After having the book sit on my shelf for a couple months, I finally got around to cracking open Yellow Rose Recipes by Joanna Vaught. I’ve heard nothing but praise for this cookbook and the fact that the book is now out of print makes it a bit of a coveted item, but lucky me just so happen to snatch up a copy when Joanna decided to sell a few from her personal stash, score!
I love me some lasagne. I usually stick to the good ol’ red sauce and noodles variety but as dedicated as I am to my old stand by, I kept hearing rumours of the Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagne in YYR being ever so tasty. I had some trouble wrapping my head around that as the thought of throwing butternut squash into lasagne just seemed like an atrocity to all things Italian, but I finally decided to take my head out of the box it was stuck in and give it the old college try. Like every other lasagne in the world, this recipe is a bit time consuming as there are a bunch of different components you have to make before everything is put together. I whooped this one up on a Sunday when I had some free time, so don’t make this on a weeknight after work unless you’re planning on having it as a midnight snack.
My first mistake was buying a crappy little butternut squash from a ‘super’ grocery store that isn’t exactly known for the freshness of their produce. Considering the squash makes up the bulk of the dish, I probable should have gotten one that was in better shape and probable more flavourful but I wasn’t about to go to multiple stores in search of squash, so moving on..Step numbero uno was roasting the squash, so I just did this when I got up in the morning to get it out of the way. You also mix up a tofu ricotta, a béchamel type sauce which you blend with some of the squash and some onion, sage and what not. Mistake number two was that the recipe calls for fresh sage and I only had dry, I’m sure it didn’t make THAT much of a difference but I think fresh sage would have added to the flavour.
It’s definitely not a photogenic dish but it did taste pretty good, the filling was rich and creamy with a bit of sweetness from the squash and a hint of nutmeg. I would have preferred if the lasagne was a bit less sweet and a tad more savoury, so a splash of lemon juice or a bit of spice would be a nice touch. I also thought the flavour was lacking a bit, but this could be do to my mistakes above, either way I’m gonna up the onion and sage the next time I make this.
I halved the recipe for the lasagne and it still made a lot, so I basically was eating it the entire week. I’m fine with eating the same meal everyday (if it’s good) but eating the same thing for every meal is a bit much. To change it up a little I made the Mustard Crusted Seitan. This is another one of those meals that requires a bit of planning, unless you already have some seitan on hand, then it’s a snap to whip up. I seem to be on a roll with trying new seitan recipes lately so while I was making the lasagne on Sunday I made some of Joanna’s Simple Chicken Style Seitan as well. The bulk of the time is spent watching the stuff simmer, so it’s not like it takes a whole lot of effort to make. I usually prefer the steaming method when it comes to seitan but every now and then I’ll come across a good one that uses the simmer method. The seitan had a really good chicken-like flavour, but since I’m such a stickler for texture, this wasn’t a winner for me. It was a little too soft and spongy, not horribly so, but just enough to put me off. Not one to waste food I put my texture issues aside and soldiered on to make the mustard crusted seitan. When I read through the list of ingredients I was positive I had everything I needed, positive I say! But as I was pulling out all the ingredients, I looked high and low through the pantry and couldn’t for the life of me find any breadcrumbs, blast! Ah well, panko crumbs it was. I figured they’d probable work better anyway, crunchy crumbs to make crunchy seitan, win win! Or more like fail. Although some stuck on, once I dipped the seitan in the mustard mixture and then in the breadcrumb mixture, it seemed like those little suckers just didn’t want to stick. So I made due and kind of made it work.
Well people, I gotta say, the flavour of these cutlets are pretty fabulous. The mustard really shines through and tastes awesome mixed with the breadcrumbs and spices! If you don’t like mustard, well then I’m sorry to say but you suck (I kid, I kid), but seriously, I think you should be able to adapt it to make it without the mustard or at least maybe decrease the amount, but I really think that you’d be missing out. I ate all my cutlets with some green veggies on the side but I think they would make a pretty kick bum sammich.