I’m not a cooker by nature, or a baker or a cleaner or a candlestick maker… but I love good food with a twist. When I do cook, I will often start with a known recipe and add ingredients I like while omitting those I don’t. I usually double the onions, garlic, butter and spice. Mmm… butter and spice!
Anyhooters… Today’s concoction started with an honest attempt at an established recipe, but then I got diverted by curry while searching for garlic powder! Mmmm… curry. I sniffed it. I thought yeah, curry lasagna, baby, coming right up! I started with my ma’s trusty lasagna recipe and altered it thusly:
-1 lb lean ground beef (but I bet no-lean or pork or vegan substitute would work too)
-1 med onion chopped (or 4) (I also added minced garlic because I like garlic in everything. Probably even in cupcakes.)
-salt, pepper, garlic powder (I used salt for good measure and 2tbsp of the curry powder pictured above)
-1 (700ml) jar pasta sauce
-1 can cream-of-mushroom soup (This is my ma’s secret to a creamy mellow lasagna that will cause a warm happy hum throughout your entire being especially the mouth and belly parts.)
(I used a container of Ricotta cheese instead, in case the mushroom with curry was too much… however, I may experiment with both next time!)
(Vegans, substitute your preferred alternative to mellow creamy goodness– or stop the vegan nonsense and join the dark side pronto!)
-mozzarella cheese slices— or shredded (I use a mozza-cheddar mix because cheddar is mmmmm-mmmm-gooooood! Vegans, see instructions above)
-parmesan cheese (Vegans… you get the drift)
-oven-ready lasagna noodles (unless you prefer homemade or other such business you must cook beforehand)
*The 2tbsp amount of curry powder I used resulted in a very mild curry flavour that would be enjoyed by anyone, even non-curry lovers. I think next time I’ll double the curry amount and see how that turns out.
Stir fry meat or like substance, onions, garlic, spices. When meat is fully cooked, add pasta sauce with 1/2 cup water. Stir in undiluted mushroom soup (or ricotta). Layer in casserole dish: meat sauce, parmesan, cheese mix, layer of noodles, meat sauce, parmesan, cheese mix, layer of noodles, meat sauce, parmesan, cheese mix. Bake 350 F one hour covered with lid or foil. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes to brown cheeses. Mmmmm-mmm enjoy!
This is what it looked like when I ate it:
A series of Artist Features
In an effort to recommence my series of feature artists, I begin by highlighting artists I featured in my column East End Artists that existed in the late local paper etc… news.
(Actor, improviser, businesswoman)
Ayumi Iizuka is a magnetic personality as she engages with a stunning smile and electrifying twinkle of the eye. She’s smart, funny, multi-talented and extremely generous in laughter and spirit. In addition to a busy career in the arts, Ayumi also opens her heart and home to dogs waiting for adoption, through a dog-fostering program. She is a true lover of life and an active dream chaser.
She has an Honours Joint Specialist Degree in Political Science and Philosophy, and also a diploma in Computer Graphics. She worked as a 3D computer animator doing special effects for commercials and movies but knew the entire time that she belonged on the other side of the camera.
Since my initial interview with Ayumi in 2008, Ayumi has moved to LA, bought a house, and taken up ownership of Connect Studios LA, casting director workshops studios, while she continues to act, write, improvise and foster dogs.
Live show highlights:
-Second City National Touring Company, Canada
-Teaching at The Second City Toronto and Hollywood
-Topological Theatre and Kageboushi Theatre of Japan’s touring co- production of Lulie The Iceberg
–Inconvenient Musical and SARSical by the Rumoli Brothers
-Numerous nominations and wins for Canadian Comedy Awards
-Winning ‘Best of the Fest’ at the LA Comedy Fest with the Canadian Second City alumni improv troupe ‘The Eh Team’
Toronto: Ken Finkelman’s Foreign Objects, Sue Thomas FBEye, Earth Final Conflict, Degrassi TNG, Hollywoodland
LA: 90210, Parenthood, Ben and Kate, Harry’s Law, The Middle, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mobbed, Destination Fear, Scare Tactics, Extreme Focus (CBC pilot), Office Ninja (feature film), SOLO – web series
Ayumi’s early interview:
KAT: What are some high points in your career?
AYUMI: Playing Bob Hoskins’ mistress in Hollywoodland. The role was small but it was exciting to sit at a table with Bob Hoskins, Ben Affleck and Diane Lane.
KAT: Challenges and rewards of your career?
AYUMI: Rejection and money come to mind immediately to answer the first part of the question. Rejection and money come to mind for the second part of the question.
KAT: Any words of advice to someone embarking on same career?
AYUMI: As everyone in the business told me when I decided to get into it, “If there’s something else you would be just as happy doing, do that instead.” I think that once you decide to do it, though, it’s important to persevere. Stay busy and create your own opportunities if they aren’t finding you.
KAT: In your opinion, what makes a person an artist?
AYUMI: Parental condemnation and a burning desire to do what you want in spite of the odds of success.
KAT: What is your favourite quote?
AYUMI: “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”
KAT: What amuses you?
AYUMI: Guitar Hero 3 and cuteoverload.com
KAT: What makes you laugh hysterically?
AYUMI: Doug Morency (Stay tuned for East End Artist Doug Morency edition!)
KAT: What makes you sad?
AYUMI: Homeless or abused animals… actually, that makes me angry. I care about homeless and abused people too, but aren’t we all animals?
KAT: What makes you worry?
AYUMI: The overall state of the planet and the people who are in charge.
KAT: What is your most simple delight?
AYUMI: Hanging out with my man and my dogs.
KAT: What are your pet peeves?
AYUMI: Zero tolerance, tyranny of the majority, and people who don’t signal.
KAT: Would you rather: be too hot or too cold? AYUMI: Too HOT! KAT: Be thirsty or hungry? AYUMI: Thirsty. KAT: Be hungry or stuffed? AYUMI: Stuffed, any day! KAT: Live hectic or bored? AYUMI: That’s a toughy! Probably hectic. KAT: Read or write? AYUMI: This writer says read. KAT: Make dinner or clean up after? AYUMI: Make dinner. KAT: Eat sweet or savoury? AYUMI: Can’t the world have both at once? KAT: Watch sunset or sunrise? AYUMI: Sunset. Do you know what ungodly hour the sunrise happens?! How can you enjoy it if you’re still asleep or still pissed off at someone for making you wake up so early?!
It is a true pleasure to be in the company of Ayumi Iizuka, a successful and enthusiastic artist who is also a big-hearted and inspired person. You can find out more about Ayumi on her website: www.aiizuka.com