When the boys were little, they used to drag chairs into their bedroom, grab sheets from the linen closet, flashlights from the drawers, and spend hours building forts. They loved creating something out of nothing and the only limitations were the size of their room and the breadth of their imagination. Each time they did this the configuration of the fort was just a little different but the basics were the same. Just like our Sukkah. The size is determined by the space available and the rest is up to us. In truth building a Sukkah is not so different than building those forts. Shortly after Rosh Hashana, Norm orders the Schah, (in Los Angeles we use Palm fronds) and then starts pulling the lumber out of the garage. A few days later the frame goes up but it doesn’t really look like anything much at this point. (If anything it looks like he is planning to build a fort) Then the lights and a few decorations go up. That lasts about a week, and finally when the schah is delivered and thrown over the top of the frame, the Sukkah takes on a life of its own.
This year my brother-in-law Jeff will be joining us in our Sukkah for the very first time. Just like when the kids invited a friend to come play in the fort, a guest gives you an opportunity to show off your handiwork. For years I have encouraged Norm to buy a Sukkah Kit, or have the patio roof re-done so that all he would have to do is add the walls, in other words to find a way of building a Sukkah that would take less effort. That will never happen because then he wouldn’t be able to tell Jeff, or any other guest, that “he built it all by himself.” There is something about boys and their forts. Chag Sameach.
This is a vegetarian version of Joy Behar’sas seen on The Chew. The soy crumbles and soy Italian sausages worked perfectly.
Hearty Vegetarian Lasagna
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb soy Italian Sausages, cut into 1/2″ slices
8 oz. soy crumbles
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup basil leaves slicked into slivers
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 box lasagna noodles
1 lb. whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated parmesan
1 extra-large egg
1 lb. whole milk fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Soak noodles in a casserole dish filled with hot tap water. Heat olive oil in large pan, add chopped onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for another minute. Add soy crumbles and Italian sausage and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and basil. Simmer on low, while preparing filling, for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl mix ricotta with beaten egg and 1 cup parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Take a 9 x 12 baking dish and pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom. Then cover sauce with half of the soaked noodles. Cover noodles with 1/3 sauce, 1/2 of the sliced mozzarella and half the ricotta mixture. Add second layer of noodles, and repeat. Sprinkle with additional 1/4 cup parmesan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serves 6-8