Recipe to fantastic, chaotic, culinary exploration – no recipe, hungry people, limited grocery stores.

Recently my friend and I decided that we would make dinner on a Friday night. The deal – she would pick up some stuff, I would pick up the rest. I get a text saying that she got the wine, pasta noodles (spinach noodles!), salad fixings, and a yellow bell pepper. So the rest was up to me (in other words, the filling for the lasagne).

So I go to the grocery store to look for some greens, and most importantly, ricotta cheese! Because what is a lasagne without ricotta? Imagine my dismay when I get to the store and realize that they don’t carry ricotta cheese! Ok. Don’t panic. We’re flexible. Since we’re in Latvia, what’s the next best thing! Biezpiens, of course! Biezpiens is cottage cheese – but the real, unprocessed stuff (not like what you get in N. America). It’s a dry cheese curd, which is typically mixed with sour cream and in Latvia, with dill. Everything with dill (rule #1 of cooking in Latvia). Here’s what it looks like pre-sour cream:

Then I picked up some greens – broccoli, zucchini, dill (hehe). And a jar of tomato sauce – at this point, it was unclear if the lasagne would be white, red, or any of the above.

Commence – assembly

So then we proceeded to chop and mix everything that could be possibly conceived as lasagne filling. One layer was the cottage cheese. We mixed the cheese curd with sour cream, lots of dill, and salt and pepper. We also diced a large amount of broccoli, yellow bell peppers, and onion. The zucchini was sliced.

So the layers went – one layer of tomato sauce, with veggies, the next – cottage cheese. And so on, until it was piled high. We topped it off with a layer of grated cheese.

The result?

It took very long to cook. Though I was assured that it was because of the oven, which only heats from the top (I’ll never understand European ovens), I had the sneaking suspicion that the lasagne was too dry – usually I drown them in tomato sauce, so that there’s lots of moisture for the dry noodles to absorb. Either way, when the lasagne was soft enough to eat (the pasta was still al dente, but hey, we were hungry), then we dug in.Later, a friend tweeted, that we had just made the most delicious lasagne she had ever had. It was….interesting. Not like any lasagne I’ve ever had. The cottage cheese wasn’t a bad call, and a very good alternative to ricotta. The veggies were still crispy, which gave an interesting texture to the whole thing.All in all, I’d say a success.Enjoy!P.S. Yes, I know it’s been a while since the last post. I promise, I’ll be better.