Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April Showers and Random Thoughts: A Very Fine Ravioli Filling + A Book Giveaway










When it rains, it pours -- yes indeed -- because so much has happened in the last few weeks, like a lifetime of miniature and not-so-miniature culinary happenings, and it's almost impossible to pen them all down.

#1 Nobu has closed. Well, maybe not quite so, because they are moving to a new home in the Financial District, but Nobu we all knew of, the venue at the corner of Franklin and Hudson, the restaurant that defined the neighborhood, that Nobu is gone, and an entire era went away with it. (Stay tuned for additional thoughts on the subject.)

#2 I cooked a nine-course (9, yes you got that right) tasting menu dinner in support of Miss Pain's school. I can't tell you more because: i) the night remains enveloped in a spectacular blur and vapors of happiness that steamed out of my kitchen, ii) I forgot to take photos!!! (No, I cannot believe it either. All I have left are two stained menus and it was probably the best dinner I ever made.)

#2a On the upside, I have finally found the most perfect spinach ricotta ravioli filling. (OK there is quite a bit of Swiss chard in it, but it starts with spinach.) It's really about Marcela Hazan's recipe and tiny pinches of extra stuff that went in it that made this filling shine. And I know, I know, volumes have been written about spinach ravioli, but this filling is such a perfection that I could not resist dumping another data point into already crowded culinary cyberspace to illuminate the topic. (I also have a new ravioli-maker. God bless the culinary genius who came up with it. Please, check out the picture. Other than the stuffing inside, the perfection you see has nothing to do with me or my hands -- it's the ravioli maker, friends, it's the ravioli maker.)



 

#3 "Mighty Salads", a new cookbook by Food52, came out on April 11. It's a compilation of popular community recipes, and Food52 community is a creative one, so it's a salad cookbook worth having. (And yes, someone you know contributed Petits Pois à la Française Redux on the cover, brag, brag, brag.)




 
#4 A major discovery in the muffin department: If you take your favorite berry muffin recipe and triple the amount of berries, you'll end up with a miracle -- a muffin pretending to be a cobbler. Or as my friends Ryan and Adam (aka Husbands That Cook) described it, a muffler! Miss Pain has been eating fruits, fruits, and nothing but fruits without realizing it.






#5 And now comes the downpour. A new cookbook by Prestel is out too. "Beyond the Plate: Top Food Blogs from Around the World" has been on the bookshelves for about two weeks now, yet I am still trying to come to terms with the realization that this blog, this very blog, happens to be one of the blogs featured in it. The book includes recipes, photos, stories, and words of wisdom (my favorite) from some of the food blogging rockstars who inspire us all. And QueenSashy happens to be a part of the gang!!! (Pinch, pinch, pinch. Brag, brag, brag.) But wait, there is more. The introduction to Three Little Halves is the most glorious piece of writing I've ever seen dedicated to an author of a food blog, and I simply cannot let it go. It made me want to run to Prestel offices and hug their folks on the spot. (Last night I met Daniela Galarza, the senior editor at Eater, who actually wrote it, and I DID hug her on the spot. Three times.) Every two days or so, I open up the book and read that intro, and close my eyes, and an overwhelming sensation of feeling good consumes me, in a seventh heaven kind of way.

#5a As always, we celebrated with a martini. In the process of preparing a martini that fits the occassion, I discovered some sensational vodka infusions. (More on that soon.)

#6 Last but not the least. I bet Dr. V twenty bucks that Eleven Madison Park will top The World's 50 Best Restaurants list and I won!!! Given how much Dr. V hates to lose, this one is truly precious. It feels almost as good as Prestel's introduction. Speaking of which... Prestel has kindly offered to send a copy of "Beyond the Plate" to one of my readers, and that means --- it's giveaway time, folks!!! To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post and I will select the lucky winner at random. The giveaway is open until Wednesday, April 27, 11:59 pm EST. Good luck! (The giveaway is now closed and the winner is Kris.)



~*~


One Fine Spinach, Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli Filling


* 5 oz baby spinach
* 1 bunch (about 1 lb) Swiss chard
* 1 medium shallot, finely chopped

* 1 tiny garlic clove, crushed  
* 1 1/4 cup fresh whole milk ricotta  
* 4 oz grated Parmigiano  
* 1 tbsp butter
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
 * one egg yolk  
* 1/8 - 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or up to taste)
* a pinch of smoked paprika
* a pinch of crushed red peppercorns
* salt and freshly ground pepper



Remove stalks from Swiss chard. Fill up a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the chard and cook for a couple of minutes until tender. With a slotted spoon remove the chard from the pot and add spinach. Cook for less than a minute, until tender. Add the spinach to the chard. Drain. As soon as the greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze them gently to drive out as much moisture as possible. Chop the greens finely.

In a small saute pan mix the olive oil, butter, shallots and garlic. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook until the shallots are very soft and garlic is fragrant. Keep the heat relatively low, and stir occasionally, so that shallots do not burn. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, mix the greens, shallots, ricotta, Parmigiano, egg yolk, and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. Add close to invisible pinches of smoked paprika, pepper and crushed red peppercorns. Taste the filling, and add a bit more spices if you desire. Remember, you should not taste the paprika and peppercorns, just a hint of something exciting but not quite identifiable. Use as a filling for ravioli, or your favorite filled pasta.


37 comments :

  1. Wow, what a busy month indeed! Congratulations for all of the excitement, particularly the inclusion in such wonderful cookbooks. It's definitely deserved!

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  2. Oh how lovely!! Congrats on kicking butt! xx

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  3. Aleksandra mightly congratulations on the inclusion of that gorgeous cookbook. The accolades are so well deserved.

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  4. The ravioli is lovely - one day I want to try this. And I love the idea of tripling the berries - can't wait to make a "muffler." :)

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    1. I wish I can make such sexy names like Adam and Ryan, that's a real talent!

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  5. Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful. So much to savor!

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  6. Spinach is my favorite stuffing for anything and with my current obsession with fresh pasta making, this is perfect. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. And thank you for stopping by. I hope you will like the filling. I had some extra and made a filo pie with it the other day :)

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  7. Congratulations on all the amazing news, well deserved... I have added the ravioli maker onto my list... x

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    1. Thank you. Hope you will enjoy the ravioli maker as much as I do :)

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  8. Congratulations to threelittlehalves on entering the world of books!

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    1. Jasmina thank you! It's a couple of pages really, but it still feels awesome...

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  9. čestitke tudi iz Slovenije ;-)

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  10. Love your blog, your writing is awesome! Can't wait to get our hands on a copy of your new book!!

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    1. Kate, Megan, thank you, and so nice to (digitally) meet you!

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  11. Congrats! The book looks wonderful. Just this time last year you were being honored by IACP for your blogging. Looking forward to many more of your beautiful literary/artistic creations - Cheers -- Ivan

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    1. Ivane, zdravo! It's always so nice to hear from you.

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  12. Both books look wonderful! Congratulations -- must be exciting to hold a little bit of your blog in your hands!

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    1. Hi Kris, you are so right, it feels a bit surreal and most certainly very special. Thank you for stopping by!

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  13. What a wonderful time you are having right now! Isn't it cool to think, one day you will look back on these weeks to cheer yourself again. You will remember this time forever. How magical. How lucky. How hard you have worked to get to this point. Congratulations is not a big enough word.

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  14. Your good news and high spirits just lifted mine. Thank you for sharing the good things!

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  15. Wow thanks for sharing this ravoli recipe! Sounds so good! I've never made raviolis before but now I want to try!

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    1. Hi Marti, nice to meet you! Good luck with the ravioli project. I found it a bit frustrating the first time around, but it's now a lot of fun. And very meditative :) Cheers...

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  16. I'm late for the giveaway book, but it doesn't matter, I want to congratulate you for all your successes. So well deserved!

    Natacha

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    1. Hey, thank you, I really appreciate it!

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  17. Those ravioli look dreamy! I don't make fresh pasta, but looking at your ravioli makes want to start

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  18. I love your pictures you take of your food. I'm trying to take better picture for my youtube cooking channel "Cooking With A little Spice" Do you have a article on how to take great food pictures?

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    1. Thank you... No I do not have an article, I felt that so much has been written on the topic so I never tried to write anything. But if you have a question, or if I can help out, feel free to send me an email. I would be happy to share what I know.

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  19. These look absolutely delightful! Mahee Ferlini

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