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Posts Tagged ‘nutmeg’


Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Meatballs&MilkshakesThis may be the last pasta post for a little while, as I’m going to try to be a little healthier for as long as I can stand it. Sweet potatoes are a favorite around the apartment, and they make light and fluffy gnocchi with more depth of flavor than regular gnocchi. Combine them with some crisp sage and pecorino, and they become truly delicious little clouds.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

1 1/2 pound sweet potato (1 large sweet potato), pricked with a fork

8 ounce container of fresh ricotta, preferably local

3 ounces grated parmesan

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups flour

Roast the sweet potato in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or microwave on high for 4 minutes a side until soft. Let cool. Meanwhile, let the ricotta drain in a sieve or coffee filter for two hours to remove some of the extra liquid.

Scrape the flesh from the potato skin and mash, it should be about 2 cups. Add the ricotta and combine. Add the salt, brown sugar, nutmeg, and half the flour. Combine well. Add the rest of the flour in parts until the dough becomes a ball. You may not need it all.

Dump it onto a board and form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour up to a couple days.

Cut pieces off the ball and roll into ropes about a half inch thick with plenty of extra flour. Slice into inch long pieces. They can be kept in a single layer and frozen, store in some flour.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Pecorino

2 cups gnocchi, made as above (1 cup per person)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves

6-8 sage leaves

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Cook the gnocchi in heavily salted water for 2-3 minutes, until they aggressively float. Meanwhile, Saute the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat until it starts to brown. Remove the garlic and add the sage. Be careful, because they will pop a little at first due to the water content. Add the gnocchi along with a little pasta water and swirl to combine. Allow to cook for a minute together, and then off the heat, add the parmesan. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Chewy Ginger Cookies - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These chewy ginger cookies are really gingery from three kinds of ginger, and you can make them crispy if you bake them longer. They are also apparently great with peanut butter slathered between to make a cookie sandwich. It’s not the holidays until we have some spice cookies around the house.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 stick butter

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger or chocolate covered crystalized ginger

1/2 cup raw sugar

Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl of a mixer, whip together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and add egg, molasses, vanilla, and grated ginger. Add flour mixture slowly, and beat until just combined. With the mixer off, stir in the crystalized ginger.

Roll into 1-1 1/2 inch balls and place on parchment covered baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Flatten a little and sprinkle the top with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until they start to crisp on the edges but are still soft in the center.

Chewy Ginger Cookies - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Squash Ravioli with Crispy Sage - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I love making homemade ravioli because the process is so relaxing. It’s also fun to do with other people, and if you’re just getting into cooking, it’s very gratifying to see the final product that YOU made. It’s a time commitment, but you can make any kind of ravioli you feel like. I once made some with leftover short ribs braised in red wine that were memorable enough to remember years later. These might rival those for my favorite ravioli.

Delicata Squash Filling

1 pound delicata squash, large dice

1 cup grated fontina

1 cup grated pecorino

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup ground hazelnuts

4 tablespoons finely chopped sage

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons Marsala or white wine (optional)

Roast the squash with a couple tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to brown. Remove to a food processor  and add the rest of the ingredients. I use the Marsala or wine to thin it out if necessary. The honey gives it a slight sweetness, but you could tweak the filling ingredients to taste.

Make one recipe Basic Pasta Dough. Let it rest for a few minutes in plastic wrap in the fridge and then run it through your pasta roller in batches.

Basic Pasta Dough - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Brush the dough all over with water to help seal them. Spoon the filling into about 1 teaspoon-sized balls onto one side of the pasta sheet so that you will be able to fold them over.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesSquash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesFold the dough over, making sure to seal in the filling and push out air bubbles. Make sure to press the dough down between the filling to make them closer to single-thickness so that the edges will cook at the same rate as the layer covering the filling. (If you do not do this, the edges will be twice as thick as the center, and will be chewy.)

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Cut the ravioli out with you ravioli cutter. You could also use a cookie cutter or knife if you don’t have one. I was finally able to use the new one I picked up in Rome.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesSquash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesThey will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or preferably, in the freezer for a while. Make sure to coat them in flour or they will stick. I also recommend using parchment paper to separate layers, because any that touch will stick. They are best immediately after making them, however.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Delicata Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage

6-8 ravioli (per person)

6 sage leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Cook the ravioli in salted, boiling water for about 4 minutes, until they start to float. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil and add the sage leaves. They will spatter when they hit the oil, so be careful. They will crisp up and the butter solids will start to brown. Add some of the pasta cooking water (about 1/4 cup) and allow to come together, about 1 minute. Add the ravioli and toss in the sauce. Grate some parmesan over the top and serve with the crispy sage on top.

Squash Ravioli with Crispy Sage - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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This is another updated post, I thought it was time to give one of my favorite breakfast treats some better pictures. I love zucchini bread, and it’s always my go-to breakfast to bring on the road. We are off to the beach for a week and I’m bringing this loaf to munch on for breakfast.

Zucchini Bread

1 cup flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1.5 tablespoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup apple sauce)

1.5 cups dark brown sugar

2 cups grated zucchini

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two loaf pans.

Combine the dry ingredients (first 7 ingredients) in a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs.

Whisk in oil and sugar and then add the zucchini and the vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients in two parts, and just stir to combine.

Divide the batter into the two loaf pans and bake for about 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing.

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The key to succulent, juicy pork like you get at restaurants is not to overcook it. Most people do. They recently lowered the FDA accepted temperature for pork to 145 degrees, which means it stays juicy and slightly pink. This makes the meat so unctuous and tender, you won’t miss red meat. Invest in a meat thermometer if you don’t have one; they’re cheap and take the guesswork out of cooking meat.

Add a wonderful spice rub and some sort of fruit, and I’ll be really happy. A delicious, cheesy smear of polenta under the medallions completes it and makes it the best pork you’ve ever had. My dad always made pork tenderloin stuffed with dried apricots and prunes. Definitely one of my favorites, and a great way to do it in the fall.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Grapes

1 pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup grapes, red or green

1 cup white, red or white

Combine the cocoa and spices together and rub all over the pork. You can let it rest for 20 minutes or go ahead and start searing. Sear all sides in an oven-safe pan in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, making sure to brown all sides. Add the grapes and deglaze the pan with the wine.

Move to a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until it’s about 145-155 degrees in the fattest part. It will continue to cook as it rests. Slice medallions against the grain and serve with the sauce.

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I love making lasagna when I’m going to have people over because I can hang out with people instead of standing over the stove the whole night. It’s also just great comfort food, and it makes me feel better whenever I’m a little down (almost as much as a delicious grilled cheese, especially when it’s made for me….). I’ve made roasted carrot and butternut squash lasagna and regular meat lasagna but mushroom lasagna is the most likely to make everyone happy. And it’s just so delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Who doesn’t love a good make-ahead pasta?!

Mushroom Lasagna

2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup Marsala wine (you can substitute Sherry or any other wine, but Marsala is best)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)

2 cups grated Italian fontina

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella

1 cup basil leaves

1 package lasagna noodles

1 tablespoon truffle butter (optional)

Butter a lasagna pan and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted, boiling water about half the time specified on the package. They should be pliable but not cooked through. Remove to a sheet tray with some olive oil so they don’t stick.

Saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Once everything has softened, deglaze the pan with the Marsala. You can leave a little liquid and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and flour in a sauce pan and allow to brown. It will start to look like sand. Add the milk and whisk together. Add the chicken stock and allow to thicken. You want it slightly thick but not so much that you can’t pour it. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add half the parmesan and stir to combine and melt.

Start to layer the lasagna with a layer of noodles, then a layer of the mushrooms and then a layer of the bechamel sauce. These should be thin layers. Add a sprinkle of the fontina cheese and a couple basil leaves.

Continue with the layers until you use everything up and make sure to finish with a layer of pasta. I like to reserve a little bechamel to pour on top so that the top layer stays nice and soft. Sprinkle with the remaining fontina, parmesan, basil and the mozzarella. If you would like, you can add some pieces of truffle butter to the top to help it brown and enhance the mushroom flavor.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until it starts to brown on top and get bubbly. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before eating so that they layers can cool a little and set up.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies are a favorite around the apartment, and I think this may be the winning recipe. I was planning on giving the whole batch to Gareth to take on his trip this week, and I somehow kept to the plan. But I think I’m going to have to make them again soon, because the one I ate hot from the oven was just delightful. The original recipe is based on one from Flour Bakery (I’m still baking my way through their book), but I had to make a couple changes because I didn’t have enough raisins. I think they may be even better.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 stick butter

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oats (not instant or quick cooking)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup chocolate chips

2 tablespoons dried currants

Combine the butter and both sugars in a bowl and cream together with an electric mixer. Make sure you use room temperature ingredients so they combine properly. Add the egg and beat together.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the raisins, chocolate chips, and currants and stir together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix together. If you can, let the dough rest in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight.

Roll into 1 inch balls and flatten. Place on a silpat with enough space between because they will spread out. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees until they start to brown around the edges. Let cool.

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