Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Moussaka--Cook-Off 7

Cookoff

  • Please log in to reply
122 replies to this topic

#61 Susan in FL

Susan in FL
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,838 posts
  • Location:Daytona Beach

Posted 18 April 2005 - 06:42 AM

Thanks, Rachel and Jason. It's nice to see what I'll be trying to do!
Thank you too, Chufi, for your as always beautiful and inspiring photos.
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#62 Chufi

Chufi
  • participating member
  • 3,117 posts
  • Location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Posted 18 April 2005 - 06:45 AM

Usually have a load of the meat sauce left (You can't really make small amounts, and Aubergines don't hold THAT much. Good just with pitta bread though (Especially as it is even better the next day)

View Post


I also had meatsauce (and cheesesauce) left, and made a pastagratin with that the next day. I had a bunch of basil in the fridge, chopped that up and mixed it in. Very easy, fast and delicious supper!

#63 Rachel Perlow

Rachel Perlow
  • legacy participant
  • 6,756 posts
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 18 April 2005 - 06:57 AM

Just for the heck of it, I costed out my recipe. One lasagna pan of moussaka cost approximately $17.75 and yields 6 servings, for a cost of around $3 per serving. The eggplants are a little expensive in the store right now, at around $2/lb. (I paid $1.79 at an ethnic grocery), the meats averaged around $3/lb at the butcher. If you are able to take advantage of store specials and when eggplant is in season it would come out less per serving.

You know, I want to suggest this to tammylc as one of her Dinner for 40s, but she needs a vegetarian alternative the her meat main course. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to make a vegetarian moussaka or what would be a complimentary vegetarian main course when moussaka is the meat option?

#64 Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 13,501 posts
  • Location:FL

Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:00 AM

I'm thinking you could chop up TVP, cook it in the tomato sauce/onion mix, and season it with the same spices, and make the Moussaka as normal.

Also on top of the baked eggplants, you could do the turkish-style eggplant salad, seasoned with the seven spice, instead of a faux-meat layer. Or perhaps zucchini/squash/onion with tomato.
Jason Perlow
Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | My Flickr photo stream

#65 TofuSal

TofuSal
  • participating member
  • 6 posts
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:22 AM

With regard to the folks who have had trouble buying fresh lamb mince (though that's not too much of a problem in the UK) when I make Shepherd's Pie, these days I always use lamb left over from a roast chopped into tiny pea-size pieces (more 'bite' than if whizzed in the processor). I got the idea from my adored HFW 'Meat' book and the results have been wonderful, especially if the meat is cooked with a reduction of some stock made from the lamb bone as well as tomato. (We enjoy this left-overs dish more than the roast dinner!) I wonder if this method would work well for Mousakka? Or would it over-power the aubergine?

As for a veggie version, I like to used finely chopped mushrooms (you need LOTS!) combined with a variety of lentils & maybe a minced vegetable like turnip in place of the meat, you need to be quite generous with the seasoning.

#66 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,186 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:59 AM

I too was going to suggest mushrooms for the vegetarian version. My Egyptian cookbook has one stovetop moussaka recipe that doesn't use meat but does have lots of onions, pine nuts and raisins in the sauce. I haven't tried that one yet but I may before this is all done. I have my doubts about the raisins, but I think chopped nuts would do wonderfully.

What is TVP?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#67 Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 13,501 posts
  • Location:FL

Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:18 AM

TVP = Textured Vegatable Protein. Often used as faux meat in vegetarian cooking, especially in asian dishes.
Jason Perlow
Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | My Flickr photo stream

#68 Jinmyo

Jinmyo
  • participating member
  • 9,879 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, ON, Canada

Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:54 AM

Adzuki beans make a good substitute for ground meat in vegetarian dishes.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#69 bakezoid

bakezoid
  • participating member
  • 66 posts
  • Location:Buffalo, NY

Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:54 AM

Made a moussaka last night and refrigerated it. It will be reheated for tonight's dinner.

Rachel, thanks for the Cutlet recipe :biggrin: ; I used it and even thought it's a PITA it's less of a PITA than in a frying pan. Based on your advice I made more than I needed. My 17-year-old son, a self-described "Big eggplant guy", loved them right out of the oven (and so did I).

Wegmans didn't have any ground lamb, so the butcher ground a leg for me and only made me buy the amount that I needed. If you have a Wegmans in your area and don't go there, shame on you! I hope the meat is not too dry. I drained off the fat, put in tomato paste, red wine and cinnamon. Layered it with the eggplant cutlets, thin sliced of potato cooked on a griddle and a bechamel made of the ususal plus some handmade ricotta and kasseri cheeses.

This was a combination of a bunch of ingredients from many of the recipes mentioned on this thread and was new for me since I ususally have no confidence without literally following a recipe. I am eager to get home tonight and try it, and to continue experimentation and learning from all of you with eGulleters.
If more of us valued food & cheer & song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. - J.R.R. Tolkien

#70 Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 13,501 posts
  • Location:FL

Posted 18 April 2005 - 09:00 AM

Here's a peice of Moussaka after cooling and plating, ready to be reheated:

Posted Image
Jason Perlow
Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | My Flickr photo stream

#71 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,186 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 18 April 2005 - 09:01 AM

Now, for a different take on moussaka, here's what I did yesterday.

I started with these ingredients, plus a few I forgot to include in the photo:
Posted Image
2 eggplants, a quart of canned diced tomatoes (approximately 5 tomatoes' worth), 2 onions (no reason for mixed colors - it's just what I had around), nutmeg, salt, pepper, allspice, paprika, ground coriander, and chili flakes.

Not in the photo, or added later for sauce adjustments: 1-1/2 lbs ground beef, a small (14-1/2 oz) can of diced tomatoes to balance out all that meat later, and a tube of concentrated tomato paste. I think I ended up using about 2 tbsp of tomato paste concentrate to get the color I wanted. I ended up adding a pinch of cinnamon to the sauce, too, for just that right sweet note.

I didn't bother taking photos of the bechamel - ingredients or cooking.

I think someone upthread already said this, but I'll stress it again: moussaka isn't really all that mysterious; it's just a layered dish. You can make the layers ahead and assemble it later. When I finally saw a recipe that laid it out that way, a little light bulb went on in my head, and it all became easy.

I won't bore the entire readership with the detailed photos, but if anyone wants to see more, take a look at my User album, Cooking Moussaka & Developing my Recipe. Everything has captions if you want to try following step-by-step. I hope this doesn't seem silly, putting in all this detail. Such level of detail has helped me in the past when I wasn't sure what I was trying to do.

Cook the eggplant:

I like the peel on eggplant, but I often find that it gets tough during cooking and tends to come out of the dish in rings. To get around that I peel the eggplant in stripes.
Posted Image

As far as cooking the eggplant goes, see notes above. I fried mine, and the photos show the process. I think Rachel's method looks better, although mine does taste pretty good. I think my oil was a mix of canola, grapeseed, and a bit of olive oil for the flavor. I strain the oil and reuse it on other eggplant dishes, so it isn't wasted.

Cook the sauce:
I'm really pleased with the way mine came out. I chopped the onions fairly finely, and browned them somewhat in olive and canola oil, then added the meat and let it all brown, stirring as needed. When the meat was nearly done I drained off the excess fat, then added the seasonings and adjusted until I got the right combination of spice and heat. I think I ended up with about 1-1/2 tsp each of allspice, salt, pepper, and paprika; 3/4 tsp ground coriander, a dash of ground cinnamon and a pinch of chili flakes. Then I pitched in the quart of tomatoes (juice and all) and let it start cooking down. At some point I realized I had far more meat than necessary, and added a small can of tomatoes. Then came the tomato paste to get a more reddish color. Finally, as it all simmered, I added about 1 tbsp parsley flakes. (Fresh might be better, but I didn't have any.) I let that all sit and simmer until it was fairly thick. It had a nice heat, some definite sweet/savory spice, but wasn't overly sweet. The cinnamon is easy to overdo, IMO, but just a small shake from the spice jar added the right, er, je ne sais quoi.

Make the bechamel:
Any standard recipe will do. I used one that called for 4tbsp each of butter and flour, 2-1/2c hot milk, 2 beaten eggs and 1/2c grated cheese (I think I used more like a cup). That made double the amount I needed because of the pots I used, so I could have cut this in half. I'd have needed it all for a 9x13 pan, though.

Assemble the dish:
Start with a layer of tomato/meat sauce in the bottom, then add a layer of eggplant next.
Posted Image Posted Image

Note, these are my standard moussaka pots because they're the Egyptian moussaka tagine, but they aren't necessary for this dish. A round flat-bottomed casserole dish will work. A 9x13 baking pan will work. Individual bowls or Grab-It pots will work.

Keep adding layers until you run out of space or layers. I like to finish with the meat sauce on top, and I think that's how it's presented in Egypt where they don't use bechamel. Some of my recipe books call for finishing with eggplant on top, and I see that's what Rachel did. I don't know how much it matters. My meat and eggplant came out exactly right for these, despite my sputterings over too much meat in the sauce.
Posted Image Posted Image

Top with the bechamel. Make a good seal with the edge of the pot. Put the dish on a drip pan before placing in the oven. Bake uncovered at 400F for around 50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Let it rest a bit before cutting, if you can, but serve it hot. It does make mean leftovers, and it reheats beautifully.
Posted Image Posted Image

Someday I'll get this photo adjustment business worked out. Sorry some of the photos are a bit faded.

Edited to add a small step I'd forgotten.

Edited by Smithy, 18 April 2005 - 10:26 AM.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#72 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 18 April 2005 - 09:07 AM

No apologies necessary -- that looks great! I like the partial peeling of the eggplant skin, too.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#73 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 18 April 2005 - 11:01 AM

I am so amazed that the ground lamb is hard for some of you guys to get, when here in  small town Florida where it is often difficult to find certain good ingredients, it's readily available in our Publix.  Any idea why that is?

View Post

Hi Susan--I was going on the informal theory that the low availability/selection of lamb here in San Diego was a combination of relative lack of ethnic groups that are heavily into lamb, and relative lack of interest in, for lack of a better term, "foodie-ism" around here. On the face of it, those theories wouldn't explain the easy availability of ground lamb in small-town FL ... except that I have been the Publix-chain stores down there, and I gotta say they pretty much kick the booty of any of the chains here in SD. Plus ... I dunno, on my few visits to the Daytona Beach area, I got the impression that the small-town Fl matrix around that area had an overlay of retirees from the Northeast--maybe markets down there have gotten a little into catering more to the ethnic-influenced food tastes of these snowbirds? Admittedly I'm now just wildly speculating on little data here... :hmmm:

Well maybe they're not male and female, but there were definitely two very different looking types of eggplants in that bin at the store. I don't buy the immature theory because the "male" ones were as long or longer than the "female" ones. Or, maybe they are immature, whatever, they were definitely sweeter and less seedy than the larger/rounder eggplants I'd bought in the past, so go for those.

View Post

I'm willing to let go of the botanically male/female concept, but agree with Rachel that, for whatever reason, there do seem to be two distinct "looks" to the American-style globe eggplants in the market, including the distinctly different looks of their blossom-end "navels." That said, a couple of what looked to be "male" eggplant I turned into baba ghanouj the other weekend still had an annoying number of seeds. So, once again, I'm clueless ... what's an eggplant "sex" fiend to do anymore?!? :wacko: :laugh:

You know, I want to suggest this to tammylc as one of her Dinner for 40s, but she needs a vegetarian alternative the her meat main course. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to make a vegetarian moussaka or what would be a complimentary vegetarian main course when moussaka is the meat option?

View Post


Hi Rachel--This recipe from epicurious.com using portobello mushrooms in place of the meat looks pretty promising, though if I were doing it I'd juice up the spicing a bit with some allspice/nutmeg or the blend you use in the meat-based recipe you posted to RecipeGullet (lovely-sounding and looking recipe, by the way).

Edited by mizducky, 18 April 2005 - 11:03 AM.


#74 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,186 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 18 April 2005 - 01:46 PM

I wonder if the lack of availability of lamb in San Diego is a holdover from the old Range Wars. I wouldn't have expected that to apply down there, but I know it was tough to find lamb in central California when I was growing up because of generations-old hard feelings. This may also be a factor in Texas, that staunch cattle-growing state. Fifi, what do you think?

For those of you who don't know, there was quite a prolonged land use argument - I think starting in the late 1800's and going into the early 1900's - between the cattle ranchers and sheep herders of the West. As I understand it, the principle issues were the presence or absence of fences (cattle ranchers didn't want them, sheep ranchers did) and the incompatable grazing methods of the two animals. My grandfather, who never raised either cattle or sheep, nonetheless took the side of the cattle ranchers. To his dying day, he wouldn't eat sheep in any form.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#75 NulloModo

NulloModo
  • participating member
  • 2,371 posts

Posted 18 April 2005 - 03:02 PM

So after looking at these photos of Moussaka all day I had to get home and do my own.

I used a blend of the recipes I have seen, and just threw in some touches of my own.

Posted Image

I used ground beef, no lamb, as I couldn't find any and beef was an sale (can't beat $1.75 a lb for ground beef).

I roasted the slices of eggplant in the oven with a little EVOO and salt, and in a pot I fried up an onion, some garlic, 2 lbs of ground beef, the remains of a jar of tomato sauce, a can of black olives (hey, the Greeks love olives, I love olives, seemed like a good addition), and a spice blend of coriander seed, clove, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and lots of oregano.

I layered it up along with lots of mozerella cheese (decided not to go the bechamal route, just layer of eggplant, later of meat, layer of cheese, rinse, repeat, etc). I also topped it off with some parm.
He don't mix meat and dairy,
He don't eat humble pie,
So sing a miserere
And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

#76 Mabelline

Mabelline
  • participating member
  • 2,950 posts

Posted 18 April 2005 - 04:57 PM

I am just knocked out by the beauty of everybody's efforts. I am definitely going with Rachel's method of treating the eggplant cutlet-style --it's apparent that no joke, you'd want to knosh those straight from the oven. Smithy, those pics are beautiful, and I adore those casseroles. Nullo's looks like it's very " happy tummy stuff"! I am glad I made mine, as well. DH took the leftovers with him for the other guys at the station tonight; we have 6-12" of snow coming in fast, and that always makes for busy time. The venison mixed with some pork sausage worked well.

It's quite funny about the cattle-sheep thing; I reckon what goes around, comes around--for these days, many cattle ranchers run sheep as well--to clear an alien invasive plant called leafy spurge--sheep can and will clear it up; cattle hate it for it burns their mouth (s?).
I used venison basically because I am needing to make freezer room for a piggy we are welcoming the end of this month--should be right about breakin' the Q- fasting time.Happy dance :smile:

Edited by Mabelline, 18 April 2005 - 04:59 PM.


#77 Susan in FL

Susan in FL
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,838 posts
  • Location:Daytona Beach

Posted 18 April 2005 - 06:20 PM

Hi Susan--I was going on the informal theory that the low availability/selection of lamb here in San Diego was a combination of relative lack of ethnic groups that are heavily into lamb, and relative lack of interest in, for lack of a better term, "foodie-ism" around here. On the face of it, those theories wouldn't explain the easy availability of ground lamb in small-town FL ... except that I have been the Publix-chain stores down there, and I gotta say they pretty much kick the booty of any of the chains here in SD. Plus ... I dunno, on my few visits to the Daytona Beach area, I got the impression that the small-town Fl matrix around that area had an overlay of retirees from the Northeast--maybe markets down there have gotten a little into catering more to the ethnic-influenced food tastes of these snowbirds? Admittedly I'm now just wildly speculating on little data here...  :hmmm:

Thanks for the mini-side-discussion! You could very well be right about Publix, and possibly attempts to cater to the food tastes of the snowbirds. Maybe sometimes I don't give enough credit to Publix, where it is due. It really is a good chain. Not only do they carry lamb in various cuts including ground, but they carry duck, goose, and quail! It's better than grocery shopping was for us in Delaware.
Speaking of Delaware, wow NulloModo, that looks GOOD!
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#78 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,186 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:07 PM

Mabelline, did you manage to take photos before the leftovers went away? I'm really enjoying seeing everyone's photos. I've decided not to bother with the stovetop moussaka I was going to make with my other eggplants; they're just begging to be made into Rachel's cutlets.

I've been thinking venison would work well here too, but I was too lazy to grind any.

Edited to add: Mabelline, if it isn't too far off-topic, can you tell me how the ranchers are keeping the sheep together? I thought that was the reason for the fencing.

Edited by Smithy, 18 April 2005 - 07:11 PM.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#79 Mabelline

Mabelline
  • participating member
  • 2,950 posts

Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:32 PM

Smithy, I have still not figured my little digital camera out yet in order to post photos, but it's funny, the other day I determined to seriously apply myself to read up and try all the advice from the eG tutorial about photos (where is the ashamed hang your head-down emoticon when you need it?). But I shall have some photo montages when I gather up all my ducks and get them goose-stepping.

No, I sure didn't take pictures of my effort, but it was mostly because I am staying off my leg.

You were pretty much right on about your perception about the old days and sheepraising. A lot of the animosity had deeper underlying causes, such as the 'bobwire', sectioning off open-range, land-grabbing by the bigtime outfits, small landholders trying to raise something the bigtime outfits bruited as range destroyers--browse feeders versus grazers.
Nowadays, for the most part, most of the land's spoken for, or leased, and if not actually fenced, you are in deep trouble if you attempt to use anyone's without paying in one of several ways. Trying to not go severely offtopic and although my answer is simplistic...the folks I spoke about will run sheep and cattle in different areas at different times. There is no longer an onus attached to raisin' woolies.

I'll pm you if you want me to. Oh, one last question: are your casseroles old ? They are beauties.

#80 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:23 PM

Heh heh. The lamb problem. I ran into that with the other cook-off. I really want to do this one but will probably go for a beef substitute. It might be a cultural bias. Not so many years ago the monastery near the country place ran some sheep as well as the cattle. When we would go visit (they were all friends) my dad would mutter under his breath "(expletive deleted) prairie maggots."

It is only in the past few years that finding lamb here was possible at all, except for a few specialty shops. I remember that my dad wouldn't let it in the house. A lot of his buddies that also served in the South Pacific during WWII got fed a lot of mutton. He never touched anything that ever went BAAAA again. Then we started seeing more immigrants that have lamb as part of their cooking heritage. I only ran into moussaka at the one Greek restaurant here (then) about 20 years ago.

Now, this is not a dish I eat that often but I don't recall ever having it with potatoes in it. Odd.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#81 Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 13,501 posts
  • Location:FL

Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:27 PM

Now, this is not a dish I eat that often but I don't recall ever having it with potatoes in it. Odd.


Virtually all of the Greek restaurants and Greek diners in the NY Tri-state area serve it with potatoes in it. It might be a New York thing, but its definitely authentic to several parts of Greece including Macedonia.
Jason Perlow
Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | My Flickr photo stream

#82 Dejah

Dejah
  • participating member
  • 3,342 posts
  • Location:Brandon, Manitoba

Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:29 PM

I made my moussaka for our supper tonight. Instead of salting and frying up the sliced eggplant, I followed Rachel's recipe for eggplant cutlets. I will echo the fact that it is hard not to gobble them up as they wait to be put into the moussaka.

Posted Image

I wanted to use ground bison, but the family wanted lamb as is our tradition. Couldn't find any ground lamb so I used 8 shoulder llamb chops, trimed and ground it myself. I used 2 large tomatoes, chopped red onion, parsley, and garlic, tomato sauce, red wine, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground coriander, cumin salt and pepper.

Posted Image

The filling was really good! I used a combination of grated parmesan and leftover feta in the cheese layer. The bechamel sauce had butter, milk, cream and 3 egg yolks.

Posted Image

The house smelled pretty good while it was baking! I kept peeking to make sure the top was browning.

Posted Image

As sides, I cut up some turnip into thin slices, doused them with evoo, some salt, Cajun seasoning and baked them along with the moussaka. We pretended they were fries. :rolleyes: Also had some asparagus and a salad with feta and balsamic dressing.

Posted Image

Here is a close up of the moussaka. I think it could have used a little more sauce, but the flavour was great! :biggrin: I am happy that I made the eggplant cutlets.
The recipe was a combination of suggestions here, an old book called Eastern Mediterranean Cooking by Roger Basque, and a book called Winners by a group of bridge players in Calgary, Alberta. And, because I love mint with lamb, I had lots of fresh mint with mine!

Posted Image

Thanks for jogging my memory to make this dish again!
Dejah
www.hillmanweb.com

#83 lovebenton0

lovebenton0
  • participating member
  • 1,205 posts
  • Location:Kenosha WI, on Lake Michigan

Posted 18 April 2005 - 10:40 PM

I wonder if the lack of availability of lamb in San Diego is a holdover from the old Range Wars.  I wouldn't have expected that to apply down there, but I know it was tough to find lamb in central California when I was growing up because of generations-old hard feelings.  This may also be a factor in Texas, that staunch cattle-growing state.  Fifi, what do you think?

For those of you who don't know, there was quite a prolonged land use argument - I think starting in the late 1800's and going into the early 1900's - between the cattle ranchers and sheep herders of the West.  As I understand it, the principle issues were the presence or absence of fences (cattle ranchers didn't want them, sheep ranchers did) and the incompatable grazing methods of the two animals.  My grandfather, who never raised either cattle or sheep, nonetheless took the side of the cattle ranchers.  To his dying day, he wouldn't eat sheep in any form.

View Post


well, not fifi here :wink: but as another Texan i can say we have a lot of lamb available in the Austin area, all year round. legs, shoulders occasionally (which are a damn good deal, last one i got was .99/lb), chops and frenched. used to be more imported NZ lamb, but the TX lamb has taken over the majority of the market in the last year or so in this area.

for ground lamb, personally i prefer to buy a leg o' lamb, or a half leg, and grind it myself in food processor. but then i've started doing that with all meat i want ground and have to say we really appreciate the difference. :wub:

now i just have to get a little leg to use for some moussaka. so hungry for it after reading through this cook-off.
Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

#84 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 18 April 2005 - 10:54 PM

The fact that it is more generally available in Austin is really interesting, Judith. But then, Austin is a "whole 'nother country." :biggrin: I have yet to find shoulder here even in the well stocked groceries like a big HEB. I suppose I could go into the city to a Whole Foods or Central Market but that is a bit of a trek.

I am sold on the eggplant cutlets a la Rachel. I may do that just to eat the cutlets and skip the moussaka altogether. :laugh: It kind of reminds me of my recipe for oven fried eggplant. The stuff is worse than potato chips.

Currently I am suffering from cheese confusion. Help.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#85 TongoRad

TongoRad
  • participating member
  • 654 posts
  • Location:Northern Valley, NJ

Posted 19 April 2005 - 05:51 AM

OK, I'm a little late to the party but I'm here!

I'm definitely going to make the version I alluded to in my earlier post but I just managed to borrow a mandoline yesterday. I've got all of the ingredients ready and will do it tonight or tomorrow.

I have been thinking about possible problems with this method and have come to the conclusion to take my cue directly from what I remember having at the restaurant. Translation: "that's really good, but kinda skimpy". I think that if I pile the veggies, meat mixture, and then bechamel too high the vegetables may not cook the way I want them to (which is just beyond al dente, but still with some texture) or it will take too long and start to burn around the edges. So smaller layers will probably work in my favor.

I'll keep you posted...
aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."
"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

#86 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,186 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 19 April 2005 - 06:10 AM

.... Oh, one last question: are your casseroles old ? They are beauties.

View Post

Thanks. They aren't old at all; I bought them in Luxor, Egypt sometime in the last 5 years. I think they're an old tradition, though. More than once, my husband has gotten excited about finding old broken pots out in the desert, taken detailed notes on them, only to find the exact pots (unbroken) in the souks in town! :laugh: (Potsherds are not his area of expertise.)

It's really fun to see all the different takes on moussaka in this cook-off, and they all look delicious. Even this early in the morning, I'm thinking about getting into my leftovers.

Fifi, with regard to the cheese, I think it's as personal as the cook. I don't recall ever having something as tangy as feta with the moussaka I had in Greece, long long ago, nor in Greek restaurants since. In Egypt they don't use cheese at all. I've been happiest with a combination of cheddar and fontina (most untraditional) in my bechamel sauce. I've never heard of parmesan in moussaka before now either, but with my fontina I'm hardly going to knock it. We know parmesan cheese and eggplant go well together. I think you need to pick what you like and call it "Texas-style Moussaka". :laugh:

Edited to add: I just checked my old copy of "Classic Greek Cooking" (1974, Nitty Gritty Productions) and it lists parmesan cheese for its sauce. So much for my memory! They use these proportions in their moussaka sauce: 1/4c. butter, 2T flour, 2c. milk, 4 eggs, 1/2c. Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, dash of pepper.

They also puts eggs in their meat sauce.

Edited by Smithy, 19 April 2005 - 03:38 PM.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#87 NulloModo

NulloModo
  • participating member
  • 2,371 posts

Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:03 AM

I still have lot of leftovers from my first round of Moussaka, but I am already thinking about a potential second batch.

'The Smoked Joint', a BBQ place in Philly which has been gettings lots of attention on the local eG board lately, serves up a smoked eggplant babbaganoush as one of their apps. I'm wondering if I could do a smokey Moussaka somehow.

I could toss a small pork shoulder and the eggplant slices into the smoker, and maybe use a dry rub with some of the moussaka spices on the pork, the cinnamon, coriander, oregano, etc. I could always use smoked gouda for cheese, but that might just be smoke overload, perhaps something really tangy to cut the smoke flavor might be good for the cheese there. Then again, maybe the whole idea is too bizarre.
He don't mix meat and dairy,
He don't eat humble pie,
So sing a miserere
And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

#88 TongoRad

TongoRad
  • participating member
  • 654 posts
  • Location:Northern Valley, NJ

Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:28 AM

NulloModo:
Your idea sounds interesting but there may be a couple of hurdles for you to overcome. The first is getting any smoke character into the eggplant slices via the smoker- they probably won't be in there too long before getting too mushy, and there is no fat (I find that lean meats or non-oily fish don't smoke up too well.) Maybe you could poke the slices with a fork and rub some olive oil onto them, penetrating the holes.

I've been trying to perfect my babaghanous recipe over the past few months and I'll tell you that you don't need a smoker to get a really smoky characteristic into the eggplant. But you also wind up with an amorphous blob when you're done, not suitable for a casserole. You may have to settle for slightly smoky slices, and derive a lot of that flavor from the pork.

Also- make sure your cheese is genuinely smoked. Some brands just take regular cheese and apply liquid smoke to the outside, which could lend a bit of harshness.

Other than that, go for it- and good luck!
aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."
"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

#89 Tepee

Tepee
  • participating member
  • 1,804 posts

Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:50 AM

Here's mine. I had a feeling that this will not be well-received. DH hated the cheese (Romano...coz the only cheese he'll take is cheddar and cream cheese). DD#2 doesn't dig the eggplants. Sigh. Made with beef. I salted and drained the eggplants, then pan-fried. Personally, I thought it was good. :sad:

Posted Image
TPcal!
Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#90 NulloModo

NulloModo
  • participating member
  • 2,371 posts

Posted 19 April 2005 - 08:42 AM

Doesn't like Romano? What's wrong with him?

It looks pretty darn tasty to me.
He don't mix meat and dairy,
He don't eat humble pie,
So sing a miserere
And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Cookoff