Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Tofu Lasagne, Bacon Flavor
by Susu

Few people realized, but while she lived, Falynn Sandskimmer was a vegetarian. Of course, as a soldier, she knew she could not be picky about her rations, and ate those weird food sticks without really knowing what was in them. But when she could, and in her heart, she was an avowed vegetarian. She hid this fact, but it put her in a bad mood when she couldn't get enough to eat, or when forced to eat meat.

Why? In
Tight Squeeze, a possible background was revealed -- she is an escaped slave, pushed out a grated but unguarded window by her mother, and told to run away from the powerful Hutt who owned her family. She was young enough to fit between the bars on the window, but old enough to remember the punishments meted out by the cruel masters. One such punishment was to be dropped into a rancor pit, like at Jabba's palace. But even more frightening was to be sentenced to become "bantha poodoo," which means feed for banthas, who were somewhat omnivorous. When the order was given, the slave -- human, alien, or beast -- was stripped and dropped alive in a large hopper and ground into a bloody pulp and shoveled out to be fed to the tethered banthas, or put out for marauding beasts or hungry sentients to scavange.

Falynn could never eat meat, wondering if it might contain a friend or a foe, at least not knowingly. So she never asked what was in anything, but if the meat pieces were recognizable as meat, she couldn't put the food in her mouth, no matter how hungry she was. She was lucky that others always were willing to take or trade for her leftovers.

Now she was a part of Wraith Squadron, and she was falling for a morose guy from Corellia named Myn Donos. Like the others, she was assigned KP duty and usually did a bad job of making some sort of vegetable stew -- just good enough to eat, not bad enough to toss -- but this time, she wanted to impress him, make him notice her. Her single best recipe was a lasagne, made with a soy-based tofu. But she knew Myn was a meat and carbos type of guy, and she'd have to at least have SOME meat in there. It made her queasy to think about it.

Providence supplied a solution: she arrived early to make dinner, and saw a large baking pan that was being soaked, but hadn't had soap injected in it yet. The pan had been used to make the breakfast bacon; Falynn had to admit that the smell of bacon was delightful. Smelling the bacon and hot water mixture, she suddenly realized she could create the illusion of meat, but use only its "essence."

Scraping up the tasty bits off the metal pan and skimming off the fat, she dumped the watery soup into a large pot and boiled it down to make a thicker soup, and used it instead of water in her lasagne sauce. She even marinated her tofu in it, so they picked up the meaty flavor. The result was a hit, but it didn't turn out to be the still-depressed Donos who admired her cooking. He beamed a rare smile at her from time to time, but he was still too wound up in his own brain to really realize she was flirting with him.

But the Bothan slicer, Eurrsk "Grinder" Thri'ag, started following her around, and before she knew it, she was involved in a casual but intense relationship with him. In all her missions as a bomber, she had never missed this badly! But he was sweet to her, even telling her that he he cared for her so much that he could imagine dying for her, or even better, he'd love to die beside her. (Always be careful what you wish for!)



If you really can't deal with even the "essence" of meat, then leave out the bacon, and replace the liquid with vegetable stock or juice, or water.
  • 1 lb. bacon, sliced
  • vegetable oil, for sautéeing
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 22 oz can tomato purée
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 lbs firm or very firm tofu, pressed, drained, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt or seasoned salt, to taste
  • 2 lbs ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 lbs lasagne noodles, boiled and cooled
  • 2 cups parmesan or similar cheese, grated
Arrange the bacon slices evenly on a baking sheet with sides, to hold in the rendered oil. Bake in a hot (about 400°F) oven till the bacon is done to your liking. Remove from the oven, set aside the bacon for another purpose. Pour the fat off in the pan, leaving behind the browned bits in the pan. About half-fill the pan with hot water and leave to soak for about 15 minutes. With a spatula, scrape up the browned bits, and pour the bacon water into a pot. Add the chopped up garlic. Boil the liquid till reduced by about a half, and thickened.

In a large skillet, add oil to lubricate and sautée the onions. When translucent, dump into the pot with the bacon stock. Add more oil if needed and panfry the tofu cubes, scraping up the bits at the bottom. Add to the pot.

Add contents of the canned tomato products to the pot, and add basil, oregano and salt, pepper. If its too thick, add some water, but if too thin, continue to boil the sauce.

In a bowl, prepare the cheese -- add cottage cheese or ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, eggs and salt and pepper. Beat together well.

Assemble the lasagne in two 9" x 13" x 2" baking dishes in the following manner:
  1. Butter or oil the bottom and sides
  2. Lay a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, try not to get too many chunky bits on the bottom.
  3. Lay out lasagne noodles. Fit them three or four across.
  4. Lay out a thin, continuous layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  5. Ladle out sauce, not too much, but covering the cheese layer.
  6. Sprinkle over parmesan cheese.
  7. Lay out lasagne noodles, as above.
  8. Repeat layering, ending with parmesan layer.
In an oven heated to 375°F, place the baking dish and bake till the sauce is bubbling and the top is browned.

Yields two 9" x 13" lasagnes, each serving about 8.


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