Zucchini Lasagna Redux

Posted on July 22, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Food - Lasagna 4

Continuing with my no-wheat project, I decided to try zucchini lasagna again, this time making some changes that resulted in a much better final product.  Above it my “mise en place” as the French call it – my putting into place all the things I need to assemble the lasagna.

I had trouble with the zucchini last time as I cut it with a knife and it was not of uniform thickness.  Also, after 1 hour of baking it was still a bit crunchy.  I broke down and bought a very cheap $3.99 mandolin at Aldi which is a surprising delight to use!

Food - Lasagna 2     Food - Lasagna 1

This nifty little gadget, which has all manner of slicing panels for other projects, zipped through my four zucchini with ease.  Then I pan-fried the slices with a little fresh farm lard and salt.  I then drained them on a tray lined with paper towels to soak up any liquid.

Food - Lasagna 3This was my method for rehydrating some beautiful shitake mushrooms.  Boiling water poured over the mushrooms creates floating mushrooms so by placing a heavy cup on top it held them under the water.  Afterward I had a nice brown liquid mushroom stock to which I blended the mushroom stems which are too tough to eat, but full of flavor.  The stems blended with the strained liquid turned into a lovely brown creamy mushroom concentrate that I popped into the freezer for a later soup.  Why throw that stuff away?

Once I had all my ingredients assembled it was an easy task to put together, bake for an hour, and enjoy.  It was delicious and the zucchini was perfect this time.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of the final product.  I did have my camera handy, but completely forgot because the lasagna was so delicious!

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Zucchini Lasagna Sans Noodles

Posted on July 8, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple | Tags: , , , |

Food - Zucchini lasagna 1The first thing to do when making lasagna is to assemble your ingredients because basically this is an assembly job.  For wheatless lasagna I sliced 5 zucchini the long way.  Then I salted them and let them rest in a colander in the sink.  Then I blotted them as dry as I could get them with paper towels.

Meanwhile I stuck a one-pound package of frozen local, grass-fed ground beef into a bowl of water to defrost.  I cleaned up some mushrooms I had in the refrigerator and cooked them to get as much water out as possible.  I got the big container of ricotta into a bowl with 2 eggs and some home-grown oregano mixed in.

I sliced up some mozzarella because you won’t find me buying shredded cheese in a bag.  Read the ingredients list sometime and you will find they toss that stuff with a variety of things that inhibit mold growth and sticking.  I don’t need the chemicals.

I opened a big jar of organic marinara.  Yep, too much to do to mess with making my own.  Also got the jar of dried garlic pieces out.  Again, too much to do to also deal with fresh here for me today.  Maybe next time.  I also figured the dried garlic would soak up some of the water that is certain to be produced.  Next time I might use dried mushrooms to help with that too.

Food - Zucchini lasagna 2 Now the assembly began.  A little sauce on the bottom, a layer of zucchini, mushrooms, sauce, ricotta,  cheese, garlic, and clumps of raw hamburger.  When you use hamburger this good it doesn’t need browning.  If browned almost no fat comes off of it so it can just cook inside the lasagna.  Then repeat ending with sauce and cheese on top.

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A pop into the oven at 350° for an hour completes it.  It’s so big we shared it between 3 people this first night.  Then we left about 1/4 of it for my dad and we still have the rest for dinner tonight.  So, for a bit of putsy assembly work it does pay me off with 3 dinners!

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Not a bad payoff for the time invested.  And it was quite tasty if a bit watery.  I’m going to try grilling the zucchini next time.  We did have steaks on the grill the night before.  If I had been planning ahead I could have quickly grilled the zucchini very easily while the steaks were resting.  Next time.  Cooking at home is always an adventure!  None of us missed wheat noodles at all.  This is an easy dish to do without them.

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