This weekend is not only my birthday but it's also Easter AND Passover! JR and I spent Friday night out celebrating my birthday at Match (and had a wonderful time) and celebrated Easter and Passover together on Saturday with both our families. The weekend has been a wonderful, glutenous affair filled with friends and family, what more could a girl ask for?
For my birthday, my parents sent me 3 fancy blue cheeses from the Rogue Creamery in Oregon. They are really quite spectacular. My favorite is the Crater Lake Blue which is one of the sharpest and smoothest blue cheeses I have ever had. Their most famous blue, the Rogue River Blue has won all kinds of awards and also has a very distinctive flavor. JR's favorite was the Smokey Blue which is a smoked blue cheese that I can imagine will be amazing on burgers.
I spent Saturday making a Turkey and Eggplant Passover Lasagna. If you aren't familiar with Passover, it's the Jewish celebration of their exodus from Egypt (you know the story, it's the one about the 10 plagues and Moses parting the waters). During the week of Passover, you are only supposed to eat unleavened bread, which means matzo, a large flat cracker. This recipe is a fantastic Passover option, using egg soaked matzo instead of noodles and a delicious turkey, eggplant, mushroom, carrot, tomato and cinnamon filling. I changed up the recipe slightly, and my version is below.
My mother-in-law made lots of traditional Passover items including homemade Matzo ball soup and potato kugles. My favorite, and which I must learn how to make is her beef brisket. It's melt in your mouth tender and deliciously flavored. I managed to take a tupperware full of it home and today we made brisket and blue cheese sandwiches that were so good I cried over my last bite.
It was a delicious weekend and I think I need to run an extra mile every day this week!
Turkey and Eggplant Passover Lasagna
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, or to taste
- 1/2 cup Olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 pounds fresh mushrooms (button, cremini, or shiitake), sliced
- 1 bag julienne carrots
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 large eggplants, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 3 cloves garolic, minced
- 10 thick, unbroken matzo crackers
- 2 liquid egg cartons
- 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1/8 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large frying pan, brown ground turkey, approximately 10 minutes. Once brown, drain, then sprinkle 1 tablespoons of cinnamon onto mixture, and set aside.
- In another large frying pan, heat 1/8 cup olive oil and saute diced onions until browned. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots to onion mixture, and saute together with seasoning, pinch of salt and pepper, until cooked. Place cooked mixture in large bowl and set aside.
- Using the same frying pan (do not wash), add remaining 1/8 cup oil and saute with pinches of salt and pepper, diced eggplant and garlic, until soft. Add these ingredients to onions, mushrooms and carrots in the mixing bowl. Add minced parsley, salt, freshly ground pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoons of cinnamon.
- Add 1 can of tomato sauce to vegetable mixture. Combine browned turkey with vegetable mixture; adjust seasonings. Add 1/8-cup honey to taste, and set aside.
- Use 2 aluminum roasting pans, 1 for matzo-soaking process, and 1 for egg dipping process.
- Fill 1 large aluminum roasting pan halfway with almost boiling water. Add matzos, 1 at a time to this "bath" and soak until wet through, not falling apart, but pliable (10-20 seconds). Remove and lay on paper towels. Place more towels on top of matzos to soak up excess water, if necessary.
- Fill second large aluminum roasting pan with about 3 cartons of liquid eggs. (You will dip the softened matzos into egg mixture, 1 at a time as you layer.)
- Grease 1 (9-1/2 by 13 inch) glass baking dishes lightly with olive oil. Open remaining cans of tomato sauce, pour into mixing bowl, and set aside.
- Start layering in Pyrex baking dish. First with a thin amount of tomato sauce on bottom, then with 2 to 2 1/2 egg dipped matzos (these are used similarly to lasagna noodles), then with filling mixture, then several dollops of tomato sauce, continuing to repeat process until the baking dish uses 6 to 8 matzos. Finish with a layer of matzos brushed lightly with tomato sauce. (Note: the baking dish should have 3 matzo layers total.)
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, until top is firm and golden.