Something odd has happened: I’ve started to enjoy making dinner. How can this be?! I’ve always hated cooking. Hated it. Spending time in the kitchen made me angry. On the rare occasions I bothered to cook, people knew to stay out of the way because there’d be a lot of seething and swearing and general f*ck-this-shitting going on. And when friends invited us to potluck dinners, it took all my willpower not to respond, “Thanks for the invite to a party that apparently requires me to perform tedious labor. I’m not making food—and to make it fair, I won’t eat any of yours, either!” (No, I’m not socially awkward at all… why do you ask?) But ever since I went vegan, I’ve been cooking a lot more, and I’ve found myself sort of tentatively looking forward to it. I think this is partly because a lot of vegan food is really good. There’s this misconception that we live on lettuce and lentils, but I reckon ditching the meat and dairy forces recipe makers to be a bit more creative. And, since they also want to show diehard omnivores that vegan food can be just as delicious as their meaty nonsense, there’s a real emphasis on rich, flavorful meals.
And speaking of rich and flavorful—here we have my attempt at Eggplant Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream (another recipe from Isa’s Post Punk Kitchen). It’s photographed from above because my layers didn’t look quite as neat as Isa’s—but apart from a little…sloppiness, this turned out NICE, and made enough for at least six big servings (it only lasted the two of us two nights, as Rob had several helpings). I followed the recipe pretty closely, although I left out the arrowroot—didn’t have any and didn’t want to buy any—and I don’t think it made much of a difference. Rob made a romaine and red pepper salad to go with the moussaka; the dressing was a mix of lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, and white pepper.
I made a small sauce blunder when I started assembling the moussaka: because I’d just finished making the pine nut cream, I mistakenly read “spread 1/4 cup of sauce in the pan” as referring to the pine nut goop and so I used some of it as the bottom layer, when of course it was actually referring to the tomato sauce. But no harm done, and it didn’t seem to cause any catastrophic structural issues. Both the pine nut “Béchamel” and the tomato sauce were delicious, and I think you could easily incorporate them into other recipes.
Worth noting: Isa mentions that the recipe is a little labor intensive, but I didn’t find it too bad. It’s supposed to take one and a half hours to make; it took me two (I only have one baking tray, so I had to bake the potatoes, zucchini, and eggplant one after the other). I guess two hours might sound like a long time, but most recipes seem to take me at least an hour—I’m a leisurely cook—and an extra hour for something this delicious was well worth it.