Monday, January 25, 2010

Mushroom and Garlic Ravioli

For Christmas I received "The Pasta Bible" as a gift. I have now made two different types of pasta out of this book, and I would say both are better than store bought, hands down. This definitely requires time, as well as a love of food preparation, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it. The pasta dough recipe that we used this time is specifically made for stuffed pasta. It worked very well for us, even with a somewhat liquidy filling. We filled our ravioli with chopped, sauteed mushrooms, goat cheese, and sliced garlic. Fill yours with whatever you like: cheese, spinach, shrimp, etc. Experiment and do a few different flavors, this type of cooking is really an art so have fun with it.

Pasta Dough
No 3 from the Pasta Bible, pg 40

2 1/3 C all-purpose flour
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sift the flour into a mound on your work surface. Make a well in the middle. The well should be fairly large so that it can hold all of the liquid ingredients. Break the eggs and egg yolks into the well. Add salt.

With a fork gently mix the eggs and salt together, and then begin to mix in flour from the outer edge. You have to be very gently during this part to avoid spilling your egg mixture out of the sides of your flour mound. Trust me, I learned this the hard way (of course...). Gradually incorporate more and more of the flour until a viscous (aka sticky/thick) paste forms in the center of the well. Now begin to work all of the flour on your workspace into the well. If the dough is still crumbly, or cannot absorb all of the flour, gradually add water until it becomes smooth and easy to work with. We ended up having to add a few extra tablespoons of water until it was the right consistency. After all of the water and flour are mixed in, roll the dough into a ball so that you can begin kneading it. Push out the dough with the heels of the hands, then form it into a ball again. Repeat this kneading action until the dough is firm but lightly elastic, and does not change shape when you remove your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.

We used a ravioli making set to make our ravioli.

After the rest period was up, we rolled the dough out to a pretty thin layer. Then we placed the dough over the mold, filled it with our filling mixture, and then placed another rolled-out layer on top. We repeated this process until all of the dough was used up.

To cook the pasta: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the ravioli and cook until they float to the top. With fresh pasta, this should only take a few minutes.

The end. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

No Bake Oatmeal Cookie Balls

"No bake" means you are basically eating a ball of cookie dough, so really, what is not to love here? I found this recipe on Taste and Tell's blog and immediately bookmarked it, knowing that some day I would need a quick, sweet recipe, and this fit the bill today. I have been super lazy all weekend, but needed to make something sweet for church tomorrow. This took hardly any effort, I had mostly everything in my pantry, and I didn't even have to turn the oven on (though I did have to find a place to squeeze it into my refrigerator between all of our leftovers from this past food packed week). When I say I had almost everything on hand, I mean that I was missing confectioner's sugar. It was insanely cold out and I could not convince myself to walk the 3 blocks to the store, so I substituted coconut instead. I had to add a tiny bit of honey to the coconut flakes to get them to stick to the dough, but it tastes great, and think I will always make them this way. I am not a huge fan of confectioner's sugar-coated cookies anyway because they are always messy and kinda dry, so I am happy that I substituted. But, try it whichever way you prefer, the kids and adults in your life will love you for it.

No Bake Oatmeal Cookie Balls
*Adapted from Taste and Tell

2 Cups rolled oats
3/4 Cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup (or 1 stick) butter, softened
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 Cup powdered sugar or Coconut
drizzle of honey (if using coconut)

Combine oats, sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl. Add the water, vanilla, butter and peanut butter and use your hands to mix until all ingredients are incorporated, and you don't have any dry crumbs hanging out at the bottom of the bowl.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in confectioner's sugar or coconut. ***If you are using coconut, pour it into a bowl big enough to roll the dough in, and drizzle a little honey in along with it. Mix it up-if it is still not sticking to the dough, add a tiny bit more. Try not to add too much, as these are pretty sweet on their own. ***
Place finished cookies on a cookie sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes.