Monday, November 19, 2012

Someone's in the kitchen... on Saturday!

This weekend reinforced my love for being in the kitchen. On Saturday afternoon I spent nearly six hours on my feet cooking and baking, only to realize around hour five that my feet were hurting and maybe I should put some shoes on! Well, that didn't stop me because I also spent the better part of Sunday in the kitchen. Here I'm going to talk about all the goodies and meals I made this weekend, but stay tuned for another post soon about some wrapping and presentation ideas!

Oh, look at that messy island! My kitchen scale, front and center, is one gadget I cannot live without. I thank my fiancee for introducing me to how amazing they are!

I started out with a red velvet cupcake. I was making them the same day I was serving them, so I needed ample time for the cupcakes to cool before icing. I was super excited for the icing because I had bought a size 16 star tip for my pastry bags which I had not previously used. I planned to put it to work on these! I followed the Martha Stewart recipes for the cupcakes and the icing and with the exception of halfing the recipes, I did not make any adjustments. I had extra icing left over, but that's not really a terrible problem to have ;-)
Yummy, tasty goodness!
When I brought these cupcakes to the party, they were a big hit! One party goer even told me that it was better than a lot of wedding cakes she's been tasting for her upcoming nuptials. Clearly, that was one of the best compliments I have ever gotten!!

I also had a thank you gift to make, which I promised to deliver in the form of baked goods. I decided to go for my very favorite cookie recipe; Chocolate Drop Cookies with Heath Bar, Vanilla Chips, and Pecans from The Magnolia Bakery. I tend to substitute the pecans with whichever nuts I have on stock at home. This time I used a blend of hazelnuts and toasted walnuts. Also, in case you're wondering what the heck vanilla chips are - I go with plain ol' white chocolate chips. Ghirardelli or Toll House work great!

My ravioli press, a pastry bag with filling (keep it in a tall glass when not in use!), and chocolate drop cookies cooling in the background. Ah, yes, a glass of chardonnay as well.
Following this baking extravaganza it was time to make dinner! Inspired by a satirical and hilarious article on deadspin, The Haters Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalog, I set out on a mission to make a pumpkin parmesan sauce despite the fact that I do not own pumpkin tureens. Sigh. I also wanted to use my new gift from Ross; a ravioli press! And thus the idea for cheese ravioli with pumpkin parmesan sauce was born. We rounded out all those carbs with some sauteed spinach. Unfortunately, I didn't snap a picture of the finished product, but the raviolis really looked great and were tasty too! Also, using a pastry bag with a large tip to fill the raviolis is MUCH easier than portioning out the filling with a spoon. If you don't have a pastry bag and/or large tip you can always put your filling into a ziploc bag and cut off the corner - voila! Instant ravioli filler.

Real-time view of making raviolis. Make sure you have some wax paper on hand to lay them on to dry a bit before cooking.
And that was just Saturday!! Another post on Sunday's kitchen happenings to be added shortly...

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