I’ve been thinking about how to write this post for about a week now. I thought about not writing it at all. I’m pretty embarrassed and that can be tough for me. There is usually a limit to the amount of jokes I can take at my expense and showing off my stupidity to the world will only multiply the jokes I’ve heard. But I’m trying to make myself more resilient to the struggles of daily life. Making dumb mistakes in the kitchen should not embarrass me to the point of hiding the funniest of stories so here it goes.
If you know me, you know that I love to cook. And a big part of me starting Well Mannered was to share my favorite recipes and new kitchen attempts. So last week I decided I would attempt a full lasagna. Yes, its many steps are daunting, but I had basically done all of them separately before so I wasn’t scared. Bolognese: easy. Ricotta mixture: made many times for stuffed shells. Zucchini rather than noodles: I use zoodles all the time. So I pulled together a couple of recipes for zucchini and spinach lasagnas and made up my grocery list as I do every Sunday.
The grocery trip was uneventful other than Kroger having no sweet onions. Thankfully on a second trip through the produce they had been restocked. I’ve been told white onion will work just fine, but I’ve never bought anything than a sweet onion and I fear change. So, groceries bought, meet defrosted, and we’re good to go.
Before we get to the funny part, I did actually learn some things during this excursion. I attempted to save some money by buying the large block of mozzarella rather than the pre shredded bags (I didn’t even glance at the good mozzarella in water found in the deli). According to my mother, aka my kitchen guru, this will actually help with the melting process as the bags of cheese are coated with some extra chemically goodness to prevent the shredded pieces from melting into each other. I am all for cutting out some extra chemicals but shredding this much cheese (around 4 cups) requires the arm strength of someone who works out on a daily basis. So not me. It was tough. I had to take breaks. A standing shredder would probably have made it easier, but this contraption (similar & likely better one seen here) is what I’ve got. Anyway, the shredded bags may be worth it if you’ve got baby upper extremities like me.
Lessons over, you daily laugh found here. As I said I have cooked with zoodles before and I love them. No, they are not pasta. I do not think of them as a replacement. But they are a useful carrier of good tomato sauce and cheese and this is why I was inspired to make zucchini lasagna. Low carb, protein full, what else could you want for a good meal prep Sunday. I made my bolognese with lean ground beef, but much like my chili, you could easily leave this out and made it a totally vegetarian dish.
I cooked this entire dish with an unnecessary amount of confidence. I was taking pictures and layering like a pro all while belting out some Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald (If I’m cooking, I’m listening to an Ella Fitzgerald station on Pandora). My major mistake was not realized until I was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY done make the pan of food and it was halfway through in the oven. Please see below.
Yes, it is true. I made a cucumber lasagna. I bought 4 cucumbers from the grocery store. At the self check out I put them into the computer as 4 zucchini. I sliced them all up with my mandolin. I layered them in the pan with a beautiful bolognese and ricotta/mozzarella mixture. I put the whole thing in the oven and sat on the couch feeling pleased with myself. 20 minutes later it all came back to me and I rolled onto the floor laughing (I was home alone for this entire thing btw). I called my mom, caused her to laugh so hard she cried. I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself.
I swear y’all. I know what a cucumber looks like. I know what a zucchini looks like. I really don’t know what part of my brain was missing that day. I told my close friends because they know I can cook, but now I’m telling all of you even if you sit there and think “Damn, this girl is dumb,” because I’m still laughing and I hope I can make you laugh as well. Everyone should have a good laugh every day and maybe this can be yours.
I hope this also inspires you to make that recipe you’ve been wanting to try because messing it up isn’t the end of the world. This lasagna was totally edible with a little extra sauce and most of what you make will be too. Don’t be afraid to screw up. I know I’m not anymore.