Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baked Crab Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

This was an ambitious dish for us, but I'm happy to say that it turned out really well. Since I'm sick (cough, cough), Jason did all the cooking, so I guess he should get the credit.

We combined two different recipes so we had some trouble figuring out how much pasta and sauce to make for a certain amount of filling. I'm going to post the recipes in their original quantities, but we doubled the crab filling (because we had a whole pound of crab), we increased the pasta recipe by 50% and then ended up having to make another batch at the regular quantity, and we doubled the sauce.

The pasta didn't seem to roll out as big as the recipe indicated, but maybe that's because we didn't use a pasta maker. We were able to roll it really thin though, so I'm not sure how a pasta maker would have made a difference.

Baked Crab Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce


1 1/2 c flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 T water

1) In a food processor, blend all ingredients until the dough forms a ball.
2) Process for 15 seconds longer, to knead. (My food processor didn't seem capable of ball-forming and kneading.)
3) Transfer to a flour surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, for one hour.


1/2 lb lump crab meat
2 T red peppers, minced
2 T red onion, minced
1 c parmesan, grated
1 T basil, chopped
2 T bread crumbs
2 T heavy cream

1) Combine all ingredients.
2) Season to taste with salt & pepper.


1 T unsalted butter
2 T red pepper, minced
2 T red onion, minced
3/4 c tomatoes, diced
1/4 c water
1/3 c heavy cream
1/2 c parmesan, grated

1) Melt butter in a medium skillet; saute peppers and onion until tender.
2) Add tomatoes and water and simmer for 5 mins.
3) Prepare but the rest of the ingredients, but don't add them yet.


1) Divide dough into 4 pieces.
2) On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 24" x 4" rectangle (we couldn't get anywhere close to this size).
3) Drop 6 (1 1/2 tsp) mounds 1 1/2" apart down the center of one half of the sheet.
4) Brush egg wash (1 egg white mixed with 2 T water) around each mound and then fold the other half of the sheet over the filling.
5) Press down firmly around each mound, forcing out air.
6) Cut pasta (between mounds) into squares; lay on a lightly floured kitchen towel.
7) Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.
8) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and gently drop in ravioli.
9) Cook until the pasta is tender, about 6 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander.
10) Put half of the ravioli in a baking dish; top with half of tomato sauce, half of the cream and half of the cheese.
11) Repeat with the remaining ravioli, sauce, cream and cheese.
12) Bake, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbly, about 15 mins.

Classic Brownies

You can't go wrong with a basic brownie. These are very chocolate-y and rich. I prepared the brownies as directed below. Next time I will likely skip lining the baking dish with foil and just spray the dish itself. Yes, I'll have to wash the pan, but using the foil is needlessly wasteful, in my opinion. The nuts didn't sink into the brownies as I thought they would, so stirring them into the batter first is always an option. I'm going to try freezing some of these, so I don't eat them all in 2 days :-)

Classic Brownies

1 c (4 oz) walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 1/4 c cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
12 T unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
2 1/4 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Line 9x13 baking dish with foil; coat with cooking spray.
3) Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5-8 mins.
4) Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
5) Melt chocolate and butter in a double-boiler over almost-simmering water; stir until mixture is completely smooth.
6) Remove chocolate/butter mixture from heat and gradually whisk in sugar.
7) Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined.
8) Whisk in vanilla.
9) Add flour mixture in three additions, folding in with a rubber spatula until completely smooth.
10) Pour batter into prepared pan; use spatula to smooth the batter to the edges.
11) Sprinkle nuts evenly over the batter.
12) Bake for 45 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Note: The original recipe called for 30-35 min bake time. I used a glass baking dish, and I'm not entirely confident my oven is accurate, but my brownies were still slightly underdone after 45 mins.)
13) Cool to room temperature; lift foil to remove brownies.
14) Cut and serve.

Chai Tea Latte

My favorite cold weather beverage...

Chai Tea Latte

2 c water
2 tea bags
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c milk

1) Bring water, tea bags and spices to a boil in a small saucepan; boil for 5 mins.
2) Stir in sugar and milk; return to a boil.
3) Strain into two large mugs.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I had buttermilk left over from making Buttermilk Biscuits and this pancake recipe seemed to be a good way to use it all up.

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or slightly less if using table salt)
3 T sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 c buttermilk
4 T unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the skillet
blueberries or chocolate chips (optional)

1) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
2) Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter; whisk until just combined. The batter should have small to medium lumps.
3) Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1/4 c for each pancake.
4) While batter is still wet, sprinkle on blueberries or chocolate chips, if desired.
5) Flip; serve.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

White Bean Pasta

This is a good clean out the cabinets and fridge recipe. I think you could use whatever pasta, veggies and beans that you happen to have on hand.

White Bean Pasta

8 oz pasta
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c onion, chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c bell pepper, sliced
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 c spinach
1/2 c parmesan, grated

1) Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2) Saute garlic and onion in oil for 2-3 mins; add peppers and saute an additional 2-3 mins.
3) Add mushrooms and saute until soft.
4) Stir in beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper; bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 mins.
5) Add spinach and simmer until wilted.
6) Drain pasta and add to bean mixture.
7) Sprinkle with half of parmesan cheese; reserve the rest for the table.

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

This pumpkin pie recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Southern Living (with a few modifications).

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

1 c crushed gingersnaps (about 20 gingersnaps)
1/2 c pecans, finely chopped
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/8 c butter, melted
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground ginger

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Place piecrust in a 9-inch pie pan.
3) Stir together gingersnaps, pecans, powdered sugar and butter; press mixture on bottom and sides of piecrust.
4) Bake for 10 minutes; let cool completely.
5) Stir together pumpkin, milk, eggs, sour cream, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger until well blended; pour into prepared crust.
6) Bake for 70 mins on baking sheet or until the filling is set, shielding the edges with foil during the last 25 mins of baking.
7) Serve with ginger-spice topping (8 oz whipped topping, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ginger).

Cashew Chicken

My attempts at Asian-style food usually flop, but not this one! To make it a little more hearty, I served it over rice with broccoli and bell peppers sauteed in a little bit of the marinade on the side. This was enough for dinner and lunch for both of us. I think next time I will make double the sauce and reserve half of it to pour on at the table.

Update: This recipe worked out really well by cutting back to one chicken breast and making up the difference with vegetables.  In addition to sauteing broccoli and bell peppers with the onions and mushrooms, I roasted a bunch of brussels sprouts and cauliflower and mixed them in at the end.  It made a really hearty meal, and we didn't miss the second chicken breast at all.  I didn't even need any rice.

Cashew Chicken
Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/3 c olive oil
1 T plus 1 tsp chili powder
1/4 c tamari (can substitute soy sauce)
1/4 c honey
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 c raw cashews
1 onion, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, chopped
1/4 c green onions, chopped

1) Combine chicken, oil, chili powder, tamari, honey and ginger in a bowl. Let sit for at least 30 mins.
2) Saute the cashews in a hot skillet until lightly toasted; set aside.
3) In a large skillet, saute the chicken over med-high heat; reserved the marinade.
4) Once chicken is cooked through; set aside.
5) Put reserved marinade in pan and simmer for a few minutes to kill any bacteria.
6) Pour off and reserve all but 1 T marinade; saute the chopped onions until translucent.
7) Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until soft.
8) Add chicken, cashews and reserved marinade to the skillet and heat through.
9) Stir in green onions just before serving.