Saturday, September 27, 2008


Matt and I took a trip to Wyoming, Idaho and Utah about a week ago and it was so nice to be able to spend time with family. After a very long, but relatively smooth plane ride, we arrived safely in Utah much to Matt's relief. Flying is not something Matt enjoys in the least bit, and often dreads months or weeks before the actual event. About two hours after our arrival, we headed straight to Idaho to visit my cousins. The next day we headed to Yellowstone. On our way there we stopped in Jackson Hole and got a picture of the famous antler arch. We also got a great picture of the Teton Mountains. They have such a Dr. Seuss look about them!

Yellowstone was fun and just as stinky as I remember it. We went to Yellowstone when I was a kid and the terrible sulfur smell is the one thing that stands out it my mind. One of my favorite places we visited was painters point....or maybe it was painters pallet. Anyway, I thought it was beautiful. Here is a picture of Matt and I in front of the perfect view.

We didn't see the variety of wild life we would have liked to, but we did see buffalo, buffalo and more buffalo. We saw a baby wolf which was bears unfortunately. Of course when you go to Yellowstone, you have to get a picture of Old Faithful. I had my camera ready and I waited and waited for Old Faithful to go off and just when that moment came...what do you know, the battery dies. So I'm settling for a family picture in front of some random mud pot.
Our little vacation was fun, but a little too short. I wish we could have spent more time with the extended family, but we did enjoy the short time that we had with them. Hopefully we will be back soon!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Love Food!

I LOVE food. I love making it and seeing the satisfaction on someones face when they taste something really delicious. My current TV obsession is the food network. I could probably watch it all day if I let myself. It is so entertaining for me to watch someone make something different and interesting. I love experimenting with different flavors, spices, and textures. Over the past couple weeks, I have been experimenting with homemade ravioli. I found a ravioli maker at Williams Sonoma and it makes perfect little ravioli shapes. I don't have a pasta maker, so I have to roll out the dough myself. It works for now and I'm actually developing some muscle from all that rolling. After the dough is rolled you place it on the ravioli shaper and press the dough down with this press that looks kind of like an egg carton. Then you fill each little pocket, place another layer of dough on the top and roll over it with a rolling pin. It's so easy and fun. My biggest challenge has been the pasta dough. I tried one last week that called for eggs, flour and olive oil and it was just terrible. All we could taste was the egg. I know it's silly, but I seriously get so upset when food doesn't turn out the way I expect it to. Anyway, this week I tried a different dough recipe without eggs and it was much better. I made sweet potato ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce, topped with fried shallots and toasted pine nuts. It was sooo good that I even took a picture. I would recommend the recipe to anyone who has the time for it. It's well worth the work!

Ravioli dough
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup boiling water

In a food processor, place the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the flour has the texture of rough cornmeal. With the machine running, slowly add the water. Gather the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface. Knead lightly until the dough is smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough in half and keep one half covered while you work with the other. Roll out dough to a 19x4" rectangle 1/8 inch thickness. Place 1 teaspoon of filling about one inch apart on rectangle. Fold over and press around the edges (use egg wash to seal around the edges). Cut into squares. Ravioli freezes well for 2-3 months. Cook fresh ravioli in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes or frozen ravioli for 9-10 minutes. You can also use wonton wrappers. Cook until ravioli floats to the top.

Sweet Potato Ravioli
2 1-lb sweet potatoes (yams)
2 T. golden brown sugar
2 T. butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil rimmed baking sheet. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise; place cut side down on baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes; cool. Scoop potato pulp out of skins onto small bowl. Spoon 1 1/3 cups pulp into medium bowl. Add sugar and butter. Mash well. Season filling with salt and pepper.

Fried Shallots and Sauce:
1 C. vegetable oil
4 large shallots, cut crosswise into thin rounds, separated into rings
6 tablespoons butter
8 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 - 1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/3 C. pine nuts toasted

Heat vegetable oil in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shallots until crisp and dark brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Cook butter in large pot over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sage and red pepper. Add cooked ravioli to pot with butter sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to plates, drizzling any sauce from pot over ravioli. Top with fried shallots and pine nuts.