Hummus - not humus.

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Hummus

Photos by "Bay" productions, which includes Laura Quattrociocchi

           A multi use product that is handy to have in the fridge for many occasions. Easy to prepare with a food processor or immersion blender. A good work out by hand, but it can still be done. We made this by hand (with the help of flat bottom jars) during all the years at o'Bagelo's.  I think you can make a small batch at home without the power equipment.  Great snack to have around all year round.
















Ingredients:

  • 2 - 16 oz cans Chick peas
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6 oz. Tahini (ground up sesame seeds in a liquid form)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp Tamari - high grade soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper - because you need more than "to taste"
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 green onions, mostly white parts, coarsely chopped
  • salt to taste
Total time: 15 minutes

Special tools: Food Processor is helpful but not mandatory.

My hummus is a much thicker version that most commercial brands or those you see in mediterranean restaurants. It can be used as a spread or as a primary filler for a sandwich (think tuna here).


(obligatory picture of cook in action)

Start by draining and rinsing the chick peas and set aside.  I like to begin the processing with a little more than half of the chick peas so as not to burn out the machine.

Add 1/2 of the drain chick peas to the processor with 3/4 of the lemon juice, smashed garlic cloves, and all of the tahini. Mash away until the mixture forms a smooth consistency. Add the rest of the chick peas and lemon juice and continue to mix.

Next add the black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt and mix again. I like to add the parsley and green onions last finishing the mixture by hand. This also lets me break up any of the peas that were stubborn in the processor. It also lets me get the hummus to a thickness that I want without destroying the end product.


 In this cooking session I had the benefit of two artist friends helping in the kitchen, not only with dishes and the eating, but in the food styling of the end product.

Serve with fresh bread, crackers, and any colorful accoutrements you find desirable. Here we have a few kalamata olives and we also drizzled some extra virgin olive oil to finish.


BY HAND:

Find the biggest container you have that can stand up to a little pressure. A stainless steel bowl or a cast iron dutch oven works well.

Add the drained chick peas to the container. With a sturdy flat bottomed coffee cup or jar in each hand, start smashing your chick peas. Be patient. After a good portion are broken up you can add 1/4 of the lemon juice for moisture and to aid the process. Keep this up until all the beans are mostly smashed.

Minse your garlic separately, and add to the chick peas with the rest of the lemon juice and the tahini. Keep mixing and smashing any loose chick peas.

I find that I have to pinch many of the stubborn peas as I keep working the mixture. Now I add my black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Keep mixing and smashing. Add your parsley and green onions last and throughly get all those ingredients into a consistency you find attractive.



Starting out well

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Entry 2

August 21, 2015

         I have been wanting to expand the website to include a section on the lessons learned about business over the years, specifically the things that relate to small business and the current environment. I will do my best to keep it interesting and colorful, but I really hope that some of the mistakes I have made over the years can be useful in the current market.  

We have lots of information available from highly successful business people with models for duplicating that success.  I don't want to discount their guidelines for success, but rather offer a perspective from the larger subset of businesses. The standard bell curve is applicable in this situation, in my opinion; some will achieve great success, some will be complete failures, but most will find themselves somewhere in the middle.  

Learning about the path of great successes can be very useful, provided that path was filled with crossroads, a few setbacks, and the occasional flop.  Those that have found themselves on the golden path for their entire trip, really don’t have much to offer other than “Hey, find that Golden Path.”  To paraphrase a Gershwin tune “Nice work if you can get it”, `but I would say there is much more to learn from those traveling a copper road with plenty of acknowledged mistakes and one that easily dents. It will provide more lessons.

Now I understand this may sound like justification for where my path has taken me, and you may be right. But I hope that doesn’t limit the value of those lessons.   

I didn’t confront many issues until my business started leveling off and then declining. We had to work harder to maintain, let alone attempt to increase business. This is also the point at which I started taking greater notice of the effects of past decisions. A good decision doesn’t look so good until a few bad ones come along for comparison.
First let’s come to grips with the business cycle. Understanding that every business and product will have a place in this mathematical system will go a long way in the battle. And yes, business is a battle. You will battle trends, you will battle competition, you will battle your own ego when things are going well, and you battle your own doubts when things are tough. 

Some business cycles are short, like fads (think the pet rock). Some will last longer, through an era of peoples lives (clothing styles or music genres), and some will change the way we act on a daily basis (think Facebook here). Identifying the cycle will be very important in making those long term decisions and also to know when its time to call it quits and move on. It’s never easy to see the big picture when starting a business, especially with the excitement and nervousness that can take over your emotions. Not to mention the answers aren’t always obvious. Even the customer doesn’t know what they want in many situations until some creative person presents them with that new option.

Cycles are not all bad, even the short ones. It can give a business the opportunity to utilize a current trend and get into the game, or add to profit margins.  Most people can identify a current happening as it begins to take over, but seeing it before it starts or before it exists is a special skill.  By taking advantage of the recently obvious, you can get the external support or backing you might need from those with less vision. From there, the business can start to make those small decisions that can have larger directional changes for the future that are less obvious. For those of you with a mathematical background, think about a one degree shift in a line and how further down the axis that shift brings you to an entirely new and different position.

That brings us to the next point I would like to make. A point about change and risk.  I found it was those small decisions and risks that I took over the years that led me to take advantage of the strengths and limit the weaknesses in the business. These are often areas that you think you know going in, but the market dictates once you start. And often they are in conflict.

When we opened, we were certain that bagels would be enough to carry us for a long period of time, and the concept of providing fresh baked products all day would be all that was needed. What we learned was that customers quickly became sated with the idea of a bagel sandwich for lunch, but really like the items we put between them.  This is what pushed me to follow through on my interest in baking fresh bread. It was no where in my original business plan.  It was a small decision, and a risk I might add, that helped extend the business cycle. It added plenty of work to the daily schedule and was even a competing product for the bagels, but turned out to be one of our greatest strengths over the years. Fresh baked bread that was often still warm, made into a sandwich. Small change in the beginning, big win in the end.

I referenced my “Business plan” above and it is worth mentioning a few things about that at this point.  Do it. Period.  There is absolutely no down side to writing out all the sections of any one of the thousands of outlines of a business plan.  It forces you to answer many of the questions you will be confronted with in the future.  You may not want to think about those questions, but they don’t care. They will find their way to you, usually sooner rather than later. When asked I always recommend a book that was written by one of my professors at R.I.T. who has since passed away. William Stolze’s “Start up: An entrepreneur's guide to launching and managing a new business.”  He was  one of the founders of a R.F. communications, a company that was eventually bought out by Harris Corp. They are still in business and have had many years of success. 

One of the many problems of writing a business plan is that it can convince you that your idea may not be as good as you thought it was.  It creates doubts, and loads you up with the questions about your business idea and the possibilities.  A hard pill to swallow, but better to do so when your business in not demanding a decision, and you can take your time to figure out the options. 

     The second point, which may seem contradictory to spending time thinking about problems and writing them down; do not be afraid to deviate from the plan when the tide dictates. The difficult part is knowing when those waves represent the proper time.

So this is really the big point of this piece.. Write a business plan. No matter how many times you have started a business or how smart you are, write it.  The exercise alone will a be a eye opener to understanding the demands of most businesses. And do the financial projections. Costs and revenue. One of the hardest parts is realistically determining revenue, but that is one of the hardest parts of being in business and if you are unwilling to do on paper I might suggest you rethink the whole idea of running a business. 

When projecting revenues it is important to break down the tasks required to provide the service or the product into work blocks (time and/or raw materials) to project hourly/daily/weekly maximums. This will give you a range to work with for both revenue and costs. It seems obvious to break down the costs to come up with a product value, but the time it takes and the total possible units in a day if often forgotten. 


I will repeat it again. Write it! Several times I have suggested that people starting a business go through this exercise and almost every time they think it is a great idea but never follow through. In almost every occasion there had been a major development on the road, and the stress in caused led to a rushed or poor decision, which in turn led to further stress.  I will leave you with a well known idiom. You know, those things we all have heard and know are true, but never practice in life.  “Well begun is half done.” - Aristotle. He may not have been accurate on all his philosophies, but it is well accepted that he gave us a starting point for many of our current belief systems. This is one of the building blocks he instilled in philosophical thinking that is still proven to be spot on. 

Figs and Figs and Figs

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Figs, Figs, & Figs
Fresh, a few alternatives


Fresh fig season is short and I wanted to make sure I posted a few ideas on prepping these little joys when you can get them.  Don't be afraid, they are one of the great joys in life.




Ingredients:

  • 6-9 Fresh figs (Purple or green, whichever look best)
  • 1 to 2 oz Goat Cheese - a good zingy flavored goat cheese. I have here a local brand. Not bad at all.
  • 6 Pieces of Prosciutto de Parma 
  • Balsamic reduction - reduce a good quality balsamic, it will make a difference.
  • Field greens for garnish
Total time: 15 minutes. Total Joy: Off the charts

Trim the stems off the figs and slice them through the top vertically. Take each half and slice into 1/3's You can leave them larger if you like, But this allows for more options when serving.

Slice your prosciutto in strips that can easily wrap around each piece of fig.




Now you can start to build your different fig appetizers.

If you have never had fresh figs, I suggest you eat them in this progression to experience the flavor development.

1. Fresh fig, on it's own.

2. Fig piece, little goat cheese, and drizzle of balsamic reduction.

3. Fig piece wrapped in prosciutto strip

4. Fig piece wrapped in prosciutto strip, dollop of goat cheese, and then balsamic drizzle.

Four may seem like a lot, but it can be a delicious combo.

To serve, place the greens on a serving plate, and place your fig concoctions on the greens. Spread dollops of goat cheese over the plate and then drizzle with balsamic reduction.




Please excuse the photography on this post, it was all me. On occasion I have to take things into my own hands to keep up.


Esan

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*** NEW FEATURES SECTION ***

This is the start of the new section on the website.  I will be highlighting businesses, both within and outside the food arena that are owner-operated and on the smaller side.  Some you may know about and others I hope will be new to you.  This is not a review in the traditional sense but you can be sure that if I choose to write about them, I am a fan. The plan is to make the postings about the people as much as the place and the products.  I hope you will  enjoy my perspective and visit the places to create your own.


* Photos by Laura Quattrociocchi



This is Esan, 696 Park Avenue, Rochester NY. A small family run restaurant specailizing in the cuisine of Thailand.  Below are Bounkong Douangratdy and his wife, Kinalone, who have owned and run the place for 21 years.  Before that, Bounkong was chef and one of the owners of the Bangkok Restaurant, on State Street. They were there for 9 years. That makes 30 years of cooking Thai food for the local community, if you are math impaired.


I met Bounkong when I started the construction on my State Street store in 1990 and have been a regular customer ever since.  He and his wife are from Laos, a neighboring country of Thailand, but they both visit Thailand often, to perfect the preparation process of their food. Both greet me by name every time I visit, and Kinalone recognizes my voice (and my order) when I call for take out. I am certain that this is more the norm than the exception.



      Esan takes up two storefronts on Park avenue, one dedicated to the dining area, and one has the kitchen and an upstairs dining room.  A beautiful outdoor area abuts the other Park Avenue restaurants near Berkley.  The food is enough to bring me here on weekly basis, but every time I see the two of them working, I feel even better about my spending choice.  This is part of what I call "My Mother's economics". I know who is making my food, that the money is going to a family run place that in turn uses local purveyors and spends their income in this community.  This is an overall macro-economic windfall.  And frankly, I just like them. Local place, local people, local spending, and terrific food.  And yeah, that makes a difference.


This is a delicious summer drink we just had to order. It is a Thai Iced Tea. Made with Thai tea and sweetened condensed milk and spices.  A refreshing drink with  a pinkish red color.


As an appetizer, we had two orders of veggie spring rolls, one fried and one fresh.  I can't order a meal, in house or take out, without adding this to my order. Speaking of that, this is not only a great place for al-fresco dining in the nice weather, but one of my go to places for take out during those rough winter evenings.  Quick and reasonable. Don't bother asking for delivery, it's not that kind of place.

      For lunch we ordered two dishes. The main courses came in separate bowls and we each had a plate of rice. Very convenient for sharing.  The first photo is Veggie Coconut Green Curry, and the second is Panang Chicken- a red curry coconut sauce. I am not going to hyper-evalutate every ingredient and mouthful, but rather tell you that everything I have had here, I would order again. This visit, and over the last 20 years.  Our lunch came to $24.80 without tip, and that included the hot tea we ordered. 
   




       Other dishes that Buonkong recommends are their authentic dishes of Thailand, including "Hell Beef" and "Drunken Master Noodle".  I recommend a visit to get the full info.







      Pictured above is the outdoor verandah and "Thom", the long time waiter and absolute personality of the dining area. He has been serving and entertaining the customers for over 20 years and is much a part of the place as Buonkong and his wife.  He tells me he is semi-retired now, between his gentile ribbing and teasing of his customers (including me), most of which he knows by name. If you are lucky enough to be there on the days he is working, the show is worth as much as the meal.

      Look for the green and white awning if you are driving down Park Avenue, as it can hide the signage. But this also adds to the allure of the place for me.  It may be "On the Beaten Path", but I think it is overlooked too often, by too many. After all, there are only two other places on the block that have been there that long, so you know they are doing at least a few things right.

Esan Thai Restaurant             Esanparkave.com
696 Park Avenue                   Mon - Thurs: 11:15 am - 9:30 pm
Rochester, NY 14607            Fri - Sat: 11:15 am - 10:30 pm, Sunday: 3:00 pm -9:30 pm    

Beer and wine available.    Tell them you saw it here, if you're a first timer.


"The Discount Double Talk"

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Entry 1 
      
August 4, 2015

         I was sitting in a pub early one evening and I reluctantly entered in a brief conversation with a couple sitting next to me. A nice young couple, engaged and getting ready for their first time down the aisle.  They were both teachers in the same district, and looked full of hope and happiness. The pub is a business version of the “Tiny houses” you see people running to these days, maximizing the space utility of every square foot and minimizing the overall area. 

       There are a few tables that were behind me and out of view. Four men were sitting at the table of varying ages and cultural background.  I learned soon enough that that three worked  worked at a nearby Salon and the fourth was the owner. That’s the scene. The pub also has more outdoor seating on the well travelled sidewalk of a trendy city neighborhood.  Since it was summer, there were plenty of patrons outside enjoying the summer sun and the moving scenery. 

chicken french - printer friendly version

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Foodnstories.com




Chicken French

     Pollo Francese is usually seen on menus in english because it seems hard to trace it's roots back to Italy.  And when you start talking about the history of the dish, the former "Brown Derby" always comes up in the conversation.  For a full history, just google Karen Miltner's 2005 article about the subject (I did put the link here, because it appears to be part of some "pay for" library on the local paper's website).

     The highlights are as follows. Looks like it started as a veal dish, either in the northern section of Italy, or perhaps somewhere here in the states. The local restaurant changed it to chicken when the morally fickle public turned against veal. He added artichokes to the dish, and soon customers started asking for more of those. Now we can "french" anything.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - I split them horizontally so they are even and thin.
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 lb (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 lemons - zest and juice needed.
  • !/2 cup Sherry wine - You can use another dry white wine, if you want to experiment
  • Fresh garlic is also an option when you make the sauce. I prefer mine without. 
  • Salt/Pepper
  • One more lemon for garish
Total Time: 45 minutes.






          Start by slicing your chicken breast lengthwise, so you have thinner and consistent sizes for frying.

          Next prepare your breading station, just 2 parts in this recipe.  Place your eggs in one bowl, and whisk.  Combine your flour, salt, pepper, and Parmesan in the next bowl and mix thoroughly.

          Set up a frying pan on medium high heat large enough to hold half of the cut chicken.  Add your oil to warm up while you prep the chicken.

          Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and hold over the bowl to drain well. Now run the chicken through flour mixture and let excess flour fall off. Place on a separate plate and continue with chicken until you have enough to fill the frying pan with one layer.


          Place the chicken in the frying pan carefully and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the chicken reaches a golden brown color on each side.  I like to prepare the next batch of chicken while the first is frying. Flip the chicken once, and remove to a clean plate when done.


          The chicken can be prepared ahead of time and finished when you are ready to serve dinner.

          The sauce is where we find some controversy in the recipe.  Amounts and type of alcohol vary, and I am a big fan of finding your own sweet spot through experimentation. My recipe is a little lemon friendly, but I like it that way.

          I have used the same frying pan (with most of the excess oil removed, but not the "bits" from the breading).  On a medium heat level, add the butter and let melt in the pan.  When the butter is almost melted, add the lemon zest and juice. Let sit for a about 2 minutes and them add the wine.  Turn up the heat to a medium high, and let the sauce reduce and thicken.

          The final step is to add the chicken to the sauce and finish cooking the meat through, about 5 minutes. The sauce will incorporate into the breading some, and the rest should be served over the chicken.

Serve immediately. I have used a spinach and fusilli pasta dish
here to brighten up my plate and grated some more parmesan when presented.


Enjoy a Rochester Favorite!!


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July 7, 2015

      I big thank you to Chris Lindstrom and his website Foodabouttown.com for inviting me to appear on his podcast. Quite a fanciful setup and I really enjoyed the opportunity and the time chatting with Chris about a variety of subjects. You can check out our chat at his website or click here to go directly to my piece. Thanks again Chris. Great stuff.

John

Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

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Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

The first time I made these at home, I was hooked. It's really an easy dessert to prepare and can be done ahead of time for guests. And it packs a huge "Wow" factor.

Photos by Jon Feldman

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup Semisweet chocolate
  • 3 large squares 70% (or higher) cocoa dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. Heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
Raspberry Compote:
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp high quality fruit balsamic vinegar reduction 
  •  or . . . 2 tbsp high quality fruit balsamic 
           (Balsamic Reduction: Place balsamic in a small pot and reduce to about half, or until it has a syrupy consistency)

Special tools: double boiler (bowl on a pot - without bowl  touching water in pot.)

Time: Prep time is about 30 minutes. 2 hours in fridge (or more). And 15 minutes for rolling.

 First, let's start the compote. Add berries, water, sugar, and balsamic reduction to a small pot on medium high heat and heat until a thick syrup.

While this is reducing, set up the double boiler. Place just enough water in a pot with a bowl set on top of the pot, so the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.


Turn heat to a medium setting. Add semisweet chocolate, dark chocolate, heavy cream, and let melt together.  Do not try to rush this process as you will burn your chocolate.  Patience is the key to almost all pastry type of production. I know this because I have very little of it, and have ruined many items by rushing things or not adhering to the specifics of the recipe.

When the compote has come together, it's time to add that mixture to the chocolate.  You have 2 choices at this point. If you prefer a smooth texture to your truffles, strain the mixture in a sieve to create a smooth liquid. If you do not mind the seeds and want  a little texture, you can add it just the way it is. I have done it both ways, and my the flavor comes through very well either way.















       As the chocolate melts, stir to make sure any lumps melt.  Once the mixture is looks smooth, add the butter and mix thoroughly.




Once the chocolate mixture has melted and the butter is combined, place the bowl in the fridge for at least 2 hours to firm up.  I have placed the bowl in another bowl of ice to help the process along and that has worked well.

When the chocolate has firm, it's time to roll. This process is going to be messy and the warmth of your hands will help to smooth out the truffles.

If you have a melon baller, it will be very helpful. If not, just use a spoon to scrape out 1.5 oz chunks of chocolate. Roll in your hands to form the balls, and drop in the cocoa to cover the outside.  Roll the truffle around in the cocoa and place on a separate plate.

Serve immediately or chill for service later.  Here they are served with a garnish of fresh raspberries and a dusting of extra cocoa.

I would now like to apologize for presenting this recipe. Those that I have served these little delights to get distracted and stare at the plate until the truffles are finished. Good luck.





"Pollo Francese" - aka Chicken French

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Chicken French

     Pollo Francese is usually seen on menus in english because it seems hard to trace it's roots back to Italy.  And when you start talking about the history of the dish, the former "Brown Derby" always comes up in the conversation.  For a full history, just google Karen Miltner's 2005 article about the subject (I did put the link here, because it appears to be part of some "pay for" library on the local paper's website).

     The highlights are as follows. Looks like it started as a veal dish, either in the northern section of Italy, or perhaps somewhere here in the states. The local restaurant changed it to chicken when the morally fickle public turned against veal. He added artichokes to the dish, and soon customers started asking for more of those. Now we can "french" anything.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - I split them horizontally so they are even and thin.
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 lb (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 lemons - zest and juice needed.
  • !/2 cup Sherry wine - You can use another dry white wine, if you want to experiment
  • Fresh garlic is also an option when you make the sauce. I prefer mine without. 
  • Salt/Pepper
  • One more lemon for garish
Total Time: 45 minutes.

Start by slicing your chicken breast lengthwise, so you have thinner and consistent sizes for frying.















Next prepare your breading station, just 2 parts in this recipe.  Place your eggs in one bowl, and whisk.  Combine your flour, salt, pepper, and Parmesan in the next bowl and mix thoroughly.



Set up a frying pan on medium high heat large enough to hold half of the cut chicken.  Add your oil to warm up while you prep the chicken.

Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and hold over the bowl to drain well. Now run the chicken through flour mixture and let excess flour fall off. Place on a separate plate and continue with chicken until you have enough to fill the frying pan with one layer.

Here is the token photo of the cook in action. My photographer friend gets that smile out of me, and they tell me posts are better with people in them. Even though I enjoy cooking for he and his wife, it doesn't always come through in my expression.























Place the chicken in the frying pan carefully and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the chicken reaches a golden brown color on each side.  I like to prepare the next batch of chicken while the first is frying. Flip the chicken once, and remove to a clean plate when done.




The chicken can be prepared ahead of time and finished when you are ready to serve dinner.

The sauce is where we find some controversy in the recipe.  Amounts and type of alcohol vary, and I am a big fan of finding your own sweet spot through experimentation. My recipe is a little lemon friendly, but I like it that way.

I have used the same frying pan (with most of the excess oil removed, but not the "bits" from the breading).  On a medium heat level, add the butter and let melt in the pan.  When the butter is almost melted, add the lemon zest and juice. Let sit for a about 2 minutes and them add the wine.  Turn up the heat to a medium high, and let the sauce reduce and thicken.

The final step is to add the chicken to the sauce and finish cooking the meat through, about 5 minutes. The sauce will incorporate into the breading some, and the rest should be served over the chicken.

Serve immediately. I have used a spinach and fusilli pasta dish
here to brighten up my plate and grated some more parmesan when presented.


Enjoy a Rochester Favorite!!


Printer - Friendly version (no photos)

NKF - National Kidney Foundation

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June 10, 2015    

      The National Kidney Foundation had been helping me a great deal over the last nearly four years of suffering from end stage renal failure.  A few friends have asked me to participate in a charity golf tournament for the organization.  This will most likely consist of driving around in the cart harassing them, and occasionally swinging the club myself.

     You can help out the cause by donating directly to the NKF through out team at the link below. Thanks for your consideration.

http://www.nkfgolfclassic.com/bio.cfm?sid=43076

John Vito
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Fresh Pasta Ravioli - with Spinach and Goat Cheese Filling

Photos by Jon Feldman

          Ravioli can made with wonton wrappers, and that is why I note this as "Fresh Pasta" ravioli. Will will first make a dough that can be used for any fresh pasta and then form and fill them, making the ravioli. The sauce I use here is a simple butter sage sauce to fully highlight the beauty of the spinach and goat cheese filling. You could certainly use one of your favorite sauces, but I think anything with a strong acidic flavor (tomato) will overpower the ravioli.








Ingredients:

Pasta Dough 
  • 3 cups "00" Flour - This is double zero flour. A finely milled flour that may be tough to find. A bread flour will work, and if all else fails, All purpose flour.
  • 1 cup Duram Flour - Not as tough to find, and semolina flour will also work. 
  • 3 extra large eggs - maybe 4
  • 3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch of salt
  • A few tsp of water might be needed
Filling for Ravioli

  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 16 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • Salt/pepper/cayenne pepper

Sauce for Ravioli

  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • Salt/pepper
Special tools: Pasta roller

Total Time:1 hour 45 minutes.

This is the "well" known process of making a mess on a work table. I consider that mess to be one of the pure joys of cooking.  You can use a food processor, but this way gives you the proper feel that is needed to work with with doughs. And that's the only way to perfect the process.

Place both flours, and salt in a bowl. I like to mix my flours and salt in that bowl first and then plop them on my work surface.

Now the fun. Make a well in the flour. A pocket in the middle that will hold the eggs and oil as you incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry.



**My photographer friend seems to enjoy getting my mug in these photos, much more than I like being in the them, but I play along. 

Add the olive oil and one egg to the well in the flour.  Use a fork to start mixing the flour into the egg. Don't worry if it starts to overrun your well, just shore up the outer edges as best you can and keep working. Add the other 2-3 eggs, one at a time, until the dough starts to come together.



Crack your eggs in a separate bowl so you can fish out any runaway shell pieces. Easier to do in a bowl than in the flour mixture.





The idea here is to keep forcing more of the flour into the eggs, while maintaining a pliable pasta dough.  With this recipe you will have extra flour on the board that does not get incorporated, but that is intentional to help the process.



Work the dough lightly into a ball. It should not be as pliable as a bread dough, but be sure it had some smoothness to it.

Wrap up your pasta dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can keep the dough for a day, but it starts to darken in  color and the freshness change quickly.

At this point, I start to make my filling. This filling will take about the same time as the pasta needs to rest. Other fillings will vary in production time, so plan accordingly. The rest of the pasta rolling is below.

 Sautee your chopped onions in 4 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat, until translucent.  Add the spinach right on top of the onions and turn the heat to medium. Spice with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Once the spinach has wilted completely, turn the heat down to low and mix in the goat cheese. The goat cheese should melt and turn the mixture a very nice light green. Set the filling aside and let cool.  You can make this a day ahead a keep in the fridge, but I recommend getting it to room temperature before stuffing the ravioli.



Now for the long part of this process. Rolling, rolling, rolling.  I have used my portable pasta roller, but you can use a rolling pin if that's all you have.

Cut the ball of dough into quarters and work quickly so the dough does not dry out.  One quarter at a time, take each piece and form it into a torpedo shape. On the thickest setting of your pasta roller, feed the dough into the machine lengthwise.  Use one hand to feed the machine, one to crank the roller, and one to catch and guide the dough as it comes out. See the problem here. Not to worry, you will get the hang of it by the time you are done, as you will roll quite a few times.

The plan here is to make some long thin even sheets.  I will work with the output a little each time, cutting and shaping to get the end product in a form easiest for the final product.


Run the dough through the roller twice at each level. After level 2, the pasta should start to get too long to work as just one unit. Cut the piece into 2 to 4 sections at this point and continue to run each piece of dough through each level of the roller twice.  When I get to 5, I call it a day for thickness. Set the sheets aside on a floured surface, and continue on to the rest of the pasta dough.








Once the dough sheets are thin enough, its time to form and fill the ravioli.  The first thing I like to do is trim the edges of the sheets to form nice rectangles. Take the cut pieces of dough and put them with  dough you haven't sheeted yet.


 Next, cut the long rectangle sheet into smaller rectangle pieces to be filled for each ravioli.  Place a teaspoon of filling toward one end of the rectangle.  If you keep the pieces in a row, you can use your egg wash efficiently to paint all the edges of each ravioli - to be used as glue to hold them together.




Paint all the edges of each ravioli with egg wash and fold to form.  Press down on the edges to assure their are no gaps on the edges. It's a terrible feeling to see your hard work flow out into the water when cooking.


Once all your ravioli are formed, you can cook immediately; place them one layer thick on a sheet pan in the fridge or the freezer, until ready to use. 

When ready to use, boil plenty of water for your pasta, usually more than you think, and boil for 2 - 4 minutes, or until they float. Fresh ravioli will cook very fast, and frozen will be cool fast. 

The sauce for this recipe is simple, so as to highlight the pasta.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a large flat pan.  Turn the heat down to a medium low when the butter had melted, and add your sage leaves.  Salt and pepper to taste. Give the sage a few minutes to incorporate into the butter, but don't let your butter brown.

Add your ravioli's directly to the sauce pan and cook for a few minutes more, moving the pasta around the pan often to thoroughly coat with sauce. Serve immediately, and enjoy!