Noms: Marscapone & What to do with a gigantic zucchini

gluten free lasagna!
seriously.  and this is just half the zucchini!

so, keeping in with the zucchini-as-pasta train, i was thrilled to have our neighbours bring over this enormous sized zucchini from their plot at the Earth Wise garden.  went onto the Jamie Oliver site crossing my fingers for a good looking lasagna recipe for the filler and found a very promising one simple baked lasagna that used butternut squash, pancetta, stewing beef and pork belly in place of ground beef.  i grabbed a $6 pound of organic stewing beef and 5 slices of pancetta from the deli, leaving out pork belly.

this recipe also called for a white sauce, but not having the energy to do a new filling and experiment with gigantic zucchini noodles AND make a sauce, i opted for another awesome recipe marscapone lasagna for the lazy cook that suggested marcapone (since i had had leftover from the cheesecake...), parmesan, and mozzarella.


like the carrot cake, this recipe was definitely a labour of love and took much longer than i had hoped.  i had planned to eat early and be out to run errands in Richmond but that didn't happen.  all the better, as i took a mini walk with the kids up to saara's to bring her a piece of the carrot cake, just what she needed.  the evening was cool and the fresh air was welcome after hours in the hot kitchen.


the zucchini was great.  as a substitute for those on a gluten-free or paleo diet, zucchini's mild flavour easily adapts to its neighbouring flavours.  the texture is similar to lasagna noodles and it definitely doesn't hurt to get more veggies into your diet.  it takes a shorter time to cook, about a minute in boiling water before running it under cold water to stop the cooking, and patting dry.  i used a mandolin to get the slices even, you can probably find one at a garage sale or the thrift shop if you are just wanting to experiment.


VERDICT

i will assume that the white sauce in Jamie Oliver's recipe would probably go better since it was part of the recipe.  the marscapone was so smooth and everything cheese should be in a lasagna, but i can't say it was 100% complementary to the meat and squash.

HOWEVER, the meat and squash was absolutely KILLER!  the recipe calls for two handfuls of sage, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  i grabbed fresh herbs except for the oregano, and after simmering for 1.5 hours, the flavours of the herbs were seriously making some sweet love to the meat.  the warm soft texture and sweetness of the squash really got in on the lovemaking, i would definitely suggest turning this winning combo into a cozy shepherds pie for Thanksgiving!  

the herbs were so good, i used the leftovers in the burgers at Taryn's the following night.  i'm really into the herbs right now.  i am so blown away by how much they contribute, how much of a difference they make, especially when they are fresh.  it's quite an experience.  along the same lines, i have made a few whipped creams flavoured with Amaretto or lemon zest or lime zest, inspired by Cait's friend who happens to be quite the chef.  i'm learning a lot and grateful for all the tips from everyone!

carrot coconut ginger soup part II

  

a little understocked for lunch that day, i made a few substitutes for carrot coconut ginger soup.  didn' have any coconut milk, so i used coconut oil & coconut manna, and added two tablespoons of the leftover lime-marscapone icing to give it that limey tang and add a little more creamy texture.  i really really love making this soup, probably because coconut, curry, and lime are my top ten list of things i love to eat!  soup turned out excellent despite not having the original ingredients and i am finding more confidence in my skills to substitute in these situations.



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