Saturday, February 25, 2012

PW Cooks: Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins and Ravioli Three Ways

Let me start by saying to my friend Marie that I told you if I ended up making the ravioli, I'd call, and I ended up making it and I didn't call, but that was probably for the best since I was -- and am -- still sick.

So, last night, what with (a) it being the first Friday of Lent, and (b) the ingredients being in my fridge probably getting rotten, I decided -- after I'd said I would, then changed my mind to not -- to make the Ravioli Three Ways.  Except we only did it two ways.

Ravioli Three Ways

Verdict:  Simple ravioli with a nice shortcut, and definitely good.
Cook it Again:   Yes, especially the wonton-wrapper idea.
Cost Factor:  Ricotta is expensive lately, and the wonton wrappers weren't too bad.  But be aware: if we made this for guests we'd need more than one pack of wrappers. 

I'm pretty good with anything Italian that requires cheese, and this was no exception.  In fact, I've made ravioli from scratch (as in, make your own dough, roll it, cut it, stuff it) before, so I was pretty excited to try the recipe using won-ton wrappers.

And it was pretty brilliant.

Because I wasn't feeling so hot, I didn't take photos all the way through, but the mix itself is pretty basic:  ricotta, salt, pepper, parmesan, and an egg.  Mick helped me and we made a little assembly line of stuffing the wonton wrappers.  When we got about halfway through, we added the wilted and chopped spinach (I got spinach rather than arugula because it was cheaper, truth be told).

Now in her cookbook, the ravioli are beautifully translucent, fully stuffed, and oh-so-pretty. I am always afraid that my ravioli will explode in my pot, so I tried to ensure that they were not over-stuffed.  And we succeeded:  the only one that exploded was the one that actually stuck to the bottom and I broke when I tried to scoop it up.

But when we switched to the spinach mix, we also switched to using one wrapper and folding it in half to make triangle raviolis, and those were actually our favorites -- just the right ratio of pasta to stuffing, and a workable size.  The full-size wonton wrapper squares were too big, at least for the Mick-and-Jen method, to look all that pretty.

We skipped the egg ravioli, not because it didn't appeal to me (it really did, actually) but because I was feeling like junk and didn't care to be that ambitious.

So the ultimate verdict -- we'll definitely make ravioli again, obviously.  The stuffing recipe wasn't anything special, and in fact left out nutmeg which gives that mysterious depth of taste that will make people LOVE your ravioli, but our dinner last night was good, and nothing to complain about!  I mean, hey, it's ravioli.  If you've never made it before, this is a great recipe to learn from.  I made a simple marinara that we served it with, and my complaint (if I have one) is with the sauce.  Note to self:  making a sauce when you can't really taste is not the best idea.  But dinner was good and we all finished our dinner last night.  (We didn't even make a salad:  just ravioli and dinner rolls.  Yum!)

What we learned from this recipe was the shortcut of using the wonton wrappers instead of my pasta roller attachment on the stand mixer.  HUGE time saver, and definitely a keeper.

And now, on to ...

Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins

Verdict:  Very yummy and a nice, light texture.
Cook it Again:  Probably, but sweeter.
Cost Factor: the two big costs are the yogurt and the blueberries.

I was looking forward to this recipe, because everyone who'd made it raved about it.  They weren't wrong!  Everyone loved them (except WHM, who decided he only wants to eat Cheez-Its today), and the sauce was a neat twist that was especially yummy.

The recipe was neat in the sense that it called for yogurt, and although I don't care for yogurt in general, I don't mind it in food, so I was okay with that.  It also was very easy, and made a perfect 24 muffins, no scraping the bowl to make it work.  (It did call for buttering the muffin tins instead of using paper, but with my helpers, we used paper muffin cups.  I'm not sure how they would have been without the papers but they certainly were fine with the papers, and CAM and WHM enjoyed setting the papers in each cup.)

My only complaint is that I like to err on the side of sweeter muffins, and these were not.  I won't say they had no sweetness to them, but I'd have preferred them to be sweeter.  Mick said the same thing; they are good, and flavorful, but not as sweet as he expected.  So, I'm quite sure we'll make these again, but we'll sweeten 'em up a bit.

Believe it or not, for as frequently as I make muffins, this is the first time I've ever put the turbinado sugar on top.  And we keep the sugar in the house, because I use it in my tea!  I am in love with doing this and will never again skip it!



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