Monthly Archives: March 2012

RECIPE: Pumpkin Ravioli

I found this recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli in my local grocery store’s wine and food free publication and it seemed like the perfect antidote to the frozen fresh pumpkin in my freezer. I’ve been going through a phase lately where I want to clean out and organize and use things up that have been lurking around for awhile and my frozen pumpkin is one of those things. I slaughtered the pumpkin with my own hands last Thanksgiving and used some then for pumpkin pies and the rest has been anxiously awaiting it’s turn in the culinary world known as ‘My Kitchen’. 🙂

The recipe intrigued me for a few reasons. One, it’s got pumpkin in it as stated above. Two, the ingredients are so simple but the result looked so decadent and special. Three, the use of wonton wrappers instead of traditional pasta was the great thing that sealed the deal because unlike some of my Italian friends who have it in their blood to make pasta I am not one bit Italian and have totally missed the gene that’s needed to make my own pasta. Any attempts to make pasta have always been met with a big blob of glue that got thrown out. I know when I’ve been beaten and pasta is thy name! 🙂

So here are the recipe ingredients:

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup blanched almonds, toasted

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup of canned (or fresh) pumpkin

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus additional for garnish

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional to taste

20 wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen

Directions:

ONE: In a medium skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 teaspoon hot butter over medium heat until onion is softened, about 3 minutes

TWO: In a food processor combine 1/4 cup of the almonds and the rosemary. Cover and pulse with several on/off turns until nuts are finely ground. Add pumpkin, 1/4 cup of cheese, the onion mixture, salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cover and pulse until just combined.

THREE: Working with 2 wonton wrappers at a time, top wrappers with one tablespoon of filling. Brush edges of wrapper with water and bring one corner of wrapper to meet the opposite corner to form a triangle, pressing own around filling to force out any air and to seal edges well. Cover filled ravioli with a dry kitchen towel while you repeat with remaining wonton wrappers and filling.

FOUR: Coarsely chop remaining 1/4 cup of almonds. In a medium skillet heat remaining 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat; add chopped almonds and cook, stirring until butter begins to brown on bottom of skillet (do not allow to burn), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

FIVE: Bring water to a boil and cook ravioli for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender, gently stirring occasionally. (Keep water at a low boil to prevent ravioli from breaking). Drain.

SIX: Drizzle ravioli with almond-browned butter and sprinkle with additional Parmesan and pepper to taste. Makes 4 Servings! (20 ravioli) 

Now as I usually do there was a change or two to the recipe. I didn’t like the way my rosemary looked so I didn’t use it. I used some parsley instead. I think that was the only thing I changed really…will miracles never cease!

Some tips on dealing with the wonton wrappers. They say to put a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of the wonton but I would advise to put a little less than that because a tablespoon was a bit much and had the tendency to ooze out of the wrapper when I was trying to seal it. Once it does that the wrapper didn’t seem to really want to seal quite so well. So put a little less.

Secondly, keep a little bowl of water near you and dip your fingers in it to line the outside of the wrappers with. Don’t put too much water or it won’t seal well but don’t be afraid to wet the edges of the wrapper either. It’s a delicate balance and it takes some practice to get right. My first five or so raviolis were a bit of a challenge but once I got the method down it worked like a charm.

Just like any other pasta when the raviolis start to float in the boiling water they’re done.

I paired this meal with a nice green salad and a Austrian wine called Gruner Veltliner that my brother gifted to me. It really complimented the meal fantastically. You can read the review on this wine here.

RECIPE: Almendrados (Flourless Almond Cookies)

I found this cookie for Almendrados (Flourless Almond Cookies) in the December 2011 issue of Cooking Light magazine and I was immediately intrigued. We don’t eat a lot of cookies in our house. It’s too much white flour and sugar usually and frankly we don’t need an excuse to snack but with these cookies we could snack guilt free really.

The ingredients are simple and for the most part really healthy. Sure there’s some sugar but compared to most cookie recipes this one goes really light on the sugar. I loved the idea that we could be enjoying a cookie with a cup of tea and getting more nuts in our diet at the same time.

The recipe itself is really easy to make. My blender (it’s a Ninja!) handled the task well but when it came to adding all the ingredients until it formed a ball my Ninja was having none of that. So I finished the mixing by hand which was no big deal. I shaped the almond dough into small balls a tablespoon at a time and the mixture made two more than the intended 24 cookies the recipe called for.

I added the cinnamon and pressed the balls down as I added the blanched almond on top and sent those bad boys to the oven. When they came out they were perfectly done and my house smelled like cinnamon, lemon and sweetness.

We loved these cookies and I will probably be making them on a regular basis now. I think it’s a great way to give into your sweet tooth’s need for cookies while providing your body with some extra nuts and nutrients. I would highly recommend these cookies! I also would imagine that this same recipe could be done with most any nut really so why not play and experiment with your favorites and then let me know what you’ve invented.

RECIPE: Deviled Eggs

Now in my family if there’s deviled eggs you better get out of the way because we’re going in. There are a few of these recipes in my family that will get this reaction, things like creamed spinach, apple pie (specifically my grandmother’s recipe that unfortunately may have gone to the grave with her) and, of course, Deviled eggs. Any special occasion, holiday, get together is fair game for deviled eggs with this clan.

So it was only natural that I make these for Christmas Eve for Matt and I. Now I make these slightly different than my family does I am sure but to be honest I’ve been making them this way for so long I don’t remember exactly how the rest of my family makes them but here’s my recipe.

Ingredients:

6 eggs, hard boiled

2-3 Tbsp Mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp horseradish

Paprika

Put the eggs in a saucepan and add water until covered. Put on high and bring to a boil. Don’t wait for the water to boil before you put the eggs in. They won’t come out right. Add the eggs to the water before it’s heated and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil let it remain at a boil and cook for about 15 minutes to make sure they are hard-boiled.

I usually peel the eggs right away under cool running water. One, it enables you to actually handle the boiling hot eggs and two, I find the running water seems to help get the shells off cleanly without pulling the eggs apart which is a real nuisance when you want them to look pretty.

Once peeled cut each egg in half long way and carefully pop the egg yolk out and into a small bowl. Place egg halves on a separate plate. With a fork mash the egg yolks up until they are like mashed potatoes without a lot of lumps. Add the dijon mustard and the horseradish and mix. Then add the mayo slowly until you get a nice consistency and there’s enough to fill all the egg white halves.

Fill the egg white halves with the yolk mixture and sprinkle each egg with paprika. Viola! You now have really yummy deviled eggs that you’ll have to fight people for. Enjoy!