Have I introduced my wonderful family yet?
No, I am not standing in a hole! I selected my wonderful husband, Bob, (the older of the two very handsome tall men) exactly 30 years ago. Today. Or Sunday. Depending. It’s a long story involving a blind date with a very, very short, Jewish doctor, known forever to us as “Howard the Urologist.” Suffice it to say, I decided to go with the tall Irish guy.
Our first born is Megan, the very beautiful, talented, amazing ridiculous young woman next to me. She is in graduate school studying Animal Behavior and Conservation, researching dolphins and whales. She is an artist, a writer and editor, a great photographer, and a wonderful cook. What a terrific person with whom to do a blog. As I mentioned yesterday. I’ll be giving you the link soon, I promise!
The “baby” of the family is Brian. He is our guest blogger today. He deserves his own picture, don’t you think? I love this picture because it was taken on Kauai and it brings back great memories. He does look a bit broody, and he’s not really a broody guy. But that red dirt was slippery and we all kept falling, which was annoying. And the sun was in his eyes. But I love the picture, so I’m posting it.
When Brian was six, he was eating chicken nuggets and fries at a local pub. There were no vegetables in sight. He said, “Mom. About zucchini. I don’t think it’s very good for children.”
Today, Brian is a Senior political science major at The George Washington University. He is an occasionally famous competitive gamer. He is also a talented photographer. And he is a fabulous low-carb cook. Last year, he exploded a slow cooker full of chili. But that was my fault. Most if his great creation get devoured without incident.
So, without further embellishment, I give you Brian’s recipe (sent to me in an e-mail with the subject line, “I did a thing.”):
Zucchini and Ground Beef Skillet Lasagna á la Brian
2 medium zucchinis, because CARBS DON’T OWN YOU
Half of a medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped to your preference
1 lb. Ground beef/turkey/meat of your choice, just don’t you dare use fish you filthy animal
Several glugs of olive oil
1/3 of a bottle of red wine
1 large jar of tomato sauce, because cutting corners is okay every once in a while. We can’t all be Deb Bernstein, right?
Small amount of milk/cream
Around a cup of pre-shredded mozzarella, I just eyeballed it so I don’t really know
Parmesan, the more the better
Salt and Pepper, obviously
An uncomfortable amount of cream cheese (ricotta would work just as well if not better)
1/8 stick of Butter
Crushed red pepper flakes
Whatever Italianish seasoning you have on hand
– Slice the zucchini into quarter-inch coins. Optionally, throw them into a skillet on medium heat with olive oil and salt. This will both soften the zucchini and take out some of the moisture, which is good because this lasagna is liquidy as all hell. Would probably work fine without this step, but you’ll feel more chefy if you do it.
THE CREAM SAUCE
– In a small bowl, combine cream cheese/ricotta (I used a small package of pre-whipped cream cheese because I’m a college student and my roommates like bagels so that what we had. if using regular soften in the microwave first), a small handful of mozzarella, a tablespoon of grated parmesan, a teaspoon of olive oil, the egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until it’s a single, delicious entity. If you taste it and want to eat the whole bowl with a spoon, you’re doing it right. Try not to get salmonella.
THE SAUCE SAUCE
– Put a large skillet to medium/high heat. Add olive or canola oil, the onion, the garlic, and salt. Fry until the onion is translucent and the garlic smells like happiness. Add your ground beef, making sure to break it up as much as possible. When you can spot no more pink in your beef, add the red wine. Stir and let it simmer for about a minute. Add your tomato sauce, and whatever seasonings you have; I added only crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and pepper, but basil/oregano/whatever would help. When the sauce has reached a desirable consistency, drop the heat down to low. Add a dash of milk/cream cause you’re one luxurious son-of-a-bitch, and a small handful of grated parmesan. Taste it. Taste more of it. Dang that’s good. Mario Batali would be proud of you.
– Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Take the largest skillet you have and rub down with butter (be sure to rub the inside but NOT the outside. This will humiliate the pan). Add just enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom. Put down a little less than half your zucchini, as flat as possible. Cover with half your cream sauce, distribute as evenly as possible with a wooden spoon. This is difficult if you went the cream cheese route but just do your best, I believe in you. Cover with half your remaining mozzarella, or just enough to cover evenly, and do the same with dat parm. add half your remaining tomato sauce and spread it around. Add the rest of the zucchini in the same manner, and the rest of the cream sauce. Cover with the rest of your tomato sauce, then another layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Throw some olive oil across the top cause you’re the boss, then put that saucy biznitch in the oven. Sit back. Enjoy the rest of your wine because you’re awesome and you deserve it and you’re bored. Rotate the lasagna occasionally because you have nothing better to do. Allow to bake until cheese is golden-brown, which is realistically 30-45 minutes but will feel like an eternity. Remove, and allow to sit for 15 minutes or 10 if you have no self-control. Cut and serve with a spatula, or just eat the whole thing because at this point you’re drunk and its god-damn delicious. Serves 4-5 or 1 Brian.