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Ravioli Day Roundup

Ravioli Day Roundup

It’s National Ravioli Day!  I get so excited about ravioli, it’s kind of ridiculous.  There’s just something so lovely about filling wrapped in dough.  Ravioli is particularly special, as it works so well with some of the best sauces out there (I’m thinking Alfredo, marinara, tomato sauce with vodka…you get the idea).  Did you know that the first written mention of ravioli occurred in the 14th century in Venice in the personal letters of a merchant?  Ravioli wasn’t served with tomato sauce, though, until the 16th century (because tomatoes weren’t introduced to Italy until then).  Prior to the 16th century, ravioli were served in broth.  If this doesn’t get you hungry for ravioli, I don’t know what will.  Maybe these ravioli recipes will do the trick.

Let’s start with Ravioli with Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker!  The star here is the sauce – and it is such a quick sauce to make.  I’m holding on to this one for farmer’s market season when peppers are available in abundance.

Pumpkin and other winter squash is such a natural paring with ravioli.  Up your ravioli game by making these Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter, Sage, and Walnuts from What a Girl Eats

Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter, Sage, and Walnuts

Rabbit and Wolves prove that ravioli doesn’t have to be made using cheese for it to be good.  These Vegan Broccoli Rabe Pesto Ravioli are a perfect spring ravioli option for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Vegan Broccoli Rabe Pesto Ravioli

This Carrot Ravioli with Broccoli-Ricotta Filling from Caroline’s Cooking is another great spring ravioli option.

Carrot Ravioli with Broccoli-Ricotta Filling

This Balsamic and Garlic Mushroom Ravioli from Krumpli combines the great flavors of balsamic vinegar, garlic and mushrooms and wraps it all up in a neat package of yummy!

Balsamic and Garlic Mushroom Ravioli

Next up is Orange and Pecorino Ravioli with Rosemary Brown Butter from Use Your Noodles.  This looks like such a light and refreshing ravioli – just imagine how that bit of orange zest in the ravioli would complement the rosemary brown butter.

Orange and Pecorino Ravioli with Rosemary Brown Butter

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli (With a Kick) from Slow the Cook Down gets its kick from the addition of a finely chopped red chili.

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli (With a Kick)

Kitchen Sanctuary’s Spicy Burrito Ravioli takes the traditional ravioli and gives it a great twist with the addition of burrito flavors.

Kitchen Sanctuary’s Spicy Burrito Ravioli

Butternut Squash Ravioli Bake from the Girl on Bloor is a great quick meal if you have squash or pumpkin ravioli already on hand.  Ravioli pairs well with all the ingredients in this one dish meal.

Butternut Squash Ravioli Bake

Last, but not least, if you are still craving even more ravioli (which I always am), here’s a beautiful dessert ravioli: White Chocolate Mascarpone Ravioli with Raspberry Sauce from Pinch Me I’m Eating.

White Chocolate Mascarpone Ravioli with Raspberry Sauce

I’d love to be eating this right now – I’m starting to feel inspired to do a three-course ravioli dinner, with a ravioli appetizer, a ravioli entrée, and a ravioli dessert.  Maybe for next year’s National Ravioli Day!

Avocado Burrata Toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts

avocado burrata toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts were just what I needed today to cheer myself up.  We had a historic snowstorm here in the Portland area on Wednesday with equally historic low temperatures, so the snow and ice is still on the ground.  I’d already been dreaming, for weeks, about spring.  Four daffodils were already poking out of the ground in the front. Now, they are buried by eight inches of snow that refuses to melt.   I just desperately need to get my hands in dirt and plant something.  I keep wandering around the house, asking Clay if it is asparagus season yet.  January and I are not friends.

When we got back from the grocery store this afternoon, I decided it was time to make a cheery snack.  I still had a ball of burrata left from last week’s pasta dish, so opted to pair it with a very ripe avocado.  If I was a football watcher, avocado burrata toasts are something I would totally go for as an appetizer for the Super Bowl – maybe paired with a ginger cider or an ale.  But since I’m not, I’ll just eat these while curled up on the couch with a good book.

avocado burrata toasts

I opted to use two kinds of salt on the avocado burrata toasts.  My wonderful husband gave me a salt sampler for Christmas (he knows the way to this blogger’s heart).  I used a little bit of fleur de sel and some black lava salt for contrast.  Just a bit goes a long way.  It didn’t hurt anything that I also used a generous amount of unsalted butter to toast the bread.

The avocado burrata toasts did the trick – I felt a little sunnier after I’d snacked on them.  I still resent the snow and would like to push a fast forward button on what’s left of the winter.  I’ll just bury my winter blues in these toasts and know that somewhere under that snow, the daffodils are on their way.

avocado burrata toasts

avocado burrata toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ball burrata cheese
  • 8 - 10 slices of French bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • Fleur de Sel salt
  • Black lava salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Butter each slice of French bread generously and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 - 7 minutes or until toasty brown (time will depend on your oven).
  2. Once the toasts are golden and crisp, mash a little bit of the avocado on each toast. Top with burrata cheese (use a combination of the creamy inside as well as the outer part of the cheese). Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!
  3. Serves 2 as a snack and 4 as an appetizer
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Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish is a spicy sweet recipe that can do dual duty as a relish for a turkey sandwich or can dress up a cheese and crackers as a holiday appetizer.  This is my homage to my dual roots: the poblano representing the Southwest where I lived for years and the cranberries my adopted PNW home.

I never gave much thought to where cranberries came from before I moved to Oregon, when I first saw a cranberry bog along the coast.  It turns out that  seven percent of the cranberries produced in the US come from Oregon from the southern coastal region.  I bought my first Oregon cranberries seven years ago from a local farm – the first time I’ve ever bought unpackaged cranberries by the pound.  This resulted in bags of frozen cranberries and lots of cranberry related preserves.

I found cranberries from Oregon this year at New Seasons, which is a PNW natural foods chain.   Rather than going crazy and buying more cranberries than I can possibly use in a season, I bought just enough for cranberry sauce and cranberry poblano pepper relish, with a little to set aside in the freezer for baking later in December.

If you are looking for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe to use up excess cranberries, this cranberry poblano pepper relish is perfect and pairs very well with leftover turkey on a sandwich.  It is also worth pinning for use in December for an easy appetizer when paired with cream cheese or brie and crackers.

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

cranberry-relish

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 poblano pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
4 teaspoons brown sugar

Chop the cranberries and poblano pepper finely.  (Alternatively, process both in a food processor to chop finely).  Add the lime, cumin, coriander and brown sugar and combine.  Enjoy!

 

 

Cacio e Pepe Scones

Cacio e Pepe Scones

Cacio e Pepe Scones

Cacio e Pepe scones are my contribution to Food’n Flix this month.  Food’n Flix is a fun blogging opportunity to watch the same movie as other amazing food bloggers and be inspired.  This month’s movie, Burnt, was hosted by Caroline Makes. Burnt is an absolutely quintessential cooking movie about a burned out chef who makes a major come back and finds love and inspiration along the way.

The first time I watched Burnt was on an airplane on my I-Pad on the way to Indianapolis a few weeks ago.  I thought that creating food inspired from this movie would be easy – it’s a movie about a chef and about food, after all, so how hard could it be?  After watching the movie through the first time, I realized it was going to be more challenging than I’d originally thought.  There are so many fast paced camera shots of all the food that the main character Adam, played by Bradley Cooper, plates, serves, and eats that I couldn’t quite figure out what was actually being cooked.  Then I was distracted by the plot line and found myself more engaged with the drama between the characters than the food.  So I watched the movie a second time this past week while I was in Chicago, pen and notebook in hand.  It provided a great distraction from all the real-world drama that was going on with the US election.  So much beautiful food: seared shrimp, bouillabaisse, summer vegetables on ricotta cheese, turbot, beets, oysters, omelettes, mushrooms, beef, lamb.  But my favorite food moment in the film is at the very start when Adam suggests adding chopped sage to a luscious looking bowl of cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta).  I got to thinking about the combination of cheese and black pepper and then even more about food and how it can bring such comfort – whether one is taking care of a chef who has gone on a binge by cooking a simple omelette or if one is just trying to recover from the election hangover.   I love cheese and black pepper and I love scones, so decided to see what would happen if I combined these elements.

I have to say that I’m very pleased with how these scones turned out.  I even went digging through the pantry to find a jar of tomato jam I made last year to see how it would taste on a scone (it’s delicious).  These are so creamy they are nearly biscuit like, so I’m pretty sure we are going to make some sausage gravy next weekend and warm up a few scones in lieu of biscuits.   I also think these would be great with a glass of a robust red wine as a holiday appetizer.

cacio-e-pepe-scone

multiple-scones

Cacio e Pepe Scones
Makes 12 scones

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano or similar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper.  Cut the butter into slices.  Add the butter into the dry mixture and either use a pastry cutter or your hands to incorporate the butter until it forms pea size chunks.  Add the cheese and mix it in.  Add the heavy cream and egg gently incorporating until all the flour/butter mixture is wet and sticks together in a shaggy dough.

Turn the dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and form into a circle.  Cut the dough into twelve pieces that radiate out from the middle of the circle.  Gently separate each piece – you want just a bit of space between each scone so that they can rise.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the scones are golden brown.  Enjoy!

Smoked Paprika Winter Squash Fries

Smoked Paprika Winter Squash Fries

Smoked Paprika Winter Squash Fries are one of my new fall obsessions.  I’m always trying new ways of using up the winter squash that I so diligently buy too much of and have to figure out how to use up before spring shows up again.  Coupling that with a desire to eat healthier, I thought using at least one of the winter squash I’ve gotten stashed in the garage as a side dish to my lunches this week would be a good idea.  I started out thinking I’d use the red Kuri squash, but honestly, I’m currently hoarding that one for the perfect recipe and squash fries just aren’t it, so I used the last of my honey nut squashes instead.  The advantage of using something like a honey nut or butternut squash for this is that they are pretty easy to peel and slice and you won’t be in danger of a major knife accident.

Smoked paprika is my other new fall obsession.  I love the dark red color it lends to food and the very smoky and peppery taste.  I’ve been using it to flavor everything, from soup to baked chicken to these smoked paprika winter squash fries.  I’m eyeing several of the other squashes that are currently on the shelf to make even more of these.  They are a great accompaniment to the mini baked “fried” green cherry tomato recipe I posted earlier this week, especially if you make po boys with the tomatoes.  These would also be lovely served with a homemade ketchup, especially if you have any green tomato ketchup sitting around.

Baked Winter Squash Fries

Smoked Paprika Winter Squash Fries
1 whole winter squash, peeled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the squash into sticks or wedges.  Place in a bowl and add the smoked paprika, salt and olive oil.  Combine.  Turn out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the fries half way through.

Enjoy!

Mini Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce

Mini Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce

My new fall motto is when the garden leaves you with hundreds of green cherry tomatoes at the end of the season, make them into something wonderful: Mini Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce.  Somewhere around the end of June last year, Clay and I were at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market and I was looking for one more tomato (I’d already planted three) and preferably an heirloom variety.  We found a plant that was looking a bit beat up, but it was an heirloom cherry tomato and I decided I’d chance it and see how it would do.  It was a champion grower, rapidly taking over the space vacated by the cucumber plant the dog pulled up, smothering the lemon thyme that was on the cucumber plant pot and then tangling itself up with the chard in the pot on the other side.  It developed hundreds (no exaggeration here) of cherry tomatoes and then it felt like the tomato decided to just be done.  The green tomatoes just sat there…and sat there…and sat there, staying quite green for months.  Toward the end of August, the tomato sort of woke up and a few of those green tomatoes turned a lovely bronzy shade of red.  By that time, I had been assaulted by the hundreds and hundreds of cherry tomatoes from the Sweet 100 vine and I was kind of over tomatoes.  We harvested a few more though and dutifully ate them on salads and on sandwiches.

Meanwhile, there were still many, many green cherry tomatoes on that vine.  I’d look at them and say “soon – I’ll get to you soon.”  September was a busy month and started the glut of winter squash.  October came and I cleaned out all the other tomato plants, but left the behemoth plant where it was.  Finally, yesterday, at the very end of October, I got around to harvesting both a few ripe cherry tomatoes from that plant and a whole bowl-full of green cherry tomatoes.  There are still more out there, but I think I’ve given up.  (I type that and then start fantasizing about all the other things I could do with green tomatoes, so maybe I’ll harvest the rest this weekend after all.)

From late August on, I’d been creating a recipe in my mind – mini baked “fried” green tomatoes.  My resolve to try this out was strengthened by my trips to the South this year – I had some really amazing fried green tomatoes in both New Orleans and Atlanta.  I’d originally had in mind that I would make these baked “fried” green tomatoes to go on a salad, so the remoulade was conceived more as a salad dressing than as a dipping sauce.  However, while I did create the salad, I also decided to use my leftover tomatoes for a po boy, and the remoulade was thick enough to use for the sandwich.  I could also just as easily sit and eat these as a snack and dip them in the remoulade and not feel guilty about it, as the remoulade has a base of Greek yogurt rather than mayonnaise.

baked-fried-green-tomato-salad baked-green-cherry-tomato-po-boy

On the left: mini baked “fried” green tomatoes on a salad (which was lunch on Monday)
On the right: mini baked “fried” green tomatoes on a Po Boy

If your garden is over for the season and you don’t have any late hanger-on green tomatoes, pin this recipe for next year.  It’s worth it.

baked-fried-green-cherry-tomato-with-remoulade

Mini Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce
Serves 4 – 8 (depending on use)

Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes
20 green cherry tomatoes, sliced into thirds
½ cup flour
2 eggs
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Siracha or hot sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
Olive oil to grease baking sheet

Remoulade Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Siracha or hot sauce (or to taste)

For the baked “fried” tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Sprinkle the salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper over the cut tomatoes.  Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in three separate shallow dishes.  Add Siracha or hot sauce to the eggs and beat them until they are fluffy.  Dredge tomato slices in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.  Do this with all the tomato slices (these are so small, I found it easier to do this to five or six tomato slices at a time).  Place the coated tomato slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the tomatoes about half-way through the baking time.

For the Remoulade
Combine all ingredients for the remoulade in a jar.  Close tightly and shake vigorously (or use a whisk and stir until all ingredients are combined).

Enjoy!

 

Summer Squash and Goat Cheese Tart

Summer Squash and Goat Cheese Tart

I’m sure my readers have noticed me waxing rapturous about most vegetables that come my way, particularly throughout the summer time.  The only summer veggie that I have a very indifferent relationship with is summer squash.  I attribute it to the fact that summer squash has a propensity to become slimy when cooked, which is a texture I just can’t stand in food.  That said, I really enjoy cooking with squash blossom flowers, and with that in mind, planted a summer squash plant about mid-way through the growing season this year.  My logic was that it just wouldn’t produce fruit – I’d be diligent about plucking the flowers and using them.

Try as one might, it’s hard to be a prurient guardian of a vegetable’s chastity.  My summer squash defied me and set out squash anyway.  It turns out I had a yellow zucchini on my hands.  I picked it before it became a giant and grabbed one of the smaller ones that was starting to grow, too.  I decided finding a way to cook it very minimally would be the way to go, so sliced off about sixteen thin slices and set them aside for this goat cheese summer squash tart (the remainder was grated and made into zucchini coconut cashew muffins – recipe to come).  It turned out so well that I almost regret not having more summer squash on the way.  I’m already starting to envision planting several zucchini next year, thus starting a cycle of vegetable love and loathing all over again.

zucchini goat cheese tart prebake zucchini goat cheese tart4

Summer Squash and Goat Cheese Tart
Serves 4

1 recipe rough puff pastry
1 very small zucchini or other summer squash
2 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup walnut pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice the zucchini into thin slices – you should have at least sixteen slices.

Roll out the rough puff pastry into a square that is 8 inches by 8 inches.  Divide into four squares that are 4 inches by 4 inches.  Place the squares on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

Place the zucchini slices in the middle of each square, 4 slices to a square.  Divide the thyme leaves, goat cheese, and walnuts (if using) over the zucchini.  You can fold up the sides of each square to create a border or use any leftover strips of puff pastry to do the same.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is a light golden brown.

Easy Tomato Bruschetta

Easy Tomato Bruschetta

I’ve been on an easy snack food kick all weekend long, which isn’t unusual for me in the summertime.  We are starting to see an abundance of tomatoes in the farmer’s market and in the grocery stores finally, and I even think some of our home-grown tomatoes are considering ripening.  This tomato bruschetta takes advantage of that summer abundance – it’s a great way to use up both tomatoes and basil.

My inspiration for this recipe comes from the movie Juile and Julia, which I admit to watching during a hotel stay recently.  I particularly love the scenes in the movie in which the only reader of Julie’s blog is her mother – I’ve had my own moments starting out with my food blog when I’ve wondered if I have any other readers out there beside my mom and a couple of loyal friends.  But I digress – what really stayed with me was a scene in which Julie is making bruschetta by toasting slices of bread in a pan in a lot of butter.  The golden browned bread is then laden with tomatoes and basil – and dinner is served.  The key here is the butter.  Don’t skimp – it’s not worth it to try to be healthy on this recipe.  The tomatoes are plenty healthy, anyway.

Pair with a light, fruity white wine.  I finished off a bottle of Semillon with this.  It would pair well with a Vinho Verde or similar.

easy tomato bruschetta

Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 2

8 slices of a baguette or similar
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 heirloom tomato
1 small bunch basil (about 8 – 10 leaves)
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
Salt

Melt the butter in a non-stick or cast-iron pan over medium heat.  When the butter is melted, add the bread and toast on each side until it is golden brown.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato into a small dice.  Chop the basil finely and mix basil and tomato together.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Rub the garlic clove half over each slice of toasted bread.  Spoon the tomato and basil mixture on the bread, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.  Enjoy!

Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Aioli

Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Aioli

Steamed artichokes are another spring favorite food.  Along with asparagus and strawberries, this is one of the foods I recall being truly seasonal when I was a kid.  If you didn’t get a feast of all during a short time period in the spring, it was a long time coming to taste these again.  Now, of course, all are available year round, though as far as I can tell, they only truly taste good in season, in the spring and early summer.  We’re lucky here in the PNW that all three grow easily and readily and are available in both the grocery stores and at the farmer’s market.

Artichokes are a wonderfully messy food – they require some sort of dipping sauce to complement their meaty goodness.  I’m a fan of lemon juice, butter and garlic powder, as this is essentially the only dipping sauce I ever knew to accompany artichokes when I was younger.  This week, though, I decided to branch out a bit.  I’m a huge fan of the garlic aioli that comes with fried asparagus at Burgerville, the happy, local meat fast food place here in Oregon.  I thought it might be good with artichokes, so made my own variation.  This is a wonderful afternoon snack and I’m totally in favor of eating it at my desk, messy though it may be.  My only advice about this is to bring an ample supply of napkins.  The only thing that could make this better would be to be on a picnic, drinking white wine and lounging on the bank of a river.   Either way, enjoy!

four artichokes

 

Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Aioli
Serves Four

4 artichokes, stems trimmed and tips of leaves trimmed

Garlic Aioli
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt

Place a steamer basket at the bottom of a large saucepan.  Fill the pan with water up to the base of the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, add the artichokes and cover, steaming for 30 to 45 minutes.  You can check the artichokes for doneness by pulling on a leaf – if it comes off easily, the artichoke is done. 

Garlic Aioli

Add all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Serve the artichokes with garlic aioli on the side.

Roasted Artichokes

Roasted Artichokes

This week has been all about the easiest route to fresh, good food.  I believe in elaborate snacks at my lunch – the best way for me to get through the day is to have good food to look forward to. Given the time constraints this week, I didn’t have hours to prep this weekend.  I had a few vegetables languishing in the vegetable tray and I wanted to make sure I used them before they became compost.  One of those vegetables was a pair of sangria artichokes we’d picked up last week at Trader Joe’s.  I love artichokes – whether they are designer or not.  I’ll eat them, I’ll grow them and I’ll even let them go to full flower, because they are so lovely (in addition to being tasty).

artichoke_flower

But back to the sangria artichokes.  In addition to being a beautiful deep purple hew, these are named after sangria – and since I also love sangria, I figured the artichokes must be good.  I did a bit of research to find that these are a new kind of artichoke, coming exclusively out of California. I didn’t notice a particularly significant different taste, though they did roast up perfectly with all leaves being very tender.  I think they are just pretty – and what’s the harm in enjoying a pretty, in addition to tasty, snack at work?

sangria_artichoke

Roasted artichokes take about an hour, but the prep time itself is minimal.  I didn’t do anything to these to eat them other than toss on a bit of salt.  If you are going to eat these at work, be sure to have a spoon or knife with you to remove the fuzzy parts from the heart.

artichoke_roasted

Roasted Artichokes
Serves 2

2 large artichokes, stem trimmed and leaves gently spread out
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place each artichoke in a large piece of aluminum foil (large enough to fully wrap the artichoke).  Before you wrap it up, drizzle the artichokes with lemon juice and olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Wrap up the artichokes in the foil and put in a pie pan or on a baking sheet.  Bake for 75 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce the base of the artichoke.  Serve as is or with melted butter with garlic salt.

 

 

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