We’ve had some great weather in the Philly area this week, temps in the low 70’s and no humidity, it has been truly glorious, especially after the 98 degree temperatures last week! I know we can’t expect this weather to hold much longer, I mean it is almost officially summer, and the heat will definitely be upon sooner or later…..While I wouldn’t say this is my favorite time of year, it does have its good points. What I love most about this time of year is how long it stays light out, as the days get longer, I seem to have so much more time to enjoy life. I don’t feel as rushed and each day just seems longer. I remember being 13 or 14 and riding my bike just for fun, not really going anywhere or doing anything, but just to be outside, and of course I would always push it to see how long I could stay out, most times making it home after the last light had disappeared. Those were the days….sighBut enough of the old chef’s ramblings, it’s time to get to why everyone is here today, it’s guest post Friday!!!! I know how much everyone looks forward to Fridays at MTAMF, and I am no exception, it is my favorite day of the week!Today My friends I get to share my blog with Kate, who is the author, photographer, and chef extraordinaire at Kate From Scratch, where she tempts us regularly with her culinary creations. I met Kate a few short months ago when she burst upon the scene at foodbuzz where she quickly became a rising star, tempting us with each and every post. It has been my pleasure to get know her, and for those of you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Kate yet, your in for a treat! So my friends, sit back, relax, put your feet up and get ready for those stomach grumblings as I bring you Kate and……..
Kate From Scratch
Thank You Chef Dennis for this wonderful opportunity to introduce myself and show your readers what Kate from Scratch is all about!
Hello readers! Let’s all give Chef Dennis a round of applause! Yes, you, sitting at your computer…
Chef Dennis is a cornerstone of the food blog community, and uses his platform wisely with integrity, offering constant support to all who ask, without fail. He is a superior example of professionalism and kindness and the balance between the two, as you already know. The mouth wateringly flavorful dishes and recipes he publishes for us on a consistent basis are a reflection of his extensive experience and knowledge, which is very humbling, particularly for me, today, as I am honored to guest post here, on the highly acclaimed, More Than a Mount Full – A Culinary Journey. . I
My Foodie Philosophy:
The aroma of home cooking is timeless, classic, and comforting to the core of the human, social, and family experience. Cooking is my meditation with sounds of clanging pots and pans and the scent of fresh produce as I chop and prepare with diligent attention to detail and awareness of food integrity in the home cooking experience.
Home cooking (for us) is about excitement and anticipation building as flavors gain depth and layer upon one another with time and technique. The fragrant, soothing aromas roam the hallways of our home and flow through the windows, out to the yard. The experience calls to my family and loved ones as the quality of the long-awaited dish reaches its apex. I hope that someday the same, aromatic warmth fills my children’s homes, evoking happy memories and laughter, as they share their talents in the kitchen with their families and children.
On other days…I open a box of pasta and fancy-it-up.
It’s all about moderation and balance. We live by it.
About Kate from Scratch:
The Process: I write honestly about what we (me and my family of boys) eat on a daily basis. I love a challenge and trying new things. I research, weeding out flavors and elements from several recipes to blend together, learning as I go. I also might read something that seems very challenging and I’ll let it bounce in my brain for a while before mustering up the confidence to dive in (usually head first). I love studying and researching technique and practicing that technique to perfection. What I seem to be noticed for, however, is when I take elements from a seemingly challenging recipe and make it more approachable for the everyday, busy, home cook. I also write a lot on fixations that I like to call “projects”. I basically research one dish for several days or weeks and then let that research inspire something, naturally. I have tried to tame excessive researching and posting on projects, since it’s not that interesting (except for in my head).
The Food: We make blended family meals, which is how my family eats on a daily basis. We eat vegetarian dishes and I cook protein/meat as a side dish (or skip it altogether, if appropriate). This seems simple, but there are very few recipes out there that do it. For centuries we were taught that a meal revolves around meat, so it’s a very tricky concept to make peace with, particularly for meat-heavy cultures and older generations. Me? I’m an American lacto-ovo vegetarian born in the early 1980s and I have a family of insatiable meat-eaters to feed, so it’s been an organic evolution to cook and eat this (veg-blended-family) way. The food I make is just what we like to eat. I omit the meat and then add it back in at the end of the dish, separately (if that makes sense to you at all, you’re as nuts as I am). I love vegetarian dishes and sweets and the boys love meat dishes, comfort food and cookies and cupcakes. We’ve yet to post any seafood, but maybe that will change as the boys grow and I gain interest and experience in the area.
The Theme: If “Kate from Scratch” were just about what I liketo cook, I’d have an audience of single ladies in the city eating fancy salads, wine and cheesecake (not that there’s anything wrong with that). However, I write in celebration of food, family, laughter and life which inspires our library of recipe-based-blog-posts that are eclectic, entertaining, hearty, and satisfying.
KfS Dinner Time!
I’ve chatted enough, now. Are you hungry, yet?
Let’s get to the cooking! I’d like to share with you this amazing recipe from a tiny little cookbook I found that I absolutely love so that you can go and eat it too. You won’t be sorry. It’s from my Italian food go-to book. The recipe is for ravioli. Ravioli is one of my favorites because it can be prepared in advance and then frozen. Convenient home-cooking on a budget that tastes amazing? Yes it is. Italian food is a very big staple for our family.
You can freeze the sauce as well as the ravioli and cook it up in the middle of the week in a matter of minutes without resorting to factory made frozen food that’s not that great as far as quality and taste are concerned. I make this recipe with makes several batches of fresh ravioli for fast-fix, weeknight dinners. Meals are always on hand with little planning, a fresh salad, and some effort ahead of time.
This recipe is the perfect balance of quality, freshness, and time management, creating the time to laugh with loved ones over a superior quality, fresh meal. I hope you join me, Kate, and my family, as we bask in the delightful, simple joys of the family, home-cooking, experience.
Raise your glass with us in celebration of food, family, laughter and life.
Ricotta Filled Ravioli and Marinara Sauce
Adapted from “Cooking with the Italians of Newark New Jersey”, by Elizabeth Barone Callahan
·2 cups flour
·2 cups semolina flour
·3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
·1 tablespoon olive oil
·4 tablespoons warm water (more if needed)
·3 pounds of ricotta cheese
·2 eggs, gently beaten
·2 tablespoons parsley
·½ cup Parmesan cheese
·1 teaspoon pepper
·1 teaspoon salt
·3 cans whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or tomato puree
·3 cloves garlic, chopped
·¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
·3 tbsp. fresh basil or 1 tbsp. dry basil
·3 tbsp. fresh oregano or 1 tbsp. dry oregano
·1 tsp. sugar
·¼ tsp. dry red pepper flakes
·Salt and pepper to taste
·Semolina Pasta Dough
·Ricotta Ravioli Filling
·Parmesan & Parsley, for garnish if desired.
Note: This recipe made approximately 5 dozen ravioli for us. I’d recommend doubling the sauce recipe or halving the ravioli recipe, if you plan to have proportionate amounts of each. This lasts at least 2 months in the freezer. We usually eat it before that, though.
For the semolina pasta dough: Whisk flour and semolina together in bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs, oil and water. Mix with hands until evenly incorporated. Knead thoroughly for another 8-10 minutes. Add more water if necessary kneading the dough until it is soft, smooth and elastic. Cover bowl with plastic for ½ hour, while you make filling.
For the filling: Combine ricotta and gently beaten eggs and stir. Add parsley, parmesan, pepper and salt. Stir again.
For the Marinara Sauce: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan and add garlic. Gently fry garlic. Do not let garlic brown (bitter – yuck!). Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for approximately one hour, stirring occasionally.
For the ravioli: Prepare sheet pans by sprinkling with semolina flour. Quarter the semolina pasta dough. Roll one quarter on lightly floured surface to a very thin sheet (1/8 of an inch). The dough should be very thin and translucent before filling. Drop a tablespoon of filling on dough three inches apart. Fold dough over the filling and cut with cookie cutter or pastry cutter. Place on prepared sheet pan and seal ravioli edges by pressing together with the tines of a fork. Repeat this for the remaining dough.
Before boiling or freezing, pierce ravioli with a toothpick to prevent bursting.
Fill large pot ¾ of the way with hot water and add salt. Add salt to taste (I recommend water taste like the ocean – or slightly less – better that way). Cover to bring water to boil. Remove cover when water starts boiling and gently drop 12-15 ravioli in boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, or until ravioli reaches al dente. Remove ravioli from water and toss gently with fresh marinara sauce. Top with parmesan and parsley.
To Freeze Ravioli: Place sheet pan in freezer after piercing ravioli with a toothpick. Once ravioli is frozen transfer to air tight container or bag. This prevents ravioli from freezing together.
To Freeze Marinara Sauce: Place any remaining sauce in a one quart or half quart container(s). This allows you to defrost one batch at a time, without wasting or having leftovers hanging in the refrigerator.
Now if that doesn’t get the juices flowing, and make you wish you could try those delicious little pockets of ricotta, I don’t know what will, and before you forget, head on over to Kate From Scratch and warm welcome to Kate, and if your old friends stop to tell her how much you enjoyed her post, just don’t forget to tell her chef Dennis sent you!
Thanks for stopping by today, its been a wonderfully relaxing week, and I do hope all of you have a chance to enjoy this beautiful weather and take some time for yourself. If you have a few minutes, find yourself a lawn chair, or a blanket and join me outside to look for the first star of the evening and as the fire flies start to appear and the last light of the day becomes just a memory, ……..think back to a simpler time, when the only worries we had were how much fun we were going to have tomorrow.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends and do try to take some time with your family and friends and just relax and watch the fire flies…..
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