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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.

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RECIPE: Goat Cheese-Asparagus Crustless Quiche

I love goat cheese. I love quiches. I love asparagus. Therefore, I knew this one would be great. I found this recipe in the January/February 2011 issue of the Vegetarian Times. It’s called Goat Cheese-Asparagus Crustless Quiche.

The ingredient list is really simple for this recipe so there’s really no worries about it coming out good or not. Simple ingredients, simple quiche, great food! What more can I say.

The goat cheese (yummy!) and shallots give this recipe just enough flavor to satisfy and delight your senses. I served this with a green salad and wine that to be honest I can’t remember and I forgot to write down. Sloppy of me, I know, but it’s the truth. 🙂

Try this recipe. It’s a great tasting, simple recipe that is satisfying and light.

RECIPE: Polenta Stack With Navy Bean Salad

This recipe from Epicurious.com for Polenta Stack With Navy Bean Salad really grabbed my attention with the combinations of flavors that it put together. All things that I love, baked together to a melty one-dish wonder! How could it NOT be good?

I found this recipe really easy to assemble and when it was ready it was really satisfying and tasty. The feta cheese gave everything such a nice tangy taste while the beans added heartiness, protein and fiber.

The recipe calls for you to cook the packets on a grill until the packets are fully puffed and states it will take 10 minutes. I don’t have a grill so I did it in my oven with the setting on broil. It took close to 30 minutes to get heated through and the packets puffy.

The result? A really satisfying, wholesome meal that takes only 35-40 minutes and only 5 of that is preparing the packets for the grill or oven. Definitely a nice easy meal.

RECIPE: Spaghetti Carbonara

I’ll admit that I did get behind on my posts there for awhile. I made this recipe for Valentine’s Day 2011. It was something I’ve never tried before and the fact that it usually has bacon in it didn’t scare this vegetarian at all. I’ve got my substitutes for nearly everything non-vegetarian and this was no exception. I originally found mention of this meal in one of my magazines and then changed the recipe so much that it’s not theirs anymore. 🙂

I admit that even though the ingredient list isn’t that threatening I wouldn’t consider this a recipe that I would make on a regular basis. It does require some finesse and I think I actually didn’t do it justice.

The idea of converting a recipe from a meat based one to a veggie based one is always alluring to me. So many people think that if you’re a vegetarian you can’t enjoy the foods that everyone else does. I am here to tell you that’s a false notion. ANYTHING that a meat eater makes I can convert to a healthier, vegetarian option. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now. I don’t deprive myself of cravings that I have. Yes, I still crave the bacon in BLT sandwiches and I have a healthy, vegetarian alternative for that that I quite enjoy and so does everybody that I make it for.

My message is this: if you think that you are going to be deprived if you decide to go meatless your fears are unfounded. Maybe 20 years ago that was the truth…okay, it was 20 years ago, trust me I know from first hand experience, but I can tell you that today there are so many vegetarian alternatives for meat that you can make just about anything you want by converting the ingredients. Having said that here are the ingredients for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup of Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon (just use the real thing if you’re a meat eater)

1 Small Onion

1 Garlic clove,  peeled

1 1/2 Cups of Half and Half

1 Bay Leaf

2 Sprigs of Thyme

1/4 Cup grated Parmigiano

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Egg Yolks

1/4 Cup fresh or frozen Peas

In a large pan, saute the bacon until lightly browned. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until they are soft. At that point you can add the Half and Half, bay leaf and thyme and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.

Cook your pasta as directed. (If you’re really handy or really Italian or both you could even make your own pasta to use in this recipe. I know some of you do this but I am not mentioning any names…Camille! 🙂 Me, I am not that handy and dough intimidates me so I opted for the boxed stuff.)

Now add the parmigiano cheese to the cream mixture and at salt and pepper to taste. Take the mixture off of the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and add the peas. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.

I made served this recipe with a nice green salad, garlic bread and a nice Mouton Cadet red wine. (See my review of this wine here.) For dessert we had Creme Brulee (You can check that recipe out here).

Overall this was a nice meal. I will admit that when it comes to whisking in raw egg yolks to a hot mixture sometimes I get a little leery and cook the ingredients some more which is what I did here. It made the end result a little too dry and the cream solidified a bit. However the taste of the meal was really good and we had a lovely Valentine’s Day