protein, Sauce, Soy Free, Vegetarian, breakfast 4 Comments »

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t know if this is one of those pictures, but let me assure you- the gluten-free vegetarian eggs benedict that we plated up for dinner the other night was definitely worthy of excess, whether it be in word or photographic tribute. I’ve only had eggs benedict twice in my lifetime, but I have to say, it’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy this week’s theme ingredient- the egg. What’s not to like about a freshly toasted crumpet (in this case a la Bette Hagman) topped with a perfectly poached egg and buttery rich hollandaise sauce? I couldn’t tell you. Except, perhaps the length of time involved in the project.

First you have to make crumpets from scratch, of course, because you’re a perfectionist and there just aren’t any pre-made ones that are any good. (If there are, please let me know!) Then you have to make the butter sauce- a delicate matter because it involves eggs, and eggs over a double boiler like nothing more than scrambling into unusable goo right before your panicked eyes. So, let’s say you wreck the first sauce. And then holler for DH, who somehow has a more delicate touch with a double boiler than you do. He makes the second sauce- perfectly, of course. The big show off. But then you redeem yourself by poaching the egg into a beautiful, neat little egg package while DH’s egg gets all gloopy and globby. Not that this is a competition, mind. But wait- this isn’t the ultimate eggs benedict. Don’t restaurant versions often have slices of salted meat bits? Of course, we don’t do that nasty meat stuff- but how about caramelized portobello mushroom slices, slowly sauteed in a cast iron pan with plenty of olive oil, salt, and pepper… Yes! And thus, a new vegetarian and gluten-free version of an eggs benedict recipe was born. DH was in breakfasty delight heaven, only slightly confused by the fact that it was seven o’clock at night when we enjoyed this particular meal. So if you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed eggs benedict, why not try making your own sometime soon, at any time of day. Your taste buds and loved ones will thank you for it.

But what is Eggs Benedict, and where did it come from? It seems to largely be celebrated in America, and according to some (rather dubious sources) the recipe appeared in American cookbooks as early as 1898. However, it also seems strikingly similar to a French provincial recipe called œufs bénédictine, so may ultimately have its origins in France. (source: Wikipedia)

Added to this Gluten-free Breakfast Carnival

Gluten Free Vegetarian Savory Eggs Benedict Recipe with Mushroom slices
1 or 2 homemade or store bought GF crumpets (I like Bette Hagman’s recipes- any version but especially those with bean flour)

2 portobella mushrooms, cleaned and stem removed
Olive oil, salt, pepper to taste

2 eggs

Hollandaise Sauce (Recipe in files)
Julienned fresh basil (optional)

Prepare crumpets. When cool, slice in half and toast right before you assemble the eggs benedict.

Prepare salted mushrooms strips. Slice fresh mushroom into thin strips. Heat a cast iron pan and add a little olive oil (no more than a tablespoon). Add your mushroom strips so they form a single layer in the pan. You will need to do multiple batches unless you have a giant skillet. Season generously with salt and pepper. NOW DON’T TOUCH THEM. Let them stay on the surface until they’re golden brown on one side. Then turn. They should be well done and well seasoned for ultimate flavor.

You’ve already made the hollandaise sauce, right? Good. If not, make it now.

Poach your Eggs: Fill a medium or large saucepan with 3 inches of water. Bring the water to simmer, then add some vinegar. Crack open your eggs gently and carefully drop into the water. I like to take a large spoon and gather some of the white tendrils around the egg. Let cook for a few minutes, leaving the yolks soft in the center. Use a large slotted spoon (not huge, one size larger than your regular eating spoon) to pull out each individual egg and place it gently on a plate.

Assemble your eggs benedict. Toast the crumpet halves. You can butter them if you like, but I didn’t. Place a layer of portobella mushroom strips on the crumpet, then garnish with some fresh basil or other fresh herbs (chives would be good). Place your poached egg on top and then drizzle the whole thing with warm hollandaise sauce. Prepare to enjoy decadence on a plate. Yum!

*I know the picture has tomato slices. These photos were taken the next day when I made myself one for breakfast, and I added the tomato for fun. I decided I preferred it without, so didn’t include the tomato in the recipe. Also, what with all the photos I took the sauce cooled a little bit- originally it was more runny. Tasted yummy either way though!*
Gluten-Free Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
2 tbsp vinegar of your choice- apple cider, white wine, etc.
1 tbsp water
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I know, I know, what can you do)
2 cage-free, free-range egg yolks
freshly ground black pepper
dill seasoning
Simmer your vinegar, water, peppercorns, and bay leaf on the stove in a small pan until it reduces by half. Pour through a tea strainer into a small bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Cream your room temperature or slightly cool butter with a mixer until soft and fluffy. Put bowl near stove with small spoon ready with a ball of butter. (You need it nearby! trust me!)

Prepare a GOOD double boiler with simmering water. Make sure you don’t get any water in your heatproof metal bowl that you put over the simmering water. Gently whisk together egg yolks and your cool vinegar mixture until light and fluffy. Do NOT let scramble. Drop in your first ball of butter and whisk in, then add another ball of butter, continuing until all the butter has been mixed in. Never stop whisking or you’ll be sorry! (Trust me on this one! I was!) Take off burner and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and dried dill. Taste. You can whisk in a little milk if you want a thinner sauce, or add more butter if the vinegar is too strong for your taste. (Unlikely, IMO- that’s a lot of butter!)

This sauce can be kept for up to a week. You can apparently reheat this sauce over a double boiler, but be gentle.

Makes enough for 4 non-greedy Egg Benedict servings.

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