Monday, July 19, 2010

Sur La Table = pretty food

For my birthday, Luke's sister Rachael gave me a gift certificate to Sur La Table. It was my first time going there, and it was basically my version of heaven. I spent forty minutes wandering up and down the aisles, picking up wonderfully unnecessary cooking tools and imagining all the things I could make (Shortcake cups that look like baskets? Molded shortbread? Properly funneled pies? (and if I'm ever rich, I would love to buy myself this)). I could've even stayed longer, but Luke got anxious to leave (he'd already gone to the Apple store, played with the new iphone, and come back). Before leaving, though, I was able to grab a couple not-needed-but-loved things that I've been wanting to get for a while- one thing I like about myself is how little stuff like this makes me so happy.

First, a tart pan. Pie tins work as just as well, but don't turn out as pretty. And it's impossible (for me) to cut a slice and get it onto a plate without messing it up a little. With a tart pan with removable bottom, you get beautiful looking quiches and tarts that look just as nice after being cut.

We usually try new things when we cook, but quiche is one of the few things we make on a regular basis. It's so cheap, so easy, and so yummy! And for a meal that lends itself to so many variations, we almost always have it the same way: spinach, mushrooms, and cheese. This quiche was good (after his first bite, Drew started swearing. In a good way), but what I'm really looking forward to is making tarts with light, flaky crusts and brimming with bright fruit.

My second purchase was a fluted ravioli cutter. Who needs it, right? But I've wanted to make ravioli for a while, haven't, and saw this as a way of getting me excited and motivated. And it worked. Tonight Luke and I made butternut squash ravioli with a browned sage butter drizzled on top. It was much easier than I thought it would be, and after eating huge platefuls, Luke and I leaned back and complimented ourselves on what good cooks we are.

The recipe (makes about 30 ravioli):

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash
about 1/4 c mozzarella

For the dough:
3 C flour
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
About 3/4 flour

1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
2. When the squash comes out of the oven, let it cool while you make the dough.
3. Sift together flour and salt. Make a well in the flour mixture and crack the eggs into the well. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Mix the eggs and flour together, and slowly add water until a stiff dough forms.
3. Knead the dough til smooth, and then cover and let it sit fifteen minutes.
4. Scoop the squash out of the shells, add dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and add the cheese.
5. Divide the dough in half and roll out each half as thin as you can get it- between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch.
6. Put the filling in little globs (about 1 t) about 1 1/2 inches apart on the dough. Cover with the other rolled out sheet, and press the sheets together around the filling to create little pockets. Cut with the ravioli stamp.

7. (Looking at recipes now, after the fact, I've learned that you should let the cut ravioli dry for an hour. We didn't do that, and it turned out well, but I will try that next time to see what a difference it makes).
8. Cook the ravioli by boiling it in salted water for 10-15 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, melt 2-3 T butter a pan, add sage (about 1/2 t), and brown.
10. Drizzle butter over the ravioli and serve.

It was so good!

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