Zucchini Tofu Napoleon
The blogging world has opened up so many new culinary opportunities.
The beauty of blogging is that I get to virtually visit the kitchens of people all over the world and then adapt the recipes to suite my family’s taste. Hence, I recently posted a recipe which I called Lentils Napoleon. Here is the link: https://cookingforthetimechallenged.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/lentils-napoleon/
I adapted the recipe based on The Eggplant Napoleon recipe posted by Dolly, who is behind the apron of koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com.
Here is the link to her wonderful blog: https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/
Here is the link for her post on Eggplant Napoleon:
However, I must apologize for an inadvertent culinary faux pas: Lentils Napoleon is really a misnomer.
Through this joint post, I have learned that my lentil dish should have been named Lentils with Cumin and Sumac.
And, how did I learn this?
Because Dolly, who is a dedicated teacher, kindly reminded me that “Napoleon” really refers to anything baked in thin layers interspersed with something creamy.
My lentil dish was certainly not that. I simply liked the spices she used and thought I would use lentils instead.
BUT, my malapropism has led to this current hands-on learning experience. Dolly is a genuine educator: she suggested that we do a joint post on a “real” Lentils Napoleon.
Our goal is to post as simultaneously as possible both of our recipes, using the culinary concept of layering vegetables interspersed with something creamy, the real culinary definition of Napoleon-style dishes.
Here is the link to Dolly’s post on Beets and Beans Napoleon. I am sorry but I don’t know how to make a short link:
Beets and Beans Napoleon – koolkosherkitchen
For me, this has been a real opportunity to see how unique we all are. We infuse our own special spark into everything we do.
Raizel’s painting from camp.
Based on a more careful reading of Dolly’s post, and some online research, I discovered that Wolfgang Puck, the original creator of Beets Napoleon, used goat cheese between layers of beets.
For this post, I decided to use thinly sliced zucchini between a tofu-lentil creamy layer. I thought that tofu, with a dash of vinegar, would recreate a more goat cheese-like texture. In addition, I had run out of lentils, and I didn’t feel like shopping for more.
Raizel was my hands-on helper in this activity. She came home from camp this week, and was very excited when I suggested we make this dish for our joint post.
Raizel helped with the actual cooking, and she also took some of the photos. Raizel has a unique gift for coming up with recipes that are often quite good. But, photography is one of her passions; and of course, she loved using my phone as a camera!
For Tofu-Lentil Layer:
1 lbs. firm tofu
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1-2 teaspoons garlic power
1 teaspoon pepper, and cumin
½ teaspoon coriander, and sumac
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Optional: fresh cilantro
Optional: Leftover Napoleon Lentils
Vinegar to taste, in order to get a slightly tangy taste for the tofu. I used red wine vinegar, but I think that apple cider vinegar would be good too.
3 Zucchini, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste.
Lentil Tofu Creamy layer: Slice the tofu about 5 mm thick and sprinkle spices on top. Spray oil grill, and cook the tofu until done.
I took the leftover lentils from when I first posted the recipe and pureed it together with the tofu and added the vinegar.
The vinegar gives it a nice tang and a creamy texture.
Then I adjusted the seasoning.
Raizel said, “It looks terrible but it tastes great.”
Vegetable layer: Slice the zucchini is thin slices. I have a wonderful compact grater/slicer that I used. It is very sharp and is able to slice 2 different thickness. It also has 3 blades for various grating. Raizel actually sliced the zucchini and she did it very well!
Sauté zucchini in pan, sprayed with olive oil. Add crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Layer zucchini in a small, lightly oiled dish. Next add layer of tofu-lentils, and continuing layering until near the top. Top layer should be of zucchini.
Bake covered for 20 minutes or until cooked.
I made this in individual servings. I think that it could be made in a larger pan, and then sliced when cooked. However, it might be difficult to maintain the desired layered look. Wolfgang Puck, I believe, used a cookie cutter to get a uniform and attractive serving portion.
Serve with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
Here are the pictures. Since I made it with Raizel and she likes photography, we took quite a few.
Tofu marinating with the spices.
Raizel slicing the zucchini. Go Raizel!
Sauteing the zucchini.
Raizel placing the tofu on the grill.
Raizel cooked the tofu by herself!
Pureeing the tofu
Ready to cook!
Voila! The final product!
The verdict: The recipe objectively came out great. However, subjectively, is was not well received.
After it was so beautifully prepared, my husband reminded me that he does not like anything creamy. Raizel, who was very excited and very enthusiastic during the whole process, also didn’t eat it. Despite her protestations, Raizel does not like anything creamy either.
In the end, I was the only one who ate it. I thought it tasted great.
I also ate the leftover tofu “cream” during the week, as a spread on rice cakes.
Overall, I would say that this recipe is delicious, but for someone else’s family.
What did I learn?
I have my own song in the kitchen.
Everyone has their own song.
For my family, simple is best.
Finally, I had lots of fun discussing and planning this with Dolly. We had a bonding experience!Thank you Dolly!