Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goat Cheese and Leek Ravioli With Basil Cream Sauce

Oh, Summer! WHY are you so darn hot? I mean I know this is Paso Robles and all but my goodness. We're broaching 115 around here and I am just not built for this.Do you know how much cooking I want to do right about now? None. None cooking. I want to sit with the freezer open and gobble up all the ice cream before it thaws. Nothing can be done in this heat. Nothing!

So instead of describing to you how delicious all the take out pizza and Chinese food has been, how about I share a recipe from a few months ago with you? Deal?

You might of read that we have a new photographer here at HNE who is incredibly talented (all of these gorgeous shots are thanks to her!). Well, Jessica came over a few months ago for our first photo shoot and I made her a new ravioli recipe I was working on. I have a fancy catering gig at the end of the month and this will be the first course for that event. Since it was only my first try I was really stoked with how it came out. So was my taste tester!

I worked at a French restaurant for some time and the chef taught me how to make THE most deliciously rich reduced cream sauces. The technique basically always the same but the possibilities are endless once you've nail it. This incredibly versatile sauce is what the ravioli will be swimming in. The ravioli itself was inspired by my recent trip to France with Mikey. On my birthday he took me to a really nice restaurant near our apartment. We got a full course dinner and our first course was this tiny, yet mind blowing deep dish "lasagna" made with layers of goat cheese, leeks and a creamy lemon sauce. We dunked giant chunks of crusty herbed bread into the terra cotta dish after we scarfed down all the pasta. It was pouring rain outside and this warm, cheesy dish totally hit the mark, especially paired with a glass of strong orange fortified wine. It was a  magnificent meal. I am bringing you a taste of France here, people! Do you get this? Are you feeling the refinement?

So, let's talk about the pasta. If you've never fresh pasta before, fret not. Not only is this recipe stupid easy, but you probably have all the ingredients (eggs & flour) already in your kitchen. If you have a food processor you're really ahead of the game. You can make the filling ahead of time and it keeps in the fridge for about 3 days. A note about the goat cheese: I know some people just do NOT do goat cheese, you can substitute cream cheese if you want to. For the rest of you, don't feel like you need to go out and spend a ton on this cheese, whatever's in your local grocery stores cheese counter will do. I used a small tube of chevre
from Tj's (please tell me you know what Trader Joe's is) and it worked perfectly.

Let's get to it!


For the pasta:
2 Eggs
2 Cups All Purpose Flour

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Combine the eggs and flour in your food processor until roughly combined. When it looks "sandy" turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and fully incorporated. Don't fuss with it too much, or it'll be tough. Let the dough rest for a while. I don't know how long I let it rest for today, but I would say roughly 10-15 minutes wrapped up on the counter or until everything else is ready.

For the filling:
1 Egg, room temp
1 4oz Tube of Goat Cheese, room temp
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
2 Leeks, Sliced thinly and sauteed (with so much butter...)
1 Lemon, Zested
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to a large plastic ziploc bag.

For the sauce:
2  Lemons, Juiced
1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Cold Unslated Butter
2-3 Basil Leaves, Chopped Fine
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan reduce wine and lemon juice by half, over medium heat, this should only take a few minutes. If you've never cooked with wine before just be careful of flare ups. No need to "flambe" the wine,  by the time we're done most of it will cook out. Add the heavy cream and continue to reduce, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding, when your cream lightly coats the back of a spoon and the sauce loses that astringent boozy taste, you're ready for the next step. Take the sauce off of the heat, this is very important! Then add one tbsp of the butter and quickly stir with a spoon or whisk until it is fully melted into the sauce, then you can add the rest of it. Stir in the chopped basil and season with salt and pepper. Once you've mixed everything together you cannot reheat this sauce. It will break and separate, which looks very unappealing!

To Finish the pasta:

Unwrap and divide your dough into 4 balls. Roll out dough, one ball at a time. Think length! You're rolling each ball out into long, wide strips. I could give you measurements, but...who would actually use them?
Keep some damp paper towels nearby, place them over your strips of pasta to keep them from drying out while you work on the others. Once all four are rolled out, grab a little cup of cool water, your filling and either a pasta cutter or a dry drinking glass to help press out the ravioli (a 2-3 inch circle would work well for this, I use a knife or pizza cutter to make imperfect squares).

On one strip of pasta squeeze out a nice sized dollop (about 1 1/2 tbsp) of filling every 2 inches or so. I think I made 4-6 ravioli for one strip of pasta. Yes, they will be large ravioli! Once your filling is piped out, dip your fingers (or a pastry brush) into the cup of water and "paint" water all over the pasta sheet around your filling. Quickly take a second strip of pasta and place it over starting at one end, taking great care to gently push down all around your filling and moving on to the right. You really want to make sure there are no air pockets around the filling and that those two sheets of pasta are nice and fused together now as one. You may now cut out the pasta. I use a pizza cutter and just make a bunch of imperfect squares, feel free to use an actual ravioli cutter. Drop the ravioli a few at a time into your gently boiling water. A rolling boil will destroy them. Once they float up to the top, wait one minute and yank 'em out.

If you start to notice your filling coming out or the dough isn't holding up, stop and make sure your dough is really pressed together. If it is, try refrigerating your ravioli for an hour and trying again.

Now you can place the cooked ravioli into that wonderful delicious sauce we've been working on and very very gently warm it. But you have to be SO careful. I always make the sauce last and spoon it over the ravioli. I serve these as appetizers for the catering company, and we serve one per person then. Just between you and me, I can polish off 3 or 4 of these babies in one sitting. They are a lot of work but my goodness is it worth it! That wonderful tang of goats milk cheese, with the luscious creaminess of the reduction. Did I say 3 or 4? I meant 6-12. At least...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Oh, Goodness

I know it's been a month few weeks and I am being so very naughty by not updating.

On the foodie front I can tell you that Jessica and I have some amazing recipes/photos coming your way, so try and be patient. It'll be worth it, I promise.

On the TTC front I am afraid there is no change. We were checking for ovulation every month but took last month off thinking that if there were less pressure it might yield the desired outcome, but it did not.

It is August- Making that a year since we started this long voyage into trying to become parents. This also marks the point where supposedly we are considered "infertile".

What this basically means is...more tests. I will be calling the lab on the first day of my cycle and they will schedule an appointment for me to come in so they can take a blood sample. They will be testing my progesterone levels, FSH, testosterone and all sorts of other fun acronyms. My Dh's tests all came back normal, which was a relief, but also pretty much made me feel like sh*t.

I hate that it sounds that way...but...Yeah.

If it's not HIM..then it's definitely ME. I know that's a totally unhealthy way to think of it and "shame on me" for not being happy for "us" and all that, but there was a part of me (a small small part) that kind of, sort of, "hoped" it would be him.

Oh, goodness that is awful. And I am so glad you're not a judgy group, because I know how awful that is. But, it's how I feel. There are just so many feelings involved in all of this. Some are easy to make out and some are more complex. I am happy the Dh is a healthy, typical, normal man. With healthy, typical, normal sperm.

I am just bummed that this means more poking and prodding for me. I fucking hate doctors. And I hate needles. So I am NOT thrilled about having to do all this.

OH! Oh! Then, there is the ink test. Have you heard about this? The ink test the Obgyn uses to tell if you have a blockage of the Fallopian tubes? I would rather rip my eye lids off than take this test.

But if the blood work comes back normal that will be the next step. Not looking forward to that at all.

Anyway, yeah....

Let's move on...

I have to tell you guys that I am still looking forward to mailing out some delicious Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies to the 7 most recent "followers" of the blog who post a comment on their favorite Her Name is Ed post.

So please, remember the contest rules. Not only do you need to ADD us and FOLLOW us, you MUST comment on your favorite post to receive your prize!

So GO! Or I will eat all yo cookies!!

Talk soon guys,

as always, thanks for all your support!