Monday, May 27, 2013

Ramp And Ricotta Ravioli

Ramp And Ricotta Ravioli

I love this time of year.  So many great vegetables are coming into season, and that means it is time for ramps. Ramps are a wild spring onion similar to scallions that usually only available in the spring.  The are coveted by chefs and are snapped up quickly.  Usually you can only find them at a farmer's markets or at Whole Foods Market.   Before today I was never able to get my hands on them, so when I saw them at my local fruit store I jumped at the chance to buy some.  If you cannot find ramps you can use scallions for the ramp bottoms and spinach for the ramp tops.
I do have to admit making pasta from scratch without a pasta roller is time consuming and a literal pain in the neck.  I did use a rolling pin, but every time I do, I think to myself, "I really should get the pasta rolling attachment for my (wife's) KitchenAid stand mixer.  I also kneaded the dough by hand, but I recommend using the stand mixer.  I based my recipe on Alton Brown's which can be found here: Alton Brown's Ravioli

Ramp And Ricotta Ravioli
Makes about 24 pieces
10 oz All Purpose Flour
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Combine all ingredients in your stand mixer.  Using the dough hook kneading on low for five minutes or until the dough comes together into a tight ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Using a pasta roller or a rolling pin, roll out to a very thin sheet and cut rounds using a cookie cutter.

1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ramp Tops of 6 Ramps, chopped (or a handful of chopped spinach)
Ramp Bottoms of 6 Ramps, slilced thinly (or the white part of 6 scallions, sliced thinly)
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

In a hot pan, saute the ramps and garlic in the olive oil until the ramps are translucent.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the ramps cool and mix with the ricotta and Parmesan. Grate in nutmeg to taste.

Filling and Cooking Instructions:
You will need:
Egg Wash  (1 egg beaten with with 2 tablespoons of water)
2 Tablespoons of Butter
4 Fresh Chopped Sage Leaves

Put a large pot of salted water (at least a 1/2 gallon of water with a few heavy pinches of salt) over high heat to bring to a boil.

Put about a 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each pasta round, depending on how large your rounds are.  Be careful not to overfill you ravioli, or you risk them bursting when you cook them.  Paint half of the pasta round with egg wash and fold in half.  Try to squeeze out as much air as possible and press down on the edges all the way around to seal.

Boil the raviolis in batches of six, until they float to the surface.  Once they come out of the water they can be frozen for later use, or browned in the butter and sage and eaten immediately.  Garnish with some fresh chopped ramp leaves and grated Parmesan.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Burger of The Week X2

Burger of The Week X2

Burger of the Week #1: Sweet and Sour With a Kick
Top of a Toasted Sesame Bun
Sweet an Sour Ketchup (Ketchup with Duck Sauce)
Quick Pickled Yellow Squash and Zucchini
1/2 lb Beef Patty Seasoned With Garlic Powder and Black Pepper
Sauteed Onions
Jalapeno Mayo
Red Leaf Lettuce
Bottom of a Toasted Sesame Bun

Burger of the Week #2: The "Bacon" Portobello
Top of a Toasted Sesame Bun
BBQ Sauce
Jack's Facon
Sauteed Portobello Mushrooms
1/2 lb Beef Patty 
Garlic Pickles
Romain Lettuce
Bottom of a Toasted Sesame Bun

Never Buy Croutons

Never Buy Croutons

I am taking part in a link up for the Kosher Connection.  The Kosher Connection is an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, who proudly present a monthly kosher recipe challenge.  This month's theme is croutons.  Check out the links at the bottom of my post to see some of the other awesome blogs that are participating.

Never buy croutons!  There is almost always leftover Challah in my house, and that is great for making homemade croutons.  Croutons are a great way to introduce new flavors to your friends and family.  You can season them with different herbs and spices.  The trio you see here consist of a fairly standard Italian crouton with garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian herb seasoning, a hot smoked Spanish paprika, and hot yellow curry crouton.  Also, croutons are not just for salads.  I love to grind up croutons and use them schnitzel breading, they are great in soups, and they can be great to just snack on.  Check out the basic procedure for making croutons below:

Leftover Challah Cut into 1 Inch Cubes

Olive Oil
Your Favorite Herbs and Spices

Preheat the oven to 425F.  In a large mixing bowl, toss the challah in olive oil until well coated, but not soggy.  Spread the challah cubes in an even layer on a sheet pan and bake until browned on one side, then flip and bake on the other side until that side is also browned.  At no point should you ever walk away from the croutons.  Case in point, when making these I went to switch the laundry and burnt the first batch.  Once the croutons are ready to come out, toss them in a large mixing bowl with your favorite herbs or spices and the salt.  DO NOT season the croutons before they go in the oven, they are much more likely to burn if you do that.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Alton Brown's Gumbo Made Kosher And Slow Cooker Friendly

Alton Brown's Gumbo Made Kosher 

And Slow Cooker Friendly

This weekend I made a Louisiana style menu.  One challenge I took on was Alton Brown's gumbo modified to be kosher and Shabbos crock-pot friendly.  You can find the original recipe here:Alton Brown's Shrimp Gumbo

Here is my version:


4 ounces vegetable oil

4 ounces all-purpose flour

2 pounds cooked dark meat chicken, skin and bones removed

3 quarts chicken stock

2 cups diced onion

2 cups diced celery

2 cups diced green peppers

2 cups sliced okra

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomato

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves

1 pound kosher sausage (if you can find andouille style that would be best), cut into 1/4-inch pieces and browned, reserving the rendered fat.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the vegetable oil, fat from the sausage, and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven or a heavy pot and whisk together to combine to create a roux. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.

Once the roux is done, carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat. Gently add the onions, celery, green peppers, okra, and garlic and cook, moving constantly for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine. 

Turn off the heat, add the chicken and sausage and stir to combine. 

Add the ingredients to your slow cooker (crock-pot) and cover with the chicken stock.

Cook on low until you are ready to serve. Serve over rice or with corn bread.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Burger of the Week: Mexican Burger

Burger of the Week: Mexican Burger
So I had a ton of ingredients left over from my Tres Tacos, I decided to make a Mexican burger.

Top of the Bun
Heinz Ketchup
Mango, Red Onion, and Jalapeno Relish
Deli Pickles
1/2 lb Beef Patty With Schug Mixed In
Fresh Spinach
Bottom of the Bun

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tres Tacos

Tres Tacos
In honor of Cinco De Mayo I wanted to make a Mexican dinner tonight.  I went a bit ambitious with three different tacos.

From left to right:
1. A grilled chicken breast taco on a double corn tortilla. The chicken is seasoned with chili powder and oregano. It is garnished with a roasted salsa Verde made of tomatillos, poblanos, jalapenos, and red onion and a slaw of carrot and red cabbage dressed with apple cider vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper.

2. This is what I call a Tuesday night taco.  This is what you make when you have to have dinner on the table in a half hour on a week night.  Take a pound of ground beef add it ripping hot skillet (cast iron if you it).  Break up the beef and keep it moving in the pan it all browns evenly.  Once the meat has browned add most of a small jar of salsa and cook until the meat and salsa come together.  Serve it in a crispy yellow corn taco shell with shredded lettuce and some more salsa.

3. The carne asada taco, is a seared skirt steak marinated in orange juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and cilantro.  The skirt steak is sliced thinly on the bias and is served on a flour tortilla with a home-made guacamole of avocado, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red onion and cilantro.  It is topped with a sauteed red onion, sweet corn, and jalapeno relish.