Zucchini lasagne

It has just hit me… Summer is slowly ending and I don’t like it one bit. I like summer, I like sun, I like the seaside and I like all the feelings related to summer itself. But this will not be a post about summer but about food. I know I haven’t put anything on here for quite some time and I feel really bad about it.

So to talk italian food. I grew up and still am living in a country bordering to Italy. Glorious carbs! Pizza and pasta must be the most famous produces ( Cicciolina is not far behind ) so I’ve been familiar to those two since I can remember. But there is a dish that I’ve never been too keen on. Lasagne. I mean… There is a reason behind that horrific statement. I dislike minced meat. I do eat it sometimes in like stuffed bell peppers or in lasagna but I never order it outside. No idea why I cannot handle the taste. I’ve tried buying meat and mincing it myself and it still doesn’t really work for me. Today I was just browsing trough my cabinets and fridge how to make a lunch that’s quick and a bit comforting since I’m having a day off work and am working on threeorsomonths worth of chores.

I’ve been away from home so much this year I’ve missed cherries, strawberries, raspberries and even peas but since the summer has been so hot and sunny the zucchini and cucumbers have gone wild. So lately I’m cooking all zucchini recipes I’ve almost forgotten about, packing both zucchini and cucumbers in fridge and am a happy little camper since I’ve finally come to some homegrown vegetables.

Lasagna seemed as best idea since I have some leftover Barilla lasagne pasta in cupboard that is taking too much space and has been there long enough ( since before i got the pasta maker). Zucchini lasagne seemed like best idea ever. I put too much chilli in it but still ate a quoter of it.

2015-08-05 12.09.42I started by making tomato sauce using tomato puree since I didn’t have any tomatoes at home and the store is not an option for today.

1 onion, finely choped 

1 chilli, finely chopped

1 fistful of fresh basil leaves 

4 sun dried pickled tomato pieces

500 g of tomato puree 

a goood pinch of salt 

a tablespoon of olive oil

Slowly braise the chopped onion and chilli with salt on olive oil untill onion goes glassy. Add chopped dried tomato and tomato puree, bring to a boil and put to low heat for about 5 minutes.

Next comes the bechamel. I can’t use cow milk since my boyfriend does not digest it well so I went with oat milk. Butter does not do him harm. So butter stays. 🙂

3 tablespoons of flour 

4 tablespoons ( or in my measurement a huge knob) of butter

2dcl of oat milk 

Heat up the butter on low heat (cannot stress that enough- there is no worse than burned butter or bechamel) and slowly add spoon after spoon of flour. Be very careful, lumpy bechamel is gross. Stir between like all the time. Stir and cook until it turns yellow-y. Slowly add milk and stir like a maniac since it will thicken really quick. Bring to a boil and stir stir stir stir. Et voila, I do not cook it for too long after that since it will continue cooking while in lasagne.

I used the mandoline to finely slice two zucchini ( leaving the seeds in since they were still quite small, if you’re working with huge zucchinis deseed them) and about 180g of parmesan cheese which I sliced on mandoline as well.

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The construction of lasagne is personal choice, I put three pieces of pasta on bottom, add three spoons of bechamel and three spoons of tomato sauce, a good fistful or two of zucchini and a fistful of parmesan. I made only three layers but you can do way more. Top layer is pasta, bechamel and parmesan.

Throw it in the oven at 200 degrees ( or a little bit less, my oven is old and not the best at temperatures :)) for around 30-40 minutes. The top should be golden brown but you can put the tin foil over it for first 30 min so top layer doesn’t get so crunchy ( I love it crunchy so I never use a foil).

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Bon apetit and xoxo

Tina

“Reusing” food

So one of my passions is food. I love to cook and I am quite keen on cooking as well. Snaga , a company that takes care of disposals in Ljubljana  where I live invited me to a dinner. Well, to be honest I was invited to an event, I had no idea what it’s gonna be. So I turned up at As Aperitivo ( where I haven’t been in last half past year, need to go there more often, they have nice food) and there was a big dining table with some press and some social media people. No one had any clue what to expect but they soon explained to us that we’re having a dinner. Hmm, dinner sounds good, right. In front of us there were cards with sayings about food and shopping which were a little conversation starters and ice breakers. And then the dinner came. Or to be exact there was Vanja Fon, a young aspiring chef who told us a little bit about the menu. He looked really young but I just found out he is 27. Whoops.

So we ate and talked.

1. rostbif s poširanim jajcem

First course was roast beef  with poached egg. (and rocket, parmesan and olive oil). We were served Malvasia (2011) as well.

3. grahova juha in pečena šunka

Second course was creamy pea soup with ham.

2. krvava solatkaThird course was a bloody salad. (greens, fennel, orange, pines, mint and onion with red beet sauce)

4. gratinirana paštica

Fourth course was gratined sicilian style pasta. Little brown things on top are actually fried aubergine skins.

5. goveji burgerFifth ( I probably mixed up the order of courses or miscounted some. Whoops) was a pulled beef burger with yoghurt sauce. It came with Rubino (2011).

6. hrustljava sladica

Last but not least was a crunchy desert with peach and vanilla ice cream and sweet Pinot Blanc (2008) .

So, another dinner. Except there is a catch. Every course featured at least one “leftover” food. At first one the roast beef was prepared a day before. Also the ham in the soup. Beetroot juice would be thrown away but here it was featured in salad dressing. Pasta was made one day before. Eggplant skin would be thrown away. Beef was used to cook stock and would not come to the plate otherwise. I might forgot what was with peach in the dessert but my brain was preoccupied with all mmmm-ing and yummmmm-ing.

So what was a whole point of it? Well, on average every citizen of Slovenia yearly disposes about 80kg of food. It is a whole grown person weight of food. Per one person. And we all know all food that is in those bins is not to be thrown away but since is more comfortable it ends there. And it is too much indeed. So Snaga is running a little campaign to raise a voice about the issue of food that gets thrown away while still useful. And at that the whole buying-preparing-eating- refrigeration process.

What can we do to make less good food go to waste? (I have been thinking and this is my idea)

1. Shop what you use. I know how it feels to take a bit more since someone might come around or you’re really gonna cook only at home this week or you might get really hungry but when you go shopping, make a list, think about what you are gonna cook and eat all week and don’t lie to yourself if you know that you are too lazy too cook when you come home so you rather just eat out. You’ll save some money that would be thrown away as well.

2. Get innovative with cooking. I mean, have you seen that aubergine skin? It was really delicious. And stale bread can become nice croutons ( make nice pieces or tear it up, some salt, some dried or fresh herbs ( my favourite is rosemary) a drizzle of olive oil and low heat baking until nice golden and dried up). Lemon skin after juicing can be a used in a simmering potpuri. Put it in a pot with water, some other nice smelling things and simmer. Here is another example.

3. Eat clean.  I am not talking about washing your food, we all know how it goes. And I am not gonna lecture you on diets, I am the last person to feel obliged to. But eat non-processed food. It is good for you, it is cheaper, it is fun to prepare and it is good for environment. I mean, making ratatouille or making a tinplate-throw it in an oven and bake it-food. It takes approximately same time after you learn some cooking tricks.

4. Refrigerate. I know some people who cook for few days in one go since they don’t have time to cook later in week. Not saying that is the way to do it, I like fresh cooked food and always try to find time to prepare it, but food is good after you eat it once. Some stews are even better after you heat them up for few times.

So I hope I inspired you to throw away just a little less food. If that means one person will throw away a kilo or so less food my mission here is accomplished.

Thank you Nina, Tamara and Manca for the nice evening and hoping to see you all soon.

xoxo,
Tina

Disclaimer : I was not paid to write this, it is not an ad for anything. All photos are owned by Snaga.