Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mint Pesto Lamb with Ravioli

My first time cooking lamb, and I really didn't know what I was doing, but I loosely adapted this recipe and served it with a side of ravioli. Overall not bad, but bc the meat wasn't marinated in anything, it wasn't very flavorful. In the original recipe you're supposed to use rack of lamb, maybe that inherently has more flavor?

Mint Pesto Lamb Steaks with Ravioli

To prep the lamb:
- Large leg of lamb steak (~3/4 lbs)
- Olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with olive oil and heat over high heat. When the oil is hot, sear each side of the lamb steak for ~3min each, until nicely browned. Then place the skillet (with oil and juices) into the oven and roast for ~30 min, or until the lamb is almost done to your liking (I roasted for 30 min because I like it well done and after 30 min, it was about medium-well done).

For the pesto:
- 1/2 c loosely packed mint leaves (but 1/2 c basil leaves would be way better)
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- a few dashes of salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil

While the lamb is roasting, in a food processor, blend together the mint, nuts, cheese, garlic, and salt. Then add olive oil and a little water if necessary to make a smooth creamy paste.

When the lamb steaks are almost ready, drain the juices from the skillet. Then spread the pesto over the meat and place back into the oven for ~5 min. Serve with ravioli, below.

For the ravioli:
- 1 pack Trader Joe's goat cheese and sun-dried tomato ravioli (from the refrigerated section)
- 1/2 jar of marinara sauce (my recipe for this amount is below)
- 3 medium mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini)
- 1/4-1/2 c frozen spinach
- olive oil

Prepare the ravioli as instructed on the packaging. While the ravioli is boiling, coat a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Then add the mushrooms and spinach. When the mushrooms are cooked through, add the marinara sauce and drained ravioli and sautee until the sauce is heated.

Marinara Sauce:
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated, (preferable) or 1Tbsp dried, minced, garlic
- 3 small-medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp dry Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions and sautee until the onions are translucent. If using fresh garlic, add it and sautee for another minute. Then add the tomatoes and other seasonings. Once the tomatoes are completely cooked (i.e., they've completely disintegrated except for the skins), allow the mixture to cool and then blend into a liquid in a blender.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Oh no. I typed up this recipe. And then accidentally ate all the pie before taking a picture!! Oooops. I feel bad stealing the picture from the blog the recipe is from, so, click the link below to see pictures!!


Like everyone else, I made a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. This pie turned out perfect--light and fluffy and not very sweet. Definitely a keeper recipe! (Adapted from here)

this pie crust, but with pecans instead of walnuts

2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp allspice
dash of salt
2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter

1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 10-inch pie pan (the deeper the better) with crust. Bake the empty crust for 10-15 min.

2. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until they are blended. Stir in the brown sugar, cream, milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt. When they are blended, stir in the melted butter and pour the filling into the pie shell.

3. Place the pie in the oven and decrease the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of the pie comes out clean. Set the pie on a rack to cool. This pie tastes great cold, room temp, or warm, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Climbing Cake

This one was for a rock climbing enthusiast. The base is a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. We also baked a chocolate cake, which was cut to the shape of a rock and placed on top of the carrot cake.

Moose Cake!

No fancy recipes here. Just a quick cake I made for an Alsakan friend that I thought I'd share. This is just a yellow box cake with chocolate frosting. The piping is cream cheese frosting done by cutting a small hole in a ziplock bag. The inspiration was Bullwinkle!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Kale

I had something similar to this last year at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and have been dying to recreate it ever since. It is the perfect combination of sweet and bitter. Here is my modified version:

Ingredients (serves 4):
Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Ravioli (2 packs)
Kale (1 big bunch, about 6 cups of leaves)
Garlic (3 cloves, minced)
Olive oil (1/4 cup)
Almonds (small handfull, chopped)
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Pull off the kale leaves from the stalks, and wash well
Chop into strips about a cm thick
Bring a pot of water (with salt) to a boil
Add the kale, and let kale sit in boiling water for 3 mins
Drain, but keep about 1/2 cup of drained water
Add the olive oil and garlic to the kale
Add the drained water and let steam for 3-5 mins

Cook the ravioli as per directions on the package

Serve the kale over the ravioli and top with the cheese and almonds

Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Filling

When I bake, there are three has to be eggless, quick, and delicious. Here is one of my favorite combinations that I have used in both cake and cupcake form.

The cake is easy...I use Duncan Hines devil's food chocolate cake mix. Instead of egg, oil, and water, I add milk (to replace the quantity of water on the box). The cake rises very well even without the egg. You can make a sheet cake or cupcakes.

Filling: Fresh strawberries and sugar at a ratio of two-three table spoons of sugar per small basket of strawberries depending on sweetness of berries. Chop the strawberries up into very small pieces, and heat berries and sugar on the stove top at a high setting. Let the mixture boil, and the moisture evaporate, and stir often. Eventually, the mixture will start to resemble a jelly. You want to wait until this stage, as too much moisture in the filling with make your cake soggy.

For a cake, spread the filling between layers. If you will be storing the cake before consuming, a thin layer of frosting between each layer of cake and the filling will help keep the moisture in the filling out of the cake.

For cupcakes, use a deep bottle cap (one from a screwtop bottle of wine works well) to drill/scoop out a hole in each cupcake. Fill this hole with the filling, and then frost.

Frosting: I have used both cream cheese and chocolate frosting with this combo, and both taste great!