November 29, 2009

Pumpkin Ravioli

Continuing on the pumpkin theme (which might have gone a little too far with this one)...
Pumpkin Ravioli!

Okay, the Ravioli seemed a little iffy. And why is it red? There were two options on the AllRecipes website and the one I chose (Amy is taking full responsibility for this) said upfront that it had an "unusual taste."

There was a lot of hype leading up to it... I said I was going to make it on a Wednesday, but then not all the ingredients were on-hand. I had to work Thursday. Friday I tried to squeeze it in before jetting off to the restaurant job, but assembling the pieces took longer than I'd anticipated. We had to wait until Saturday to eat them!

Recipe (modified from the original):
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
  • Mix the cheese, pumpkin, garlic, and salt. This will be the filling - set it aside for now.
  • Combine the flour and salt. Push toward the edges of the bowl, creating a "well" in the center. Blend the tomato paste, oil, and eggs, and pour into the center of the bowl with flour. Stir with a fork, gradually bringing in the flour mixture from the edges of the bowl. If dough is too dry, mix in a little water (the recipe said up to 2 tablespoons, but it was more like 5...)
  • Knead for 5 minutes on floured cloth-covered surface, adding flour if dough is too sticky.
  • Cover dough and let it rest for 5 minutes. Divide in 4 parts. Roll out dough sections one at at time into rectangles (about 12 x 10 inches was the recommended size, but mine looked more like large blobs).
  • Drop pumpkin filling by the teaspoon onto half the rectangle, leaving an inch or two between rows.
  • Moisten the edges of the dough and the spaces between the filling piles. Fold the other half of the dough over the pumpkin mixture and press down around the filling, so that little filling pockets are created.
  • Cut between the rows and seal the edges of the ravioli pieces with a fork. Seal them well, or they will explode/leak when you cook them!
  • Place ravioli on a towel and let stand for about 30 minutes, until dry. Turn them once so that both sides dry out.
  • Cook ravioli in boiling water until tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Drain and serve with sauce.
Make sure to seal the edges!

1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 Romano cheese
Sage leaves (or a little bit of dried sage)
Salt & pepper to taste
  • Heat pumpkin and cream in a small saucepan. Add remaining ingredients.
  • Let sauce simmer for a few minutes until it thickens.
I'm glad I tried this recipe, but I'm not sure it will get made again... It was definitely unique. The sauce was a little too sweet and the ravioli a little too doughy. It was a good exercise it pasta-making though, something that we haven't attempted before.

November 28, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Halloween brought a slight pumpkin obsession to the house....
Unfortunately, the orange squashes did not turn into horse-drawn carriages. But, we did end up with pumpkin bread and pumpkin ravioli!
Lisa wasn't crazy about the bread, and the ravioli was met with a lot of trepidation. But I love trying new fruit-based or vegetable-based recipes.

The star of the show

The back-up dancers

Mixing it up

AllRecipes Recipe:
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (note: this is not pumpkin pie filling... if you use filling, omit the spices and be prepared for a much sweeter-tasting bread)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (make it a little healthier by substituting applesauce for at least half the oil)
1 1/3 cups white sugar (you can probably use closer to 1 cup)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
  • Mix pumpkin, oil and applesauce, sugar, and eggs together in a large bowl.
  • Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the pumpkin mixture.
  • Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan.
  • Bake in 350 F oven for about 60 minutes (until knife comes out clean)

Tip: try spreading with a thin layer of cream cheese.

November 8, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Do you know what this is?
Surprise!!! It's NOT pasta!
Nope, it's a crazy vegetable that likes to pretend it's a pasta!

We're big fans of this winter squash. It's often found on our dinner table, simply salted and/or buttered, or sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese. We ended up with two sitting on the counter, so we decided it was the perfect time to experiment a little.

Here it is raw... once cooked, the insides take on a thread-like texture.

If spaghetti squash is going to pose as a pasta, why not treat it like a pasta?
AllRecipes offered up a recipe for Baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna:

1 spaghetti squash
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can (28 ounce) stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 cube vegetable bouillon (we used an equivalent amount of chicken stock)
Black pepper
1 can black olives (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Halve spaghetti squash and remove seeds. Place face-down in a baking dish with a little bit of water. Microwave for 8 - 10 minutes.
  • Saute onion and garlic over medium heat. Stir in tomatoes, basil, bouillon/stock, and black pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, until sauce thickens a little.
  • Remove squash "strands" from the shell. Cover bottom of oven-safe dish with squash. Cover this layer with sauce and mozzarella cheese (and olives, if you'd like...). Lay down another squash layer. Then cheese. Make a 3rd layer if you still have ingredients. Top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake in oven at 325 F, until Parmesan cheese melts. Turn on the broiler for a minute or two if you'd like a crispier topping.

p.s. For more spaghetti squash info, check out Fabulous Foods.

Mocha Walnut Cookies

Chocolate is quite a pick-me-up, is it not?
If you have any doubts about the day-boosting power of chocolate, try adding coffee. Now that will perk you up!

We weren't sure how these cookies would turn out, so we only made half the recipe... that was our only mistake. These little guys were decadent. Seriously. Starbucks should sell them - not as huge monster cookies, but as dainty little bites to pair with coffee (like those cute mini vanilla scones they have).

Recipe (from AllRecipes):

2 cups chocolate chips
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 teaspoons boiling water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Melt a 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips (over hot water on the stove, or in the microwave on a very low setting), stir until smooth, and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Dissolve the instant coffee in the water, and set aside.
  • Combine in butter, sugars, and coffee. Add egg and chocolate. Mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt). Note: it's a good idea to stir them together first, but we confess that we're lazy and we always skip this step.
  • Stir in the remaining chocolate chips, along with the walnuts.
  • Form dough into small balls (we made them about the size of a quarter), and place on cookie sheets.
  • Bake at 350 F for 10 - 12 minutes.

Be forewarned: the coffee taste is powerful... they are very rich!