Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday Night Dinner, Pork Chops grilled over Applewood, November 18,2011
I tried to think of a good fall menu for the Friday before Thanksgiving. Pork chops came to mind, pumpkin ravioli, apples and a different squash that I stumbled upon in the grocery store called "Carnival Squash".
Pumpkin, Mascarpone and Vanilla Bean Ravioli with Sage Pesto Cream Sauce
So I made this up and didn't measure anything. I had this can of organic pumpkin I bought one day sitting in the cabinet and decided to use it for this dish. I combined about 1/2 the can, about 4 oz of mascarpone cheese, the seeds of a vanilla bean, salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, Parmesan cheese, chopped pine nuts and a couple handfuls of almond flour. Tasting as I go to see if it needs more of this or that. I added the almond flour because it was too thin for stuffing ravioli and I thought the almond flour would thicken it and it did. I mixed in 2 egg yolks for richness and to help bind the mixture. I made the pasta dough using just OO flour and 2 eggs. I kneaded the dough for about 10-12 minutes to ensure silky pasta and let it sit until I was ready to roll it out and fill it. I got a pot of water boiling and rolled out the pasta; drop by tablespoons full of the filling on one sheet of pasta dough and cover with another sheet of pasta dough pressing down around the filling; I used a cookie cutter to cut out circles around the filling; make sure they are tightly sealed and drop into the boiling water; cook about 3-4 minutes and remove to a pan with a couple tablespoons of butter melted with a couple sprigs of fresh sage; Cook the ravioli in the butter for a couple minutes; grate some Parmesan cheese over and plate. I made some sage pesto using a combination of sage and parsley I combined it in the food processor with garlic, the herbs, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. I heated this pesto and mixed in some heavy cream to make it a cream sauce and spooned it over and around the ravioli. I topped with a sprinkling of pea tendrils. I loved the pine nuts in the ravioli, it added a nice texture to the otherwise soft pillow-like ravioli. Tony wasn't sure the pesto went with the sweetness of the ravioli filling. We will have to taste it again at lunch and see if we still think that.
Pork Chop Grilled over Apple wood
Simply just how it sounds Tony got the charcoal ready by adding some soaked apple wood to the embers and he did the grilling. I prepared them with a good sprinkling of kosher salt and roughly ground black pepper and olive oil. They were very nicely done.
Roasted Carnival Squash with Garlic and Apple
I thought I would roast this different squash and mix it with roasted apple and garlic and that's what I did. I cut the squash in quarters, sprinkled on salt, pepper and olive oil. On two of the quarters I added maple syrup. After 40 minutes at 400 degrees they were roasted. I removed them and roasted the apples chopped into 1 inch dice with lemon juice, cinnamon and butter. I also separated some garlic cloves leaving the skin on and drizzled them with olive oil and roasted them at the same time but separate from each other. After about 30 minutes they were done. I spooned all the flesh out of the skins of the squash and put it into a baking dish, added the apples and squeezed the caramelized garlic out of the skins and lightly mixed the three ingredients. Top these ingredients with a couple pieces of butter and just before eating I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Yum!
Sauteed Baby Kale with Shallots
This was the biggest surprise of all. I found these baby kale at Whole Foods and figured I would saute them. I heated butter and olive oil then added sliced shallots, after just a couple minutes I added the kale and a sprinkling of dried cranberries. From start to finish they took 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, they were sooooo goooooood!!
Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries
I have made creme brulee many times, but not lately, and it was so good! To make 8, 4 oz ramekin servings heat in a small saucepan 3 cups heavy cream, 1 vanilla bean and the zest of an orange; bring to a simmer and remove from the heat; cover and let steep for 5 minutes; meanwhile whisk 6 large egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when dropped from the whisk back into the bowl; slowly incorporate the heavy cream mixture into the egg mixture while constantly whisking; strain the custard and pour into the ramekins and place the ramekins in a shallow pan lined with a kitchen towel; pour hot water in the pan to come half way up the sides of the ramekins; bake in a 350 oven for 30-35 minutes; remove the ramekins from the hot water and let cool slightly; chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours; sprinkle on a thin layer of brown sugar and use a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar; let sugar harden for about 3-4 minutes then serve with or with out fresh berries.