Monday, September 24, 2012

Ravioli and life and stuff.

I apologize for the crappy picture...


I am at the end of my "Backburner Posts"--old posts I have saved on here for periods where I don't have time to make something new--meaning I really need to get my butt in gear, because I feel like I'm losing visitors in my absence. I also haven't been a very good commenter, so why shouldn't I be hearing crickets on my nothing-posts?

I'm a bad bloggy friend, I apologize. I'll be better, soon. I'm trying to make it up to you with a fantastic ravioli recipe though, so please take it as a peace offering :)

Pondering what to do with 30 lbs of apples
My plan for the moment is: find a suitable chair for my desk so I can sit down and edit the RAW image files I have (beer bread, channa masala, black cherry tart, homemade granola, not to mention what I've been doing with the 30 lbs of apples I picked two weeks ago...) since it'll involve using a mouse and dealing with how slow Lightroom makes my computer. I've been neglecting my blog, and while I have good reasons--in two plays, moved to a new apartment, one of my photography lights broke, it's fall and lots to do in New England--I feel like I need to get back in the game before I lose my momentum with the blog.

Me and my roommate at The Big E--food review to come!

The truth is, I love this blog. I love cooking, and I love writing, and if I could craft a career for myself that incorporates these two things I would be a happy lady. So I need to nurture this little blog and build my audience and expand my skills. Sitting around eating nachos in my down time, despite how exhausted I may be from a 4 hour dance rehearsal for The Rocky Horror Show, is not going to cut it.

I have a kitchen now, I need to USE IT. Plus with a Halloween party coming up where I plan on making lots of spooky food, AND a tribute to Johnny Appleseed this Friday, I will have some fun fodder for upcoming posts!

My other roommate, Baxter

These raviolis were made months ago. My friend has a pasta maker and it is absolutely fabulous and I think he got it at a Salvation Army because this thing is definitely from the 70s. But it works like an absolute CHARM and there really is nothing better than homemade pasta--no preservatives or fillers, just pure pasta-y goodness! For these raviolis we put a handful of arugala in the mix, hoping it would give some of its peppery flavor to the dough. Sadly arugula isn't quite as potent when it's not in raw form, but it did make the pasta a lovely green color.

When I'm not at my friend's place with his pasta maker, I use wonton wrappers as ravioli stand-ins. They work really well and because they're thin they really let the fillings shine. Just be sure to sear them a little bit in the pan, otherwise they can get a little bloaty and sticky. Also they don't keep as well in the fridge, so you have to eat most of it in one go.


These are arugala-infused ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, ricotta, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and chicken, topped with a pesto cream sauce. So filling, I couldn't eat more than four, but so so good. We improvised practically all of this but I pieced together bits from recipes I found to have something to show you all.

Homemade Ravioli with Goat Cheese Chicken Filling and Pesto Cream Sauce
(combination improvised by me, this recipe adapted from here)

Dough
  • 3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water

Filling
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (get as much excess moisture out as you can)
  • 1/4 cup romano cheese
  • 3 tbs goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chicken, shredded
  • Handful of spinach, cooked until wilted and chopped fine
  • salt and pepper

Sauce
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded, mild cheese
  • 1 cup pesto, or more to taste (homemade pesto is best)

Directions:

Filling: 
-In a large bowl, mix all filling ingredients together until smooth, set aside filling until needed.

Dough: 
-Sift flour and salt together.

-Place flour mixture in a food processor and start on low. Drop eggs into the food processor one at a time and blend,  gradually adding enough warm water to make a stiff dough.

-When dough pulls from the edges of the food processor, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead dough well, until smooth; cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.

-Cut dough in half and put through pasta press until desired thickness is reached--follow the directions on your pasta press, I cannot remember them right now. Or, for directions on how to do so without a press, click here.

-Drop about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of filling about 1 1/2 inches apart all along the dough sheets.

-When the sheet of dough is fully dotted with dabs of filling mixture, cover filling with other sheet of dough. Using your fingers, gently press dough between each dab of filling to seal it. Cut ravioli into squares with a (zig-zag edged) pastry cutter, or very sharp knife. You can get the scalloped edges by pressing with the tines of a fork as well.

-Drop ravioli into 6 to 8 quarts of boiling, salted water and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until dough is tender. Remove cooked ravioli from pot carefully with a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, and drain well.

Sauce: 
-Melt the butter and create a roux by slowly whisking in the flour. Once fully incorporated and no lumps are present, slowly add the milk and whisk. 

-Allow milk to thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Slowly add cheese and pesto, stirring until incorporated. If not thickened to your liking, use a combination of cornstarch and water (a few tablespoons) and mix into the sauce until thick.


Aaaand just because I need to keep raising money for things...

-Have you donated to my Walk Now For Autism Speaks? I am more than halfway to my goal!

-My play I'm in is still raising money through our kickstarter for The Rocky Horror Show! We are halfway to our goal but if we don't make the full amount we don't get a penny. So if you live in the Western Mass area and want to see an amazing show, why not buy your tickets through the kickstarter? 

-My birthday is coming up, so if anyone asks I'd like two EGO lights, an ice cream maker, a crock pot, and a Le Crueset Dutch Oven... or anything Le Crueset, hah... I mean, if my mom asks or something...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Remembering Dad...

As some of you who follow this blog may know, I lost my father at age 19. Today is the five year anniversary of his death.

My Dad was about my age here--25 or so.
Wasn't he handsome?


It was the most terrible thing I've ever had to live through, and it still hurts almost every day. It was sudden, and I definitely wasn't ready for it, and like so many others--I didn't get the chance to say goodbye.

My Dad influences a lot of posts on this blog. Here are a few I thought I'd post to honor him today.




Love you, Dad. Miss you every day...

ALSO: I am raising money for Autism Speaks and will be participating in the Western Mass Walk Now for Autism Speaks on September 29th. This was a cause my Dad was very passionate about, and I know he'd be walking with me if he were here today. If anyone is looking for a good way to honor my dad today, this would be a great opportunity to donate. Click here to make a donation via the web, and also click through for instructions on donating via mail. I am more than halfway to my goal of raising $500.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Apple Season!

THIS IS ME COOKING IN MY NEW KITCHEN!!
John is checking on the bread, as usual.

THIS IS ME FROLICKING IN A FIELD OF APPLES!
Sorry it's still so quiet over here... I'll be back soon, I promise!--especially since I have THIRTY POUNDS OF APPLES I need to figure out what the heck to do with...

Monday, September 10, 2012

While You Wait, Why Not Ditch the 50 Shades and Read Something GOOD?

Took a break from Unpacking to visit Cape Cod
with some lovely ladies (I am second from the right)
This was our LOOKIT OUR TATTOOS picture.

I'm still moving in. I have no idea where half of my things are, most notably the little device to upload my pictures. Now that I know for sure we're staying in our current apartment--my roommate had found a cheaper place we were looking into but it fell through--I can really buckle down, settle in, and hopefully get cooking and clicking again (clicking = taking pictures. I'm clever like that!).

I have so many picture in RAW format that I need to put through lightbox, but since my computer has decided to be super slow it is definitely slow goings. I will post about the glorious beer bread soon, I promise! And more, I hope.

Really Really Soon, I Promise!

In other news, I am down to one job again, and back in Rocky Horror as a phantom dancer/chorus member. I will turn 25 on October 11th. I am contemplating adopting a furry friend. I am perfecting my zombie outfit for the zombie pub crawl. All sorts of good things coming up! :)

And, while you wait in anticipation for my next post, I have one request: Don't read 50 Shades of Grey. Just, don't. I'll keep my verbose opinions on the matter to myself, but the best reason for not reading the terribly bad writing and poorly researched POS that is 50 Shades, do yourself a favor and read a GOOD "trashy" romance novel:

Sarah wins at styling, jeesh.



Passion's Tide by Sarah West.

Right, I'm totally biased because Sarah (of A Dash and a Pinch) happens to be my bloggy bestie, but from the little I've been able to read I already know it is worlds beyond the 50 Shades. AND IT HAS PIRATES. I LOVE PIRATES. That is more than enough reason to go and get it for your Kindle, iPad, whathaveyou RIGHT NOW.

And, if you don't like trashy romance novels, you should probably go check out her post about it because she did a pirate-themed recipe to celebrate her book release. Wicked. Awesome. I need to make these with the rest of my Biscoff ASAP! ---if I can remember what box my Biscoff is in, that is...

Also if anyone wants to get me Kevin Gillespie's new cook book for my birthday I'd love you forever and ever :)