Sunday, April 29, 2012

Guest Post: Sofia's Family Ravioli Recipe



This week we have a great guest poster!  Sofia, an old friend of mine (and extremely talented photographer) recently posted the above photo on her Facebook page. Since Ravioli is something I have always wanted to try making (and because it looks so delicious!) I knew immediately that I would have to ask her to post the recipe for you all.  Thankfully she agreed, so here it is: 

Hi guys! 

So Jacqueline, the very talented cook has asked me to write about my family's homemade ravioli recipe.  Please forgive me as I don't write recipes for a living but here is my best attempt at it!  Good luck! 

Ingredients
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup O type flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 dashes of salt
- 1 tsp olive oil (the good stuff)


Directions

Mix flours together in a bowl.  place half the mixture in a pile on a cutting board on your counter.  Make a well in the middle of the pile of flour and crack one egg into the well.  Add a dash of salt to the egg as well as half a tsp of olive oil.  Stir this mixture in the middle of the well with a fork slowly incorporating more and more flour.  You want to almost neat the eggs in the middle of the flour mixture before you start adding more flour from the edges.  Keep doing this till you have a nice consistency with the dough.  Repeat with the rest of the flour mixture and the other egg. 

Next you want to knead your dough for about 15 minutes. Great pasta requires love.
Rest dough which has been perfectly kneaded into a ball in the fridge. The dough needs to rest before you stretch it.

Our family uses a pasta machine to then stretch the dough out and then make raviolis. You can find a great pasta machine at any local Italian market. There is a great one near downtown Edmonton if you live near there. If you don’t have one then a rolling pin will do. You will have to keep an eye on the dough to have an even thickness at every end.

Stuffing the raviolis is quite easy. You line up little balls of your mixture and brush an egg yolk wash around the edges so that when you put a layer of dough on top it will stick together. Make sure your pockets of ravioli have NO openings because if you do, you’ll end up with fillings in your boiling water instead of in your raviolis.





Boil the raviolis. Toss in your favorite tomato or cheese sauce, in our family we roast our own tomato sauce which is SO worth it to do. We will leave that recipe for maybe another guest post! ;)

My family tips:
*The type of flour you use will help. Semolina is coarse so mixing it with a finer one makes a great combination. The type O or OO flour is great for pasta and pizza dough, this is our favorite flour to use with the semolina.

*Always mix the salt with the flour, if you mix it into the flour mixture you will not get even distribution. No one likes just one piece of super salty pasta… if you get my drift…

*Fillings – Ravioli is a GREAT way to get rid of left overs. We change up our fillings almost every time we make this. If we have leftover sautéed mushrooms from dinner last night, then mushrooms and some mascarpone and parmesan will be the filling the next night. We’ve done everything from left over crab to roasted acorn squash (Try that one with pine nuts… holy good)

*Always do equal parts flour to eggs for this recipe.

Enjoy!

Sofia Larocque.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts


I have had homemade Pop-Tarts in the back of my mind for awhile now.  They ended up happening randomly when I found myself with leftover pie crust and strawberry filling.  I sold these at the farmer's market this week and they were a huge hit!  I will be making them again for the next market for sure.


I wasn't planning on posting them so soon, but since so many people were asking me for the recipe, I couldn't make you guys wait!  :)  I'll be sure to post more photo's of the process when I make them again later in the week.

Ingredients
- 1 pie crust (I use 1/2 the dough from this recipe)
- 1/2 cup strawberry filling or strawberry jam (or your favourite flavour)
- 1 tbsp sprinkles

For Icing
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tsp milk

Directions

Roll pie crust dough on a flat surface.  Cut out a rectangle from the dough (for regular Pop-Tart size you need to cut it to about 5"x 3").  I used the base of a medium sized Lock & Lock container (think Tupperware) as my cutter.

Place 1-2 tbsp of filling on the bottom crust, leaving approx a cm around the edges for easy sealing. 

Place top crust on bottom crust and crimp edges with a fork. 

Bake in 375 degree oven for approx 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

While cooling, mix ingredients for icing together.  You want the icing to be fluid, but not runny. 

Once Pop-Tart's have cooled, add icing to taste and sprinkles right away (icing will harden upon standing so if not done right away sprinkles won't stick). 

Enjoy! 




Twila's Pie Crust


My cousin Twila is another great cook in my life.  Other than my Gramma, she is the only person I know who makes ALL of her family's bread from scratch.  She has some amazing classic recipes, and I'm really excited to share this one with you.  This pie crust boasts a flakey, buttery crust... the first time I made this recipe Marc commented on how delicious it was, and asked what it was that I did different. 

This makes a HUGE double pie crust (honestly you could probably even make two pies) but luckily it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and can be frozen quite well also. 

Ingredients
- 5 cups flour
- 1 lb (2 cups) lard or shortening (I use butter)
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vinegar

Directions

Mix flour, lard (or butter) and salt.

Crack an egg into a 1 cup measuring cup and add vinegar.  Top the cup up with ice cold water (it must be cold or it will be really hard to work the dough). 

Cut liquid into butter (I really like using my food processor for this but Twila prefers to cut it by hand with either a pastry cutter). 

Roll into a ball.  Can be used immediately or refrigerated for easier rolling. 

Enjoy! 






Sunday, April 15, 2012

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream


I absolutely love this recipe.  Not just because it's vegan, healthy, and delicious, but also because it uses one of my all-time favourites - coconut.  

Coconut is a super food, a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and full of protein and fibre.  It's water is also full of amazing electrolytes (great for replenishing your body after exercise, or perhaps an evening of alcohol consumption?). It's even starting to gain some popularity being replaced as a sports drink.

For this recipe we are using the thick, creamy coconut milk.  You can find coconut milk in the ethnic isle of your local grocery store.  


Ingredients
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat, not light). 
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar (optional)

Directions
Refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight.  This is an important step as it helps to separate the coconut milk leaving a solid creamy layer on top and thinner clear liquid layer on the bottom. 

Open your can of coconut milk and skim off the top.  This will be about 3/4 of the can.  You no longer need the remaining coconut juice (what's left at the bottom) for this recipe, but you can set it aside to use in other recipes (a smoothie perhaps)?


I thought it kind of looked like ice cream!  This prompted me to freeze a portion of it, which was quite delicious!  I can't wait to whip out my ice cream maker this summer and make a vegan coconut milk ice cream!  Yum!  


Whip until smooth, either using a hand whisk or an electric mixer.  Add vanilla sugar and whip until combined. 


I used it to top my morning coffee in my favourite mug (yep - still a kid at heart). 


It really was as delicious as it looks. 


Combine with equal parts greek yogurt for a fruit dip that is out of this world! 


Enjoy! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Earl Grey Vanilla Bean Cookies


This is my third recipe to be featured in The Hinton Voice.   It's still so surreal to every time I see my recipes in print.  I absolutely love coming up with different recipes to share, and it's an honour to be able share them via such a great publication. 

Here is the excerpt from The Hinton Voice - April 5th, 2012.

[I am a huge tea lover - I have an entire shelf in my kitchen devoted entirely to loose teas and tea accessories.  Earl Grey tea has always been one of my favourites.  I remember the first time I ever experienced the wonderful aroma of Earl Grey tea - it was on a hot summer day and I was perusing an outdoor market.  My eye caught a beautiful wooden box and in it laid the tea.  Upon opening the box, my nose filled with an aroma that reminded me of fragrant flowers.  Turns out I wasn't too far off - Earl Grey's distinctive flavour and aroma is derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the Bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit.  I absolutely love the aroma that fills my house when these cookies are baking. 

These cookies remind me of my favourite coffeehouse tea, the London Fog.  The London Fog is a blend of Earl Grey tea and vanilla sugar, whipped deliciously into steamed milk.  I've also been told that this cookie tastes quite similar to Fruit Loops. 

This is a great cookie to have with a warm cup of tea, or to make as a gift for the tea lovers in your life.] 

Ingredients
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla sugar*
- 2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves (about 6 bags)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup butter, chilled

* If you don't have vanilla sugar, you can substitute granulated sugar with an extra splash of vanilla extract.  If you want to make your own, the recipe is below:

Vanilla Sugar
(combine ingredients in a food processor or small blender)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1-2 vanilla beans scraped

Directions

Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugars, tea and salt) in a food processor and blend until well combined. 

Cut butter into pieces and slowly add to dry ingredients.  Add vanilla extract and mix until sought forms. 

Remove from food processor and form the dough into a log about 16 inches long (I made mine a yore log).  Roll log in granulated sugar, or vanilla sugar. 

Wrap in wax paper and chill in fridge for at least an half hour before baking. 

Once chilled, cu cookies to about 1/3 inch thick.  You should get approximately 4 dozen (48) cookies. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake until the edges of the cookies are brown around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. 

Enjoy! 

- Nutritional Info (per cookie) -
Calories - 69   Fat - 4    Carbs - 8     Protein - 1    Fibre - 0

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dragon's Den Inspired: Holy Crap & Skinny B Breakfast Cereal Recipe


I've been watching Dragon Den ever since it first started airing on CBC.    I'm always intrigued by the different pitchers on the show, and find it extremely entertaining.  I think it's safe to say that the pitch for "Holy Crap" cereal was one of the most successful, if not the most successful Dragon's Den stories to date.  

Always a fan of trying new things (especially healthy new things) I eagerly bought the cereal as soon as I saw it in my local grocery store. The first time  I tried the cereal I was hooked.  It's full of powerful and healthy ingredients and incredibly great for your digestive health.  I have heard numerous testimonials from people who claim it has worked miracles for them, and proclamations of how much energy they have after eating it.  Even still, $9.99 for a small 225g bag didn't really feel like I was getting my money's worth.   

I scanned the ingredients on the package and realized that most of them could actually already be found in my cupboard.  I stopped at the health food store in Jasper yesterday and picked up the few remaining ingredients... the entire recipe cost me around $20 locally (slash that price in half if purchased from bulk stores) and yields 5 cups (which is over 4 times the amount you get in a package of Holy Crap). 

I suspect the recipe isn't exact as mine comes out 30 calories less than the original - but I think they look/taste the exact same, and lower calories is a good thing, right? 

I'm really looking forward to trying different flavours - I've already made a pina colada inspired one (recipe below) to sprinkle on my yogurt this morning.  :) 

Ingredients

Base Formula ("Skinny B")
- 1.75 cup chia seeds
- 1.25 cup buckwheat
- 1.5 cup hemp hearts

Cran-Apple Cinnamon ("Holy Crap")
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup dried apples
- 1 tsp cinnamon

Pina Colada (my version)
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes (I prefer unsweetened)
- 1/3 cup banana chips, crushed
- 1/4 cup dehydrated pineapples

Directions

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container (such as a mason jar).

For cereal:  combine 2 tbsp cereal with 4 tbsp milk of choice (I like almond milk).  Stir gently and let sit for 5 minutes.

Both are also quite delicious sprinkled in yogurt.



Enjoy!

Can you tell the difference? ;)



- Nutritional Info Base Formula (2 tbsp - 28 g) - 
Calories - 92   Fat - 5    Carbs - 8     Protein - 4    Fibre - 4

- Nutritional Info Cran-Apple Cinnamon (2 tbsp - 28 g) - 
Calories - 101   Fat - 5    Carbs - 10     Protein - 4    Fibre - 5
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