Monthly Archives: August 2016

Ricotta Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Sauce

When my husband and I traveled to France and Italy for our honeymoon, we created a wine and food roadmap. It was an incredible trip with sublime food and wine in both countries, but I left longing for Italy. The warm and friendly people, the perfect cup of espresso on every corner, the breathtaking villas, and the amazing food all made me fall in love with country. The food in Italy was simple but so delicious, and every pasta dish we ordered was perfectly executed with local ingredients. After I got back from Italy, I spent countless hours trying to perfect fresh pasta. After testing quite a few recipes and techniques, I developed an easy handmade pasta recipe perfect for pappardelle, fettuccine, and filled pasta.

This pasta dough recipe is light and eggy and has great structure due to the addition of semolina flour. The dough is quick to make and easy to work with, and won’t dry up easily. In this ravioli recipe, I use a simple cheese filling. Most cheese-filled ravioli recipes use the whole egg, causing the filing to solidify when cooked. My recipe uses only the yolk, resulting in a creamy and oozy filling. Also, I add lemon zest and Italian parsley for a little zing. If possible, make the filling in advanced. Also, make sure you drain out the excess liquid from the fresh ricotta with cheesecloth-lined sieve or fine-mesh sieve in advanced. This will ensure a creamy filling without excess water. If you’ve never made homemade ravioli before, this is an easy one to tackle. Enjoy!
Ricotta Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Serving Size: about 32 ravioli (2-inch squares)

8 ounces of fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-reggiano plus extra for serving
1 teaspoon of finely chopped Italian parsley
Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
12 ounces of homemade pasta dough (see recipe below)
Roasted tomato sauce or homemade walnut pesto
2 dozen small basil leaves for garnish

Special equipment: pasta roller or pasta attachment for the KitchenAid

1. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg yolk, Parmigiano-reggiano, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and few turns of pepper. Place in the refrigerator while you roll out the pasta dough.

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2. Take out the pasta dough and cut it into four equal pieces. Cover three of the pieces with plastic while working with one piece on the pasta roller.

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3. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pasta dough until it is thin enough to fit into the pasta roller. Start on the thickest setting and work your way to the second to the last setting (5 on manual and 6 on the KitchenAid attachment). Cover the pasta sheet with plastic and repeat the process three more times.

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4. Bring a large pot of water and hand full of Kosher salt to boil.

5. Remove the ricotta filling from the refrigerator. Unwrap one of the pasta sheets and place a heaping teaspoon of filling roughly 1 inch apart throughout the pasta sheet. You should have 16 ravioli.

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6. Take another pasta sheet and, starting from one end, carefully place it over the pasta sheet with the filling and press down well around the filling to create a strong seal. Make sure you don’t create air bubbles.

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7. Using a fluted pasta cutter, cut the pasta into 2″ ravioli pieces. Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Repeat the process with the other two sheets.

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8. Heat up the roasted tomato sauce in a large sauté pan. Keep on low.

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9. Reduce the heat of the boiling water to a simmer. Add about half of the ravioli. Once it rises to the surface, simmer for 2 more minutes.

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10. With a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to the roasted tomato sauce. Cook the remaining ravioli and transfer to the sauce.

11. Divide the ravioli into 4 bowls. Grate some Parmigiano-reggiano and garnish with a few basil leaves. Serve with a nice glass of red wine.

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Pasta Dough Recipe

Yield: about 12 ounces

1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of semolina flour*
7 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of milk or water

1. Whisk the all-purpose flour and semolina flour together. Transfer to a workstation. Create a well and add the egg yolks, olive oil, and milk.

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2. Using a fork, whisk in the center and slowly bring in the flour. You want to take your time in the beginning so you don’t form flour clumps.

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3. Once the mixture thickens and it becomes difficult to stir with a fork, start kneading the dough with your hands. Clean off the excess flour with a bench scraper and make sure the workstation is clean.

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4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough is nice and smooth.

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5. Double wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to one day until ready to use. You can also freeze the dough for up to one month.

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*You can find semolina flour at most Italian market.

Hatch Chile Corn Pudding

New Mexico is one of the most beautiful and unique places I’ve visited in the US. When I visited back in the 90s, I fell in love with the adobe houses, turquoise jewelry, art, and Southwestern cuisine. One of the reasons I enjoyed the food in New Mexico is the presence of lots of roasted Hatch green chile peppers in their dishes. Hatch green chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of Northwest New Mexico along the Rio Grande river. Unlike other Anaheim or pasilla peppers, Hatch green chiles have a more intense flavor when roasted. The roasted peppers are delicious in so many dishes: stewed pork, quesadillas, green chili, salsa, etc. Since it’s Hatch chili season and corn is readily available at the farmers market, I bring you this corn pudding recipe.

Corn pudding is easy to assemble and bake. Most of the time is taken up by roasting, peeling and chopping the peppers. You can roast the peppers a day in advance. Unlike most recipes, I purée half of the corn to make corn milk to add to the pudding. It helps naturally thicken the pudding and adds more corn flavor. The Hatch green chiles add a little heat and lovely roasted flavor. This corn pudding recipe is a great side dish to roasted pork or chicken. Make it before the Hatch green chile season is over. Enjoy!

Hatch Chile Corn Pudding

Serving Size – 6 as a side dish

4 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels* (about 5-6 ears, preferably non-GMO or organic)
1/8 cup of water
2/3 cup of roasted Hatch chile with sautéed onions (recipe below)
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 large eggs, beaten well
3/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of grated mild white cheddar
Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Take 2 cups of the corn kernels and 1/8 cup of water and purée in a blender until smooth.

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3. Pour the puréed corn into a chinois or a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Using a rubber spatula or wooden paddle, push down on the solids to push out as much of the liquid as possible. You should have about 2/3 cup of corn milk.

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4. Place the corn milk, the remaining 2 cups of corn, roasted Hatch chiles, heavy cream, beaten eggs, salt, pepper. Stir well with a rubber spatula.

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5. Sift in the flour and gently stir to prevent it from clumping.

6. Using a baking spray or softened butter, grease the bottom and the sides of a 1 quart earthenware baking dish. Pour the corn pudding mixture into the dish.

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7. Sprinkle the grated cheddar evenly over the top.

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8. Place in the oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top.

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9. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and for 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite roasted pork or chicken recipe.

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*If using frozen corn kernels, thaw them in advanced.

Roasted Hatch Chile Peppers

8 Hatch green chiles peppers, mild or medium
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
Kosher salt
Freshly grated black pepper

1. Place Hatch chilies on a aluminum-lined baking sheet.

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2. Broil on the top rack for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the skin begins to blacken. Using tongs, turn over the peppers and broil the other side for an additional 3 minutes or until the skins begins to blacken.

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3. Transfer the roasted peppers to a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.

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4. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan on medium. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. At the onion, the garlic and pinch of salt. Sauté until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). Turn off the heat.

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5. Uncover the plastic wrap off of the bowl of peppers. Using disposable gloves, remove the skins of peppers. They should slip right off.

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6. Using a knife slit open each of the peppers on the cutting board. Using the back of the knife, slide the seeds off.

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7. Chopped the roasted peppers into 1/2 inch pieces.

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8. Add the peppers into the pan with the cooked onions and garlic. Sauté on medium heat for two minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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9. The roasted peppers are ready to add in corn pudding, scrambled eggs, quesadillas, grilled cheese, cornbread, burgers, etc. The roasted Hatch chiles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

Japchae is a popular Korean beef and vegetable noodle dish, made with dang myun (sweet potato noodles). Commonly served at Korean barbecue restaurants as a side dish, japchae is as colorful as it is tasty, usually being combined with a variety of sautéed vegetables. Because it can be served at room temperature, it is also popular at Korean potlucks and wedding buffets. What makes japchae unique is the translucent and chewy texture of the sweet potato noodles. The noodles are also a great alternative to wheat noodles for people who are gluten intolerant.

In this recipe, I use brisket, but you use any other cuts of beef like ribeye, short rib or filet. My mom always used brisket but never marinated it, so it was always a little tough. I created a marinade for this recipe with a little soy and sake and a sprinkling of baking soda to tenderize the beef. It is important to add the baking soda 15 minutes before cooking the meat, so that it doesn’t overtenderize. You to can easily omit beef and add more mushrooms instead to make it vegetarian – either way it will be a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!

 

Japchae (Korean Vermicelli with Beef and Vegetables)

 

Serving Size: 6 as a side dish

2 large eggs
Sunflower or other neutral oil
8 ounces of sweet potato noodles*
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/4″ strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces of sliced fresh shiitake or button mushroom
1 cup of carrots (2 carrots), julienned into 1/4″ thin and 2″ long
6 ounces of marinated brisket (see below for marinade)
3 green onion (cut into 2″ pieces)
8 oz of organic spinach (not baby spinach) blanched for 30 seconds
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds*
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste

*Note: Be sure to follow the marinated brisket instructions below prior to starting the recipe

1. Crack the 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt. Whisk well.

2. Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Pour about half the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to make a thin egg crepe. Cook for about 1 minute. Flip over and cook for 30 more seconds. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining egg mixture.

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3. Once on the cutting board, fold into thirds like an omelette. Cut into half an inch strips. Place egg strips on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until ready to use.

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4. Bring 5 quarts of water to boil. Add the sweet potato noodles. Cook for about 6 minutes (you can also follow the cooking instructions on the package.). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. Set aside.

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5. Remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator. Sprinkle with baking soda and stir. Set aside.

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6. Heat large a cast iron pan or wok over high. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the carrots and pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

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7. In the same pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

8. In the same pan on high heat, cook the beef until just brown. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. Remove and set aside. Wipe the bottom of pan with a paper towel.

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9. In same pan, heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about for about 3 minutes or until the onions get translucent.

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10. Add the cooked carrots, mushrooms and beef back into the pan. Add the spinach and green onions. Sauté everything for 30 seconds. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and several turns of black pepper.

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11. With tongs or large chopsticks, toss the noodles with all the ingredients over medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

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12. Finally, add the sliced egg crepe and gently toss gently to distribute evenly.

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13. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle additional sesame seed and serve.

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Marinated Brisket

6 ounces of grass-fed brisket
2 teaspoons of organic soy sauce
1 teaspoon of rice wine (sake)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

1. Slice the brisket against the grain into thin strips. You want the strips to be about 2 inches long.

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2. Whisk the remainder of the ingredients except for the baking soda in small bowl. (Save the baking soda for 15 minutes before you cook.)

3. Placed the sliced beef in the bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

*You can find toasted sesame seeds and dang myun at your local Korean supermarket.

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

My oldest son loves chocolate chips in cookies, pancakes, scones…pretty much anything and everything. So whenever I make any baked goods, he asks if I can swap I out the fruit for chocolate. Since most of my baked goods usually have less sugar, this is one indulgence I don’t feel too bad about. After testing a few muffin recipes, I came up I with one that is super-moist but still crunchy on the top, just the way he likes it. This is my son’s favorite muffin and he asked me to post the recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as he does. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Chocolate Muffins

2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, cut into 16 cubes
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of good quality chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)
Crystallized sugar for topping

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

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4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and milk.

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5. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

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6. Add one egg and beat well. Scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula. Add the other egg and beat well. Scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 15 seconds.

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7. Adjust the speed to low, then add the sour cream and milk mixture. Beat for 15 seconds.

8. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture. Give it a quick whisk and slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer on its lowest setting until they just combine. Remove the bowl and using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and give it a couple of stirs.

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9. With a large ice cream scoop, add the batter to each of the cupcake liners.

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10. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of crystallized sugar on top of each muffin.

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11. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

12. Set the oven on broil. Broil the muffins for 1-2 minutes until you get a nice golden muffin top.

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