Fast Tip Friday: Fancy Dip, Freaking Fast!

Garlic Herb Dip 4

You want the best dip ever, and you want to make it fast? Well have I got a solution for you! Granted, its speed is based on the fact that you have a herb garden handy, as well as some frozen pucks of puréed garlic. But if you have been visiting Ali Does It for a while then I expect that you would have both of those things already.

Garlic Herb Dip 1

So go out and grab a bunch of your herbs. Like, a BUNCH. I have some basil, parsley, lemon thyme, sage, and a million chives and garlic chives. Mince those into a bowl with your thawed garlic puck, and add a little salt and pepper to taste. Tip in a 500mL container of plain Greek Yogurt. Stir. That’s it!

Garlic Herb Dip 2

Fancy Pants Sammiches

Tea for Thirty-Two 5

For my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary party I made a large number of cocktail sandwiches – those are the ones where you cut all the crusts off the bread, or you buy the long, already crustless tramezzini (which is what I did). I’m going to give you all my sandwich filling recipes in one post, and I’ll leave it up to you to do with them what you will!

Fancy Sammiches 181: Smokey Egg Salad Fancy Sammiches 6 Start with about a dozen hard-boiled eggs. Smush them up good. Fancy Sammiches 2 Mince up some chives and tip that into the eggs, together with some salt and pepper, a scoop of Hungarian smoked paprika, and a dollop of mayonnaise. Stir to combine. Fancy Sammiches 52: Lemon-Dill Tuna

Fancy Sammiches 12

Mince up some celery.

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Grab some herbs as well, like sage, and of course dill. Mince those too.

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Add them in a bowl with your canned flaked tuna, and the juice and zest of 1 lemon.

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Add in just a wee bit of yogurt or mayonnaise for cohesion.

3: Classic Cucumber and Herb

Fancy Sammiches 15

Grab a small handful each of fresh mint and chives. Mince those up.

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Beat those into softened plain cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve with sliced cucumbers.

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4: Curried “Coronation” Chicken

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Dismantle and shred a small roasted chicken from the grocery store. Mix in a large amount of fresh chopped pineapple sage, as well as a little bit of onion powder, cumin, yellow curry, and a pinch of cardamom. Tip in plain yogurt or mayonnaise for cohesion.

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5: Peanut Butter & Jelly “Sushi”

Fancy Sammiches 24Smear your bread with the peanut butter of your choice (the all-natural stuff is a mite runny, be warned).

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Top with jelly.

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Roll the whole thing up and slice into discs.

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Five-Minute Frittata, for Two

This is my favourite quick dinner when you want something a little bit better than a cold bowl of cereal but you want to apply pretty much the same level of effort. This dish serves two but I was so hungry after all my efforts in the garden that I ate the whole thing myself.

Five-Minute Frittata 18

First I grabbed some fresh herbs out of said garden. Then I preheated my oven to broil and grabbed an oven-safe nonstick skillet. Nonstick works best for this particular eggy dish, but you have to make sure that it has been approved for use in the oven so you don’t end up killing yourself with chemicals or burning the handle off.

Five-Minute Frittata 1

I chopped up the herbs.

Five-Minute Frittata 2

Then I grabbed a tomato and chopped and de-seeded it as well.

Five-Minute Frittata 3

Now you can start heating up your skillet, with a nice big pat of butter in it to melt.

Five-Minute Frittata 6

Then I cracked 4 eggs into a bowl. I proceeded to beat the crap out of them.

Five-Minute Frittata 4

Add in a big dollop of sour cream. You can use milk or cream but I have recently discovered that sour cream in eggs makes them light and fluffy and flavourful so I like using it.

Five-Minute Frittata 5

Then I poured the mixed eggs into the hot skillet.

Five-Minute Frittata 7

Let that sit for a moment.

Five-Minute Frittata 8

Then start pulling the egg away from the bottom of the skillet. You’re not really stirring the egg, so much as exposing more of the raw stuff to a hot cooking surface.

Five-Minute Frittata 9

Stop scraping before all the wet stuff is scrambled.

Five-Minute Frittata 10

Now you can top it with all the goodness you’ve prepared. This is salt, pepper, chopped herbs, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

Five-Minute Frittata 11

And then go ahead and shove it under the broiler for about two minutes, until all the wet egg is now solid. Please don’t judge me for my dirty oven.

Five-Minute Frittata 12

You can see I actually overdid this one a little bit.

Five-Minute Frittata 13

Then you hold the pan over a plate and start to slowly tip it so the whole thing starts to slide out.

Five-Minute Frittata 14

Keeeeeep sliding.

Five-Minute Frittata 15

When you’re about halfway out, lift the pan so that the second half of the egg flips over and covers the first half.

Five-Minute Frittata 16

Top with more pepper and garnish if you like.

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As I said, you can cut this in two and share it. Or if you’re really hungry it makes a great meal for one!

Five-Minute Frittata 22

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing

I whipped up this pot of savoury delightfulness for our Canadian Thanksgiving in October, and I figured with Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday in America, you might find it handy. This particular incarnation of this recipe is both gluten-free and pork-free to reflect the dietary restraints of my Thanksgiving dinner guests, but feel free to replace the gluten-free cornbread with regular cornbread (may I suggest this recipe?) and the turkey bacon with regular bacon or sausage.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 5

Start with your cornbread. Because I was running low on time and energy (getting sick the week before Thanksgiving is not cool), I made the cornbread from the Bob’s Red Mill mix, and it turned out just fine.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 1

GF Cornbread Stuffing 3

I crumbled the cooled cornbread onto a baking sheet and toasted it at 350°F for about 15 minutes until it was a nice golden brown.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 11

Once it cooled I sealed it in a bag.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 13

Meanwhile, I dumped an entire package of turkey bacon in a pan and fried it up.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 6

Then I started chopping. In a large pot, I dumped about 1/3 cup butter, then chopped up 1 1/2 large onions, 4 green onions, and a whole head of fresh garlic and plopped those in as well. I heated it on medium and stirred the onions while they softened.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 7

Then I chopped up 1 bunch fresh tarragon and 1 bunch fresh sage and dumped those in.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 8

Then 2 red peppers and 4 stalks celery. I added in some pepper to taste.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 9

Then I chopped up the turkey bacon and hucked that in as well.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 10

Because I was making the stuffing the day before, I put the vegetables in a bowl to cool and then covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 12

On the day of, put everything together. In a bowl, whisk together about 3 large eggs and some salt and pepper.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 14

Add to that about 1 litre (~4 cups) low sodium chicken or turkey broth. Give that a good stir.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 15

Dump your cornbread and your vegetable mix into a large baking dish or your slow cooker pot and stir them around. Pour the eggy broth over top and give it another stir to make sure it’s made it all the way through.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 16

So if you have space in your oven the day of, feel free to bake this (at about 350°F for an hour or so) to make sure that it’s all nice and crusty around the edges. If not, then pop it in the slow cooker in the morning and cook it on medium until you’re ready to eat. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s incredibly tasty.

GF Cornbread Stuffing 17

GF Cornbread Stuffing 18

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls 21

I made these for our end-of-the-year softball team potluck, and despite me making four dozen of them, they were gone within five minutes of opening up the container. I’ve never made sausage rolls before, but I do love them, so it was easy to figure out what should go in them. I will definitely make them again, and probably tweak what I throw in, just for variety’s sake – you should, too!

Sausage Rolls 18

I started by chopping up a bunch of end-of-season herbs from my garden: a bit of sage, parsley, and chives. There is probably about 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs here.

Sausage Rolls 1

Then I chopped up 1 package white mushrooms, about 3 cups minced. Ordinarily I’d probably mince up 1 large onion and do half onion, half mushroom, but one of the potluck attendees is allergic to onions so I left it out.

Sausage Rolls 2

Then grab some (500g) uncooked sausages. These are a little on the spicy side, but nothing too crazy.

Sausage Rolls 3

Slice through the casing and remove the meat.

Sausage Rolls 4

Chuck the sausage meat in a bowl together with your herbs, the mushrooms and onions (if you used onions and/or mushrooms), 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, and about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs. Feel free to season with salt and pepper as well. It turned out that I had bought pre-seasoned panko so I didn’t bother.

Sausage Rolls 6

Mix the sausage up thoroughly with the other ingredients. I found it was easier (if more disgusting) to use my hands, but you could probably get away with doing this in the bowl of a stand mixer as well.

Sausage Rolls 7

Now, remove from the fridge that package of puff pastry sheets that has been defrosting in there overnight.  Slice each sheet into three equal strips.

Sausage Rolls 8

Grab some mustard. I bought this fancy Tarragon Dijon stuff and I don’t regret it.

Sausage Rolls 9

Brush a line of mustard down the length of each strip of puff pastry.

Sausage Rolls 10

Evenly distribute all your sausage meat on top of your mustard line on each strip.

Sausage Rolls 11

Bring the edges of each strip of pastry together to seal the meat into a long tube. You may have to stretch the pastry a bit to do this, depending on how full it is.

Sausage Rolls 12

Shove your sausage tubes into the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up the dough and the meat and make it easier for you to slice them. You can preheat your oven now, to about 425°F. My oven cooks a little hotter (you’ll notice the finished ones are slightly charred on the bottom) so feel free to reduce the heat to whatever you need to if you have the same problem.

Sausage Rolls 13

Slice the now-firm tubes into 8 equal pieces – this will give you 48 sausage rolls.

Sausage Rolls 15

Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and puffy and the sausage is cooked through.

Sausage Rolls 17

Allow them to cool slightly before you stuff them all in your face. I don’t know how long they will last after baking them, in terms of storage, because I never got the chance to find out.

Sausage Rolls 20

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 22

This was a bit of comfort food I kind of winged and kind of cheated on (who has time to make Alfredo sauce from scratch?). It was also a great recipe for what I like to call “cooking in spurts” – when I only have a few minutes here and there in the kitchen so I do little tasks throughout the day.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 1

First I roasted 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I set them in a glass baking dish and stuffed fresh sage and thyme under the skin. I dusted the tops with salt and pepper. Then I baked them at 350°F for about 45 minutes, until the skin was crispy and the juices ran clear.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 2

Then I turned on the broiler and roasted 2 whole red peppers, turning them every 5 minutes or so, for about 20 minutes, until the skin was blackened. I let that cool for a while.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 3

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 4

Then I came back and pulled the skin off and discarded the seeds and stem. Then I went away again.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 5

Coming back in, I sliced up half a package of white mushrooms and sautéed them in butter and olive oil on medium heat until brown and starting to crisp. I removed them from the heat and went away again. I’m a busy person.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 9

Then I decided to actually get on with the business of cooking dinner. So I diced up a sweet onion and chucked that in a large frying pan with some butter and olive oil.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 7

I sautéed that on medium heat until the little onion pieces turned translucent, then I chucked in a few teaspoons minced garlic, as well as some salt and pepper.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 13

While that was going on, I pulled apart the chicken thighs and shredded the meat with a fork. I saved some of the nice fatty juices that came out of them, to add flavour to the sauce. I also saved the little bits of herb I’d roasted under the skin.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 10

As well, I diced the roasted peppers.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 11

And brought a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. I used a four-cheese tortellini here, because I like how filling it is.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 17

While the water was starting to get its boil on, I chucked the chicken (and reserved juices/herbs), peppers, and mushrooms into the pan with the onions and garlic.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 14

Then I dumped in a jar of pre-made alfredo sauce. I always add a little bit of water to the empty jar and give it a swish to get everything left.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 15

I stirred that for about 5 minutes at medium heat until everything started to bubble and smell amazing.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 16

I reduced the heat to low while I cooked the pasta according to the package directions. I drained the pasta and dumped it into the pan with the sauce.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 19

And then we ATE THE WHOLE THING. That’s a lie. We didn’t. Not all in one sitting, are you crazy? But I had seconds.

Roasted Chicken and Red Pepper Alfredo 20

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffing

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 25

We made this for our Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations, but maybe the next time you cook up a turkey (say, for American Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or various other turkey-related feast days), you could try this stuff(ing) out.  You can make it all the day before and chuck it together at the last minute, which is awesome for big dinners.  It’s also the kind of stuffing that doesn’t actually go into the bird, so you can feed it to vegetarians, too!

Start with your bread.  You can buy bags of pre-cut, pre-toasted bread chunks specifically for making stuffing, but I kind of like to make them myself, because I can decide what kind of bread I’m going to use in my stuffing.  Here I used a loaf of Italian sourdough.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 1

I ripped each slice up into bite-sized chunks and spread them out across two baking sheets.  Shove them in your oven and bake them at 350°F until they’re dried out and lightly toasted, about 12 minutes.  Make sure to stir them occasionally.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 2

Dice up about a pound of fresh mushrooms.  The wilder the better.  Unfortunately all we had around were some oyster and regular white mushrooms, but feel free to experiment.  You should have about 9 cups diced mushrooms when you’re done.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 8

Chop up as well 2 large onions, so you’re left with about 3 cups chopped onions in total.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 7

And while you’re at it, go to town on 4-5 stalks celery, ending up with about 2 cups chopped celery in total.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 6

Find yourself some herbs.  These were all growing in our fall garden: sage, parsley, and thyme.  I thought about adding some rosemary to add to the “Scarborough Fair”-ness of the whole thing but managed to restrain myself.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 4

Chop up a couple bunches of each.  You can never have too many fresh herbs in your stuffing, so just go with what feels right.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 9

Dump 1/4 cup of butter and a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large skillet and melt over medium heat.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 10

Plop in your mushrooms and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.  Sauté those suckers until they’re all squishy and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Dump them in a large bowl for now.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 12

Slide another 1/2 cup butter into that skillet and let that melt.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 14

Add in your onions and celery and cook, stirring, until the veggies are tender, probably 12 minutes or so.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 15

Sprinkle in your herbs and cook for another minute.

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Then plop in a whole package (5oz) fresh baby spinach.  Toss in the skillet (maybe use a lid) until the leaves are just wilted.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 17

Chuck all that stuff into the bowl with the mushrooms.  If you’re making this ahead of time, this is where you stop.  Let the stuff cool, cover it, and bung it in the fridge overnight.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 19

When you’re ready to get this on the go, preheat your oven to 350ºF and butter a large casserole dish or 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Whisk 2 eggs and some salt and pepper in a bowl.

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Pour in 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (you may need more if you find it dry) and stir that around.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 21

Toss your bread bits with your vegetable mix and pour your broth/egg stuff over top, stirring to make sure it makes it all the way through.

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 23

Jam that into your baking dish and bake without covering until it’s brown and crusty on top, about an hour.  Let it stand a few minutes before serving (like, take it out when you start to carve up your bird and you’re set).

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing 26

Turkey and Leek Pie

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

While you’re spending the day prepping for your big turkey feast (or, if you celebrated yesterday, cleaning up afterwards), why don’t you consider what you can do with the leftover bits of that big bird?

I cooked this little baby up after watching a Jamie Oliver Christmas special on the plane home to Ottawa last December, and I served it to the lovely folks at our annual potluck.  It’s super easy, super tasty, and a great way to eat up all that leftover turkey.  And the best part about Jamie Oliver is he’s big on improvisation.  If you watch the videos for his recipes they never end up matching the recipes themselves, and that adds immensely to his charm.

Make sure you have a good package of unthawed frozen puff pastry lying around. I get the President’s Choice brand stuff and it comes in two blocks, which is perfect for our purposes here.

Then you’ll need 2kg leeks.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Leeks are super dirty. My mother told me that as the leeks grow they bury the stems in more dirt in order to keep that stem as pale and tender as possible.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

This means you’ll need to clean them well. I find the easiest way to do so is to cut off the scraggly top ends and then slice the whole thing in half lengthwise. Pop those babies in a sink full of water and swish away until all the dirt is gone. Then give them a good shake to drain out the excess water.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Now, chop up those leeks. Make the pale ends a bit chunkier, but slice the tougher green ends up really thin.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Now, take a large, fat saucepan with a lid and chuck in the leaves of about half a bunch of fresh thyme.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Chop up a couple of slices of nice bacon, add a glug or two of olive oil, and cook that for a wee bit on high to medium-high.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Pour in your chopped leeks and let them cook for about three minutes on high.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Then add in some salt and pepper, pop the lid on, and turn the heat down to medium. Let that cook for about thirty minutes, stirring every 5-10, to make sure nothing sticks.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

While that’s on the go, chop up your leftover turkey. You’ll need about 800g grams of turkey, chopped or torn into big chunks. Light meat, dark meat, whatever floats your boat. I like half and half, because the dark stuff has more flavour. If you have leftover stuffing it will make a great contribution as well. Huck that into your leek pot when the leeks are done.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons flour and stir that to fully combine it with the leeks and turkey.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Then add in 2 pints of stock — turkey, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, whatever you want.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

And 2 heaping tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (or even plain greek yogurt if that’s what you have).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Give that a good stir and bring it back to a boil for a minute. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like, then turn off the heat.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Pour your leek mixture through a sieve into a pot to get some lovely gravy out of this. Removing the gravy now will also make sure your pie doesn’t end up soggy, and if you drain it directly into a pot then you can easily heat it up before you serve it.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Preheat your oven to 375°F and lay your leek mixture out in a buttered 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out a segment of pastry so that it is a few inches larger than your pan size on all sides. If you just have one piece of pastry, then roll it out so it’s double the pan size (you will then fold one side over the other).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Crumble some chestnuts and fresh sage leaves over the pastry (or half the pastry if you’re folding).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Fold the other half on top or roll out the other piece and place it on top of the first and press down a bit to seal the chestnuts and sage inside.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Lay the pastry across your pan and tuck the ends in underneath the mixture on all the sides.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

With a sharp knife score the whole pastry surface diagonally.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

If you wish you can put an egg wash on at this point by beating an egg, adding a pinch of salt, and brushing that over the top of the pastry, but I didn’t bother. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until your pastry is puffy and golden brown. Serve warm with the reheated gravy. It is so excellent.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Lovers’ Sweet Potato and Mushroom Ravioli

Lovers' Ravioli

We don’t tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We’re totally broke, for one thing, and for another, we’d rather not have to spend a day doing obligatory and clichéed things to tell each other how we feel.  We do that on a daily basis anyway.

States of Gren

I am of course talking about our love for Gren.  Duh.  He’s so smooshy.  In the words of Cait, “I want to smoosh him.  With smooshes.”  We definitely smoosh him regularly.

States of Gren

In any case, because it’s expected of us (and because nobody ever wants to do anything with us on Valentine’s Day), we usually have a nice meal together and talk about how stupid this Hallmark holiday is.

If you are of the same bent, or if you love to do smooshy romantic things for your true love, why not make up some fresh pasta and go from there?

I figured I would give ravioli a try.  Why the heck not?

The ingredients for each component of this are so simple. The only one I really measured for was the pasta dough, because I’m not yet at the eyeballing stage for that.

For the ravioli filling:

Lovers' Ravioli

You will need sweet potatoes, dried shiitake mushrooms (you can use fresh ones but I like the chewy texture of the dried ones), and roasted garlic.

Plop a handful or two dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of warm water and leave them for 30-60 minutes, or until all tender.  I find that placing a small plate on top ensures they all get evenly exposed to water.

Lovers' Ravioli

While those are percolating, peel and cube a large sweet potato.  This one weighed in at 1 3/4lb.  Plop that in a pot full of water and boil until tender.

Lovers' Ravioli

Drain the sweet potatoes and mash ’em.

Lovers' Ravioli

Take your hydrated mushrooms out of the water, cut off the woody stems, and chop them finely.

Lovers' Ravioli

I found that after chopping, a quick sojourn in the food processor got them to the size I wanted them.

Lovers' Ravioli

Save the water from your mushrooms — it makes a great vegetable stock.

Lovers' Ravioli

I made this roasted garlic last week from three heads of garlic.  If you click on the link above you can see how I did it.  I’m going to use all three heads, because the Pie and I have been together for almost eight years, so it’s not going to matter how much garlic we consume.  Do exercise some caution if you’re new to the relationship and you’re still trying to impress … Though I suppose if you both consume the same amount of garlic it really doesn’t matter, does it?

Lovers' Ravioli

Anyway, I plopped that in the food processor as well (with a drop of olive oil) and came out with a lovely aromatic paste.

Lovers' Ravioli

In a bowl, combine your mashed sweet potato, the minced mushrooms, and the garlic paste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lovers' Ravioli

Stir that around and set it aside.

Lovers' Ravioli

For the ravioli pasta:

Lovers' Ravioli

For this you need durum semolina flour, salt, and eggs.  Semolina is perfect for making pasta because it has an extremely high gluten content, which means that your pasta will stay cohesive even when immersed in boiling water.  That is kind of important.

So take 3 eggs and whisk them together with a pinch of salt.  I like to add in a few drops of olive oil, as well, for smoothness.

Lovers' Ravioli

Pour 2 cups durum semolina flour on a clean work surface, make a well in the centre, and pour in the eggs.

Lovers' Ravioli

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  I wish I’d thought of it sooner so I could have made a better heart.

Lovers' Ravioli

Using a scraper and/or a fork, gradually incorporate the eggs into the flour until you have a coherent ball.

Lovers' Ravioli

I used some regular all-purpose flour at the end, just to reduce the tackiness of the dough a bit.  You will want to knead it for about 10 minutes, just to get all the gluten working for you.

Lovers' Ravioli

Wrap up your final ball and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

Lovers' Ravioli

Cut your dough into manageable sections.  I cut mine into four.  Flatten out your first section enough so it fits into your pasta machine.  If you are rolling it out by hand, have fun with that.

Lovers' Ravioli

I prefer my pasta maker.

Lovers' Ravioli

I cut my strips in half, so that I could fold the second half over the top half like a mirror image.  Though it does help if your top half is slightly bigger than your bottom half.

Lovers' Ravioli

Put little dollops of your filling on your bottom sheet with enough space in between so you can cut them easily.

Lovers' Ravioli

Carefully line up the top half and lay it over the filling.

Lovers' Ravioli

Working from the inside out, gently stretch and press the top dough over the filling to form little pockets.

Lovers' Ravioli

When each pocket is sealed, use a knife or a ravioli cutter to separate them.

Lovers' Ravioli

For this first round, I went all the way up to the #7 setting on my pasta maker, which made the pasta sheets very thin — a little too thin.  You can see how they have torn and I had to patch them.

Lovers' Ravioli

The next round, I only went up to the #5 setting, which was much more manageable, and I prepared the ravioli on waxed paper, which made peeling them up much easier. I probably could have gone as high as #6, but I’m still new to this.

Lovers' Ravioli

I separated each round of pasta with waxed paper to prevent sticking.

Lovers' Ravioli

I had some leftover filling, which I froze.  I would gladly make this again.

Lovers' Ravioli

Now, set a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a few drops of olive oil, and get started on your sauce.

For the sauce:

Lovers' Ravioli

You will need butter, sage, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese.

Slice 10-12 sage leaves finely to ensure all their lovely aromatic juices get released.

Lovers' Ravioli

To save time and my sanity (I really hate grating cheese), I cubed up about 1/3 cup of my extra-hard parmesan and gave it a go in the food processor.  Totally worth it.

Lovers' Ravioli

So for your mis en place you have your sage, chopped, your cheese, grated, about 1/2 cup lemon juice, and about 4-5 tablespoons butter.

Lovers' Ravioli

By now, your pasta water should be boiling, so carefully tip all your ravioli in and cook them for about 8 minutes.

Lovers' Ravioli

While that is going on, in a large, wide, deep frying pan on medium-high heat, melt your butter.

Lovers' Ravioli

Continue to cook the butter, scraping the bottom with a spatula to prevent burning, until it starts to foam up and the clear liquid turns a lovely light caramel brown colour.  Add in your sage leaves and remove the butter from the heat.

Lovers' Ravioli

See the brownness?

Lovers' Ravioli

Pour in your lemon juice and give that a stir. Oh man does that ever smell good. Like all the best parts of everything.

Lovers' Ravioli

Drain your pasta and plop them in the frying pan with the butter.  Pour in your cheese and toss the lot to coat.

Lovers' Ravioli

Lovers' Ravioli

Serve it up, with plenty of leftovers.

Lovers' Ravioli

Though  none for Gren.  Much to his disappointment.

Lovers' Ravioli

White Bean Dip with Roasted Red Pepper

I got this baby from the Ontario White Bean Producers website.  And then of course I modified it.

First you take your beans.  The recipe called for 2 cups of white beans (white navy beans).  I thought this meant 2 cups of RAW beans, but no, it meant 2 cups of COOKED beans.  As a result, I have SO VERY MUCH bean dip.

Anyway, take your beans, in any form.  If they’re raw, give ’em a good cook.  Simmer them in a pot of water for about an hour.  Make sure that your water doesn’t totally evaporate, and add more water if you have to — burnt beans is a smell no one needs to have in the kitchen.

While your beans are cooking (or sitting politely in their can, waiting on your convenience), take a pan and sauté yourself a finely chopped onion with some fresh sage (or frozen sage if you’ve got it).  Once the onions are translucent, remove pan from heat and plop in 6 or 7 cloves roasted garlic (about one head) just to get them warm and toasty.

In a large bowl (with the aid of an immersion blender) or food processor, combine your cooked beans, your onion/garlic/sage mixture, one or two roasted red peppers, cut in strips (from a jar or make ’em yourself), a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch or so of sea salt.  Blend that thing silly until it’s smooth and creamy.

Pile 'em on and blend 'em silly.

Serve as a dip with pita chips or crackers, or use as a bean base in quesadillas, wraps, and sandwiches.

Because I have so very much dip, I managed to foist some off on D and J, and I’m going to try to freeze the rest.  I will let you know how that goes.

Pita chips are yummy.