Sunday, September 16, 2007

Impressing the Farm-Sitter

There has been a flurry of cleaning goin' on here - we're off to Eastern Washington for a wedding on Saturday, which of course, involves getting someone to feed the sheep & chickens and watch the cats - especially Sinda, who gets kind of anxious when we are gone overnight. At first I couldn't find anyone, then I had three people and settled on a nice young lady who comes with high recommendations from a former neighbor (who had sheep, chickens & cats also) so, she has some experience with "livestock".

So, when Jennifer (the prospective house/farm sitter) called I asked her if she'd like to come over to dinner - that way she could get a feel for the place and spend some time with the sheepies, etc. I was aware that she worked for the local Food Co-op. "Do you eat meat?" I asked (I was planning on having pork chops that night) - "Well, no, I'm pretty much vegitarian, only fish & seafood" -"Ok, I'll come up with something" I said.

Hmmm - no meat - that lets out the pork chops big time - Mexican - maybe - cheese enchiladas - I have this great stash of Hatch Chilies that our friend Kathy from Sheep Thrills Farm in Arizona sent us in July.

Then there is my recipe for Vegitarian Pasticcio. It is a great fall recipe because it uses up some of your fall & summer squashes. Five years ago, our friend Lydia McCauley gave a concert at our church and I promised the band that I would fix them dinner before hand (kind of sweeten the pot, you know) I figured I would just make spaghetti - then I found out that most of them were vegetarian! So, I modified a recipe for an old Greek comfort food that I had made for years from a great Greek Foods cookbook that I bought when I went to Greece in 1972. So here is my recipe for Vegetarian Pasticcio. Hope you enjoy it. (Oh, by the way, I decided to make cheese enchiladas for Jennifer - use come of that Hatch Green enchlilada sauce - yum)


The Filling:
¼ cup olive oil
1 med sweet onion, chopped
½ lb. mushrooms sliced
1 six inch zucchini, sliced & chopped
¼ lb. yellow (Hubbard type) squash, chopped
1 six inch yellow squash, sliced & chopped
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes w/any juice
Herbs to taste – oregano, thyme, garlic salt, salt and pepper

The Sauce:
½ cup butter
salt & pepper
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
4 cups hot milk
1 c grated cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten

1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked in salted boiling water
2 cups grated cheddar/mont. jack cheese

For the filling: Heat the oil in a large frying pan, sauté the onions until limp, add the rest of the vegetables and cook over med. heat until crisp tender. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Remove from heat.

For the Sauce: Melt butter in heavy sauce pan, add the cornstarch, ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the milk all at once and stir until the sauce is smooth. Beat the eggs and add about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to temper,( stirring like crazy so your eggs don’t scramble). Return the egg mixture to the rest of the milk. Add the cheese at this time as well.

Butter two 10 x 14 x 3 (lasagna size) pans. put ¼ of macaroni in bottom of each. sprinkle each with half the cheese and cover with half the filling. Top with the remaining macaroni and cover with the sauce. If you have any cheese left, sprinkle over the top. Cook in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Leave for about 20 min. to “set” then serve (traditionally cut into square pieces) Serves 16


Leigh said...

Oh yum! That sounds absolutely mouth watering! Thanks for another great recipe. Do enjoy your time away from the farm!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Sounds yummy; I'll have to try that! Is the yellow squash listed after the "Hubbard-type" squash in the ingredients a summer squash, like yellow crookneck?

Tina T-P said...

Yes, the yellow squash is yellow crookneck type - you could probably use two zuccinis if you didn't have the yellow crookneck... I just loved the texture that the Hubbard squash gave it too - a restaurant here in town makes squash lasagna with Hubbard type squash - it's so good you want to lick your plate LOL..T.

Karen Jo said...

Hatch green chile is really good. I hope your prospective house/animal sitter liked it and turned out OK. Thanks for the offer of help with anyone who was bothering me. I don't have anything like that going on. It's mostly just work stress and it gets to me sometimes.

Sharon said...

Farm sitters don't come easy or cheap. Hope she works out so that you can make future trips. I know I'd love that recipe but Ian and I are ying and yang - he the ex-butcher and me the ex-veg. We're like always "cheating" on each other.