Recipe request: Eggplant Lasagna

Whenever I post pictures of my food on IG or Facebook, I immediately get asked the question, “do you have a recipe for this? or “will you be posting this on your blog?”. I should have learned by now to post both the picture and a recipe. When I cook, most of the procedures or recipes are in my head; not on paper. Eventually, I have the time to sit down and write down all of the steps, proof read the recipe, and have it ready for posting. This usually requires a cup of coffee.

First recipe of the day is the Eggplant Lasagna. This recipe is gluten free and lacto ovo vegetarian. The slices of eggplant act as the noodles along with layers of crushed tomatoes, kale, and cheeses. The recipe makes enough for 8, but if you are eating this solo, it can easy be frozen to be eaten another day.

Eggplant Lasagna
1 medium sized eggplant

2 tbsp Kosher salt

1 large can of crushed tomato

1 cup of curly parsley, chopped

1 cup of fresh curly kale, ripped from the stem 

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1 container of Bourin brand soft cheese (garlic & herb)

2 eggs 

1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Place on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath (a cooling rack can be found at any store that sells kitchen tools). Sprinkle salt over the eggplant and allow the moisture to drain from the eggplant (2hrs). After draining wipe off any remaining salt. 

3. Pour crushed tomato into a bowl along with a pinch of salt and parsley. Stir and set aside.

4. In a 13X9 in pan, pour down a layer of tomato sauce. On top place down enough eggplant to cover the pan. On top of the eggplant, pour on more sauce. Sprinkle on shredded parm, kale, then top with more eggplant slices. Continue with the layers until you have used all of the eggplant. 

5. In a bowl whisk together the cheese, eggs, milk, and a little salt and pepper. Pour on top of the eggplant.

6. Bake in the oven for 35-40 min until the center of the lasagna reaches 165F. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then cut and serve. 

Friday night gym session 

Happy Friday!!

I look forward to Fridays for 3 reasons:

1. It’s the end of the work week.

2. I get to sleep in (anything past 4am is sleeping in for me lol)

3. The gym is EMPTY.

Apparently no one likes to go to the gym on Fridays which is awesome for me. The WiFi is fully functioning since there is only a handful of people using it. Most importantly, there is lots of space And opportunity to workout. Better focus. I can concentrate on my session instead of worrying about someone trying to take my bench or free weights.

After the gym dinner consisted of a massive salad:

Romaine, spring mix, mushroom, whole boiled eggs, pico de gallo, chick peas, green onion, black olive, green olive, feta cheese, pumpkin seed, and sunflower seed. Pretty damn delicious and filling. I am 100 percent until the morn. 

I have been trying to eat well before 8pm, so that my food digests before I go to sleep. The key is to eat 2-3hrs prior to sleeping. During the week (since I am well into sleep by 930), we will eat at 6 or 630. Since today is Friday and I was at the gym later, I ate dinner at 730. I have no intentions of going to sleep anytime soon, but I ate a good meal and I am satisfied for the remainder of the night.

Until tomorrow!

30 Days a Vegetarian Part II: Wok Style Vegetable Fried Rice

We’ve decided to do the 30 Day Vegetarian detox once again!  It started on October 16th and will continue until November 17th. No animal protein except for eggs (I need them for the gym). I will again post recipes and suggestions for the vegetarian lifestyle throughout the journey. 

Tonight was taco night! I used Quorn brand meatless crumbles (soy and gluten free) and created taco “meat”. With a lot Mexican flavors, you couldn’t tell the difference.

 Below is a meal that I made last night. I posted a picture on Facebook and Instagram and have several people ask for the recipe. 

Wok Style Vegetable Fried Rice
2 bags of Uncle Ben’s boil in the bag rice (cooked according to the package. After cooked open bags and spread onto a flat pan and allow to cool.
1 med white onion, chopped

1 package of white mushroom, sliced 

1/2 cup of shredded carrots

1 tbsp of chopped garlic

1 tbsp of chopped fresh ginger OR 2tsp of ground ginger 

Half block of extra firm tofu (cubed)-this is optional. I am not eating meat at the moment, but this can be replaced with any lean protein such as chicken, pork, or beef

4 large eggs, beaten

Maggi seasoning (to taste)

2 tbsp of Soy sauce 

McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, rough chop

A wok (if you don’t have a wok I suggest a good non stick pan…something that will allow good heat circulation) 

A couple table spoons of stir fry oil or coconut oil.
1. Heat the wok on medium high. Add 2 tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in the tofu and Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Quickly toss around until you get a little sear on the outside…about 6 minutes. (With raw protein, continue cooking until no longer pink.) Remove into a bowl. 

2. Now for your vegetables. If needed add a touch more oil and add in your vegetables in this order: onion, garlic, ginger, and mushroom. Add in a little Maggi seasoning and sauté until soft. Add in the carrots and sauté. Remove from wok with a slotted spoon (mushrooms will release some liquid) and set aside. If there is a lot of residual liquid it can be wiped out with a towel.

3. Once again, if needed, add a little oil. Pour in the egg and fold until cooked. 

4. Grab your rice (which should be room temperature) and add to the wok. Add in the soy sauce and saute. Add in tofu, vegetables, and egg and fold. Add in more soy sauce based on your taste. Once everything is all incorporated, finish with the chopped cilantro. Serves about 4 people as an entree or several as a side dish.

Let me know what you think!!

Follow me on Instagram: chefdomli_85

One love, 

Chef Dom Lipscomb 2016

30 Days a Vegetarian

For the month of January, my husband and I decided that we would stop eating meat. COLD TURKEY. The only animal products that we would consume would be eggs, cheese, and butter. In essence…we were lacto ovo (lacto: milk and ovo: egg) vegetarians. 
We embarked on this “30 Days A Vegetarian” journey with a few thoughts in mind.
 Primarily, we wanted to see if we had the discipline to actually carry out the month long fast. Both of us have spent our days being carnivores. Two years ago, we stopped eating beef and pork, so it has been just turkey, chicken, lamb, and fish. Going from a heavy animal protein diet to a mostly plant based protein diet in 24 hours is crazy to some, but in order to get the maximum amount of results, that is what we had to do. 
Secondly, we wanted to do it for health reasons. My husband and I are in the gym most of the week. Our diet is 80% healthy, but we wanted that extra 20% of healthy eating to be added to our daily food intake. There have been studies that say that a plant based diet is proven to be better for the way the body functions, so we wanted to see what the hype was about. 
Lastly, my sole reason for doing this vegetarian fast was for research. I have several friends that take part in the vegetarian, vegan, and even raw vegan lifestyles. I wanted to eat the way they eat and see if it was truly beneficial. Also as a chef, I needed a new challenge. I pride myself on being able to create awesomeness in the kitchen; having the “Midas Touch” when it comes to food. With this fast I would have to really think and dig deep, stepping out of my culinary realm and come up with some GOOD FOOD with LOTS OF FLAVOR. 
So on January 1st, 2016 at 12:00am…we were vegetarians. 
We immediately did a complete 360.
 Our first shopping trip as vegetarians was interesting. I remember pushing a buggy full of organic fruits and vegetables, beans, grains, mushroom protein crumbles (Quorn is the brand…amazing), seeds, and sea weed and feeling a little out of our element. When you are first starting a fast such as as this, you probably will have to start from scratch with items that you will need. We had absolutely NOTHING vegetarian friendly on hand. That made this shopping trip pretty expensive. The total came up to a little under $130 for about a week and a half of food. We bought a lot of the plant based staple items to start, so that we will only have to replenish the organic produce weekly. One good thing about being a vegetarian for a month, our grocery bill per week ended up being only about $40!! Cutting out the animal based proteins made food shopping much cheaper.
Using what we purchased at the store, I took to my brain, Pinterest, and an old culinary school text book for vegetarian recipe inspiration. Contrary to popular belief, vegetarian food can have flavor. Just because you aren’t eating meat does not mean that the vegetarian meal has to taste like air. Plants are predominantly composed of water, so you have to add flavor to whatever you cook. Using fresh herbs, garlic, flavored oils, and other aromatics to add flavor. Maggi seasoning and amino liquids are also great and add a decent amount of meaty flavor to dishes. Also, cooking vegetarian dishes are the same as cooking with meat. Mostly, you will treat the dish as one that has meat and cook it the same way. For example, I cooked fried rice and pad Thai a few times during the monthly fast and used tofu (which is a sponge when it comes to flavors and using extra firm is best because it holds shape) as the protein. I diced the tofu into medium sizes pieces. Since I usually add chicken to the fried rice and pad Thai, I sautéed the tofu in a wok with Montreal Chicken Seasoning and Maggi seasoning ( if you wanted a beef flavor you could use Montreal Steak Seasoning). If you would have closed your eyes while you tasted it, you would not even know that it was tofu. 
Buckwheat Lo Mein w/tofu Chef Dominique ’16
Fried Rice w/ sautéed kale Chef Dominique ’15
I also made a vegan portabella black bean burger that was delicious! I found a recipe on Pinterest via that I used as a base and added my own twist to it. If you follow me on Instagram you will see all of the goodness that was created. From Asian, to Mexican, and Italian, we ate REALLY good food. Each meal was delicious and filling; to the point that during the month, we started to not even think about eating meat. 
Now the elephant in room wants to ask, “Did they make it?”
The answer is YES!
We successfully completed the fast without cheating. The closest I came to meat was basking in the ambience of it cooking while at work. I missed eating it, but after the 10th day and eventually toward the end, our bodies adjusted to not having animal products. Do not get the game twisted, I had my teeth into some chicken wings at the stroke of midnight on February 1st. 
So what did we learn?
1: Being a vegetarian is not difficult. It is a change yes, but not a difficult one. Now that we have dabbled in it a little, we know what to buy and what to eat. It definitely could be something that we could possibly revert back to in the future. I missed my fish mostly, so being a pescatarian would be my choice of lifestyle. My husband is actually thinking about doing the fast again in a few months. One word of advice: do not jump all the way back into eating meat. Give your body time to adjust to having animal protein again. Your stomach will get confused. I learned the hard way. We are back to our carnivorous diets with more plant based proteins included.
2: A plant based diet is a healthier alternative to a diet with animal protein. When we eliminated meat from our diet, we gained more energy and our skin became clearer. My husband lost a little weight, and I lost a few, but gained it back in muscle. It was some concern that the lack of animal protein will lead to a loss in muscle. This turned out to be false. We replaced our animal protein wth tofu, mushrooms, legumes, and grains. Also, we started juicing and using calcium and protein rich greens and seeds to keep us full and energized before/ after the gym. Protein supplements were also used such as Isopure, and protein cookies. 
3. I have a newfound level of respect for those that take on the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle full time. It definitely takes discipline, a lot of meal planning and prep. We had fun with cooking different meals and trying different combinations of flavors that we might have stayed away from before when eating meat. For the average beginner vegetarian it could be a little boring. During the beginning we were stuck on eating the same thing because we enjoyed it so much, not knowing that a few days later we would get tired of it. 
I challenge any of you reading this to make 2016 your year to be healthier. You do not have to go as far as we did with eliminating meat from your diet, but if you start by removing one unhealthy food from your everyday food intake once a week (soda, bread, sweets) you will soon be on your way to eating healthier. 
My goal now is to spread awareness about healthier eating. I will be starting a course this week to learn more about nutritional science and fitness nutrition. Soon I will have a certification to be a nutritional coach and will start counseling and helping others overcome their struggles with making the right decisions when it comes to food. 
If you would like more recipes or insight on our “30 Days A Vegetarian” fast, feel free to contact me with questions and/or comments!

Thanksgiving 2015 recap

I hope that everyone has enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Everyone took part in cooking this year. We had a total of 15 items on the menu. 

Here is a snapshot of some of yumminess that I had created yesterday. 

We chose to go with a free range turkey this year. The cost was much more than usual for a 15 pound turkey, but we wanted to make sure that our turkey was free from hormones and fed a vegetarian diet. Whole Foods saved the day for this! 

   Vegetarian dressing as a side.  Three types of bread, sautéed vegetables, garlic, herbs, and broth are some of the ingredients. I like my dressing to be almost close to a savory bread pudding, so I make a custard to bind it all together. It rests for an hour before going into the oven to bake, so that every flavor will soak into the bread. 

I made macaroni and cheese with a rich mornay (of you are familiar with the mother sauces, you know that a mornay is a fancy smancy way of saying cheese sauce) with three cheeses. A bechamel sauce is made first, next goes the cheeses, and then the warm, al dente noodles. A lay of cheesy noodles goes down in the baking dish first, then a layer of cheese, then more noodles, and ending with a thick layer of cheese on top. It’s baked in the oven until nice and gooey. Below is a picture of the mornay.    The rest of the portions of dinner came together nicely and everyone enjoyed themselves. We were all stuffed! 

As we all know…Thanksgiving leftovers are the best. Looking forward to a nice plate of more yumminess!!

Noodle Bowl

Feeling a little under the weather today. It could be a combination of the changing of the weather OR…my nieces who are here for the holiday week that brought the “cold monster” with them. 

Whatever may be the cause of me feeling like death turned over twice, I didn’t have any energy to cook today. All that I had today at work was soup, so I figured I keep with the trend and have soup again. 

I took sazón, a Hispanic seasoning blend with annatto seed for color, and mixed it with vegetable broth in a pot and brought it to a boil. Next, I took a bundle of soba (buckwheat) noodles and simmered the noodles for 5 minutes in the broth. 

The noodles go in a bowl (without the broth) with a few sheets of lavar (seaweed snacks are always in the house), thin slices of onion, a boiled egg (minus the yolk of course), poured the hot broth over the bowl, and then sprinkled on some chia seeds. 


 Very filling for dinner! The broth was soothing to my throat and actually made me feel a little better.

However, you do not have to be sick to enjoy this.

It’s gluten free, vegetarian, and full of fiber and protein. 

And as always…very tasty! 

Saturday Morning and a Light Breakfast

This morning’s breakfast was excellent.

Cooking breakfast at home is something that takes place only on the weekends. During the week I have to be in the drive to work by 5am, so I will just cook myself something when I get there. I have weekends off and usually can never sleep past 8am 🙄. I’ll get out of bed, turn on the Keurig, and make breakfast. 

Breakfast is usually a refresher for me. A way for my body to wake up and cleanse. I’m usually eating out the previous night, so I make something with a lot of fiber, protein, but also light. I will make pancakes or muffins sometimes, but usually it will have to be a very special occasion, or…a serious craving. 

This morning I chose eggs, a salad, turkey bacon, and avocado. Black coffee and water for beverages. 

The greens have a simple drizzle of olive oil and lemon, with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. I cooked the turkey bacon until crispy to give the greens a bit of a crunch. 

I detest whole eggs (I’m an egg white only girl), but I am eating extra protein for maintaining muscle. Usually I will throw something in the eggs as an attempt to mask the sulfuric smell and texture of the yolk. Today I threw in a few sprigs of fresh dill. I didn’t chop with a knife, just pulling them off the sprig. This added a fresh, clean flavor to the eggs.

Last is the avocado. Surprisingly sweet for this time of year, I just ate it out of the skin. 

Along with a cup of organic, dark Jane (female equivalent to cup of Joe) I was set. I drink black coffee-no sugar or cream-to enjoy the natural state of coffee. I am sure that a lot of you have never truly tasted coffee due to it being heavily polluted with flavored creamers and sugars. 

No recipe to post today. 

Just wanted you to sit back and think about what you want for breakfast this morning. It doesn’t always have to be heavy to be filling. 

Some times lighter is better.