Monday, July 11, 2011

Moussaka-shaka

Have I told you how much I LOVE summer? This week on Eat.Live.Be. we're sharing compliments. One of my most recent compliments I attribute largely to the fact that it's summer.



When we were in Tahoe, Thatmom told me she was very impressed by how "healthy" I've been this pregnancy. This means a lot to me given that I really struggle with being healthy during this period. I asked her what she meant, and she told me that I've been doing a great job of not overindulging in foods.

But the thing is - I do overindulge - in summer fruits and produce. I have a theory about pregnancy "cravings." (But take this with a grain of salt since I haven't had a single one) I completely believe in food aversions, but cravings? I don't necessarily buy that they're related to pregnancy. I mean, we all have cravings. Mine really kick in during Passover when I want things I NEVER want to eat - like doughnuts, or cheese-its. But on a day to day basis I'll see a commercial and think "Wow, I could go for a double cheeseburger right now." Except 99% of the time I follow that with "But really, how healthy would it be to indulge in every craving you have?" I think most women are like that. We're so conscious of everything we put in our body since society, and of course, we ourselves, are our biggest critics. But during pregnancy you're SUPPOSED to gain weight. I mean, you're going to get a belly anyway, right? So women let down their guard, and when that same nagging "Wow I could go for a double cheeseburger right now" feeling comes along, they don't follow it with the second thought. Instead they follow it with "Baby must want a double cheeseburger."

My eating habits haven't changed at all since being pregnant. No cravings, no food aversions, but because it's summer, I keep my body fueled up with all the best nature has to offer. Take a look at my stash from this week's farmer's market:


A bag of mixed greens
fresh baked ciabatta bread
basil
tomatoes
figs
cucumbers
bell pepper
strawberries
plums
and Mexican Sour Cucumbers

Most of these are for snacking. Although the figs became dessert last night. Today in fact I snacked on cantaloupe, cherries, cucumbers, and those strawberries you're looking at right now.

Summer produce means I also get to make use of beautiful eggplants and tomatoes for dinners. Both of which play a large role in the creation of the classic Greek dish of Moussaka. The beautiful and talented Elly has a traditional recipe for Moussaka. This is not that recipe. Instead here are a couple variations on the dish.

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Layered Moussaka
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 eggplant
1 egg
2/3 cup half and half
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet and cook the onion until soft.
  2. Add the lamb and cook until browned.
  3. Add the allspice, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining Tbsp of oil in a skillet. Cut the eggplants into 1/4 inch slices. Brown each side of the eggplant in the oil and then pat dry.
  5. Mix the egg, half and half, parsley and half of the breadcrumbs.
  6. Put a layer of of eggplant on the bottom of the casserole and spread a layer of lamb on top of it. Continue layering, ending with the eggplant.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over all of it. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top and drizzle butter over.
  8. Bake 40 minutes.



Wrapped Moussaka
1 eggplant
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 cup cooked ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig of thyme, crumbled
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup tomato sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a cake pan with cooking spray. Slice the eggplant in half and make several deep gashes in the flesh. Rub the surface with olive oil and place skin side down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. While the eggplant is cooling, mix the onion, lamb, mushroom, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  3. Scoop out the eggplant flesh, chop it, and mix into the lamb mixture.
  4. Line the cake pan with the skin of the eggplant. Place the lamb mixture in the center of the eggplant skin and fold the skin over top to create a little eggplant bundle.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven.
  6. Heat tomato sauce and pour over the moussaka.
Next week we're doing wake up calls. Not the ones in the morning, but the ones that make you get serious about something. Now check out how the other bloggers are faring:

8 comments:

  1. I always wondered too about cravings and aversions. My sister in law tells too, that she does not have any craving. So now I know all this is not true eh :)

    Never tried this combination before. It looks very yummy and creamy and inviting :D Yumm

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  2. That sounds great. And looks even better.

    But I am going to have to disagree with you on the aversions and cravings. My aversions were so strong, I couldn't be in the same room as the food. By the same token, my cravings were so strong, I would do anything to satisfy them. It was like "Oh a cheeseburger sounds good." It was more like "I need something salty RIGHT NOW or I won't survive!"

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  3. I'm with Sarah. I used to be absolutely repulsed just by the smell of El Pollo Loco!
    I loved you pics of Tahoe. I miss living so close to it!

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  4. I've always wondered about pregnancy cravings...like those people who end up eating soil because they feel like they NEED to have it? How true can that be?

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  5. I've never been pregnant so I wouldn't know a thing about cravings...thank god. But I heard it's different for every body. My mother didn't have any cravings with me, but with my brother, she ate a buttload of peanuts.

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  6. Good for you, sticking to your healthy foods during pregnancy. You're right - it is easier with all that summer bounty, but it still takes hard work.

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  7. I think your theory about cravings make sense...though I wonder if applies to situations where a person is craving the same foods that are outside of what they would usually crave.

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  8. You do it up good, Kate - with not one, but TWO recipes! What do the sour cucumbers taste like? I have never seen them, but somehow they do not sound appealing - and I love any kind of cucumber, usually.
    You have been busy, no doubt!I love moussaka!
    :)
    Valerie

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