Monday, November 07, 2011

In Which I Exclaim

OK. All right.
Anyway.
Ya gotta eat. I came across a recipe in the NY Times for a moussaka made without béchamel. I think that deserves an exclamation point!
Yargh, béchamel. I mean, it has its purpose here and there, but it is not a happy afterthought to food. "Wouldn't this look nice with a clammy white gloop on top?"
We had just concocted a roasted onions dish from the NYT, which was smothered in béchamel. It did not pass the happy test. Perhaps that was why we were all over the modified moussaka. And it was good.
This version is just a bit like shepherd's pie, but with fewer vegetables. The genius is that it has an egg yolk and Parmesan cheese stirred into the mashed potato topping. I could eat that every day. Oh, plus a petite grating of nutmeg.
The meat mixture called for cinnamon and cloves, which scared the crap out of me. But we soldiered on. Hm. No ground cloves in the spice treasury. Fine, allspice will do, and it did very well indeed.
Verdict: Damn yum. This is going into heavy rotation.
And the ground meat? It was goat. I think that deserves an exclamation point!

18 comments:

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Doesn't EVERYONE put egg yolk and cheese in their topping mash???

Kailyn said...

The first time I read the combination of cloves and cinnamon in moussaka, I was a tad nervous. Then I remembered how some Mediterranean foods use the same spices as Indian food. I've only made moussaka with the béchamel. While it's the top layer, it does work its way through the layers.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: I never knew!!! Embarrassed. (But cheeky). I will do it with egg and cheese from NOW ON.

Kailyn: I've always enjoyed moussaka, but this streamlined version is the EATS.

Lots of capital letters today.

Kate said...

Yum. I LOVE goat. At our farmers market I heard a farmer who sells meats talking to a woman. She asked what goat tastes like. He told her it tastes like lamb with flavor. Re: the spices. I'm sort of sick of cinnamon and *those* spices as deployed in sweet things. It's getting to the point I won't use them that way anymore. But I still like them in savory things. Cinnamon is very good with many meats, even chicken, a la the Persian dish fesanjan.

Hungry Dog said...

Goat. Nice! But I disagree about bechamel, it can be downright delicious and not at all gloopy. In any case, this looks delicious. I'm off to find the recipe...

Zoomie said...

Say goodbye to Herman. Thank heavens! The Repugs can't seem to come up with any but buffoons. I can't figure out how they survive as a party.

Greg said...

This is a dish I have never tasted. Looks yummy and comfortable.Great to chase me out of the cold dark cycle.

Pink Granite said...

Found the NYTimes "Shortcut Moussaka" recipe and it's very close to my own easy-peasy. no bechamel variation. Except I have never tried the egg yolk in the potatoes.
Now that the days are getting cooler I need to put Moussaka into rotation again!
Thank you!
- Lee

Kat said...

Mmm! Sounds delicious! I feel the same way about bechamel (sometimes). And the goat is pure genius! I love goat but have no idea where to find it here in VT.

namastenancy said...

Where did you get goat? I've had goat in stews in the Middle East and in curry in Trinidad but never in moussaka - probably because in those countries goats are worked until they drop. The only way to make the meat eatable is to stew it - we live in such luxury to have goat that doesn't have to be cooked for 24 hours to make it palatable.

I've wondered how a "classic" Greek dish ended up using a French sauce - interesting history here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moussaka

cookiecrumb said...

Kate: Agree! So tired and wary of the baking spices. But they're a little bit magic with meat.
Fesanjan! Good, good, good.

Dog: I make a very nice béchamel myself, but it has to be purposeful. Just dumping a sauce of milk and flour on something... Yeggh. Goat! Nice.

Zoomie: Frankly the Herman Cain story is not developing fast enough for me. He should be gone now!

Greg: You got a Greek restaurant near you? It would be a fun way to see if you like moussaka. It's made with eggplant, and some people won't eat that, but you're a brave boy.

I'm having a problem publishing Nancy's comment. Again! Be right back.

cookiecrumb said...

Pink Granite: Don't tell Mouse you've never put egg yolk in the taters. She will scold you! :)
Sorry I was too lazy to link to the recipe, and thanks for finding it on your own.
Too bad eggplant season is almost over. I've gotta find a way to freeze them.

Kat: Thumbs up! I sure can't find you a goat source. Do you have a goat dairy in the vicinity? A cheese maker? They're always selling off the young males...

Nancy: There you are! The goat came from Julie Evans at the Marin farmers market. She's the sister of Dave Evans, who runs Marin Sun Farms. Really tender, raised for meat. Thanks for the Wiki link; interesting.

cookiecrumb said...

HERMAN CAIN, YOU ARE MEAT. DEAD MEAT.

namastenancy said...

Yes, Cain may be dead but he's too darn tough for anything useful. Just like the Republican's brains- tough, stupid and regressive....

Oh, and to make this food related. The goat that's eaten in Trinidad is put into a sandwich called roti (I think). Roti is a huge, flat piece of bread cooked like a chapati, then the stew is put in the middle of it and it's wrapped up like an envelope so you can eat it on the run. I can't remember if I liked the goat but I sure like the shrimp.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Moussaka, Moussaka, Moussaka! So much fun to say! Moussaka.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: It's liltingly lyrical in a lovely way. La, la, la!

Ilva said...

Exclamation from over here too, always had a bit of a problem with the bechamel sauce in this dish.

cookiecrumb said...

Ilva: I know! Problem solved. Hi, love.