Welcome to Nerdy Lasagna, the blog that pairs my favourite nerdy things with pasta and Cannabis. Yes, you read that right, I said Nerdy. Oh, and the Cannabis probably piqued your interest as well. You see, I am not a drinker – maybe the occasional wine or Caesar before a meal – but what I really enjoy is a nice puff before and/or after a meal. So it seemed only logical that I would start pairing my favourite buds with my favourite foods…which happens to be all things Pasta. As Co-host of the Mass Nerder Podcast, a show where we share our opinions about movies, video games, and comic books, I have a huge love for geek culture. Since I am usually puffing and eating pasta while doing something nerdy, combining the three things I love just made senase to me. Thus, Nerdy Lasagna was born.
But the challenge was, where to start? With so much entertainment, strains and recipes to share it was hard to decide on where to begin. Turning to this blog’s namesake – and my favourite food – Lasagna was the perfect option, and who better to pair lasagna with than my favourite cartoon cat and fellow lasagna connoisseur, Garfield. After choosing my meal and nerdy thing, picking a strain was easy. A nice classic Hybrid like UK Cheese gives you the relaxing feeling you will need after a big plate of this overly cheesy dish.
Garfield: The fat, orange, lasagna loving, Monday hating cat. Garfield was created in 1976 by Jim Davis and has become a mega giant in the entertainment world, and in the hearts of adults and children everywhere. In 1982 Garfield appeared in over 1000 newspapers, allowing Davis to open Paws Inc., a whole company dedicated to the lazy cat and his disdain for Mondays. Although Garfield may not seem at his prime anymore, he still has a major impact in pop culture, and in 2002 became the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s most syndicated comic strip with 2,580 newspapers.
Garfield has had a bunch of incarnations from his classic strips; a live action film series starring Bill Murray as the orange feline, a slew of video games, TV specials and cartoons. But my personal favorite comes in the form of a webcomic and a creepy fake Gameboy game from the pasta loving cat’s adoring fans. First, the Webcomic Garfield Minus Garfield by Dan Walsh. What Dan Walsh has done here is simply remove any trace of Garfield from Jim Davis’ weekly strips, leaving us with the hilarious, odd, depressing and somehow relatable adventures of Jon Arbuckle, the human owner of Garfield. This strip, as Dan Walsh puts it; “Is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression.” This strip has built a huge fanbase and community, and Jim Davis himself has given the Dan Walsh creation his seal of approval. Follow this webcomic. Trust me, you will not regret it.
Now we move from the mundane and comedic life of Jon (sans his saucy cat), to a life where Jon’s cat Garfield simply wants his love, and will bring about the end of the world to get it. Of course, when your cat is a giant shape shifting monster, what else could you expect? Artist Lumpy Touch has put together a crazy short film starring Garfield as a hellish beast who will do anything for his owner Jon, and is framed in the style of a gameboy game. “Garfield Gameboy’d” is a dark, twisted and beautiful art piece of Garfield and his friends. Lumpy Touch has based the look and feel of the art on the haunting works of William Burke. This is definitely a short film to experience while on UK Cheese, if not for anything but to help you sleep at night.
Pairing food with a strain of cannabis is something I never put much thought into, even though one of my favorite things to do was smoke before and/or after a meal. I have been smoking for a very long time and over the years I naturally began to pair the effects of the weed I was smoking with the food I was about to eat. Of course, due to the era, it was more of an “Indica or Sativa” situation. But with the recent legalization of Cannabis here in Canada, different strains became much more accessible. No longer are you stuck to the limited supply of your neighbourhood dealer…now you actually have options! You can look, smell, and feel the options and find what is truly best for you! Ok, I know, I am living in a dreamland. One day I hope we can go to our neighbourhood government sanctioned dealer and truly get what would go best with our night, but luckily that is what I am here for; to tell you the strain that will go perfect with your night of nerdy things and pasta.
For my first ever suggestion, there is no better strain to match the extreme cheesiness of my Mum’s lasagna and her british heritage than with the classic cannabis strain, UK Cheese. The strong aromas of cheese this bud has makes it the perfect pair for the cheesy dish. The spicy, cheesy taste followed by the blueberry aftertaste gives it the perfect after dinner dessert smoke. Finally, the ultra relaxed yet talkative state – that you feel more in your head than your body – makes this strain the perfect pairing for eating a large piece of lasagna, followed by some laughs with a retro cartoon, webcomic, or to help you cope with the image of a spider with Garfield’s head.
Ah, my Mum’s Lasagna. I can honestly say this is my favorite food. Hell, I named this food blog after it. I grew up with the dish, and this warm, ulta filling comfort food will always remind me of home. I have changed it over the years to match my personal tastes, but this will give you the basic way to put a crowd pleasing lasagna together.
Remember, it is all about the sauce.
I personally use my grandmother’s sauce recipe when I make mine, and I strongly encourage you to use your own personal favorite meat sauce. In the case that you do not have one, I have included a great recipe for the perfect meaty sauce for your lasagna. One of the best parts about making lasagna is the pure fun I have while doing it. So light that joint, turn up the good tunes and have a blast putting this bad boy together.
Food: Mum’s Lasagna
Other cooking blogs have done Garfield’s Lasagna before and have kept the recipes as traditional as possible. With large families to feed, my Grandmother and Mother liked to stick to their own ways, and thus this is a simpler lasagna to put together than your traditional variety as there is no bechamel sauce to be made. All this dish contains is noodles, your favorite meat sauce, ricotta, and an obscene amount of cheese.
|Prep Time: 60 min||Cook Time: 60 min||Total Time: 2 hr.|
|Course: Main Course||Servings: 6 – 8|
- 1 Package Lasagna Noodles
- 2 teaspoon Olive Oil (Separated)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 3 Cups Shredded Mozza/Cheddar Blend Cheese
- 1 container Parmesan
- 1 container Ricotta
Homemade Meat Sauce:
- 2 pound Ground Meat (Beef or Turkey)
- 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ cup Broth (chicken or beef, depending on your meat of choice)
- 2 can (28 once) Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 can (28 once) Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
- 1 can Tomato paste
- 3 large cloves Garlic
- 1 Celery Stick
- 2 tablespoon Dried Oregano or Basil
- 1 Small Yellow Onion diced
- 1 Green Pepper diced
- 1 package of diced Mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon granulated Sugar
- ½ – 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (Depends on personal heat preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan heat the olive oil.
- Add meat and brown
- Add garlic, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper and onions. Cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes
- Add mushrooms and cook for an additional minute then add broth and bring to boil stirring often.
- Add diced tomatoes, red pepper and celery stick. Bring to boil stirring often.
- Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and bring to a quick boil stirring the whole time
- Stir in tomato paste
- Reduce heat and simmer for 60 minutes until flavours blend. Stirring occasionally. (The longer it cooks the better it tastes).
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to the directions on the package, 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of sauce to bottom of 9×13 baking dish.
- Pat Noodles dry with paper towels and place first layer on the bottom of the dish.
- Spread sauce then Ricotta over the noodles then sprinkle with parmesan.
- Add a new layer of noodles followed by sauce, shredded mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan. Repeat Layer.
- For the top layer add noodles followed by sauce, shredded mozzarella/cheddar blend and a sprinkle of parmesan.
- Cover with tin foil and place in oven on the middle rack for 45 minutes.
- Remove tin foil cover and cook uncovered until the top layer of cheese turns golden. About 15 mins.
- Pull from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut into 6 to 8 squares – depends on how big you like your pieces.
Growing up I absolutely loved the sarcastic cat and I am so happy that the original creator Jim Davis is still working on the classic character to this day. With Viacom and Nickelodeon buying the rights to Paws Inc. and Garfield, it is only a matter of time before Garfield is once again the household name he once was. So sit back, joint in hand, and gorge on your lasagna while having some laughs.