Giada de Laurentiis is the featured chef for this week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs challenge. I confess that although her food looks fabulous she’s not my favorite tv chef. Still, I figured I could at least make a Christmas cookie recipe and with that in mind I searched “Giada Christmas.” When I came across a recipe for Breakfast Lasagna the cookie plan was abandoned.
The idea caught my attention. Instead of lasagna sheets this is made with chickpea crepes, which means the end result will be gluten free. It may seem odd if you’re used to cooking Americanized food, but you’d be surprised how often chickpea flour is used in Mediterranean cuisine (see this post on panisses for another application). Filling out the layers is a simple custard with eggs, milk and fontina cheese. In addition, Giada uses savory pancetta and sun dried tomatoes to add more color and flavor.
My desire was to put a Spanish spin on the dish. Naturally I used jamón instead of pancetta and substituted the cheeses for the types available to me. Trading emmental for fontina isn’t a hardship! I added mushrooms and asparagus because I had them in my pantry. I also debated adding sliced roasted red peppers for a little more color and wish I’d used them or roasted tomatoes because the end result was very beige.
It was a mistake to increase the amounts of ground cumin and coriander recommended in the recipe. By themselves the crepes were fine, but combined with the other ingredients they took over the dish and didn’t work well with the cheeses in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, it was edible and we ate it. But we weren’t at all interested in the leftovers, which isn’t the usual case with a casserole.
It wasn’t Giada’s fault my version of her breakfast lasagna didn’t work for us. I’m willing to give this another go, perhaps with the following changes:
- use flour crepes or lasagna sheets instead of chickpea crepes
- add roasted tomatoes if sun dried tomatoes aren’t available
- add thyme and basil if using flour crepes and just use small amounts of cumin and coriander if using chickpea crepes.
It would be nice if everything we made turned out drool worthy and perfect, but that’s not always the case. Tell me about your kitchen misses in the comments. Was it a poorly written recipe? I’ve encountered a few of those, too. Or was it your enthusiasm gone a bit awry? I’ll admit I’m guilty of that as well. Fortunately, the food is usually edible, if uninspiring.
Don’t forget to drop by I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what the others have made.