Squash Ravioli with Swiss Chard and Truffle Oil

I’ve always wanted to try making ravioli, so when I got a few squash this week I thought I would give it a shot! I don’t have a pasta maker at home, so I simply made these ravioli using wonton wrappers, which you can find at most supermarkets. Last minute I decided to drizzle some black truffle oil on top, which was of course a great idea. Truffle on anything is magical.

Ingredients: (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
1 delicata squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, crushed
5 fresh thyme springs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 teaspoon nutmeg
wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Swiss chard, washed and thickly chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the squash into quarters, then peel, remove seeds, and chop into 1-inch cubes. Add to a baking sheet with the crushed garlic and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook for 25-30 minute or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and toss the thyme. Add to a medium bowl with ricotta, half of the Parmesan, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Smash with a big spoon well until well incorporated. You can also pulse in a food processor to smooth it out easier. I added a little olive oil until I thought it had a nice consistency.

Place a few wonton wrappers on a flat surface. Scoop some filling into the center of the wrapper (not too much so that you can close it) and brush the edges with the egg. Take another wrapper and brush the edges as well. Place one wrapper on top of the other and seal edges with a fork. Alternatively, you can just fold the one wrapper in half and make triangle ravioli (also called triangoli) instead. I tried both to see which I liked better- I think the triangle shape makes them look fuller which is nice. Place a damp paper towel on a plate and stack your ravioli until you are ready to start boiling them. In a large pot of boiling water, add a little olive oil (to help them not stick together) and cook about 7 ravioli at a time until they all float to the top, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. While you cook the ravioli, toss the Swiss chard in a frying pan with a little olive oil until it begins to wilt.

Place ravioli on a plate and drizzle with a tiny bit of butter and black truffle oil. add the Swiss chard and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bon appetit!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread & Muffins

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs- everything looks incredible. When I got some zucchini this week I decided to make her zucchini bread. It was absolutely delicious and extremely easy to make! I added the chocolate chips, but this would be great without them as well, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have. Even with the chocolate chips added, I didn’t think it was too sweet at all. The recipe was enough to make 2 loaves or 24 muffins, but when I filled the one loaf pan it didn’t look like I would have enough for another full loaf, so I threw the leftovers in the muffin tin. Both came out great- I ate mine warm with butter, of course.

Ingredients: (from Smitten Kitchen)
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or walnuts if you want a less sweet with a little crunch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your loaf pans or muffin tins. In a large bowl whisk the eggs then add the oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a few cups at a time and mix well. Divide the batter into your pans and cook for 50-60 minutes (test with a toothpick until it comes out clean.) If you go the muffin route instead, these will cook much faster in about 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then immediately hide in your room and eat the whole thing.

Creamy Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Leek Pasta

The fall weather was definitely here today. It was the first day I felt a little chilly walking around- probably because I’m in denial summer is over and still dressing for 80 degree weather. When I got home I decided to make some nice warm pasta for dinner. I made this delicious eggplant and mushroom dish that took no more than 30 minutes max. I will definitely be making this again! I think it might even be good with a little pancetta added next time.

Ingredients: (from Petite Kitchen)
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
4 small Japanese eggplants, cubed
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Angel hair pasta

(makes about 2-3 servings)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the leeks. Let cook for a minute until they break down a little. Add the garlic, mushrooms, eggplant, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue cooking vegetables for another 3 minutes or so. Add the chicken stock and Dijon mustard then turn down the heat to low and let simmer for another 5 minutes. In the meantime, boil some water and cook the pasta. Turn off the heat and add the cream and lemon juice to the vegetables, stir well then pour over the pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese and a little fresh cracked pepper.

Summer Squash and Corn Soup

Apparently fall is on its way, and despite the past two days of 90 degree weather, I thought I would prepare myself for the upcoming season by making some soup. I had some summer squash and corn on hand and found a nice light recipe that sounded perfect for weaning my way into soup season. It could not have been easier to make and was absolutely delicious. I think next time I make it, I will have some nice bread on hand to dunk. I pretty much love any excuse to eat bread.

Ingredients: (adapted from Eating Well)
1 small shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 yellow squash, diced
1 fresh corn, sliced off the cob
14 oz chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pepper to taste
Crumbled feta cheese, for topping

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the shallots. Let cook a minute or two then add the squash and fresh herbs. Cook for another 5 minutes until the squash softens a bit. Add the chicken broth and salt and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and tip your soup in the pot so the liquid is deep enough to use your hand blender without having it splat everywhere. If you do not have a hand blender, you can simply pour the mixture into your blender and blend until smooth. Next, add the fresh corn and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Lastly, add the lemon juice and pepper to taste. Pour into bowls and top with feta cheese and any leftover fresh herbs.

After making this for the first time, I think next time I might try adding half of the corn early and blending it in with the squash, then add the rest at the end per the above. This would make it even creamier which I think would be nice. Oh and the bread, lots of bread!

Roasted Lemon Balm and Sage Chicken

I was pleasantly surprised this week when I got a huge bag of lemon balm. I had recently read a lot about it in one of my favorite hippie books and was excited to see what I could try. The first thing I did was make myself a cup of tea by ripping about 5 leaves and adding that with some fresh ginger to my tea ball, then letting it steep for 10 minutes. Very subtle and delicious! The next thing I made was this lemon balm and sage chicken. I had a ton of left over sage and saw it paired with the lemon balm in a few recipes, but I am sure it would be great with thyme or rosemary if you don’t have sage on hand. You could eat this chicken plain or over pretty much anything. I had some polenta and used that with a little Parmesan cheese mixed in. YUM.

4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the herbs, garlic and softened butter. Lift the skin of the chicken and spread the butter mixture underneath. Place the chicken skin side up on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil until coated well. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any loose herbs you may have leftover. Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. To get a good crisp on the skin, turn off the oven and spoon the chicken drippings from the pan over top of the chicken, then throw on the broiler and broil for a minute or two until skin is crispy!