Home Cookin’ Part I: Alan Lake (Jazzfood)

By Alan Lake (Jazzfood)

Son of Lolita and author’s best friend, holding Lolita’s Lasagna

In my 30 years of being a chef, searching the world for the finest foods and collecting the most interesting recipes to inspire my craft and satiate my belly, I’ve discovered that many of my favorite meals have been in homes, not restaurants – inspired meals served from the heart, with food that resonates on many levels besides “delicious.”

Food often produces a response similar to sex: sensual pleasure. Food provides for basic human needs that can be shared without impropriety or (in most cases) guilt. In fact, these days the word orgy is more commonly associated with food than sex, as in food orgy – at least, among my circle of friends.

And we all have someone special in mind when we think of certain dishes or occasions. Along with my father, who was not a cook but a dedicated glutton, two others significantly shaped my culinary proclivities early on: Lazlo and Lolita.

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Recipe: Lolita’s Vegetable Lasagna

By Alan Lake (Jazzfood)


  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow peppers, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced
  • 2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 12 oz. crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 16 slices of Provolone cheese
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. lasagna noodles


lasagna21. In a large pot, mound all vegetables and pour in 1 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper; toss.

2. Cook down until all vegetables are soft.

3. Add crushed tomatoes and basil and simmer 10 minutes.

4. Adjust seasonings.

5. In the meantime, cook lasagna noodles in salted and oiled water to al dente, drain and shock in cold water.

6. Add 2 oz. of the pasta water to the vegetables.

7. Oil casserole dish lightly with olive oil.

8. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable mixture on bottom.

lasagna39. Layer with lasagna noodles.

10. Spread 2 cups of vegetables over noodles.

11. Place eight slices of Provolone over vegetables.

12. Repeat the layers ending with vegetables.

13. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

14. Bake in 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Back to Home Cookin’ Part I: Alan Lake (Jazzfood)

Alan Lake a.k.a. “Jazzfood” a.k.a. “The Garlic Chef” has been a globetrotting professional chef for three decades and has won numerous awards, professional competitions and distinctions. He’s also the author of The Garlic Manifesto, a book about the history of garlic going back to 10,000-year-old Neolithic caves that contains facts, fiction, folklore, artwork, recipes, professional insights, quotes etc. – think Mark Kurlansky’s Salt or Cod, but a bit more personal. He’s been a musician since he was a child and coined the term “Jazzfood” to describe his cooking style as “solid technique based upon tasteful improvisational abilities.” He views his food as he does his music and writing and has been known to bust a pout if any of them are subpar in any way.