Sunday, July 20, 2008

Takin' a trip to the zoo...

We had a fun day today, but are pretty tired! My sister Jen and her husband came up to see us and we took them to the Minnesota Zoo! We thought we would share some of the snaps we took along the way.

Here is one of the new brown bears that was too busy taking a nap to bother saying hello! (PS... this is probably a good thing because this guy will grow up to be 1300 pounds and reach 10 feet tall! Eek!)

Now, unlike that unsociable bear, this little prairie doggy was more than willing to show off for us!

This next animal is a true "wild" Asian horse - I think he got tired of getting bitten by flies and decided to squash them all!

And last, but not least, one of the best parts of the zoo - the butterfly garden! This is one popular part as you can walk through with 40 different species of butterflies swirling and fluttering around!

Now, back to our regular scheduled programming! We had a total of 8 new recipes over this past week - peeking back through, our favorites were those squishy Strawberry Marshmallows, that Nectarine and Prosciutto Pizza and Jeff's choice of the week, the Cherry Ripple Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

I've had just a few wonton skins leftover in the freezer for quite awhile now and have been looking for a recipe that didn't need a ton to get them used up. After searching those our stacks of recipes and in the interest of being exhausted after the zoo, we went with this Lazy Lasagne with Tomato-Basil Sauce dish that almost used up the rest of the wontons. The remaining wontons that we didn't use, we lightly coated with canola oil and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, then baked them as the lasagne did its thing for a crunchy snack after dinner!

While we waited for a pot of water on the stove to come to a boil, we began the homemade sauce by heating a clove of minced garlic in a knob of melted butter. Once it's fragrant aroma released, we stirred in fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, a sprinkling of crushed red pepper for depth along with a little dried basil. Whenever you add dried herbs like this, be sure to rub them between your fingers to get their oils groovin' before you toss them in. After simmering a bit, the sauce tightened up well - we added some zing with a shot of fresh orange juice and refreshed the basil flavor with shreds of the fresh herb.

As the sauce was working, we briefly cooked the wonton skins... and when I say brief, I mean just a quick dunk in boiling water. The original recipe just had you dump them all in, but I suggest sticking to 3 or 4 at a time so you won't have any issues with sticking or tearing. You'll need to have a shallow dish of icy water handy so you can shock the thin wonton skins and stop their cooking as soon as you dunk them. Those wontons are then stacked in four piles on top of a pool of sauce with a cheesy ricotta spread in between. Since you don't want the stacks to dry out, the are drenched in the remaining red sauce and are then slid into the oven to warm through.

While it wasn't as laborious as a traditional big layered dish, I don't think I would classify this as "lazy" either as was still a fair amount of work involved - I would have swapped out Lazy for Wonton and saved that label for a skillet interpretation where it is all just thrown together! For a quick and dirty lasagna(e) that generously served two, we did both think the flavor hit the spot - however, the stacks are not too impressive to look at and I did kind of miss the bite from a heavier pasta sheet.


  1. The pictures of the zoo are great Joe and that pizza with the nectarines looks so interesting! I wouls love to try that!

  2. I have made that! It was published in Gourmet in 2000: Lazy Lasagne and I gave it a nice review as an appetizer.

  3. CC - Thanks! I'd love to make it again if you want to drop by :-)

    Amy - I found it from Sara, but it is good to know that it was in Gourmet too!