Is this a bad thing to do, on a Thursday night? Please don’t judge me. Last night was considered a Friday night. Today is our last Furlough Day for the school year. The state gave teachers a nice pay cut, but they make it so “we are not getting a pay cut, just working less hours.” So, because we don’t get paid, we are also not working during those hours. What’s my say to this? This is a big disservice to students (even though I am well aware that they don’t really care because they’re just happy to have no school). It does not change the fact that they are still getting cheated out of one and a half days of school this school year.
However, let’s look at the bright side… Who does not want a day off or a half day off? This year we have three Furlough Days and my district was nice enough to think of it thoroughly and timed our Furlough Days during 3-day-weekends so we get a nice three and a half day long weekend. There’s even brighter news… summer vacation is in two weeks! Oh the perks of being a teacher, Furlough Days aside!
Another reason why I was feeling good was because of a yoga high… I had another great class last night. My yoga teacher is truly amazing! I love how our classes flow, how it never ceases to kick my butt, and how my teacher encourages us to go beyond what we think we can do but at the same time still listen to our bodies and respect it. Before class started, she told us something that struck me… I wish I could quote her exactly but I can’t remember the very words she used. It sounded like this, “It is okay to fly like a duck. As long as you’re flying, feel like you’re soaring like an eagle.” This statement sums up exactly how I feel when I go to her classes… I feel strong, confident, and beautiful even though most of the time I probably look like a duck.
This was the other highlight of my evening…
The completion of this delicious dish had to wait until after my yoga class because I just had to go… my body needed the workout and my soul longed for the peace.
The combination of the roasted and sautéed vegetables was incredible and made even better after being baked with yummy cheeses. This is not an exaggeration... promise! All the flavors blended so well together and made for a wholesome, earthy, and wonderfully delicious dish. The eggplant taste was pretty dominant and was very well complemented by the sweetness and meatiness of the carrots and beets, while the tomatoes added a sweet and juicy touch. The shallots and leeks added a great depth to the overall flavor and while the spinach taste was barely discernible, I know that tossing a ton in the dish would increase the amount of nutrients. So don’t skimp on the spinach! The mushrooms were a great addition too, as they soaked up the flavors so well and gave the dish a hearty touch. What is a lasagna without cheese, right? The combination of gorgonzola and goat cheese gave each bite a distinct salty and strong flavor. This dish is truly a beautiful combination of flavors and it doesn’t hurt that the color is a natural hot pink!
I’m not going to lie. This may take a while to prepare… probably two hours or so, including cooking time, but it is worth it! Just put on some music, sing, dance, have a margarita or a glass of wine, and chop and sauté your worries away!
|1st layer: eggplant 2nd layer: carrot, beet, tomato mixture|
|2nd layer: carrot, beet, tomato mixture|
|3rd layer: sauteed vegetables|
|pour in cheese mixture|
|make sure to pour cheese mixture evenly|
|put another layer of eggplant on|
|keep the eggplant slices snug but not overlapping|
|layer on the rest of the carrot, beet, tomato mixture|
|layer the rest of the sauteed veggies and |
pour the rest of the cheese mixture...
pop in the oven!
Very Veggie Eggplant Lasagna
large eggplantkosher salt
3 beets, sliced2 carrots, chopped in half moon pieces
1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 leek, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 portabella mushroom, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 large green bell pepper, sliced thinly
5 cups spinach, roughly chopped
½ cup gorgonzola cheese
4 tbsp goat cheese
½ cup milk (I used 1%)
1 large egg
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary
freshly grated parmesan cheese (for the topping)
Cut eggplant into long strips, about ¼ inch thick. Generously sprinkle each side with kosher salt. Drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
Move oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil and place in the eggplant slices, making sure the slices don’t overlap. Pour a little bit of olive oil on the palm of your hand and lightly coat the exposed side with olive oil. Roast the eggplant slices in the oven for 2 minutes each side. After roasting both sides, move eggplant to a plate and set aside.
In the same or separate roasting pan, toss beets, carrots, and tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven (already preheated to 400 degrees F) for 16 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking time.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. When the oil is hot, sauté garlic until golden brown. Toss in shallot slices and sauté for 1 minute, just until soft. Add the leeks in along with the bay leaf and cook until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Throw in the mushroom pieces and sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and smoked paprika. Toss the bell pepper in and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Then add the spinach by the handful, stirring it in until wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn the burner off and move pan away from heat.
In a medium bowl, crumble the gorgonzola and goat cheese together with a fork or wooden spoon. Pour in the milk and mix well with a fork. Beat in the egg until everything is well combined. Stir in the pepper. Then add the basil and rosemary and stir gently until everything is mixed well together.
Generously coat the bottom and sides of a large, glass baking dish with olive oil. Lay eggplant slices close to each other. Layer with half of the carrot, beet, tomato mixture (pour in half of the juice). Then layer with half of the sautéed vegetables. Pour half of the cheese mixture evenly across the pan. Lay the eggplant slices again, top with the rest of the carrot, beet, tomato mixture with the rest of its juice, and then layer on the rest of the sautéed vegetable mixture. Pour the rest of the cheese mixture evenly across the top.
Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F for 50 minutes. Right after pulling the dish out of the oven, generously sprinkle the top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
You can make this dish for a Memorial Day barbeque this weekend. I guarantee it will wow even the biggest steak eater who scoffs at vegetables. *Wink!*
Have a great long weekend everyone! Amidst all the fun and barbeques, let us remember to give gratitude to our brothers and sisters who sacrificed their lives for the country.