Oh my gosh, you guys, I am in kale heaven. Now I already like kale - raw in salads, in a Tuscan white bean soup, baked into crispy chips. But this, THIS, is the single most delicious way to eat kale ever.
Cooked down with garlic and shallots in butter, then finished with sherry, cream, and miso - swoon.
But we don't even stop there, oh no, we add buttery mushrooms with soy on top - oh my gaaaaaaaaaaawd.
I served it as a side with teriyaki salmon, which I'm not even going to talk about because the kale totally stole the show. If you like kale, go make this right now and rejoice. If you don't like kale, go make this right now and become a believer. And then invite me over, so that I can eat some too.
I had a plan to make spinach and butternut squash lasagna roll-ups last week. But then I decided to add chicken so that Jasper would be more likely to eat it (note that this plan failed, ha). And then I thought it would be good to make my own spinach whole wheat noodles, which turned out to be too fragile to roll up, especially with the heavy chicken added. So it turned into a regular layered lasagna instead, and I'm not even sad. The colors were so pretty, and it was gooey and cheesy and filling.
So here's where I made a mistake - I thought I would be clever and puree the spinach in the food processor instead of the blender before adding in my flour in order to reduce the number of dirty containers. Except that the food processor didn't really puree the spinach very well. I even had a moment where I stopped and thought I should transfer it to the blender and decided against it, *sigh*. All those little flakes of spinach made the dough very fragile and difficult to work with, but I stuck it out.
The noodles turned out fine (and they certainly tasted good) when cooked, but they were still too fragile to roll (and not very pretty).
So I just layered them instead and all was well. Now, remember earlier this week when I talked about having leftover butternut squash? Well, this is where it went. I pureed the roasted squash and shallots together to make a sauce. A little of that went on the bottom of the pan, then a layer of noodles.
Were you guys dying for another homemade pasta post? Based on the popularity of the other ones, I bet you were! So here is one for veggie lovers (but don't worry, there's also plenty of cheese). Sweet and savory, with just a hint of nutmeg - so good!
Carrots, shallots, ricotta, Parmesan, and a little cream, butter, and nutmeg go into this lovely filling. I had a little filling leftover when I finished up, so I tossed it into some brown butter and sage to make a sauce. And that's it!
If I had massive amounts of time, I would love to make a trio of veggie raviolis to serve together - this one, the beet and goat cheese one, and a spinach one (maybe with feta?). Wouldn't that be fun? And with the fresh pasta, you could see the orange, purple, and green fillings and it would be super pretty. *Sigh* One day!
Carrot Ricotta Ravioli
adapted from Food and Wine
serves 2-4, about 36 ravioli
2 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
3 large carrots (3/4 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 tbsp heavy cream
5 oz ricotta (1/2 cup firmly packed)
6 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg yolk
Pulse the flour in a food processor to evenly distribute and aerate. Add the eggs and olive oil. Process until the dough forms a rough ball, about 30 seconds. (If the dough resembles small pebbles, add water 1/2 tsp at a time; if it sticks to the side of the bowl, add flour 1 tbsp at a time.)
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours
Make the filling. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a baking dish, toss the carrots with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Let cool slightly.
In a small skillet, melt the butter . Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the carrots, shallot, and cream and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a bowl. Stir in the ricotta, Parmigiano, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg yolk (taste for seasoning before you do this).
Roll out the pasta dough using a pasta roller. Set the thin sheet of dough over a ravioli press. Drop small balls of filling into the pockets. Lay a second rectangle of pasta over the filling layer. Seal the edges by pressing a rolling pin over the top. Flip over, release from the mold (flouring the mold/pasta helps), and cut into squares with whatever cutter you have available.
Boil the ravioli, about a dozen at a time, for 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli from the pot to plates. Top with sauce of choice (I recommend brown butter, or white wine cream) and a sprinkle of extra Parmesan.
I feel like I constantly need some form of cheesy winter squash pasta on hand at all times. It's kind of a problem. I saw a recipe for shells with pumpkin and ricotta that sounded good, but the comments all said it came out dry and bland. So instead of using that recipe, I decided to make a pumpkin version of my Spring Shells and Cheese.
So instead of ricotta, I made a bechamel with sage, pumpkin, Gruyere, and Parmesan. Then I added in some sauteed spinach and shallots, for health and color.
Because adding spinach totally makes up for all the cheese and pasta, right? I mean, I did use whole wheat shells...
Anyway, I added in some pecans for crunch. Nuts are healthy, too, right?
I am trying to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, my carb intake. But, man, I just really love pasta. If anybody else is struggling with this, and I'm sure there are many, this is a really great recipe. I know what you're thinking - it's not the same - and you're right, it's not. But I don't think you will miss the pasta when you discover how much flavor and texture these have!
Mmmm - veggies. I got my mandoline out, thinking it would make this a breeze, but it turns out that my particular one really sucks at using the whole length of the vegetable. So I switched to this bad boy and it worked brilliantly.
The colors! Now I really like using spaghetti squash if I have a great sauce, but this recipe has more color and flavor, making it great on its own.
Bonus - I followed the recipe and used red onion and garlic, but I think that you could use shallot in place of both and make it even simpler! Super bonus - it cooks in less than 5 minutes!
Sauteed Vegetable Julienne
adapted from Skinny Taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz zucchini, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
8 oz yellow squash, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
4 oz (1 medium) carrot, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
Increase heat to medium-high and add the remaining vegetables, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Adjust salt as needed and serve hot.
The other day, I was perusing Red Apron Butchery and saw that they had marrow bones. I LOVE marrow, but I had never made it at home before. It was time to fix that! You might be interested to know that while marrow is made up of fat, it is largely unsaturated; plus it has lots of vitamins and minerals like iron and Vitamin A, and it has been shown to boost the immune system!
Now you actually want to soak these bad boys in salt water overnight to draw out the blood. It's not going to kill you or anything if you don't, but it won't taste as good.
Then you just pop them into a hot oven and roast for 20 minutes. You could just sprinkle it with coarse salt and eat it with a spoon, I wouldn't blame you. But if you want the full experience, spread it onto some toasted challah bread and top with a tangy parsley salad to balance out the rich fattiness. Prairie butter, poor man's foie gras, pure heaven - whatever you want to call it, this stuff is delicious decadence.
Roasted Bone Marrow
8 3'-4'-long pieces beef or veal marrow bones (cut lengthwise or crosswise, doesn't matter)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 small shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp drained capers
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2-inch thick slices challah or rustic white bread, toasted
To remove the blood from the marrow, place the bones in a bowl of ice water with 1 tsp coarse sea salt per 1 cup water. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to cook the marrow. Be sure to use it within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Place bones in an ovenproof skillet or roasting pan - wider cut side down for crosswise, cut side up for lengthwise. Roast bones until marrow is soft and begins to separate from bone but before it begins to melt, 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of bones. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Meanwhile, toss parsley, shallots, oil, lemon juice, and capers in a medium bowl to coat. Season salad to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Serve bones with toast and parsley salad. Use a long, thin spoon or knife to scoop marrow onto toast and top with salad.
You know that Forrest Gump quote, "Jenny and me was like peas and carrots."? I could not stop saying that while making and eating this dinner. The classic duo of peas and carrots, back together again in the form of soup and risotto.
This pea soup has a base of English peas, sugar snap peas, and leeks. So much green!
But more importantly, it has bacon. You start by crisping the bacon and removing it. Then, in the same pan, you cook celery, onion, and leek in the bacon fat before adding chicken stock and rosemary. Meanwhile, blanch the peas.
It's time for another vegetarian lunch with Melissa! This time we made a warm and creamy grain salad with veggies (kind of our favorite thing). This salad has farro, arugula, scallions, split peas, English peas, goat cheese, and chives in a citrusy dressing with orange, shallot, and Parmesan. So basically every delicious ingredient there is.
We made things easy by precooking the farro and split peas (you can do this a day in advance) and using frozen peas.
We tossed the farro mixture with a citrusy dressing, then folded in arugula and charred scallions, and topped with goat cheese and chives. Let me tell you about charred scallions - they are awesome. Super awesome. We were worried that the onion flavor would be overwhelming, but charring them takes a lot of that sharpness out and replaces it with sweetness.
I have been wanting to learn to make my own pasta for years, so I was super jealous when my friend Melissa (you know her by now) got a pasta roller for Christmas. I had been thinking about getting the Kitchen Aid attachment (versus the hand crank kind) but it is very expensive and I had read reviews about them breaking and being hard to clean. Melissa said that her manual roller was very easy to use, and invited me over to try it out / teach me how to use it.
Our first experiment was Spinach Ravioli with a Creamy Tomato and Veggie Sauce - yum!
The first step is to make the filling. Saute diced onion in butter, then add in frozen spinach (thawed and drained) to cook out any liquid.
Add in ricotta, Parmesan, and an egg yolk.
Holy Mockingjay, Batman - I am so excited about this post! Food 'n Flix and Cook the Books have teamed up to do a double post for The Hunger Games, with Heather from girlichef hosting! Announcement post is here.
The Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy about a dystopian alternate timeline where war has reduced America to 12 Districts ruled by a Capital. As punishment for a rebellion, all 12 Districts must offer up 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as a tribute to compete in the Hunger Games each year. These children must then fight to the death in a televised spectacle with only 1 survivor. To make things even worse, all of the Districts are purposefully kept in a state of starvation except for the District of the winner - which is given ample food for a year until the next Hunger Games (hence the name). Food, therefore, is extremely important and a focus throughout the series.
The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely tough teen who would do anything to protect her family and especially her little sister, Primrose. When Prim is selected as Tribute (a death sentence for the timid 12 year-old), Katniss volunteers to take her place. Before being entered into the death-match proper, the Tributes are primped and pampered and paraded around the Capital. It is here that Katniss experiences luxury and an overabundance of food for the first time in her life.
Her favorite dish is a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums - it is mentioned frequently and even sent to her as a present when she is fighting for her life. I decided that the stew would be the perfect dish to make for this post, served on some wild rice that seemed fitting for the setting. I also served it with goat cheese rolled in herbs (inspired by the cheese that Primrose makes from her prized pet) and rustic seed bread (inspired by Peeta - Katniss's love interest and fellow Tribute, whose family owns a bakery).