I'm not going to show you a picture of raw ground meat, because that's just not appealing. I threw in some kosher salt (very little), black pepper, cayenne pepper flakes, fresh parsley, about 1/4 a cup of onions and a teaspoon or less of freshly diced garlic. Simmered until it JUST turned brown; I don't like to get the meat too dry.
You can buy this fresh pretty much anywhere, but I'm lucky enough to have a porch with windows, where I can grow mine outside : )
--P.S., found out the hard way that you DON'T want the flowers--
Publix Brand. 'Cause that shit was on sale.
...You already know how I feel about this....
Not pictured is a TON of Parmesan, mozzarella, Romano, and the eggplant - two medium sized MALE eggplants (sorry ladies. The eggplants are going to act as your noodles, and they hold so much more flavor!
1.) Alright, so with the eggplant, you're going to want to cut the ends off, then cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices longways, and soak it in cool salt water. Not too salty; eggplant absorbs very easily, but just a 5-10 minute soak in the salt water solution will take any of the bitterness out if you happen to buy a female plant.
2.) Next, you want to take your eggplant strips out, and dry them between some paper towels to get the excess water out. Toss the slices with some coconut oil, salt and pepper, and spread a little bit of that oil on a baking sheet. Preset oven to 400F, and bake on each side for 7 minutes.
** After 7 minutes on one side**
3.) Take a standard large baking dish (14x6x3? Maybe?) and make sure to rub a little of the coconut oil on the bottom and along the sides so the eggplant doesn't stick. While you are following these steps, your oven should be preheating to 450 degrees F. Layer your eggplant along the bottom like so:
**Try to get them to be as close as possible to each other... for the perfectionists; there comes a point where they just do not line up and you just have to squish them in there. OCDers - I know that feel**
4.) Here was a little tricky. I used a batter spreader to take my room temp (I left it out to warm) Ricotta and stir, then spread it along top of the eggplant layer. If it sticks to much, try taking a whisk and sort of stabbing / turning the ricotta in a bowl - it makes it much easier to spread.
**This is where I like to add a mix of grated romano and chopped basil; adds a nice bite**
5.) Mix your marinara and your ground beef together and set on boil. I like to add a splash of balsamic vin. and Cabernet while it's boiling; the sauce warming at the same temperature keeps the meat from becoming dry. Once you see your first bubble, immediately add the two tasty liquids, stir, then take it off of the burner, still slowly mixing it to cool. Once it stops bubbling, spread the meat and sauce mixture on top of the ricotta.
6.) Throw your cheeses mixture allllll over the top of the previous step. You make your own measurements depending on the gooey-ness that you want from you lasagna. Repeat until you've reached the top of your dish, leaving about half an inch space from food to top.
**As you can see, I liked to decorate with the basil on top**
8.) Take the tin foil off and let bake for 10 minutes at 400 to get some excess liquid out. If you want an extra bit of brown, throw it on LOW broil for the last five