Nov 27, 2019
No matter which holiday you celebrate this time of year, we can all agree it's a time to show gratitude and appreciation to our loved ones with gifts from our local Sonoma County businesses. This year I'm way ahead of the game with homemade jarred tomato puree made from tomatoes I got from The Patch in peak season. I am pairing it with pasta made from California grains which I get from The Silo, a farmers' market vendor who sells package free grains and pastas. I will dry fresh Oregano from my garden and add in garlic from Krout's Sunset Ranch. Rick Krout prides himself on many varieties of garlic and has a vast knowledge of each one. Each basket will have something to enhance the flavor or add an extra touch to the meal and will be catered the receivers unique taste. Now I get not everyone has the time, know how or passion to create a basket with such detail but since the greek mythological times a horned shape basket called a Cornucopia filled with fruits and vegetables has been a symbol of abundance. This is my inspiration for my choice of gift for family and friends.
Cornucopia is derived from two latin words "cornu" meaning horn and "copia" meaning plenty. Cornucopia can be interchanged with Horn of Plenty but around my house we prefer to say Cornucopia because it so much fun to say. Originally a goat horn was used and filled with fruits and grains which would be placed in the center of the table during fall or winter holiday feasts.
The story of the goat horn came from the story of Zeus, the father of Gods and men. Zeus had to be hidden in cave so his cannibal father didn't eat him. While hiding in the cave, a goat named Amalthea watched over Zeus. Her horn was accidentally pulled off by young Zeus. Zeus promised the horn would always bring her what she wanted and being a goat, Amalthea wanted an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
I know the story isn't very holiday-ish but "The Horn of Plenty" has become a holiday staple in the U.S. and in Europe for many years. I encourage you this holiday season to create your own version of a Cornucopia, which we often use as a term to express abundance of something, and give it to those you cherish. It's easy at the farmers' markets. You can design it around a meal like I am doing or gather fruits and vegetables to deliver to someone to enjoy. You can even add in some chocolate because almost everyone loves chocolate. Most I hope everyone will have an abundance of happiness this holiday season. And the recipe for this month is:
• 3 medium size zucchini
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 small onion
• Lasagna Noodles (enough for 3 layers)
• 16oz tomato sauce (can be home made or jarred)
• 2 cups ricotta cheese
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (don't get the pre shredded it will be too dry)
• 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat with oil spray and set aside.
Cook your lasagna noodles according to package. While those are being cooked you can start on your zucchini. Slice zucchini to 1/8 inch slices.
Sauté in a cast iron pan onions, garlic and zucchini until cooked through.
Add your sauce to the pan and heat up to a simmer. Then turn off and set aside.
Once your noodles are cooked lay them out on a paper towel and pat them dry.
Build the lasagna first with a layer of noodles, then a layer of sauce, then another layer of noodles, then a layer of ricotta cheese, another layer of noodles and top with the rest of your sauce.
Add mozzarella cheese and then parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes to create a golden brown crust on top.
*You can make this ahead and store in the refrigerator until it's time to put in the oven. Great option for this busy time of year.
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