sauce

All posts tagged sauce

Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Published November 25, 2013 by jenmatteson

Only 4 1/2 months after my 30th birthday, I am finally trying to wrap up my 30 before 30 list.  Disappointing that I couldn’t finish it up before my birthday, but, in case you didn’t know, I was slightly busy getting married this summer 😉

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Speaking of getting married, this recipe comes from Executive Chef David Bush at St. Francis Winery, where we had our dinner in Sonoma, CA after our ceremony.  This was by far the most fantastic meal I have ever had, maybe closely followed by the first food and wine pairing we’d done there in November of 2012. 

As you probably know, I’m not big on cheese, which may make you wonder why my first attempt at homemade pasta would be cheese filled ravioli.  Well, I’m cooking for a dinner party next month, and my client (sounds so official!) decided her and her guests would like to make homemade pasta, and we agreed on ravioli.  So, that being said, I was determined to make this amazing sounding recipe from Chef Bush in hopes it would be perfect for this dinner party.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Making the pasta was actually a lot easier than I imagined.  Momma Marsha and I spent an afternoon trying to man her pasta roller (its the kind that should hook to a countertop, but she doesn’t have a place to do so, so we had to hold it, crank it, and feed the dough in all at the same time – this would have been impossible if it were just me).

I made a few raviolis sans cheese, so more or less just Swiss chard, but most were by the book so Momma Marsha, Leo (my FIL) and Nate could try them and give me their honest feedback.  Unfortunately, the feedback wasn’t what I was looking for.  However, I’m always glad to hear the truth, especially so it can be improved and better for the dinner party.  The ricotta fell flat, so for next time, I think I’m going to opt for a blend of cheeses.  The star of this recipe, however, was the smoked onion tomato sauce.  I absolutely loved it; it would be fantastic on spaghetti with sausage (lightbulb!).  If you don’t have a smoker, I think it’d be just as easy to roast the onions and add a touch of liquid smoke.  Never tried it, so don’t take my word for it.  But if you do try it out, let me know how it turns out.

All in all, this recipe is still a work in progress, but I wanted to be sure to share even my not-so-great recipes.  Though, again, the tomato sauce was killer!

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli with Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Source: Adapted from Chef David Bush/St. Francis Winery
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

For the smoked onion tomato sauce:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 quart tomatoes, diced
salt

For the pasta dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp salt

For the pasta filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup ricotta

Directions:

1. Make the smoked onion tomato sauce.  Place onion slices in foil and lightly wrap.  Smoke in electric smoker on low for about 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Transfer onions from smoker to oven and cook until onions are soft, about 1 hour.  In a food processor, pulse onions until coarsely chopped. 

2. In a medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a simmer.  Add about 4 tbsp of chopped smoked onions and season with salt to taste.  Simmer for 15 minutes to incorporate the smoked flavor.  Save remaining onions for another use.  Place tomato mixture in food processor and pulse to make a slightly chunky sauce.

3. Make the pasta dough. Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  It’s important that the dough not come together, rather resemble course cornmeal.  Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead a few times.  Add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

4. Make filling for ravioli. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chard to a mixing bowl and let cool.  Add egg, breadcrumbs, salt, nutmeg and ricotta.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

5. Separate dough into 4 portions.  Using one portion, keeping the rest wrapped in plastic, knead and begin to roll out into sheets using a pasta roller.  Place scoops of 1 tbsp filling on pasta sheets, leaving at least 2-3 inches (depending on how large your ravioli cutter is) and cover with second sheet of pasta.  Press the dough firmly together around the filling, trying not to leave any air pockets.  Cut individual ravioli with round cookie cutter or ravioli stamper.  Repeat for remaining dough and filling.

6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan.  Boil for 3-4 minutes, remove and toss with smoked onion tomato sauce.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese if desired. 

Recipe Swap: Steak and Eggs with Molasses-Beer Sauce

Published June 21, 2013 by jenmatteson

One thing that I really like about the recipe swaps is that you never know what you’re going to get, and many times it forces you toWC-Recipe-Swap-badge-1 try something slightly out of your comfort zone.  This week’s swap theme was cooking/baking with alcohol.  Now who wouldn’t want to participate in this!?  Once again, the swap was hosted by Sarah, at A Taste of Home Cooking.  For the swap, I submitted my Guinness barbecue sauce, and was assigned steak and eggs from Coleen at The Redhead Baker.

Steak and Eggs with Molasses-Beer Sauce

Steak and eggs aren’t really my thing.  We don’t eat a lot of steak at home, very close to never.  I’d rather pay someone to cook it perfectly for me and only eat it once in a great while, but this wasn’t just any old steak and egg recipe, it was steak and eggs with molasses-beer sauce.  Sounded good enough, and I figured Nate would like it no matter what.  Now my problem was finding the time to make this.  We had an insanely busy last few days, and trying to fit in this recipe proved to be quite the task.  So when did I end up making this?  The night before it was due, which is pretty much a no-no in the swap world.  What if it doesn’t turn out right?  What if you forgot something at the store?  What if your pictures suck?  Many of these are things that could easily happen to me, but I had no choice.

Well, the only thing that went wrong was that the pictures weren’t stellar, but that’s okay.  I was very proud my steak cooking abilities.  It turned out a perfect medium, which is exactly how I like my steak.  The eggs were great, although not very photogenic.  The best part was the sauce.  To me, it was like a cross between an A1 steak sauce and a barbecue sauce.  It was sweet and spicy (of course because I added extra cayenne), and as stated by Coleen, this would be excellent on a burger!  Nate said it was really good with the yolk from the egg.  I’m guessing since I’m out-of-town all weekend, Nate will try it out on a burger, and maybe more eggs and leftover steak, and let me know how it turns out.

Steak and Eggs with Molasses-Beer Sauce

Steak and Eggs with Molasses-Beer Sauce

Source: Adapted from The Redhead Baker
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup lager-style beer
3/4 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp paprika

For the steak and eggs:
1/2 lb boneless sirloin steak
salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil
4 eggs

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining sauce ingredients and whisk until combined.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced to about 1 cup.  *Sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight.

2. Heat grill or skillet to medium high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Cook steak for about 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes for medium-rare doneness.  Remove from heat and let rest.  *If sauce was made in advance, gently re-heat in a small saucepan while cooking the steak.

3. Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Gently crack two eggs in the pan, leaving yolk intact for over-easy.  Cook until bottom egg white is set, about 2 minutes, and flip.  Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute to desired doneness.  Slide out onto serving plate and repeat with remaining two eggs.

4. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and divide among the serving plates.  Top with 1-2 tbsps of the molasses-beer sauce.

See what the other ladies cooked up for this boozy swap!

Recipe Swap: Crab Cakes and Roasted Vegetables with Tangy Butter Sauce

Published May 10, 2013 by jenmatteson

The latest installment of recipe swap was themed seafood, which I was over-the-moon excited about.  Again, this swap was hosted by Sarah, at A Taste of Home Cooking.  I submitted Scallops with WC-Recipe-Swap-badge-1Tarragon Butter Sauce, and  couldn’t wait to receive my assigned recipe.  Honestly, I was slightly disappointed to find that I was assigned crab cakes. But not because I don’t like crab cakes, rather because I already have two crab cake recipes in my blog (Bethany Frankel’s Crab Cakes and Crab Cakes with Chiptole Mayo), and I really enjoyed both of them.  But, that’s the spirit of the recipe swap; you never know what you’re going to get (you know, like a box of chocolates), and really, how could I be disappointed to make crab cakes – I love them!

Crab Cakes with Tangy Butter Sauce

Another great benefit of the recipe swaps is to connect with other bloggers, and many times, blogs you might not have otherwise visited.  I’ve definitely visited The Redhead Baker blog before, and may have even bookmarked a handful of Coleen’s recipes, but I believe this would be the first time I’d be making one.  And what a great recipe to make! The recipe originally comes from Cooking Light, and it certainly is a lightened up version of crab cakes, which I love.  Less filler, more crab, exactly the way they should be.

Crab Cakes with Tangy Butter Sauce

Crab Cakes with Tangy Butter Sauce

I had gotten everything I needed for this recipe last week at the grocery store, and I generally am very good at knowing exactly what, and how much I have of everything in my kitchen.  I was absolutely convinced that I had Old Bay seasoning, but come Sunday when I was putting these together, I didn’t.  I Googled a recipe to make my own Old Bay (what would we do without Google?), and had most spices on hand, so just used what I had.

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Tangy Butter Sauce

Coleen’s recipe included a tangy butter sauce to go with the crab cakes, which I thought sounded interesting.  If you read either of my other crab cake recipe posts, you’d know that I am generally a creamy-sauce-with-my-crab-cakes kinda girl.  But, I’m always happy to try something new!  I’m not sure if this is the sauce pictured in Coleen’s picture, as her’s does look like a creamy mayo based sauce.  Either that, or mine turned out completely different.  But good different!

Crab Cakes with Tangy Butter Sauce

The tangy butter sauce was a great compliment to the crab cakes and the vegetables.  While I was reducing the sauce, the vinegar smell was strong, so I was concerned it would be too acidic, but once I added the butter, it was much more subtle.  The crab cakes were perfect!  Meaty without a lot of filler, firm enough to stay together, but still fork-flakey like you’d want.  Breading the outside in panko added a perfect amount of crunch.  The vegetables were an added bonus.  It was perfect that they roasted for the same amount of time it takes for the crab cake mixture to refrigerate and come together.  Coleen’s recipe didn’t include green beans, but the original did, and I thought the plate needed some color, so I added those to the mix.  However, I didn’t think they would need to roast for 30 minutes, so I added them into the vegetable mix after 15 minutes.  Turns out, that’s exactly what the Cooking Light recipe instructed.  Great instincts!  Overall, it was a great little meal and I was happy to have tried a new crab cake recipe!

Crab Cakes with Tangy Butter Sauce

Crab Cakes and Roasted Vegetables with Tangy Butter Sauce

Source: Adapted from The Redhead Baker
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the crab cakes:
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
3 tbsp light mayonnaise or olive oil mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 lb lump crab meat, picked over for shells
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
olive oil

For the vegetables:
3 carrots, chopped
4 shallots, quartered
5 red potatoes, quartered
8 oz fresh green beans
olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

For the butter sauce:
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tsp finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp butter

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl.combine red onion, cilantro, mayonnaise, Dijon, Old Bay, Worcestershire and egg whites.  Gently fold in crab meat until combined.  Stir in 3/4 cup panko.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with foil.  Combine carrots, shallots, and red potatoes in a bowl and coat lightly with olive oil.  Dump onto prepared baking sheet and spread out into a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and mix green beans in with the rest of the vegetables.  Return to oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

3. Put remaining panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.  Remove crab mixture from refrigerator and divide into eight equal portions, forming each into a tight patty.  Dredge each patty in the panko, evenly coating both sides.  In a large frying pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and heat to medium.  Once oil is ready, gently place four patties in the pan and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes.  Carefully flip patties and cook until browned, another 5 minutes or so.  Transfer to a paper towel and repeat for remaining four patties.

4. In a saucepan, stir together chicken broth, vinegar and shallots.  Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5-8 minutes, until reduced by half.  Remove from heat and swirl in butter.  Spoon sauce over crab cakes and vegetables and serve.

Take a look at what the other ladies cooked up for the seafood swap!

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Published February 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

Nate loves scallops. Whenever we go out to eat, and there are scallops on the menu, there is a 95% chance that is what he’s ordering. I find it adorable that he sometimes confuses scallops with scallions. Easy mistake when reading it on a menu – not like he looks at green onions and thinks they are scallops. If that were the case, I might be worried.

Simple ingredients make the best dishesScallops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, today is his birthday, so I wanted to make something special for him. I was really hoping I didn’t screw anything up, because wouldn’t that be a crappy birthday present? Even if I did, I would hope he would have been satisfied with his birthday weekend. We had a fabulous dinner at the Capital Grille in Minneapolis on Friday night. I am not kidding you – this was the best steak I have ever had. They were cooked absolutely perfectly, and the rubs they use are to die for! For dessert, he got the creme brulee and I ordered the flourless chocolate cake. My goodness, it was so delicious! On top of that, we had superb service. It’s too bad we waited for so long to try this place, but it was well worth the price tag! If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.

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Another reason he should be satisfied for his birthday (even if I did screw up the scallops), is that I got him a smoker. He’s been talking about this since we moved in. Nate doesn’t do a lot of cooking, though he does most of the grilling. Not that he’s incapable, but he just doesn’t do it. For this reason, I’ve put off indulging his fascination with a smoker. But, I found one that was a smoker and roaster, which my brother said was highly recommended by his customers, so I went with that one. Plus, bonus, it was in my budget. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning opening it up.

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In case you are wondering why my pictures have a green tinge…it’s because I have a green case on my phone, and when I use my flash, it reflects off the side – I just realized this last night.  Duh.

Searing the scallops

Tarragon Butter Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, let’s get back on track. The scallops. I found this recipe on Food and Wine – my trusty standby for classic recipes. Nate and I both like tarragon, though it’s certainly a flavor that people generally hate or love. We are the latter! I served them over a bed of wilted spinach, with just a bit of lemon juice. I always seem to underestimate spinach – so much turns into so little! Either way, it was yummy. Surprisingly, I did a pretty good job on the scallops. I probably could have seared them for one minute more, but I was following the recipe and was more worried about over cooking them. My guess is that my pan wasn’t quite hot enough. They still had a nice color to them, and they tasted amazing. The pics aren’t too great, as I took the pictures around 6 PM, when it’s already dark out 😦

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Nate said they just melted in his mouth. The tarragon butter sauce was the perfect complement. I thought the tarragon might be a little to overpowering for the delicate scallops, but they actually complimented each other perfectly. I now will not be so terrified to make scallops again – though I doubt I’ll make them often seeing as though they were $22/lb 😮 Another bonus, one more thing checked off my 30 before 30 list!

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp butter
1 lb sea scallops, dried well
1 tsp salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 bunch fresh spinach
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup dry white wine
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

Directions:

1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil with 1/2 tbsp of butter over moderate heat. Season scallops with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Put half the scallops in the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on second side and just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil with 1/2 tbsp butter in pan and cook remaining scallops. Remove and place on paper towel.

2. Reduce heat to low, and add spinach to pan. Turn several times to coat in pan juices. Add lemon juice, and quickly remove from pan as soon as leaves have wilted. Divide spinach on plates and place scallops on top of spinach.

3. Wipe out pan. Return pan to moderate-low heat and add wine. Boil until reduced to about 2 tbsp, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to lowest setting. Whisk the remaining 4 tbsp butter into the wine. The butter should not melt completely, but just soften to form a smooth sauce. Add remaining 1/2 salt, lemon zest and tarragon. Pour over scallops and serve.

The best picture of course is the one where Charlotte thinks this is her plate.

Charlotte trying to snipe my dinner - but a great shot of the scallops in the top right corner!

Garlic Cream Sauce

Published June 28, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is a pretty basic sauce that I made for my buffalo chicken pizza, but you could certainly use it as sauce for pasta, fish, or chicken.  Let your imagination run wild!  I’ll get a picture the next time I make it.

Garlic Cream Sauce

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

4-6 cloves garlic (depending on how garlic-y you want it)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in flour until a thick paste begins to form.  Slowly add milk, continuously whisking.  Increase heat to medium-high until milk begins to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce reaches desired thickness.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

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