Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lovey-Dovey Ravioli

Oh boy, have I got a sweet lovey-dovey dinner in store for you! I must say, I think any person would feel special having this dish made just for them, especially when they find out that you handmade the ravioli pasta and the filling. Mmm!

Lovey-Dovey Ravioli
3 Cups Flour
2 Eggs
Drizzle of Olive Oil

Half a tub of Ricotta Cheese
A handful of Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg
A big ole handful of Fresh Spinach
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

 First, boil a pot of lightly salted water and then dump in your spinach. Cook it up until it's all wilted, only a couple minutes.
 Go ahead and drain the spinach into some cheesecloth or even a paper towel. I dumped it in and set it aside to cool off for a bit.
 Once it's cooled, squish out all the excess liquid and then chop it up nice and teeny tiny.
 Now add the rest of the filling ingredients to a small bowl.
 Mix in the spinach and set the filling aside while you make the pasta.
 Pour your flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add your eggs and the olive oil into the well.
You can use a fork, or just your hands, to mix it all together. Start by slowly incorporating the flour into the eggs in the center. Just slowly bring more and more flour into the center until you can just go crazy and mix it all up.
 Now take that extra water and just add some until you have a pretty good dough consistency. I think I ended up adding about 3/4 Cup of water, but it really depends on your climate.
 Once it's come together, knead it for 5-10 minutes until it's nice and smooth.
 Grab a handful of the dough. Wrap the rest with plastic wrap and set aside.
 Now, roll it REEEEEAAAAALLLY thin! Like, as thin as you can possibly go.
Grab a heart shaped cookie cutter, or a knife if you've got mad skills, and cut out a whole bunch of hearts! Remove the excess dough and add it back to your plastic wrapped stuff.
 Now add some filling to your hearts!
Grab another heart, lay it on top (you may need to stretch it a bit to fit over the filling) and then grab a fork to crimp down all the edges.
Set your hearts aside and let them dry out for a bit. You can use this waiting time to start to boil a big pot of water.
I'm not gonna lie, making these little hearts is time consuming. I recommend only making a few hearts (I made ten) and then using the rest of the dough for plain square ravioli. You can layer your heart ones on top of the pasta bowl for the presentation, but the rest can be square. Making regular ravioli is actually REALLY easy! Roll out the dough like before, but then just form or cut it into a big rectangle. Spoon some filling right onto the big rectangle, about an inch apart. Only fill about half the rectangle. Fold the empty half over onto the filled half and then use a pizza wheel to cut out all the individual raviolis. Then use a fork to crimp the edges. Voila!
 Once they've dried for a bit, add them to salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
 Serve with your favorite sauce and you are good to go!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry Parfaits

Before anyone says anything, I know this isn't a "traditional" parfait. Nothing is frozen or custard-y. This also wouldn't be considered a trifle because it doesn't have lady fingers or cake or bread or anything. So. . . i'm calling this a parfait. 
I make this every Valentine's Day and it's always a super yummy end to dinner (we've always had dinner at home on V-Day.) It's also pretty easy AND can be made ahead of time, which is always a plus.

Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry Parfaits
I'm taking the easy way out here and am going to post the link to the mousse recipe that I used this time around. Sorry!

Pat's Favorite Chocolate Mousse

Apart from the ingredients listed at that link, you'll need an extra:
1 Cup Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar
Chocolate Chips

Also, Strawberries and 1 Tbps Sugar

Are you thoroughly confused yet? SORRY!!!!
Grab some wax paper, a plastic baggy, and your chocolate chips.
Pour some chips into a microwave-safe bowl. (Yes, even my kitchen shears are pink)
Microwave them for 30 seconds, stir, and go for another 30 seconds and stir.
In the meantime, use my favorite trick! Grab some kind of container, like this measuring cup, and use it to hold open your baggy.
 Grab your melted chocolate and pour it into your baggy.
Lay some wax paper out onto a flat surface, like a baking sheet or flat plate. Snip off a tiny corner of the bag.
Now pipe out some hearts! You can make them really perfect and symmetrical, or you can go for the messy heart look, my personal fave.
 Stick them in the freezer. It only takes a minute or two for them to harden up.
If you are making these ahead of time, you can go ahead and put them all into some tupperware and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
 Now for the Mousse! Gather your ingredients.
 Melt your chocolate! You can use the microwave method, or melt it in a bowl placed on top of a simmering pot of water. If you go the pot method, make sure you take the chocolate off of the heat once it's melted! Please don't leave it over the heat! I make that mistake WAY too much.
 Add your egg yolks, cream, sugar, and some salt to a saucepan.
Mix it over medium heat until it thickens a little. Mine basically turned into foam.
 Now mix in your melted chocolate and vanilla.
I don't think this step is super necessary, but maybe it helped the mousse be smoother. Pour your mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Now, go ahead and pop that in the fridge for half an hour.
Now, whip up some whipped cream!! The mousse recipe calls for 1 cup cream and 2 Tbsp sugar, but I had you gather extra to make a double batch.
 After you've whipped your cream, remove half and set aside in the fridge. With the other half, gently fold in the chocolate mixture from the fridge. Now stick it BACK into the fridge for an hour. This is why I said you can make this ahead of time.
For tips on whipped cream and for making yummy, sweet, juicy strawberries, check out this post
Set up your assembly station with the mousse, whipped cream, strawberries, and those cute chocolate hearts you piped out!
I layered it mousse-whipped cream-strawberries-mousse-whipped cream-strawberries and then topped it with the heart.
You can also make cute little ones for your kiddos! I only did three layers with these.

Extra notes: Mousse can definitely be a little time consuming. It's not hard to make, but there can be a lot of waiting time in the fridge. Truthfully, this would be pretty yummy with some instant chocolate pudding in place of the mousse, if you want a quicker route. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine's Theme Week!

Although the wave of pregnancy-induced nausea has yet to pass (what a way to start a post on a cooking blog, right?) I am still going to take this week to share with you some super fun ideas for Valentine's Day!
Now, even if you don't have that "special someone" to celebrate V-Day with, you most likely have someone that you love and care about, or even just a sweet neighbor or lonely widow down the street. I think Valentine's Day is a great way to show everyone you care about them, and not just your "special someone." What better way to show someone you care than homemade goodies, right? Right!

Monday: Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry Parfaits
Tuesday: Lovey-Dovey Ravioli
Wednesday: Pancake Love
Heart Marshmallows
Friday: Heart Egg in Toast

Expect lots of heart-shaped things and red and pinks. <3
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...