Monday, August 13, 2012

kitchen musings

This past weekend was one of the only weekends this summer which Ross and I were staying in town and had no formal plans. Weekends like these are rare and it's important to savor every moment within them. I usually like to indulge my guilty pleasures and take care of chores or errands I may have put off for a while.

Just last week one of my college roommates and her husband moved to our neighborhood! We were going to enjoy the Friday Evening Concert series at the Yards Park; however, Mother Nature had other plans. Given the downpours all last Friday we opted to have our wine and cheese indoors! Including a really tasty Sage Derby cheese Ross and I sampled during a wine tasting at Aspen Dale Winery last weekend and I just happened to spot at Safeway! Oddly, I just noticed that Sage Derby has its own Wikipedia page... apparently this cheese is more common than I gave it credit for. After some vino, bread and cheese we headed over to Truckeroo for some late night dinner. (Have you been to Truckeroo? It's a day of food trucks gathered at the Fairgrounds on Half Street next to Nationals Stadium!)

Saturday morning began with errands. I had dry cleaning to drop off, a pile of clothing to donate and another pile for resale. So we drove across the city to my consignment shop and on to Goodwill. From there we headed to the supermarket for our weeks worth of grocery shopping. (Do you like to do weekly shopping trips? I try to avoid week night trips to the store.) Given that it is Restaurant Week in DC and our two-year anniversary is coming up, we have plans to eat out twice! We're headed to RIS tomorrow night with another couple and Kinkeads in Foggy Bottom on Friday. The last time we were at Kinkeads, Restaurant Week last year, we were pleasantly surprised! They had their entire menu on the Restaurant Week special; three courses for $35! And the food is great.
Mushroom & Ricotta Ravioli by Logan's Kitchen
Saturday night I tried out a recipe I had seen on pinterest, Mushroom & Ricotta Ravioli (pictured above). I had some serious issues with my pasta dough and since I've had good and bad experiences with different recipes, I'm thinking about doing a whole post on successful homemade pasta dough - what do you think, would you be interested in reading that?

The dough I made created about 25-30 ravioli and I had a lot of filling left over so I made a new dough on Sunday which yielded approximately the same number. We now have a lot of frozen ravioli in the freezer for easy weeknight dinners :) Note, the dough I made on Sunday was from the recipe link above, although I halved it. I had to add quite a bit of water on top of the eggs to get it the right consistency but it was the very first time I had an all-around positive experience with pasta dough. Also - it had to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours so I combined the ingredients in the early afternoon and assembled the extra ravioli after dinner.

Saturday night Ross and I enjoyed the last of our apple pie ingredients from the apple apple pies I made the weekend prior. I put the dough in a little dish, popped in the apples/cinnamon/etc., and created a lattice with extra dough on top. It heated up in 25 minutes for us to enjoy while watching the second Sherlock Holmes movie!

Earlier on Saturday, after my run, I put together a smoothie recipe that I had found on pinterest. It has a great combination of ingredients from yogurt, to coconut water, oatmeal, frozen and fresh fruit! The recipe made about two cups (see picture above) worth and I only had one. I plan on making this each morning when I get back from my runs, but perhaps cutting the recipe down. (Note, this is not enough for breakfast. By 10:30 on Monday morning I was famished and broke into my lunch box for some snacks. I doubt my sandwich will make it past 11:30!) (Second note, sandwich made it to 11:15. It's 11:30 and my lunchbox has only a peach left in it.)

A lot of Sunday was spent in the kitchen, which is REALLY okay by me. It all started with whole wheat blueberry pancakes. I used this recipe from all recipes but I have mixed feelings about it. Despite the fact that I added extra milk, the batter was really thick and I should have used butter or olive oil to coat the pan instead of PAM. Oh well, I made homemade whole wheat blueberry pancakes at 10 am on a Sunday and that's saying something!
I like to add a drizzle of white chocolate as a design element. It also helps distinguish flavors if you keep the design consistent!
I also made two dozen homemade chocolates. Half are filled with caramel and pretzels and the other half are filled with peanut butter. They're for a surprise party later this week! I was actually able to incorporate the steps of this recipe throughout my day which was a huge help because I only have molds for 12 candies and they require a lot of setting time in the refrigerator.

For dinner we had steak sandwiches made with skirt steak on a long roll (toasted), topped with red onion and spinach and spread with hot horseradish. They were really really tasty! Also, I love skirt steak because it's usually so big you can get two meals out of it (hello Thursday night dinner). On the side I made some mashed potatoes from potatoes I had left over from last week. I looked all over for recipe inspiration and ended up following my own vibe. The potatoes were not as soft as I needed them to be so I added them to a pot with a half inch of water, put the burner on low, and let that water simmer, soften the potatoes, and evaporate out! I mashed the potatoes right in that pot so that the water would continue evaporating as they got mashed and wouldn't be watery. To the potatoes I added a little bit of butter, some garlic & herb cream cheese, a big crushed clove of garlic, and some skim milk. Oh they were looking good!! I transferred them into a small casserole dish and popped them into the oven for 30 minutes at 350. But before I did that... I added a few pats of butter on top and sprinkled seasoned breadcrumbs.

We ate surprisingly early... as in the 7 pm hour and I was able to complete my ravioli by 8:30 which meant I had some time to devote to painting my fingers and toes before True Blood came on at 9. I chose Guchi Muchi Puchi for my fingers (soft pink) and Damsel in a Dress (dark metallic purple) for my toes, both by Essie. We finished our Sunday menu with some homemade fudgsicles I put together last week with nutella and chocolate almond milk. So delish!!

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