Ravioli: Take Two

Yesterday, we quickly mentioned the pumpkin ravioli. This ravioli is similar to the four cheese in that the dough is the same, but other than that, they are very different. The filling has pumpkin puree, which is the insides of a pumpkin minus the seeds baked at 350˚ with the shell, and then pureed. It also has nutmeg, ricotta, and salt. We made this mixture and left it in the fridge overnight.

Today we are assembling both the four cheese and the pumpkin ravioli, and so far things are turning out as expected! We have already learned the thinner the dough the better. While boiling you will be able to tell if the dough is too thick because the dough will start to separate from itself and form air pockets. Luckily, we learned this from our first trial and we were able to make the pumpkin ravioli a bit thinner, but it was still slightly too thick. The filling was still delicious.

Ravioli Dough

2 c all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 t olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 T water

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and form a well. Beat the olive oil, eggs, and water in a bowl. Pour half the egg mixture into the well. Begin mixing the egg with the flour with one hand; use your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add the remaining egg mixture and knead to form a dough.
  2. Knead the dough until smooth, this will take about 8 to 10 minutes, and add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic., then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. After chilled, flatten dough with a rolling pin and make into a large rectangle

Pumpkin Ravioli Filling 

Ingredients

1 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Mix the cheese, pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the nutmeg. Set filling aside.
  2. Drop 2 level teaspoons filling onto half of the rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches apart in 2 rows of 4 mounds each. Moisten the edges of the dough, and the dough between the rows of pumpkin mixture with water. Fold the other half of the dough up over the pumpkin mixture, pressing the dough down around the pumpkin. Cut between the rows of filling to make ravioli; press the edges together with a fork, or cut with a pastry wheel. Seal edges well. Repeat with the remaining dough and pumpkin filling. Place ravioli on towel. Let stand, turning once, until dry, about 30 minutes.
  3. Cook ravioli in 4 quarts of boiling salted water until tender; drain carefully.

For later in the week, we are going to attempt to contact anyone we know to try to find an attachment to the kitchen aid to make the pasta thinner. This would make the pasta making process much easier and would allow us to make thinner pasta, hopefully improving the overall quality of the dish. For tomorrow, we plan to try making uniform-sized squares and lay them on top of one another and crimp all four edges, instead of a slice that we fold. Hopefully allowing a thinner edge and decreasing the amount of dough to filling ratio. Other changes we hope to make are a smaller ravioli to allow for a shorter cooking time. We also plan to make sure the ravioli is served hot to make sure the cheese filling doesn’t harden in the cool air.

Although today the ravioli cooking process went very smoothly and was much easier than we thought, the final product was very unsatisfactory.  I personally found both the taste and texture of the ravioli utterly disgusting. The thickness of the dough upset my stomach and made the ravioli itself difficult to eat. Although the filling of both had an exceptional flavor, the proportions of the ravioli to filling was all wrong. Pasta is my favorite dish, and today was disappointing. For the rest of the week I want to be more cautious about thickness and distribution, hopefully with the mistakes made today this will be possible.

-Jenna

My expectations of the ravioli were not met in today’s attempts. The raviolis came out looking sad and diseased. This appearance was brought on by the discoloration, appearing almost white, and the air bubbles on the surface. The thickness of the dough was also a problem. The dough turned tough, and thick when cooked, even though we rolled it out thinner than a dime. Tomorrow I hope to remedy these problems by making the ravioli differently, rolling the dough thinner, and serving them hot. The assembly will be different in the way that we are cutting two uniform sheets and laying one atop the other with the filling in between. The other two steps seem self explanatory.

-Ryan

I was not expecting the taste and texture of the ravioli at all. We made the pasta as thin as a dime, but the ravioli was still very thick. It made the cook time of the ravioli much longer than usual. , and when I ate just a few, my stomach felt very queasy. The filling was very good and helped drown of the taste of the pasta.  In the pumpkin ravioli, the nutmeg was much stronger than all of the other tastes. I almost couldn’t taste the pumpkin it was so strong.  I think that a pasta maker could help make the pasta thinner, which would lessen my stomach ache. Also, making squares the same size could minimize the amount of extra pasta on the sides of the ravioli.

-Zeb

Ravioli: Take One

This week we are focusing on one dish and evolving it throughout the week. The dish we are focusing on is ravioli. The plan for the week is to start by using a simple cheese recipe, and after we have practiced the basics we will use more complicated recipies including pumpkin and bacon. Seeing as we don’t have a lot of practice making ravioli, we know this will be an adventure. We have budgeted for mistakes, but hope to not make any. Our goal for today is to have another smooth cooking day and make another delious meal.

Four Cheese Ravioli

Ingredients

Ravioli Dough:

2 c all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 t olive oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 T water

Ravioli Filling:

1 (8 oz) container ricotta cheese

1 (4 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 c provolone cheese, shredded

1 egg

1 1/2 t dried parsley

Directions

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and form a well. Beat the olive oil, eggs, and water in a bowl. Pour half the egg mixture into the well. Begin mixing the egg with the flour with one hand; use your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add the remaining egg mixture and knead to form a dough.
  2. Knead the dough until smooth, this will take about 8 to 10 minutes, and add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic., then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is resting, prepare the ravioli filling. Mix the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, egg, and parsley and set the filling aside.
  4. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Beat the egg with the tablespoon of water to make the egg wash.
  5. Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets and assemble the ravioli. Brush the egg wash over a sheet of pasta and drop the filling mixture on the dough by teaspoonfuls about one inch apart. Cover the filling with the top sheet of pasta, pressing out the air from around each portion of filling. Press firmly around the filling to seal. Cut into individual ravioli with a knife or pizza cutter and seal the edges.
  6. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the ravioli, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered until the ravioli float to the top and the filling is hot, this should take about 4 to 8 minutes.
  7. Drain the ravioli

Today we were a bit short on time. This morning we were working on an informational video, and so we only had two hours in the afternoon to make our four cheese ravioli. Since the ravioli has to sit in the fridge for an hour, we decided not to actually finish one ravioli project, but to make the filling and the dough for the pumpkin and four cheese ravioli’s. We ran into a bit of trouble with the dough. First, we managed to spill egg all over the floor when we added to the flour and salt well, because we made the well on a cutting board and it slid out of the well when we tried to mix it. We ended up having to add a lot of water, and some olive oil to make the dough. At least we didn’t have to start over, and the dough is sitting overnight tonight, so that it will be ready to be shaped first thing in the morning. The filling went without error, and is also sitting in the fridge overnight, ready to be glopped in the middle.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 c all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c sugar
1 T ground cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
2. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, all the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
3. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place the balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

These snickerdoodles were some of the easiest cookies to make, they are very low maintenance and have a remarkably short cooking time. The mixing process went without flaw, the only way we differed from the original recipe was replacing the Cream of Tartar with lemon juice.  This was done at the instruction of our teachers, Ms. Baker and Mrs. McGreevey. The baking process also went without error, with the cookies being done at exactly 10 minutes.  The cookies came out looking delightful and tasting wonderful.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Today we are making a class meal. Each group has chosen a side dish to accompany the store bought and home-bred chickens we will be examining and cooking. After two days of complications in the kitchen, we are simplifying things. Garlic Mashed Potatoes is an easy yet delicious recipe that we have previous knowledge of making, so our goal is to have them turn out perfectly.

We are trying two different things today, adjusting the recipe and focusing on timing to fit our needs. Our goal is to have every group’s side dish out of the oven simultaneously. While our recipe says the time should be approximately 50 minutes, we are allotting extra time given our cooking record. We are also adjusting the recipe slightly, by replacing parmesan with 1 package of scallions we hope to improve the quality of the recipe and add diversity to the meal.

Original Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 2 c half-and-half
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 oz grated Parmesan
  1. Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.
  2. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil
  4. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
  5.  While the potatoes are cooking, heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
  6. Remove from heat and set aside
  7. Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water.
  8. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan, stir to combine.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Our Recipe for Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 2 c half-and-half
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 package scallions
  1. Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.
  2. Crush the garlic and set aside
  3. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil
  5. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
  6. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
  7. Also while the potatoes are cooking wash and cut the scallions into 1/2 inch pieces. Then saute them over medium-low heat until tender.
  8. Remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water.
  10. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and scallions; stir to combine.
  11. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

After two days of mistakes, and dishes gone wrong, we  finally have a success. The mashed potatoes came out wonderfully! Everything went smoothly, the instructions were followed exactly, and we had absolutely no problems.  And on top of no problems while cooking, they tasted delicious. By far, some of best potatoes we’ve eaten. Not only were they a big hit at the meal, but we had no problem getting rid of the leftovers. Overall, today was a wonderful day. All of the groups came together as one, and we enjoyed a very tasty meal.

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Cake

2.5 c flour
1.5 c sugar
2  T unsweetened baking cocoa
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1.5 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
1  oz red food coloring
2 eggs

  1. Heat Oven to 350˚F. Grease bottoms and sides of 3 (8 or 9-inch) round pans with shortening; lightly flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low-speed 30 seconds,  scraping bowl constantly. Beat two minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
  3. Pour into pans.
  4. Bake 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool ten minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Frosting

0.5 c flour
1.5 c milk
1.5 c sugar
1.5 c butter, softened
1 T vanilla

  1. In medium saucepan, mix 0.5 cups flour and 1.5 cups milk with whisk until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture is very thick, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.
  4.  In a large bowl, beat 1.5 cups sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5.  Gradually add flour mixture by tablespoons; beat on high-speed until smooth.

Cake Assembly

  1. Fill and frost cake, using 1 cup frosting between layers.
  2. Store covered in fridge.

While the cake is cooking, we are reflecting on how the first step of our cake making process went. First we should mention that we did, in fact, not make Red Velvet Cake, instead we made Pink Velvet Cake. While there is a common misconception about a reaction with the cocoa powder that turns the cake red, it only gets its coloring from the red food dye. Without knowing this before experimenting, we did not add enough dye to turn the cake a deep red color. We also learned a new, very effective way to grease the pan. By adding parchment paper to the bottom of a greased pan, and then greasing the top of the paper, it keeps the cake together and stops it from sticking to the pan. When we got to cooking the cake, we found out two things. Our oven was accidentally set to 400˚ F, and thankfully, after checking 14 minutes into the cook time, discovered that our cakes were cooked. The red velvet cake doesn’t rise as much as expected.

While waiting for the cake to cool, we learned yet another trick to baking. By putting the cakes into the fridge, we can reduce the cooling time and speed up the entire process.

After allowing the butter to soften, we made the frosting. We found, through tasting the frosting, that you have to mix the milk and flour together before putting it in the sauce pan because the flour becomes clumpy, and the frosting looks and tastes wrong. To remedy this problem we tried something rather low-tech. We took the frosting and pressed it through the strainer with the back of a rubber spatula. This effectively removed all the flour clumps and left a smooth, creamy, sugary delight. Other than that, the frosting went smoothly and without error.

Fried Eggs and Home Fries

What started as simple home fries and fried eggs, soon took us on a potato adventure like no other. We began by following this family recipe, seemingly simple, easy, and fool proof.

Zeb and Jenna preparing the potatoes

Diced Potatoes

Home Fries

Ingredients:
4 medium  potatoes
1 medium onion
1 T olive oil

Directions
1. Wash the potatoes, dry them, and then cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes.
2. Put potatoes into a 3 qt. saucepan, and add enough water to cover them.
3. Allow the water to boil, and cook the potatoes until firm.
4. While the potatoes are boiling, wash, dry, and cut the onion into a 1/4 inch dice and add into a medium sized frying pan after adding the olive oil in to the pan. Turn on stove to low heat.
5. Once the potatoes are firm, drain them from the saucepan using a colander, and then add them into the frying pan with the onions and olive oil
6. Turn the burner to medium heat and cook until browned and crispy

After cutting onions and potatoes into the appropriate size,  we boiled the potatoes and

our problems began. We let the potatoes boil too long and get soft rather than keeping them firm.

After transferring the potatoes and onions into the frying pan, and adding oil, we could tell something was wrong. Instead of browning, the potatoes turned to mush. We now had a pan full of mashed potatoes. This happened because we allowed the potatoes to boil too long and become soft, and when added to the fry pan, they just completely fell apart and became a mash.

In our attempts to save breakfast, we formed the mess of potatoes into round pancakes and fried them in more olive oil. In the end, the potatoes tasted great. Complimented with the fried eggs, breakfast was salvaged and we had the confidence to cook another day.

Final Product

To replicate our surprise variation, scoop potatoes into separate balls and create small pancakes similar to latkes.

Along with our potatoes, we made fried eggs by following these simple steps.

  1. Add olive oil, butter, or any other non-stick substance into a medium frying pan.
  2. Gently crack your egg into the pan from about 4 inches above the surface of the pan.
  3. Allow the egg to cook until the egg white is opaque white.
  4. Gently flip the egg and cook for roughly the same amount of time.
  5.  Serve.

The Fried Egg