Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two new ways to enjoy macaroons and lasagna...

Since we are back on our regular schedule, today we get to talk about what we baked for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day treats Jeff will bring in tomorrow to share with his co-workers. We took a different look at coconut macaroon cookies and turned them into a different shape with these Tie-Dyed Macaroon Bars.

I've been wanting to find another use for these new candies (well not so new anymore I guess) that we have been enjoying since they came out in late '05. These thick dense bars are quite simply made from shredded coconut, sugar, flour, egg whites, eggs, almond extract and the candy-coated kisses. After they are baked until the top is a light golden, they need to rest overnight so the sweetness can mellow and allow the moisture evenly spread out. This also makes them a snap to cut into clean little rectangles. The "tie-dye" effect happens as the colors from the candies slowly bleed into the stark white coconut and create little bursts of colors around each kiss. The milk chocolate brought a rich dimension of sweetness, although I think I might want to try these again with the dark chocolate version of kissables.

I was worried they might be too sweet since we used already sweetened coconut, but we were happily surprised as we did our required quality control - so don't be tempted to skip the overnight rest! Each bar is very chewy with a pleasant and light almond flavor that lingers in your mouth after every bite. We cut them into 35 pieces, but I think you could go even smaller and still be satiated after having one.

Tonight's dinner, Tortilla Lasagna with Swiss Chard, would probably have been better done on a weekend as it took a lot of dishes and quite a bit of prep work before we got it in the oven. This is also our second time having swiss chard - this time we used the red variety instead of the rainbow-colored bunch we used before. I love how it has a more substantial texture than spinach, while still having a mild flavor. We made this dish in a large 10" springform pan for easy removal and layering - I'm sure you could use a casserole dish if you don't have one of these pans already. The stems from the swiss chard are separated from the leaves and softened with the onions as they are a bit more tough and take longer to cook. The leaves and garlic are added to the mixture and they cook down until the leaves turn tender. The layers are made from white corn tortillas, marinara sauce spruced up with torn fresh basil leaves, the chard/onion mixture, ricotta cheese simply seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper, mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan. As this monster lasagna cooks, covered, the tortillas absorb the moisture from the marinara sauce so the mixture can hold together, but keep some of their firmness and don't turn to mush. The cover is removed when it is almost done and a scattering of mozzarella and Parmesan is placed on top to add one more cheesy layer. When you pull this out of the oven, make sure you give it enough time to set up so you can get clean cuts - we waited about 10 minutes before removing the sides to reveal the impressive pie.

While I don't think I would classify this as a dry dish, there is enough extra marinara sauce called for that you reheat and serve on the side if you like things a bit saucy. There are a lot of ways that lasagna can be made and this is one that deserves a try - worth the extra effort and time it takes to make!


  1. I just made lasagna too - are we craving it because of the colder weather? I love the round shape of yours.

  2. Wow, that tortilla lasagna looks spectacular. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mebeth - Probably - cold = comfort food!

    Ruth - Nice to "see" you!

    Randi - Yeah!

  4. Hi,
    I made this recipe, too, (great minds think alike) but I adapted it for the microwave, which made for a quick and easy dinner.

    Here's "my" verision of the Veg Times recipe -- http://paperpalate.net/2007/02/23/tortilla-lasagna-and-something-for-everyone-in-februarys-vegetarian-times/

  5. FJK - I'll check it out, thanks!