two skinny jenkins

090805 – Homemade Ricotta Ravioli
090806, 9:20 am
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

long awaited ravioli photo

I will start by saying that the pasta made just enough for 6 adults.  Had I used a pasta machine, it could have fed 8.  We used a combination of online recipes and The New Best Recipe book that I have falling in love with…  Unfortunately the pasta dough was intended for a pasta machine  – but i thought i could work it by hand.  I rolled it out as well as I could, but the elastic, resilient dough resisted my efforts and in the end was twice  as thick as it should have been.  I would not attempt this dough again without a pasta machine or very strong helper.

The ricotta filling was delicious.  The recipe below made just the right amount to go with the pasta.

Joe made an amazing red sauce.  If I had been making this alone, i would have used jarred sauce for times sake.  We served the pasta with some French Bread from my most recent BBA Challenge, a salad, and some watermelon.

making ricotta

Fresh Ricotta Cheese:

(recipe yields about 1 1/2- 2 C ricotta)

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1/6 C white vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  1. rinse a large, heavy duty pot with cold water. This helps the milk from adhering to the pot.
  2. Add milk and heat to roughly 180°F, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the milk has reached 180°F, remove from heat, add vinegar and salt.  Stir ONCE, cover with a clean dishtowel or cloth napkin,  then let it sit undisturbed for 2 hours.
  4. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set so that it can drain over a large bowl.
  5. Scoop the curdled cheese from the pot with a slotted spoon into the cheesecloth.  Let it drain for 1-2 hours depending on the creaminess you want.  We were crunched for time, so Joe pressed the cheese with the cheesecloth, ringing out as much moisture as possible.  This worked fine for ravioli, but the cheese would have been better if we had the time to let it sit.

Ravioli filling:

  • 1 1/2 C Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C fresh parsley, minced
  • 3/4 C Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t salt
  • pinch fresh ground pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir together until basically homogeneous.pasta making



The recipe below makes roughly 1lb of pasta.  For 6 adults, I made a double batch.

  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  1. Measure flour out into a food processor and pulse until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and mix for 30 seconds straight, then pulse for an additional minute or so as the dough forms a ball.  It will look like small pebbles at first, then eventually come together.  If it stays in pebble form for 45-60 seconds, add 1-2 t water (1t at a time).  I made two batches of dough and each one needed about 1 1/2 t water.
  3. roll dough ball and few remaining pebbles onto a dry counter and knead for 1-2 minutes.
  4. cover dough w/ plastic wrap and let rest for 15  min- 2 hours.
  5. Feed through pasta machine to create 5-6″ wide sheets for ravioli.  Or, if you’re like me, use a rolling pin and make it AS THIN AS POSSIBLE.
  6. Add a dollop (t sized) of ricotta mixture in a row along dough strip, fold dough in half and push closed around ricotta.  Using a pastry wheel (or regular knife), cut between each ricotta pouch and trim excess dough off seam edges.
  7. cook for 4-5 min in pot of rapidly boiling salted water.

090715 – zucchini pasta
090715, 10:17 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , ,

Zucchini Pasta

Joe is a master at these kind of pasta dishes.  When asparagus is in season, he makes the same thing with that.

  • 1/2 package of whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 T evoo
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into coins (or peeled longways)
  • 2 cans petit diced tomatoes
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 t onion powder
  • S + P to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to the box.
  2. Saute garlic in olive oil in a large skillet.  Add zucchini and saute until soft (about 6 minutes).  Add tomatoes and spices and continue simmering for 5-7 minutes.  Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain and add to the skillet and continue cooking for a minute or two.
  3. Serve and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

090630 – Granola Bars
090702, 9:33 am
Filed under: BREAKFAST, SNACK | Tags: , , , , ,

Hungry - why wait?This is a simple, two step thing.  First, to make the granola, then form the bars.  I have made granola a few (three) of different ways in the past and have my favorite recipe prettymuch down.  To make the bars, i just added a bit of maple syrup to my usual granola recipe, to make it more sticky.  Next time i might add some chocolate chips…

Homemade Granola Recipe:

  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 1 C peanuts or toasted almonds
  • 1/4 C sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C flax seeds
  • 1/2 C toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C coconut (this time i used the fresh coconut i had hand cut at the beach)
  • 1/4 C fiber one (crushed in a coffee grinder)
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1/2 C raisins (i like to mix golden and regular)
  • 1/2 C dried fruit (dried apricots + craisins)
  • scant 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  1. Mix the oat, nuts and grains in a large bowl.
  2. Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around before pouring into bowl.
  3. Then measure out the honey in the same, unwashed cup. The oil will help the honey exit the cup.
  4. Toss everything together until evenly coated and then pour out into a baking pan. I use a large roasting pan, as it keeps everything contained. A cookie sheet with a lip also works, but you have to stir it slightly more carefully if you use that.Baking Granola
  5. Bake at 300° F for 30 minutes, turning it with a spatula every ten minutes or so. You want everything to be an even golden brown.
  6. When it is finished cooking, returned the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the raisins and fruit and stir to combine. Granola Press
  7. To form bars, line a rectangular baking dish with wax paper.  Immediately pour the warm granola into the dish, cover with another piece of paper, and press down HARD, packing the granola as tightly as possible.  Cut Bars
  8. Let the pressed granola harden cool for at least 3 hours (i let mine sit overnight) before cutting.  My pan yielded 14 thick granola bars.  For lack of more sustainable  packaging ideas, I wrapped them up in some saran-wrap.

090629 – picnic 2
090629, 10:01 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , ,

This picnic got a little more creative than the last one.  Sorry i forgot to bring my camera along!  it was a pretty colorful meal.  At least I took a few photos during prep.  Here’s the menu:

  • Baguette with nettle and Rembrandt cheese.
  • Steam frozen edamame and chill. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, lots of chopped mint, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

marinated soy beans

  • Peanut sauce noodles.  Sauce = (1/4 C peanut butter, 1/4 C soy sauce,  1 T C warm water, 1 t ginger, 1 T rice vinegar, 1 1/2 T Asian toasted sesame oil, 1 T honey, 1 t dried hot red pepper flakes)

Peanut Sauce Noodles

  • Toss 1 C cooked couscous with oil, chopped parsley, chopped black olives, capers, sun dried tomato, chopped onion, feta, salt and pepper.
  • Brown fresh corn kernels in hot oil with chopped chili and garlic, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro and lots of lime juice.

spicy toasted corn

  • Watermelon for dessert.

090622 – summer squash caserole
090622, 10:13 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

squash casserole

inspired by all the veggies on sale at the grocery store, we decided to make a bunch of them for dinner tonight!

salad: romaine lettuce with cucumber and blue cheese

corn: boiled for 5 minutes

squash casserole:

  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini cut into 1/6th-inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 C oregano
  • 1/4 C  parsley
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 t fine grain sea salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 C evoo
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 2 C fresh (whole wheat) bread crumbs
  • 3 small potatoes, sliced transparently thin
  • 1/4 C grated Gruyere cheese + 1/2 C (fat free) feta
  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees and place a rack in the middle. Rub a 9×9 gratin pan (or equivalent baking dish) with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon juice, and set aside.
  2. Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes to drain a bit.
  3. Make the sauce by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.
  4. Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is wonderfully fragrant, and has turned brown. Wait two minutes, then stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.
  5. Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano sauce. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half of the bread crumbs and toss again. Taste one of the zucchini pieces and add more seasoning (salt or red pepper) if needed.
  6. Transfer the squash to the lemon-juiced pan, top with the remaining crumbs, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. You don’t want the zucchini to go to mush, but you need to be sure the potatoes are fully baked. Remove from oven, and drizzle with the remaining oregano sauce.

090610 – Grilled Tofu Sandwiches
090610, 10:16 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, DINNER | Tags: , ,

Triple Decker Dinner Sandwich

This was one GREAT sandwich.  I find it hard not to like something that includes cherry tomatoes.  for someone who has not worked with tofu much, it was pretty easy, too.  And yes, that is a delicious Mojito in the background!

  • toasted Casatiello (or whole wheat bread)
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2/3 C cherry tomatoes for puree + 1 C halved for sandwiches
  • romaine lettuce (better yet – fresh basil) for sandwiches
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 swigs balsamic vinegar + some for marinade
  • EVOO
  • dried basil
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • S + P
  1. Marinade slices of tofu in balsamic vinegar and olive oil for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make tomato puree by pulsing cherry tomatoes + tomato paste + garlic clove + basil + dash of onion powder + swig of balsamic vinegar in immersion blender
  3. Toast the Casatiello slices (or whole grain bread) and spread with tomato puree. Grill slices of firm tofu in olive oil until browning and crispy.
  4. Layer tofu in the sandwich with lettuce (or fresh basil) and sliced cherry tomatoes. Season with black pepper and a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder and mild chili powder. Amazing hot or cold.

recipe thanks to:!

090531 – Stuffed Artichokes
090602, 9:31 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: ,

stuffed globe artichokes

I have ALWAYS wanted to buy globe artichokes. I have only ever had canned artichokes, which i love, and fresh ones look so beautiful.  The other night when i saw them on sale at Whole Foods I couldn’t resist!

I had never known that there was a vegetable as messy and unflattering to eat as seafood.  The process of picking out each leaf and chewing off the ‘meat’ reminds me of picking out fresh crab meat at my grandparent’s house on the Chesapeake Bay.

let me make a few suggestions for working with artichokes:  1) use a VERY, VERY sharp knife when cutting off the top.  I consider myself a pretty strong woman, and i had a hard time sawing through it. 2) i would recommend using 1/4-1/2 more stuffing than i did and stuffing the artichoke center slightly above the top.  The stuffing cooks down while baking.  3) don’t bother with the stalks.  I don’t know why this recipe called for including them.  Even after the hour and a half they spent in the oven, they seemed just as crispy and rough to me as when they had gone in.

  • 2 large globe artichokes (about 12 ounces each before trimming)
  • 1 C bread crumbs (i used a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and toasted brioche)
  • 4 baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 C Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T dried parsley
  • 1 T dried rosemary (crushed by hand – do not try to chop dried rosemary)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T tapenade (or 1 T chopped capers + 1 T chopped olives)
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/2 C dry white wine (i used prosecco)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Fill a large bowl with water and pour lemon juice into water. Cut off artichoke stems, peel them with a vegetable peeler, and drop them into water.
  2. Use a heavy, VERY sharp knife to cut top 1 1/2 inches off an artichoke. Pull out pale inner leaves from center. At the bottom, where leaves were, is a furry bed, the choke. Use a spoon (a grapefruit spoon if you have it) to scoop out choke. Next, using kitchen shears or a pair of scissors, trim pointy ends from outer leaves of artichoke. When you are finished trimming, drop artichoke into bowl of lemon water, upside down to cover the cuts. Repeat with remaining artichoke(s).
  3. To prepare stuffing, in a large bowl combine bread crumbs, mushrooms, Parmesan, tapenade, garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss.
  4. In a deep roasting or baking pan large enough to hold artichokes, scatter onion slices. Add reserved artichoke stems and 2 peeled garlic cloves.
  5. Holding artichokes over stuffing bowl, stuff choke cavity and in between the leaves with bread crumb mixture. Stand stuffed artichokes upright in pan and generously drizzle olive oil over center of each artichoke.
  6. Fill pan with water until it reaches 1/4 way up the artichokes. Add wine and remaining salt and pepper to water. Cover pan with foil and poke several holes in foil. Bake artichokes for about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender; when done, a knife should be easily inserted into artichoke and a leaf should be easily pulled out.

Check out more photos on Flickr!

090530 – living room picnic
090530, 10:49 pm
Filed under: DINNER, DRINKS | Tags: , ,

picnic montage_lines02

I was feeling too lazy to walk/bike our dinner down to the water (1 1/2 mi. away), so we picnicked in the living room instead!  The nettle cheese was a gift from my parents who brought it straight from Holland.  You are supposed to be able to wait and let it age and harden in the fridge, but we couldn’t wait.

olive tapenade:

  • 1 C Kalamata olives (i just grabbed a few varieties off the olive bar)
  • 2 T capers
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 t fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pulse in a food processor until olives are sufficiently chopped up.

Dark + Stormy:

  • 6 oz ginger beer
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 1 lime wedge
  • ice

Salad Dressing Recipe (link)

090528 – broccoli + garlic sauce done right
090528, 9:59 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

broccoli + garlic rocks!

Joe made a great dinner tonight!  he is a master at broccoli and garlic sauce…

Sauce timeWe didn’t have enough chili garlic sauce, so the sauce wasn’t as spicy as usual, but even without the rocket fuel it was still good. The chili-garlic sauce is made by Huy Fong the same people who make the delicious Tuong Ot Sriracha (link). Other than the shortage of chili-garlic sauce, I followed the earlier recipe for the garlic sauce. One big improvement over last time is that I sauteed the broccoli for less time than previously, about 3 minutes without the sauce and then 4 minutes with the sauce. This made the broccoli much crispier, which we prefer and probably leaves more nutrients.

090527 – Curried Red Lentil Daal with Garlic Naan
090527, 9:26 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

Lentils and Naan

I have made a very similar recipe a few times before i started this blog, and wanted to try adding a few of our other Indian spices to the mix.  So i added the garlic ginger paste and the Graham Marsala.  I think that it definitely has more of an authentic Indian flavor than before, but Joe did not like it as much.

I wish that i could say that i made the Naan, but it is from Trader Joe’s and SO TASTY that i am happy to buy theirs.  Besides, a good Indian friend of mine endorses it, so it must be good.

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 t olive oil
  • 1 T garlic ginger paste (found at Indian grocery stores)
  • 1-1/2 t curry powder
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t graham Marsala
  • 1 1/2 T burberry powder (found in middle eastern grocery stores – you could substitute 2t chili powder)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t  sugar
  • 1 can diced or petite diced tomato, drained
  1. rinse lentils then cover with an inch of water and bring to a boil over med-high heat.
  2. meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small saucepan and saute onion for 2-3 minutes, until soft.  remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.  return to high heat and stir continually for 2 minutes.
  3. when lentils are soft and fully cooked, skim off extra water/foam, remove from heat and stir in onion mixture.  serve immediately.


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