Ravioli

IMG_20160228_181634547I made goat cheese and what is perfect for goat cheese? Ravioli! Hubby was out of town over the weekend so I surprised him with it when he came home. I love making pasta so it was as much for me as for him (maybe even a little more for me….)

I mixed the goat cheese with an egg and seasonings— a crushed garlic clove, thyme, savory and some S & P. It was simple but perfect!

Pasta is so much fun to make and it is so good. I use both pasta flour (00 flour) and semolina in equal quantities for ravioli. One egg for every 3/4 C flour- for this recipe I used 1 1/2 C flour (combined measure) and 2 eggs. Mix it up and add a little water if it is dry. I always seem to add a bit of water. I combine this in my kitchen aid mixer. After combined I set it up with the knead hook and let it go for several minutes. Let the dough rest for 20 – 30 minutes. Or you can refrigerate it and use it later in a couple of days. Just remove it from fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling.

Some roll pasta by hand with a rolling pin. Some have the automatic roller that you can get to attach to the Kitchen Aid. I am somewhere in the middle. I have a hand crank pasta roller which I love. If you have not used one before, pinch off some dough – a little larger than a golf ball. Start at level 1 or 0 (however yours in marked). Take the dough multiple times through the first setting. It will start to feel good and get pliable. Then put the sheet of pasta through the pasta machine and increase your number on your dial on setting at a time. For ravioli I don’t go beyond 5. It seems to get too thin and falls apart. Roll two pieces so you have a top and bottom for your raviolis.IMG_20160228_182708657

Put a little filling down. This is the hard part! I mean a little – 2 teaspoons or so. Too much will either seep out or not close up well. So control is the key!

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Then wet the edges and between the filling with water using a pastry brush. The idea is that when you add the top pasta sheet you want them to stick together. Press it together and use a knife, ravioli cutter or a cookie cutter (biscuit cutter) to cut them out.

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To cook place them in gently boiling water for 12 – 15 minutes. I know that may seem long AND you will find all different times out there. But homemade pasta is thicker and just seems to take a bit to cook. You will know what works for you after trying it a couple of times.

A couple spoonfuls of sauce from the Italian tomatoes I canned from last summer’s crop created perfection!

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And hubby liked it too. 🙂

Do you have a favorite recipe you love to make?

Happy cooking!

FGU

 

 

 

Brunch Inspiration- MJFarm Magazine

IMG_20160123_123049121The latest edition of MaryJanesFarm Magazine has some FANTABULOUS brunch recipes. We tried one this past weekend with a little twist due to stuff we had on hand.

This recipe is for Baked Egg Gallettes and they were fantastic!

The crust is wonderfully soft. It is not like a pie crust; the texture is softer (more like a bread). It uses whole wheat flour and was yummy!

The spread inside is a mixture of cream cheese, herbs and spinach. I was out of spinach but had just picked some swiss chard from our cold frame so I substituted that.

IMG_20160123_112929018_HDRThe recipe calls for the inside to be stuffed with roasted veggies. That would be fantastic! I happen to have ratatouille leftovers on hand so I used those. Be creative is my motto while in the kitchen. Fold up the crust and crack an egg!

IMG_20160123_112934901Brush with an egg wash and bake.

It all worked beautifully together and was a supreme brunch dish!IMG_20160123_120341150

 

 

I have tried to find the recipe online or on MaryJanesFarm pinterest board but it is not yet posted that I can find. Go out and get the magazine for this and other delicious brunch recipes!IMG_20160123_120705713

I love breakfast. How about you? Do you have a favorite?

FGU

 

Green Pasta

We all have a favorite foods- those that we consider comfort foods. There is no doubt mine is pasta. When I work late or have an otherwise super busy day my go to meal is veggies and pasta. Last night was one of those nights.pasta and veggies

There is no “real” recipe here. For a day that is busy, something I can do without thinking and just be a little creative with is the ticket!

This pasta started with several cloves of garlic in olive oil, then I layered some flavor on top of that with a sliced leek and some green peppers that I had frozen from our garden. Next came chopped up kale and some extra mushrooms I had hanging out in the fridge from a dish earlier this week. Seeking out more green I grabbed a couple handfuls of spinach. When the pasta was done, it was drained and dumped in the skillet.  Seasoned with a bit of Italian Seasoning and a bunch of freshly ground black pepper was all that was needed. Feta cheese finished it off.

Of course no pasta dish is complete without a glass of red wine. After dinner some tea and the evening was complete.

What is your go to? You know, the dish you just throw together when your planned one just isn’t going to happen.

I hope I inspired you to just open the fridge and throw something together! Adding pasta is a big plus!

Happy Unleashing from your fridge!

FGU

Cranberry Chutney

You may be like me and thought your entire life that you did not like cranberries or cranberry sauce. That stuff in the can just seemed like a glob to me and it had zero appeal. I know that some of you love that stuff and I respect that, but it just seemed like really thick jello to and I am not a jello fan either.

Fast forward to adult life and passing age 45 and I discovered cranberries. Yep, the real deal cranberries. Oh now there is a yummy little morsel!

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I tried making several different cranberry sauces and although they were better than the canned stuff they were all so sweet. I am a savory taste person on Thanksgiving–no marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, no honey on the carrots and no cranberry sauce that is sweet like jelly. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweets! But I just save my sweet taste buds for pies at dessert!

A few years back I discovered a cranberry chutney recipe. I cannot recall where I got this from; it might have been Good Housekeeping Magazine. I love it and now it has become a tried and true, Thanksgiving and Christmas thing.

The great thing is that you just dump all this stuff in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer slowly for the afternoon. The recipe says 30 minutes, I simmer for 3 – 4 hours on low. It gets a wonderful think consistency and all the cranberries burst open with flavor.

Here’s what you need to fill your saucepan:

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries

1 C Brown Sugar (make your own using 1 cup of sugar and 1 TBL Molasses mixed up in a food processor)

1/2 C dried apricots chopped

1/2 C Golden Raisins (honestly the dark raisins don’t cut it in this recipe)

1/4 C Cider Vinegar (I use Braggs)

2 TBL minced fresh ginger (so much of the goodness comes from this!)

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1 small onion finely chopped

1 clementine or small orange peeled and chopped (save the peel if you brine your turkey)

1/2 tsp salt

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Into the sauce pan it all goes. Bring to a boil and then simmer, simmer, simmer. Simmer as long or as short as you want; consistency is up to you. I like mine reduced down good.

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This is really great stuff. Yummy on Thanksgiving but really splendid on the turkey sandwich I know you’re gonna have for leftovers!

If you are like me and thought you did not like cranberries or would like something less sweet with a little kick, try this! Let me know if you do and what you think.

Happy Unleashing (in the kitchen this week!)

FGU

Pizza Sauce- Canning Recipe!

IMG_20141015_094829444If you are still picking tomatoes like me, you may be running out of ideas for canning them. We have lots of tomatoes canned so I started thinking about other things I could do with them.

Since hubby makes a GREAT pizza crust, I thought Pizza Sauce! I knew that I would so appreciate having “ready made” sauce on a busy night with a fresh crust.

First you need about 13 to 15 C of tomato puree. It took me about 16 lbs of tomatoes to yield this.

For  the puree I used two methods in this sauce. I ran 1/2 the tomatoes through a food mill. I don’t have a picture because I was not coordinated enough to take a picture while turning a food mill. I quartered the tomatoes and ran them through.You do not need to skin or seed them as the mill takes care of this. If you don’t have a food mill, you can find an inexpensive one at Meier’s or another store like that. Mine was $20 which was cheaper than any I found on Amazon.

While I was making puree with the food mill, the other half was roasting. To do this, simply cut the tomatoes in half, put them on a cookie sheet and roast at 375 for about 25 minutes. We have a convection oven, so you may need to adjust a bit. They are done with the skins are toasty.

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This is such an easy thing and a bit of a cheat, but you don’t even need to remove the skins. Run them through a blender and you have great puree.

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I poured this puree into the other puree from the food mill and let it simmer for a long time. I mean all day. I went upstairs to my home office to work and it just simmered and simmered. No lid; you want it to thicken. The thickness is up to you. All day simmering gave me the thicker, pizza sauce consistency I wanted.

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After I reached the thickness I wanted, I added 2 tsp of dried Italian Seasoning, 1 tsp of black pepper, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder. You can add other types of seasonings if you would like, but make sure they are dried seasonings. In the bottom of each pint jar I added 1/4 tsp. of citric acid. This yielded me 5 pints.

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I processed these in my pressure canner according to directions. Please refer to your canning instructions to insure proper processing. Mine called for 11 lbs of pressure, 25 minutes for pints, and then 10 minutes to rest after the pressure released before removing. You could also water bath these using the instructions that Ball gives for tomato sauce.

The sauce thickened even more after processing and cooling. You can tell by the space remaining in the jars.

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I cannot wait to spread this on a fresh pizza crust on a cold wintery day and taste a little summer.

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

First Fall Dinner!

I have been creating dishes with tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, beans and basil for several weeks now. As much as I love all that, I must admit that the taste buds have been craving some fall flavors. I teased them with a sweet potato last week, but that is about all I have ventured into so far thjs fall.

Yesterday however was a very cool, cloudy day. I had jeans on, a long sleeve shirt and even had to shut the windows to get the chill out.  Football was also on the schedule to watch last night. And then it all came together. Thanks to daughter Rachael and a late text message she sent me for a over the top Acorn Squash Recipe from Guy Fieri, I was on my way to releasing fall in my kitchen!

You halve and hollow out the acorn squash ,add a bit of olive oil, S&P and they are ready for roasting. One of the first things I loved about this recipe is that you use the seeds also. While the squash is roasting, you roast the seeds to sprinkle on top at the end. These roasted up beautifully.

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In the meantime, you prep your filling. It is a delectable mix of cabbage, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms and seasonings. (don’t forget to get the full recipe here) I did make a couple of tweaks– I added 1 tsp of fennel, because I really love fennel with cabbage. I also sauteed the cabbage a bit longer. I wanted it to caramelize a bit— it was totally worth the extra time!

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This cabbage mixture is so good! Hubby said we need to have it as a side with many things. This would go great with sausage or pork chops; or with veggies like sweet potatoes and green beans. It was delish! I am really happy that we had some of the filling left over–it may be lunch today!

You fill the squash up, add some goat cheese and the roasted seeds and pop it under the broiler for a few.

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Hit it with a bit of parsley on the way to the table and it is FANTASTIC!

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Today I am back to green beans, basil and tomatoes. BUT NO complaints here! I love these things and will love them in the coming months when I am tiring of fall cuisine and need to open up my summer taste buds.

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Happy Unleashing your taste buds today. What’s for dinner?

FGU

 

 

 

 

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing…Oh I know you are picturing that stuff from the 70’s that was actually green and creamy and came in a bottle.  This is not your mama’s Green Goddess Dressing!   So yummy and creamy full of cucumber and dill flavor AND it is easy!

Ready? Here we go…

3/4 C Greek Yogurt  – I use Fage 2% but you can use non fat or the full deal if you’d like.  Maybe you are really a “rockstar” and make your own…. that is awesome, use that.

1/4 C – 1/2 C dill— this is strickly a taste call.  Mine was fresh and I used about 1/4 C and it was quite flavorful.

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Tbs. White Wine Vinegar-you can also use rice vinegar or white balsamic

1 inch (or so) piece of cucumber

Grab your blender.  Put the peeled piece of cucumber in there along with the dill, oil, vinegar and 1/4 C of yogurt. (note: do not be tempted to add all the yogurt here; just use 1/4 C on this step).

Add some S & P and puree together.

You will now add this mixture to the rest of your yogurt.  I used a whisk. Dependent upon how thick your yogurt is, you may need to add just a drizzle more of olive oil or vinegar.  This dressing is meant to be luxuriously thicker so don’t thin too much.

Serve on your favorite salad!

Ravioli: Throw Down of the Gadgets!

I have been making pasta for a while now.  I love, love, love to make it.  It is easy and so superior to any store bought dried pasta.  And economically, like most things you make yourself, it is cheaper.

Last month in MJFarm Magazine they had pages of pasta.  Once again ravioli on my radar as I have a new ravioli maker.  You know,” one of those cool rectangles that you put the dough in and then the filling and then it all comes out pretty and perfect” ravioli makers. I got this one at a really great price on clearance and I was truly convinced that this device would change my life and lead me away from my “pasta wheel” days.

Little did I know that my evening would end up being a throwdown between the new ravioli gadget and my tried and true pasta wheel.

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VS.

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First the recipe. Pasta dough is easy.  I use two ingredients to start with for all pasta.  Italian Flour (which is 00 flour), pronounced double zero flour. You can get this at King Arthur Flour.  It makes light and airy pasta.  You can use regular flour, semolina or mix them, but I am sold on 00 flour.  BUT don’t let not having this stop you; homemade pasta IS homemade pasta. 🙂

For every 3/4 C add 1 egg.  Mix in your mixer, food processor or on a counter. Knead until it all comes together and forms a nice ball.  You can use after about 30 minutes or refrigerate and use within 3 days.

If you want to, you can flavor your pasta with lemon pepper, seasonings, beet juice, spinach that has been cooked and pulverized, etc.  Last night I had some pizza sauce left from the weekend and pesto that I had frozen in the summer. I mixed the two up and added a couple tablespoons.  The pasta wasn’t overwhelmingly flavored but was nice tasting and pretty too. You can use your imagine here; the sky is the limit.

For the filling I mixed 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 C (generous) of shredded Asiago and 1 C of shredded Amish Butter Cheese.  As I side note, I have never used Amish Butter Cheese in pasta before.  But snowbound and lacking in a grocery shopping trip in weeks, I am getting very creative in my choices. We were out of mozzarella, so I had to “go to the bench” as they say in baseball.

I don’t have pictures, but I proceeded to roll out the pasta in sheets, I followed the gadget’s directions play by play (I am darn good at following directions) and I completed the process of making perfectly shaped, cheesy filled, tomato basil ravioli.  That was until I tried to remove them from handy dandy gadget.  They would not come out.  I mean they were one with the ravioli maker and there was no way they were coming out easy or in anything that would resemble a ravioli square!!  They hit the trash can.  Not a pretty picture, but had to share.

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Lucky for me, I had doubled the pasta recipe in hopes of pasta later this week. I rolled it out again in sheets and tossed aside my new fancy gadget. Some things get a second chance and others just don’t.  I was determined to have pasta and this thing had not given me even a ray of hope that it was the ticket.

“Pasta wheel, you are up! Get off the bench and come play.

You can save the game (or at least dinner)!”

I laid out the sheets of pasta, added little spoonfuls of filling a couple of inches apart and then topped with another sheet of pasta.  Then my tried and true pasta wheel did the rest. Perfect lines, no sticking, just wonderful ravioli heading to dry a bit on the cookie sheet.

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Success!  I had lots of ravioli and into the pot of water they headed.

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They cook fast– 6 minutes or so.  Then I topped with a little sauce, fresh Parmesan and some steamed broccoli.

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Lessons

One–tried and true is best even if it is a simple gadget it is dependable!

Two– I can be very creative with no fresh groceries in the house.  The pantry, freezer and I are becoming quite ingenious in our meals.

Three-ALWAYS make double pasta dough!  You never know….

Happy Unleashing (and go make some pasta!)

FG

 

 

 

Brunch and a Movie(s)

finish it upDo you remember Dinner and a Movie on TBS?  I loved how they would cook a meal that went along with whatever feature they were watching.  I would watch and feel like they were really in their kitchen cooking and eating and watching the flick.  I may be like many of you in that I hardly ever sit down and watch a show or a movie.

This weekend our county had travel advisories all weekend and they went from “red”- don’t go out or risk a citation to “orange”- please don’t go out unless it is an emergency.  The rule follower that I am was not going to allow me to go out and about.  I cleaned and did stuff around the house on Saturday which I totally loved.  I am a nester at heart.  Sunday brought a lazier side to things and we decided to have a pajama, movie, brunch, do nothing but sit around day. 🙂

Our movie selections may not impress.  We watch for entertainment, we don’t care about the age or popularity of the movie or even if it is appropriate for our age group.  We watched “Topper” (an old Carey Grant movie) and “Ice Age: The Meltdown” (really love those movies). By then we were then really hungry, so we paused and made a fabulous early afternoon brunch of Huevos Rancheros.

I had soaked black beans on Saturday and then popped them in the crockpot on Saturday night so they would be ready on Sunday.  I drained and rinsed them while I sautéed some onion and two anchos in the skillet.  We grew anchos/poblanos last summer and I charred and froze most of them.  We now have these yummy peppers whenever we want.  I grabbed two, ran them under some water to peel and diced them.  They are so good!  Season as you like.  We like things spicy so cayenne, cumin and chili powder are a must!

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While the beans simmered, we got onto making the tortillasI have shared how simple this.  If you have never made them I encourage you to try.  They are easy and cheap and yummy!

While the tortillas did their thing in the skillet we made a couple of eggs over easy.  You can make the eggs anyway you like them.  When it is all done, the fun begins!  Stack a couple tortillas on your plate and top with beans and an egg.

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It looks so lonely like that so toppings are a must at our house!

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We had field greens, sharp cheddar, two salsas I had made this summer and sour cream. That is looking better!

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When our plates we complete we were ready for movie time (again)! And yes, if you have been paying attention to the pictures, that is bubbly in the glass.  What is Sunday brunch without a bit of bubbly?  Our was from a local winery, Huber’s Orchard and Winery, that we really love to visit.

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Movies for the remainder of the day were Ironman 2 (yes I said 2).  We recorded this in Jan 2013 and here we were a year later finally watching it.  We will probably watch Ironman 3 in 2015 sometime! To finish our brunch and movie day off we watch Goldfinger.  We love James Bond, especially the Sean Connery flicks.  I have never watched four movies in a month (even a quarter) so yesterday was quite special.  We had a blast.

For a “doer” like me it is hard to stop and just do nothing.  BUT the world still turned and functioned without me yesterday and I feel great for doing it.

How about you?  Do you ever just stop and have a “just for fun day?”  I don’t mean like you have fun doing what you do fun day.  I have a lot of those.  I mean, do nothing, check nothing off a list, just for fun day with no real purpose except fun and relaxation?

If you have not had one of those days in a while, stop and just do it!  It was truly so much fun and refreshing.

Happy Unleashing (doing nothing for a change),

FG

 

 

Soup Night: Pasta Fagioli!

Many of you are aware that I won a GREAT prize package from Storey Publishing. In it was a FABULOUS soup pot, cookbooks, beans, spices and a trivet.  It was amazing!  Look at the picture of all this stuff:

prizeLast week, we had soup night on a chilly night that was just screaming for hot soup.  I made Pasta Fagioli which was based on the Italian Bean and Pasta Soup recipe in the Soup Night Recipe Sampler book from Storey Publishing.  In my prize package, I received the hard copy of this book in full, but I already had the sampler book, so I hit it first for a recipe. I took liberty with the recipe a bit (as I often do), so here are the ingredients that I used.  You will see some slight variations if you compare the two. As with any type of soup, particularly vegetable soups, feel free to add whatever you want!

What do you need:

  • 1 pound of Fall Soup Blend Beans (these were in my prize package; you can use anotherdry bean of your choosing)
  • 10 C of Veggie Stock (here is my recipe for that; I had some in the freezer) (approx amount)
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 2 med. onions, chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small bunch Kale, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 2 pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (save these for soups and sauces!)
  • 3/4 pound of small pasta (I used Ditalini)
  • Fresh parmigiano for serving

Here we go:

Bring beans and enough veggie stock to cover them to a boil and boil for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for a couple of hours. You can save this liquid for later. BUT since I used mixed beans, there were some dark beans in there and the liquid turned almost black.  Not too appetizing for Fagioli, so I did not save it.  You make your own call here. 🙂

DSCN3642 Beans Soup Pot

 

 

 

 

 

Heat the oil in a heavy pot; add the onions and a bit of the salt.  Stir occasionally and cook for about 8 minutes; just until they start to turn a little brown.  Then add the carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the beans, parsley, rosemary, kale, salt and pepper and veggie stock to cover and the cheese rind. Simmer until beans are tender.  This could take anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours.   Check them occasionally and add veggie stock (or water) as needed.

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In a separate pot, bring water to boil for the pasta.  Cook the pasta according to the directions. Do not cook this in the soup; keep it separate.

To serve, ladle soup in a bowl and then add a spoonful (or 2) to the top of the soup.  Crack a little black pepper on and grate a little fresh parm on the top.

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What are your favorite soups for cool temps? Let me know if you try this one or any of the ones from the Soup Night Cookbook!

Happy Unleashing your Soup Pot!