Joy the Baker
22 of the Best Gifts For Bakers!
22 of the Best Gifts For Bakers!

This time of year I get all sorts of questions, usually from really thoughtful significant others eager to buy their baker-loves the best baking present they can for the holidays.  It’s so sweet and thoughtful and I can’t help but think that it’s also motivated by their desire for cakes and cookies and the smell of fresh bread in their house.  If you’re dating a baker… it’s definitely a hobby you want to encourage with gifts.  

Here are a few of the items I treasure in my kitchen everyday, but especially on baking days.  I hope this list inspires some generous gifting to the baker in your life.  Ya get what ya give, ya know?  I’m mostly talking about cookies, so… 

BOOKS and things:  some of the books and magazines I reach for most often in my kitchen these days.  I find all of these books to be great technical and creative recourses for the home baker. 

  Fearless Baker by Erin McDowell – traditional technique and a pep-talk with just about every solid recipe.  It’s a book every baker should have on their shelf. 

  Layered by Tessa Huff – a beautiful and creative cake book with flavors and frostings I always find myself looking back to. 

•  Sweet Laurel Bakery by Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas – a grain free book that uses simple ingredients and techniques.  This book also contains my absolute favorite Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe and is worthwhile for that recipe alone! 

  Sister Pie Cookbook by Lisa Ludwinski – I talk about this book a lot because the pies are so unique (but still live in the land of comfort), the crust technique is gold, and there’s a whole section about handpies and cookies that are both tremendous! 

  Food52 Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore – a compilation recipe book with the best of the best recipes from the best of the best bakers and pastry chefs! 

  A subscription to Cherry Bombe Magazine : beautiful and important stories of women in food.

Continue reading 22 of the Best Gifts For Bakers! at Joy the Baker.

Creamy Vegan Skillet Lasagna

The Full Helping
Creamy Vegan Skillet Lasagna

This is another one of those recipes that had me feeling tripped up over terminology. Lasagna, even a skillet lasagna, is typically made with layers of melty cheese. This one forgoes those layers for the addition of cashew cream, which makes the whole thing creamy/cheesy/etc., but makes it a departure from anything resembling traditional lasagna, too.

So why not label it creamy skillet pasta? I guess in spite of all the deviations I took from tradition, when I was eating the dish it still registered more strongly as lasagna than regular pasta. It’s dense, full of flat layered noodles. It reads as something that might have emerged from the oven, in spite of the fact that it requires no baking time at all. And it has the richness of a celebratory, weekend-worthy pasta centerpiece.

To make the dish, you start by sautéing shallots, garlic, and—if you like—your favorite vegan meat/sausage. I used Beyond Meat beef crumbles, but any vegan beef-style crumble or crumbled sausage (Field Roast, anyone?!) would be great. If plant meats aren’t your thing, you can easily substitute cooked lentils. I prefer the vegan meat because it makes the dish feel like totally authentic comfort food, but both options work nicely.

After the plant meat, shallots, and garlic cook down, you add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, broken lasagna noodles, some water, some dried spices. You let the whole thing simmer, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes (depending on whether you use no boil noodles or not—I’ve now tried both). Stir in cashew cream and a few handfuls of baby spinach, if you like, and voila: a layered, decadent, delicious pasta supper. No boiling noodles separately from other components, no baking required.

The recipe is like a lot of my recipes these days: relatively flexible and unstructured. Lentils vs. beef crumbles, canned tomato sauce vs. marinara from the jar (or heck, homemade), greens vs. no greens, parmesan topping or not: it’s all good. By nature I’m a fairly meticulous cook, but—just as it’s making me value stillness, this DI experience is making me value a little spontaneity and ad-libbing in the kitchen, too. With all of the new structure in my days, I’m coming to appreciate flexibility in other areas of my life more than ever. Cooking included.

Creamy Vegan Skillet Lasagna

Print

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, soy free
Author:
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil2 shallots, chopped8 ounces vegan beef style crumbles, crumbled tempeh, or 1½ cups cooked lentils4 cloves garlic, minced1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce (or 3.5 cups of a favorite marinara sauce)1 teaspoon oregano8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles or regular lasagna noodles (see note for directions on using regular noodles), broken into 2-3 inch pieces¾ cup cashew cream (substitute full fat coconut milk, from the can)A few handfuls baby spinach, if desiredSalt and pepper as neededVegan walnut herb parmesan (or store bought vegan parmesan), if desired

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (I use this one, which is 12 inches) over a medium flame. Add the shallots and vegan beef crumbles. Continue cooking for 5-6 minutes, or until the crumbles are browning and the shallots are tender. Add the garlic. Cook for another minute or two, until the garlic is very fragrant, stirring constantly.Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, and lasagna noodles to the skillet, along with ¾ cup water. Mix well, submerging the noodles as best you can. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer the skillet lasagna for 10 minutes. Stir and make sure all of the noodles are well covered. Simmer for another 5-7 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.Stir in the cashew cream and the baby spinach, if you’re using. Continue cooking until the greens are tender. Taste the pasta; most sauces are salty, so it may not need any salt, but add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve, with vegan parmesan if you like.

Notes
If you use regular noodles, you can par-boil them before adding (about 8 minutes) and proceed as indicated, or you can add then directly if you don’t mind some extra cook time. They’ll need about 20-25 minutes to simmer, and you may need to add an extra ⅓-1/2 cup water when you stir them halfway through the simmering time. Use your judgment and taste them for doneness!

I made this dish on Saturday, feeling more burnt out than I wanted to feel over the weekend, when there’s always so much I’d like to do. It was so special to have a true comfort food meal to dive into on Saturday night—especially since it didn’t require me to spend too much time cooking. And the leftovers were amazing on Sunday, too (ditto in Monday’s packed lunch).

Wishing you comfort and richness as we close out the rest of this week, and I’ll be back over the weekend with the usual roundup!

xo

The post Creamy Vegan Skillet Lasagna appeared first on The Full Helping.

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