Yesterday was such a challenge for me! I don't know why, but I was all thumbs while I was in the kitchen. I had intended to bake a friend a beautiful birthday cake and put together a GF banana cream pie ... plus a few hors d'ouerve-like offerings for today's church fellowship hour. I had a full docket of projects. Everything took me much longer than I planned, though, because of my clumsiness. I dropped the cake batter-laden beaters on the floor, making a sticky mess to clean up. I broke a glass measuring cup when it slipped out of my buttery fingers and into the bottom of the sink, spilled the compost container on the kitchen floor as I was taking it to dump ... another mess to clean up. I slammed pans around and cluttered up the counter so that moving about and finding work space was awkward. Aaargh! The more I messed up, the crankier I got! I ended up ditching all save the cake and a simple cheese platter. When I finished with those two projects, I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the cook-top, counters and kitchen island.
Then, I decided that since I had a clean kitchen, I could dirty it up again, by making a nice pan of Moussaka... and nothing else. I watched 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' the other night (remember when Toula's schoolmates tease her about the 'moose kaka' that she has in her lunch box? ) and was reminded of moussaka when I found lovely little eggplants in the super yesterday morning. So, I bought the ground lamb and left knowing what was for supper! Nothing like an impulse buy!
So ... the day ended well. I made us a warm comforting pan of Moussaka and opted out of stressing myself into ultra-crabbiness by overbooking myself in the kitchen. We had big heaping bowls of warm gooiness and cold glasses of milk. Period. The banana cream pie will wait. The folks at church loved the cake. I have leftover Moussaka for dinner today ... and my kitchen is still clean. Life is good.
Greek Moussaka - printer friendly
So ... Moussaka!
Start out by washing, drying and slicing some small eggplants into 3/4 -inch thick slabs. Salt and pepper them and spray them with just a bit of olive oil.
Meanwhile, start a sauté with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a big chopped onion and a minced clove of garlic. Add 1½ lb. of ground lamb and a heaping teaspoon of dried oregano and continue the sauté
until the meat if browned. Drain off some of the fat.
Add a 28-oz can of chopped tomatoes, three heaping tablespoons of tomato paste, and about half a wineglass of white wine to the meat and onions, stirring it into a sauce to break up the tomato paste, lower the heat and simmer while you peel a couple big potatoes and put them to parboil (whole) for about ten minutes.
While the sauce simmers and the potatoes par-boil, heat a grill pan over high heat. Pop the eggplant slices onto the really hot pan and don't move them for about three minutes. They will have pretty stripes! Turn them and spray (or brush) with a bit more olive oil. Take them off the pan after another two minutes. Set them aside on a pan to collapse in on themselves a bit.
Grate about 1 cup of strong Cheddar cheese and place it in a bowl. Stir in some light cream, black pepper, and a bit more oregano. Drain the potatoes and when you can handle them, slice them into ¼ -inch thick 'coins'. Then get a medium-sized casserole pan and begin layering the Moussaka... meat sauce , eggplant, meat sauce, potatoes, meat sauce, egg plant, meat sauce, potatoes, cheese and cream.
Bake the Moussaka in a 350° F oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden and the casserole is bubbly. Serve piping hot ... yummy Greek comfort food!