Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan MoFo 22: Cooking Time Audit #4

Today is awesome. Why is today awesome? Because I'm on my elective, for which I chose to spend some time learning with the Psychiatric Eating Disorder treatment program. The program here isn't residential, but the patients spend about 7 hours a day at treatment, including two of their meals. It's so far really interesting and I think it's definitely going to teach me a lot regardless of my future specialty. I have a couple fellow students with me, hours are 9 am (occasionally 8 when we come for breakfast) to 3 pm and that is confirmation enough that God loves me. Not that He doesn't love me when I have to get up at 3 am (I do not miss you pediatric surgery), but I'm awake enough to recognize it better now.

Also I got in a nice swim this morning, and I finished my organizational overhaul, which has made any day good since I was a kid. Taking everything out, donating/tossing/recycling bags and bags of stuff. Wow. I feel better. I have pictures I'll put in a later post.

Time for the fourth in this month's Cooking Time Audit series. I've reviewed two Veganomicon recipes: Sweet Potato-Pear Tzimmes and Carmelized Onion-Butternut Roast with [Hazelnuts], and Clean Eating Chelsey's Stuffed Acorn Squash.

So far I've been within a few minutes of the estimated time, so you know there had to be an outlier.

Pumpkin White Bean Lasagna ... in the Slow Cooker!

Stated Estimated Time: 2 hours 20 mins. 20 min prep, 2 hours in the slow cooker.
Actual Spent Time: 2 hours 40 mins. 40 min prep, 2 hours in the slow cooker.

Yes okay I took some punctuation liberties with the name of this recipe. I had no idea you could cook lasagna in a slow cooker. And I was skeptical it could possibly give you the same nice oven-baked results. Consider me schooled.

This recipe comes from this Kathy Hester book that I just got a couple weeks ago and can't stop flipping through. It was finally a little cold today and I'm so excited about stews. Check out this post for my first slow cooker experience - a Chik'n Cacciatorre. 

The stated prep time is 20 minutes. However, it took me 40. Maybe it's because it's only the second lasagna of my life? Maybe I just spent too much time lining up those noodles exactly right. Anyway, here we go:

Assemble ingredients.

Find fierce apron to borrow from a roommate. I promise I'm wearing pants.

Make pumpkin ricotta in the food processor - this one is tofu-based, but I'd be interested to try my favorite cashew ricotta base with the pumpkin and see how it works. Then you're ready to assemble in the cooker. 

1. Thin layer of sauce.

2. Layer of noodles - whole wheat is my preferred style and also suggested in the recipe. You break off the corners/ends to make it fit. I was a little over-the-top focused with this. Likely it's where I lost some time.

3. Add a layer of the ricotta and 1/3 the can of beans.

4. Finish with sauce.

5. Start over with noodles.

6. Repeat until you've made 4 layers of noodles and top the last one just with sauce. If you lose count, you should use 12 total noodles, so just see how many are missing from the box. This may have happened. 

7. Store the corners for another day. Or toss them in. Either way.

8. Let it bubble away - 2 hours on high was perfect. 


Admittedly, white bean/marinara/pumpkin sounded like a weird combination to me, but this is heavenly. I actually made it Saturday and if possible the leftovers just keep getting better. It says it makes 6 servings, and I think that's reasonable, but since I always fill up a huge chunk of my plate with vegetables or salad I actually cut it into 12, though the corner pieces don't really count, since they're small from the curve of the cooker.

Next Sunday Fiance John and I are doing a good bit of our wedding registry and I'm pretty sure a slow cooker's going on the list. Just try to pry that scanning gun out of my hand.

What else is a must-have for my wedding registry?

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