Ahhhhh, weekend!

January 21, 2011

A bottle of wine, a bowl of sweet potato ravioli, and thou beside me….

Thou? Beside me? The only living creature beside me tonight is Lucy Lu, snarfing up the last two ravioli. It is Friday, I am vegetating, and these ravioli have the potential for being some pretty fine stuff.

Not overly attractive, but most assuredly good!

I will make a tweak or two in technique the next time I make this. But all in all, it is Quite Fine, and if not at Sweet Baby Jesus level yet, it certainly has the potential to get there.

These would be the ravioli, y’all will recall (or if you don’t, pretend you do), that I made and froze last weekend when I was in a snow-induced cooking frenzy. Said ravioli which consisted of a baked sweet potato, mashed with butter and a tad of nutmeg, teaspoons of same encased in wonton wrappers, and frozen on a cookie sheet, later to be transferred to a serving sized baggie.

Tonight, as I was cooking burgers for NS, I decided I wanted those ravioli, which have been preying on my mind all week. (“It’s COLD in here! Let us oooouuuuutttttttt….”) So I plunked a baggie of about a dozen or so of them into boiling water in my stock pot, boiled them for about 7 minutes, and meanwhile browned 3 tbsp of butter and added maybe 1/2 tsp. dried sage.

I tossed the ravs into the skillet with the butter and sage, and thought to myself, “Self? Maybe you ought to let these little babies crisp up a bit.” So I let them fry a tad, until they got a nice golden, albeit they weren’t crisp.

Good stuff. I’ll tweak the filling a bit, but I’ll tweak the butter-browning-tossing procedure more, next time.

Once the ravs are boiled for 5 minutes or so, they ought to be dipped out and put, a 4 or 5 or however many your skillet will hold without crowding, into the butter,which has browned in a freakin’ flash when you put sage in it, so be forewarned. Then they should lie there, sizzling their happy little hearts out, until they get nice crispy bubbles all over their bottom side, at which point they should be flipped to acquire said nice crispy finish on t’other side. I’d estimate a good 3-4 minutes per side on medium high heat; it’s butter, so you can’t go much higher than that. Then they should be set aside to dry on a paper towel on a pan in the warm oven while you fry up the rest.

I put the whole batch in at once, originally planning on just tossing in the sauce, and while it was a single layer, it was crowded. Would have been worth the trouble to do it in either (a) a bigger skillet, or (b) two batches.

And once you’re through, plate those babies up and sprinkle them with some grated parmigiano reggiano.

They were damn good as they were tonight; faintly sweet potato filling, faintly savory butter/sage sauce. Do not be tempted to use more than a scant two tbsp of butter for a serving; I did, and they were a tad on the over-buttered side. Butter will spread a long way over cooked pasta.

I have two more baggies of the ravs, so I’ll keep y’all posted as to the change in technique. Next time, though, I’m monkeying with the filling. I want goat cheese in that filling, and I want some more assertive spice. Maybe pimenton, maybe cayenne. Maybe five-spice. We will play with this, and let you know.

Elsewhere on my culinary horizon for the weekend: Braised short ribs on Sunday. I’m thinking maybe a hunters-style chicken tomorrow, as I have a good deal of got-it-on-sale chicken in the freezer that wants cooking. Am taking Child C out to the track kitchen for breakfast (nothing exceptional in the way of food, but you get to eat with the trainers and jockeys, and that’s real cool), and then an hour or so strolling the backstretch and barns and then in to the grandstands to watch two or three races. Then I’ll come home, put the chicken on, and taken NS to get a hair cut and buy some new jeans (boy’s TOUGH on some jeans, I’m tellin’ ya!). And then hunters chicken tomorrow night. You think?

I also have to figure out what to do with some beef tips I inadvertently thawed, thinking they were ground beef from PJF. I’m thinking I may do them in the ancho-coffee braise, stick ’em in the fridge, and use ’em in enchiladas or tacos or quesadillas one night next week. I’m also going to hold the white beans and ham until one night next week, since there’s no point in making that on a weekend when I’m home when I can throw it in the crock-pot while I’m at work. Right? Right.

I’m off to figure out what I can sub for barley malt syrup in some bread I’m going to try this weekend. You and y’mama stay warm, and come on over Sunday have short ribs with me if you want!

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