Week Three: Budget Week
This week, we’re going to prove once and for all that veganism is affordable!
I didn’t actually intend for all the non-original recipes I made this week to come from Cooking on a Bootstrap, but here we are on Thursday and, yes, I’m making another one. Or to be more accurate, Steven is making another one. Made another one. Feeling the beginning of dinner burnout (not to mention knowing I’d be tired from a particularly busy day at work getting our next issue of the magazine off to the printer), I asked him if he could take the lead on dinner last night. He agreed. I sent a couple recipe options, all of them featuring eggplants (aubergines to you Brits!) because I had bought two at the farmers market last weekend and wanted to use them before they went squishy. Steven’s choice: the vegan moussaka from Cooking on a Bootstrap.
My experience with moussaka is limited. When we lived in Wisconsin, our favorite co-op frequently featured a vegan moussaka at the hot bar. It was rich and creamy and filling and a total comfort food. But I don’t think I’ve ever made it myself, nor had I tried a dairy-based version before going vegan. So I was pretty pleased when Steven chose this recipe. It seems that my streak of not having to make moussaka (but still getting to enjoy it!) continues!
Alas, my dream of another uber-creamy moussaka would remain just that: a dream. The recipe simply didn’t yield enough white sauce to cover the lentil and eggplant filling; the sauce got absorbed into the filling and had entirely disappeared by the time we sat down to eat. The scant sauce also meant that there wasn’t enough left to cover the top layer of eggplant slices; they remained just a tad dry up until the point of serving, when I mixed them in with the filling. Perhaps our robust American eggplants were too large compared to daintier British aubergines, and that discrepancy upset the filling-to-sauce ratio? It’s possible. Perhaps offering a weight measurement for the aubergines would help. (Steven also notes that the recipe didn’t specify which size casserole dish to use or when to add the mustard.)
All that said, this was not by any means an unsatisfying dish. But moussaka it was not. Better to call it a lentil and eggplant bake, then, and enjoy it as such.