As we all know, winter is the time for much sleeping, with short bursts of wakefulness centred around pureed soups and giant casseroles filled with who-knows-what.
[Image from: http://www.amoeba.com/dynamic-images/blog/Job/wrestling.jpg]
This bear would be less prone to attacking human-types during the difficult hibernation period if someone had thought to invite it over to partake in the following...
I got this unexpectedly delectable recipe from a great seasonal cookbook created by The Stop Community Food Centre (http://thestop.org/), a rad Toronto community org that works to promote food security and sovereignty by holding cooking workshops, doing a lot of community gardening, acting as an empowering alternative to more traditional food banks. As the story goes, they got an enormous donation of canned baked beans and were at a loss as to what to do with them until someone came up with this fine thing. You can replace the suggested veggies with whatever you have on hand, as long as they all cook at about the same temperature.
What you'll need:
1/2 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into, you guessed it, 1-inch cubes/pieces
1/4 cup veggie/olive oil, plus enough to coat veggies
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, divided
500g/1 lb firm tofu, drained & cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 398 ml/14 oz cans baked beans (I used the maple flavoured kind...)
1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, whatever, mix it up!)
What you'll do:
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, toss eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper with enough veggie/olive oil to coat, and season well with salt & pepper. Spread out on baking sheets, creating an even single layer on each. Roast veggies for about 20 minutes, or until they're nicely browned and pepper is still a bit crisp. Remove from heat and reduce oven temperature to 350F. Place roasted veggies in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In a frying/sauTAY pan, heat 1/4 cup veggie/olive oil on medium heat. Slice 1 clove of garlic in thirds and fry in oil 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Add tofu and fry until golden brown. Remove tofu from oil and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Using a slotted spoon, fish out garlic and discard. Return pan to heat. Saute onion until translucent and season with salt & pepper. Finely chop remaining garlic cloves and add to pan; saute for 1 minute more, then add mixture to the bowl of roasted veggies. Add the baked beans, tofu and parsley to mixture and stir well to combine! Spread wondrous mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish and sprinkle LOTS of shredded cheese on top.
3. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is browned and mixture starts to bubble at the sides of the pan.
Serves 4-6. Maybe just 4 because it's so delicious and/or if you're feeding bears.