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Food Fundamentals

Experiencing food to its fullest: respecting its power, treasuring its versatility and enjoying it with friends

Food Fundamentals

I define food as a valuable experience. It is the center from which all things connect. We need it to survive and we depend on it. We desperately struggle to maintain a balance in our relationship with it throughout our lives. Food is the experience we share with every other person in the world. There’s a fascinating sense of empowerment with that: everyone else in the world experiences food! Ultimately, we each have a unique approach on how we live it. It is personal and spiritual. It guides us through our troubles and heals all of our pains. In my case, food is a medium that allows me to express my form of art. Via food, I can share what I have to offer the world. How do you experience food? 

Cooking with friends is one of the most enjoyable times. Especially, when it occurs randomly and unplanned while still wearing pajamas. Yes, sometimes I leave my house in pajamas! I wasn’t expecting to spend the afternoon making "Pasticho" with friends. A CSA box was the inspiration for the adventure to come! So when the opportunity to cook with a good friend presented itself, I couldn't possibly turn it down for something as insignificant as being in pajamas! 

Magic happens when you least expect it. When creativity knocks on the door- answer! I grew up eating Pasticho- commonly known as Lasagna. There was always a pan of Pasticho in the freezer growing up. You could count on it. It was mom's (and grandma's) strategy for utilizing all of the veggies and meats that were "expiring" in our fridge. As you can imagine, it was never the same. There was always a different flavor hidden in the sauce. Today, we played this game and boy did we do well! 

The contents of the CSA box included some kale, garlic escapes and broccoli. There were also a few JUMBO zucchinis lying around, gazpacho (that's right), some carrots and some bacon. What can we do with all of this, we wondered? Well, Pasticho of course!


We purchased ground sirloin, mozzarella and pasta and we got to work. The CSA veggies, ingredients already in the fridge, and the purchased items, cost roughly $28. All veggies were rustically chopped (no shame in that) and tons of zucchini was shredded. We also sliced more zucchini, which we marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar, to use for the layers later on. All veggies and bacon (except the sliced zucchini) went into a large pot to get a nice sweat. Then the gazpacho made its way in. We finished by adding the ground beef, some cinnamon and some balsamic vinegar. Meanwhile, the room filled with wonderful aromas, laughter and enjoyment while working up an appetite. 

When the rich sauce was finally done we assembled the Pasticho in a large hotel pan. Layers of sauce, zucchini slices, pasta and cheese work their way to the top. To finish, a thick layer of zucchini and cheese. Simple, beautiful! After baking for 45 minutes and resting for 20 more, 3 friends are faced with 12 generous portions of Pasticho and are filled with joy for these main principles:

1. We spent the afternoon enjoying each other's company while working together to make an exquisite, rustic meal. 
2. We absolutely loved the outcome- the final product got 10’s all around! 
3. The cost to make it was only $28 and there was plenty of leftover food to last a few days!

The fundamental aspect of food is to experience it to its fullest. To enjoy it, respect it and to treasure it. Most importantly, to share it with friends as often as possible! 

Until next time! 
Chef Gaby


"I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others."
Booker T. Washington

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Stephen Schmidt July 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM
That looks tasty, Gaby! Do you have any tips or recipes for others who'd like to make pasticho?
Jessica Miller July 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Welcome to Patch, thanks for your contribution.
Anne Carothers-Kay July 17, 2012 at 05:29 PM
What a great idea for dealing with all those CSA veggies this time of year. A few years ago, a bought a small share in a CSA. It was great but I confess that about this time of year I wasn't sure who was in charge -- the vegetables or me! Welcome to Patch Gaby!
Chef Gaby July 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Thanks, Stephen! The great thing about "Pasticho" is that most things found in your fridge, CSA box and/or garden are ALL GAME! One can really get creative. A lot of restaurants use this same principle when creating their “Soup of the Day”. As I mentioned, it is a great way to utilize ingredients that need to be consumed before they reach that undesirable state. Many of us have those in our fridge! I will put together a recipe for Pasticho and post it as a new blog! Stay tune!
Chef Gaby July 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Thank you!!
Chef Gaby July 17, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Anne, thanks for your comment! Indeed a great way not only to utilize veggies going sad, but also to feed people on a budget! Not to mention a great reason to GET a CSA share :)

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