RECIPE 45: Arugula and Goat Cheese Ravioli

                      -= Exported from BigOven =-

Arugula and Goat Cheese Ravioli

Homemade ravioli are well worth the effort, and making them is the perfect task to share with a kitchen full of cooks (even novices can get in on the fun). Mixing the pasta dough is a breeze in the food processor, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry — we’ve given the method for making the dough by hand as well. A brown-butter pine-nut sauce is light enough to let your efforts on the pasta really shine through.

Recipe By: Gourmet magazine, February 2007, page 86
Serving Size: 8
Main Ingredient:
Categories: Gourmet Magazine, Hors dOeuvres

-= Ingredients =-
~~ PASTA DOUGH — or use wonton wrappers, thawed ~~
2 cups cake flour ; (not self-rising)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour ; plus additional for kneading
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic ; finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound arugula ; trimmed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest ; finely grated
1/2 cup soft mild goat cheese ; (4 1/2 oz)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese ; (preferably fresh; 4 1/2 oz)
~~ SAUCE ~~
1/2 stick Unsalted butter ; (1/4 cup)
1/3 cup pine nuts ; (1 1/2 oz)
1 tablespoon garlic ; finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup arugula ; chopped

-= Instructions =-
Special equipment: a pasta maker preparation

Blend together all dough ingredients in processor until mixture just begins to form a ball. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, incorporating only as much additional flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 hour (to make rolling easier).

Whisk together flours in a bowl, then mound flour mixture on a work surface, preferably wooden, and make a well in center. Add yolks, oil, salt, and water to well. With a fork, gently beat yolks, oil, and water until combined. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in outer wall of well. Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form a dough (it will be soft and sticky). Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with an inverted bowl and let stand 1 hour (to make rolling easier).

Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then add garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add arugula and zest and cook, turning with tongs, until arugula is wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer arugula mixture to a fine-mesh sieve and press with back of a wooden spoon to extract excess liquid, then finely chop.

Stir together arugula mixture and cheeses in a bowl.

Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover 7 pieces with plastic wrap and pat out remaining piece into a flat rectangle. Generously dust with flour.

Set rollers of pasta maker on widest setting. Feed rectangle, a short side first, through rollers. Fold rectangle in thirds, like a letter, and feed it, a short side first, through rollers. Repeat 6 or 7 more times, folding dough in thirds and feeding it through rollers, a short side first each time, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding, a short side first. Continue to feed dough through without folding, making space between rollers narrower each time, until the second to narrowest setting is used. (Do not roll too thin or pasta will tear when filled.)

Put sheet of dough on a lightly floured kitchen towel (not terry cloth) with a long side nearest you. Drop 5 or 6 rounded teaspoon-size mounds of filling 1 1/2 inches apart in a row down center of right half of sheet, then lift left half of sheet and drape over mounds. Press down firmly but gently around each mound, forcing out air. (Air pockets increase the chance that ravioli will break during cooking.) Cut pasta (between mounds) with a sharp knife into roughly 2 1/2-inch squares. Line a large shallow baking pan with a clean dry kitchen towel (not terry cloth), then arrange ravioli in 1 layer in it. Make more ravioli with remaining pieces of dough and remaining filling in same manner, transferring to lined pan.

Heat butter in cleaned 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook pine nuts, stirring frequently, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, pepper, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and oil, swirling skillet to combine, and remove from heat. (Leave sauce in skillet.)

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. While water is heating, reheat sauce over low heat if necessary.

Add half of ravioli to gently boiling water, carefully stirring to separate, and cook, adjusting heat to keep at a gentle boil, until pasta is just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift cooked ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well over pot, then transfer to skillet with sauce and gently swirl skillet to coat pasta. Transfer ravioli to a platter with half of sauce and sprinkle evenly with half of chopped fresh arugula. Repeat with remaining pasta, sauce, and arugula.

* Dough can be made (but not rolled out) 6 hours ahead and chilled, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
* Ravioli can be made (but not cooked) 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap, in towel-lined baking pan.
* Filling can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
* I’ve made this recipe several times using different mixtures of greens (arugula/spinach even a little chard) as well as different proportions of goat cheese and fresh ricotta, depending on the bite of the greens or desired sweetness of the result. Each has been successful and raved about by diners! A great Sunday “project” meal.

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RECIPE 46: Banana Bread

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Banana Bread — Wendy’s Favorite

Recipe By:
Serving Size: 8
Main Ingredient:
Categories: Easy, Desserts, Bread

-= Ingredients =-
3 ea Bananas
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1/2 cup Butter ; Melted
2 ea Eggs
1 cup Apple Juice Concentrate

-= Instructions =-
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mash the bananas. Set aside.

3. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and wheat germ. Set aside.

4. Mix together melted butter, 2 eggs, and apple juice concentrate. Fold in flour mix & bananas.

5. Bake in greased bread pan for 1 hour.

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RECIPE 47: Sausage and Cheese Strata

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Sausage & Cheese Strata

Recipe By:
Serving Size: 16
Cuisine: Uncategorized
Main Ingredient: Eggs
Categories: Christmas, Advance, Easy, Breakfast

-= Ingredients =-
1/4 cup Butter ; Softened
6 slices Firm White Bread
2 pound Bulk Sausage
3/4 pound Cheddar Cheese ; Grated
6 each Large Eggs
1 1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup White Wine
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
6 each Green Onions ; thinly sliced, green parts only

-= Instructions =-
1. Lightly butter a 9×12 glass baking pan.

2. Spread the bread with butter and cut into 1/4 inch cubes, leaving on the crusts.

3. Cook sausage and drain well.

4. Layer half the bread cubes in the pan, top with half the sausage, and 1 cup of cheese.

5. Repeat until all is used.

6. Beat eggs until light and lemon colored.

7. Beat in milk, wine, garlic powder, and mustard. Pour over pan.

8. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

9. Uncover and bake in preheated 325 oven for 1 hour or until lightly browned.

Top with remaining cheese and green onions, and serve.

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Dinner at Jean-Robert at Pigall’s, Tuesday September 25, 2007

Jean-Robert at Pigall’s
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On Tuesday, September 25, 2007, Wendy & I ate at Jean-Robert at Pigall’s for an amazing dinner to celebrate Wendy’s birthday. The menu with wine pairings is below. Stupidly, I had my suit dry-cleaned and my notes from the dinner didn’t come back with it.

Salutation Cove Oyster with Three Tomatoes: Salad, Puree, and Water
JK Carriere Glass, Willamette Valley, 2005
This was a fun dish since it presented the tomatoes three ways. The briny fresh oyster was a nice counterpoint.

Tuna Tartare with Cucumber and Fennel Mimosa and Organic Quail Egg
JK Carriere Glass, Willamette Valley, 2005
I adore the Tuna Tartare that is prepared at the restaurant and think that the egg on top makes a really nice sauce when you topple the tower (the dish is presented in a tower) and mix everything together. The fennel and cucumber mimosa provided vegetal counterpoints to the richness of the fish and egg.

Jonah Crab with Kentucky Caviar Cream, Gazpacho Style with Seaweed Sorbet
Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, 2005
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jean-Robert knows his way with fish. This Jonah Crab dish was perfectly fresh and included the local Kentucky Caviar Cream. And Seaweed Sorbet is delicious! Whoda thunk it?!

Lobster with Sea Beans, Morels, and Mint Sabayon
Verget Bourgogne “Terroirs de Vergisson”, 2006

Breast of Squab with Oregon Morels, Figs, and Sea Beans
Mystery Wine

Seared Foie Gras, Black Pepper and Sweet Wine, Watermelon and Watercress, Chanterelles and Cauliflower
Kracher Zweigelt Beerenauslese, Burgenland, 2003
Watermelon and Foie Gras are a good pairing. I love seared Foie Gras with a fruit accompaniment. Terrific dish.

Sea Scallop with Duo of Zucchini and Yellow Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes Roasted with Balsamic and Ragout of Snail and Horseradish
Rene Mure Cotes du Rouffach Tokay Pinot Gris, Alsace, 2001

Braised Arctic Char, Beets and Lemon Emulsion, Basil and Goat Cheese Risotto, Compote of Candied Fennel
Joseph Voillot Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes, 2004
The basil and goat cheese risotto was a real standout in this dish.

Short Rib Ravioli with Heirloom Tomatoes, Abbaye de Bel’loc and Tomato Vinaigrette
Pierre Gonon Saint Joseph, 2003
After having produced a ton of these ravioli while working in the kitchen, it is nice to experience the full impact of this dish in the dining room. It was delicious!

Lamb Loin with Thyme-Red Wine Sauce, Eggplant Roulade with Mushrooms, Corn, and Merguez Sausage
Pierre Gonon Saint Joseph, 2003

Assortment of Imported and Domestic Cheeses
Domaine de la Casa Blanca Banyuls, 2004
I so love a cheese course. I think a cheese course adds impact to any meal, and is an elegant stop along the courses. The cheese course at Pigall’s provides tastes of 5 different cheeses (though for Wendy, 5 spoons of Epoises would be enough!). the Banyuls that was poured was delightful.

Variation of Sweets
Jean Lallement Grand Cru Brut, N/V

RECIPE 48: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pecorino

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pecorino

No more wrinkled noses when people hear you’re serving Brussels Sprouts — they’ll be begging for more. Properly cooked Brussels Sprouts are sweet, nutty, and full of good flavor. In this preparation, from Franny’s restaurant in Brooklyn, they’re also anointed with olive oil and given a good roasting. The walnuts and pecorino are perfect counterpoints. Look for fresh Brussels Sprouts on their long stalks at the farmers’ market.

Recipe By: BEST AMERICAN RECIPES 2005-2006, page 183
Serving Size: 6
Cuisine: Uncategorized
Main Ingredient: Brussels Sprouts
Categories: Roast, Vegetables, Side Dish

-= Ingredients =-
1/2 cup Walnuts
18 each Brussels Sprouts ; cut in half
to taste Extra virgin olive oil
to taste Salt and pepper
squeeze Fresh lemon juice
to taste Pecorino Toscano ; optional, for topping

-= Instructions =-
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toast the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for about 10 minutes, or until they smell toasty; set aside. Crumble them when they’re cool enough to handle.

Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.

Toss the Brussels Sprouts in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat each sprout, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the sprouts in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender and some of the leaves have become crunchy.

Let the sprouts cool on the baking sheet, then toss in a large bowl with the walnuts. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, add a squeeze of lemon, and season with salt and pepper. Shave some of the pecorino on top and serve warm.

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. ID= 162285 **
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READING: The Last Days of Haute Cuisine

I’ve done a poor job of keeping up with my list of what I’ve read in the last several months (my last update was May 8, 2007 and it’s nearly December!). Sorry about that! I’ve been busy reading and not blogging about what I’m reading…

I recently finished The Last Days of Haute Cuisine: The Coming of Age of American Restaurants and found it to be an interesting concept executed poorly, just like Eric Oehler whose review appears on the Amazon page.

HAPPY MOUTH — November 2007

This guest article written by Ronald Lee.

Jean-Robert’s Greenup Cafe’On Wednesday, November 27, 2007, most of the members of the Happy Mouth Supper Club cabal (Drew, Wendy, Ted, Holly, Jay, John, Angel, and Ron) met for the monthly soirée at one of ‘Johnny Robert’s’ joints in Covington, Kentucky. It’s officially known as Jean-Robert’s Greenup Cafe. These usual suspects were joined this month by special guests Julie, Terry, and DeAnn.

The Greenup Cafe (named for the street on which it is located) is in the former Wild Flour restaurant location that used to be frequented by lawyers, judges, court officers, and other nefarious characters from in and around Covington. The old building (historical, I think) has been somewhat renovated by the French guy and his minions & the food was awesome. In fact, it was so good I almost forgave the French for World War II… Almost.

We were comfortably seated in one of two upstairs private dining areas and started the evening with a nice cocktail hour before settling in for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Appetizers included the charcuterie plate with white bean salad, outstanding soup (butternut squash), tarte fine, and beggar’s purses with fig.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their dinners which consisted of Pan Seared Ruby Trout, a delicious roasted Chicken, and Marinated Pork Tenderloin. All served with delicious mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Pigall’s worker/chef-instructor Drew was allowed to enjoy his meal rather than being forced to “chop broccoli” all night…

A good time was had by all and another successful Happy Mouth is officially in the books!