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I Should Have Been Named Ravi O

Before I get started, I’d like to crown this recipe as the most labor intensive thus far.  Sam, thanks for making us work.  If I has chosen to make the cauliflower raviolis in my tiny San Francisco apartment, I don’t doubt that there would be flour on the walls, cauliflower on the ceiling, and a serious case of lactose regret (I don’t keep lactaid pills in my home).  Luckily, I was able to borrow Bill and Betty’s expansive Moraga kitchen, and instead had an enjoyable, albeit challenging, experience.

I began my day with a lovely walk to the farmer’s market, where I had the choice of not one but 2 different types of cauliflower.  As this group is all about experimentation and, thanks to my sister and her bizarre taste in colors I’m on somewhat of an orange kick, I opted for the cauliflower that was the color of macaroni and cheese.  I asked the nice cashier what the difference in the two varieties were and he shrugged his shoulders and pointed me in the direction of another man.  Forgive me for assuming that the man who worked at the vegetable stand knew anything about vegetables.  My mistake, sir.

My next trip was to Safeway (praise god, there was no trip to Real Food involved this time).  I loaded up on what felt like every cheese that Italy had to offer, picked up my pancetta, grabbed wonton wrappers (just in case) and walked home with my goods.

My first order of business was to tackle the good old fashioned art of home made pasta.  After looking at about 15 different recipes, I painstakingly chose one and decided out of curiosity to incorporate one part semolina flour, which another recipe had called for.  I have no idea how this particular flour is different, but the name reminded me of Thumbelina and it sounded dainty and precious and I could only hope that my ravioli should be so lucky.  Much to my surprise, Betty had a blender with a dough hook, which saves these delicate arms from too much heavy kneading.  The recipe required that the dough sit for at least an hour, so Betty and I decided that the best way to kill time was to go to Urban Outfitters.

When we got home, it was time to grab the rolling pin and bring out my inner Streganonna (anyone remember?)  So I tirelessly rolled that Thumbelina dough until my arms were sore and the result was a beautiful sheet of pasta through which I could see my hand.  I covered my ravioli sheets with wet paper towels to maintain their unblemished complexion, as I got to work on what I will heretofore refer to as the cheese trifecta.  As a side note and an explanation for my previous comment about “lactose regret”, two of the three cheese that this recipe called for did not contain “active cultures”, which are the ingredients that most cheeses contain that allow me to eat them.  Alas, for the sake of k1tchenb1tches and being a team player, I threw caution to the wind (no pun intended).  I made the cheese trifecta in the Cuisinart while the beautiful orange cauliflower cooked.  I’ve never really given a second thought to cauliflower, but I of course had a small sample while it was bathing in butter.  Newsflash – cauliflower is AWESOME!

Not to mention, I forgot that on the next burner over, the pancetta was bubbling and boiling and being the rockstar that it always is and making my kitchen smell epic.  I could already imagine the sweet music that my new orange friend and the salty, fatty pancetta would make when they were finally united in my mouth.

For some reason, I’m assuming in order to avoid the cheese melting, everything was supposed to chill before making the raviolis, so I took this opportunity to whoop Bill in a round Jeopardy.  Then I headed back to the kitchen to assemble my raviolis.  This is where I encountered some teachable moments:

1) raviolis are not supposed to be the size of napkins

2) no matter how thinly you roll dough, it will stretch back up if you let it sit for long enough

So using combination of carefully rolled ravioli dough, awkward scraps, and wonton wrappers, Bill and Betty and I assembled a ragamuffin bunch of ravioli.  We let them bask in a bath of boiling water and then assembled them on our plates with roasted corn and a world famous Bill salad.  We dug in…

The consensus: although the homemade dough had a better flavor, it was way too thick on the edges and had to be cut off.  The wonton wrappers, while less flavorful, were the perfect texture.  Thin and a bit slimy, they allowed the amazing cheese and cauliflower medley to shine.  The sauce was delicious – did anyone else realize that it called for olive oil AND butter?  How could it be anything less than awesome?  Overall, my guests and I were pleased with the dish and I was endlessly proud of myself for making pasta from scratch for the first time.  We finished off the meal with some fresh picked blackberries from the creek in the backyard.  Suburbia much?

I wish the rest of you the best of luck in your endeavors, and look forward to hearing your trials and tribulations.

Love,

Kelsey

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Buon Appetite!

I hope none of you have been holding your breath for this post, since it has taken me entirely too long to committee to a recipe.  I have considered several ideas but at the end of the day I decide to go with my first instinct and cook something Italian. As most people know, I am not Italian in any way shape or form (at least I don’t think I am), however, Italian food was a staple growing up in the Stone household.

Drum roll please……….this week we will be making Cauliflower Ravioli with Pancetta

 

I hope everyone is as excited as I am to make some homemade ravioli! Picking the type of filling was mind-blowing but I think I’ve settled on a damn good one! Now before anyone panics over the idea of spending countless hours kneading and rolling out their own dough, I want to mention a few short cuts. By all means making your dough from scratch is an option but b1tches can also use wonton wrappers or prepared sheets of pasta dough if you can find it at the grocery store. I have faith that all of you will come up with a way to create this meal to best suit your individual schedules, kitchen appliance, and dietary needs.

Much Love and Luck,

Sam

Down Home Cookin’ South African Style

Today was a sad day…I finally finished off mine and Justine’s South African soup. I would describe this dish as a sweet yet spicy, hardy yet healthy dish that was both foreign and comforting at the same time. I think it’s safe to say that I was a fan of this dish and I have to be honest when I tell you that this came as quite a surprise to me.

I’m typically pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new dishes but when I first read the ingredients in this week’s soup I was a bit skeptical. Now I am a fan of each of these ingredients individually but once all mixed together I could not picture what I would be left with for dinner. I think I can usually gage what something will taste like from my familiarity with the ingredients used to make it. In this situation my lack of experience came through and I kept thinking about the dish in terms of its most pronounced ingredient, peanut butter! For some reason, the idea of hot liquid peanut butter kept coming to mind and completely turning me off. With a mindset such as this I knew I would need some moral support in the kitchen so I called up Justine and arranged to make this week’s meal together.

Lucky for us, Justine had most of the ingredients already (as Kim mentioned, most of these things are typical household staples which was a definite plus).  As soon as Justine arrived with all the essentials we got straight to chopping and I must say, even our bowl of chopped ingredients looked appetizing. After completing our prep work we started cooking and the strong aromas from the dish took over the house immediately.

So we’ve got pretty colors and delicious smells—so far so good!

          

As Justine and I moved merrily along in the kitchen, reassuring each other that the dish would be good we realized something monumental…we forgot to add the garlic!! How we managed to do this, I do not know! But Justine was quick on her feet and immediately started heating up some oil in a separate pan to brown the garlic and before we knew it the garlic was in with the rest of the ingredients and we were back in the game. Other than this potentially detrimental mishap, preparing the meal was pretty much smooth sailing. And soon enough, our Ginny pig, Jenna was home from yoga and it was time for dinner to be served!

We opted to serve the dish as more of a stew over rice opposed to soup which turned out to be a great idea if I do say so myself. Justine and I grabbed our bowls and the sriracha and headed for the couch. After adding a sufficient amount of extra spice to counterbalance the anticipated sweetness, we began to dig in and we were immediately impressed. Even Jenna, with her riceless bowl and pile of discarded black beans went back for seconds.

When all is said and done I give this meal an A-

I had expected the worst and instead got to indulge in a tasty meal, full of everyday ingredients that came together to create a dish that was new and unique. Good pickin’ Kels 🙂

Choosy mom’s choose JIF, I chose it because it was on sale.

My mother is a spying, prying woman, with little to no sense of personal privacy. That being said I’ll begin the deconstruction of the meal.

I really liked this soup.  It was delicious and I give it an A.  It was extremely filling and today after I had it for lunch for the third time, I finally threw the rest out.  But, Kelsey you were correct in saying that the creator of this blog was in love with herself… and running.  If she could make love to herself, whilst running, and eating this soup, it seems like she would probably die happy.

I liked that this was kind of a poor man’s curry.  If I were a normal person, that owned food and rudimentary kitchen items, I would probably have only had to buy a few things.  But, nonetheless I had to buy most of the ingredients on the list, and the things I didn’t buy, because I thought I had them, I didn’t have (e.g. black beans).  I always have black beans, I put them on everything, there are always two cans in my cupboard and on this Wednesday that was not the case.  So when I got home and realized this I quickly switched to hominy, which was not at all a bad trade. And if you look closely at the picture you will also notice that I took the opportunity to use chicken broth and not vegetable broth.                                                                                                                                              

 

This meal was easy to construct, every step took the perfect amount of time to get ready  for  the  next.  And while it was boiling at the end it gave me time to tidy my apartment.

I think the only thing I might add is Japanese Eggplant, maybe even substitute it for the sweet potato.  It has the same texture but (excuse my wordage) a creaminess (oh goodness it’s terrible) that you can’t really get with a sweet potato, and the skin adds a nice crunch.  For the last time I ate it I added some white rice to make it a bit more like curry, and it did well with the as well.

In Summation – loved it, will totally make it again

|Kimburrrr

Anything to Make George Washington Carver Proud

Peanut butter does not have the reputation of being the most versatile ingredient.  It is most well known for being the star of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ants on a log, and various dessert foods, but  I’d like to start this post out with a big thank you to Africa for showing us a side of peanut butter that we’re not used to seeing.  A sexy side.  A dangerous side.  A soup side.

Now, I’m having a bit of trouble gathering my thoughts for this post for several reasons, including:

-It’s Friday night and just hearing the sound of drunk strangers outside my apartment is giving me FOMO

-Sports Center is on on mute in the background and I need to stay up to date on breaking NFL news.  Also, they’re interviewing Tom Brady.  Lord have mercy.

-I just finished a White Russian that I so classily mixed in a party cup

But despite these distractions, I will bravely press on share with the world wide web my maiden voyage of African soup.

After a fantastically relaxing yoga class on Tuesday night, I hit up the Real Food with my apprentices/guinea pigs, Luebe, Nova, Mel, and my long lost brother Mark Lee.  You’ve already heard my lamentations about the grocery store, so I’ll spare you this time.  The ingredients for this soup were the easiest to find so far, except for the beans issue that Kim pointed out.  I don’t know who has the time or the wherewithal these days to let beans soak overnight, so I opted for canned black beans.  Also, the stupid store was out of traditional sweet potatoes so I bought the Japanese kind.  Besides the fact that they had an affinity for karaoke and Sailor Moon, I couldn’t really tell a difference from regular sweet potatoes.  Because I didn’t have time to find a suitable side dish that I felt was in keeping with the theme of the meal, my crew and I opted for steamed carrots, green bean stir fry, and the very traditional African appetizer of brie cheese and baguette.  We also popped open Nova’s finest bottle of red wine to imbibe during the preparation.

Mixing the curry paste and the cinnamon in olive oil produced a positively tantalizing scent that filled my kitchen.  Being the envelope pusher that I am, I added extra curry paste to the mixture.

The rest of the recipe was relatively straightforward and went off without a hitch (well, without many hitches).  We had a bit of a burning scare which was ameliorated by frantically dumping my glass of wine into the pan to deglaze it and unstick the sweet potatoes from the bottom.  Perhaps this cooking blog is teaching us to be innovative and quick on our feet in the face of adversity or danger.  Other deviations from the recipe include using chicken broth instead of veggie broth and adding cubed chicken, which I browned in the curry/cinnamon mixture.

As the delicious smelling concoction came to a boil, the creamy, peanuty broth began to thicken with the starch from the potatoes.  I gave the soup a generous handful of cilantro which I would have doubled had it not been for Mark Lee’s less than enthusiastic opinion of the greatest herb on Earth (which led me to the conclusion that I distrust anyone that doesn’t like cilantro.  And lefties).  As the window of my kitchen began to fog up, I wondered how the self righteous blogger that gave us this recipe ever considered this to be a summer soup.  I decided that I distrusted her as well.

After a sufficient simmer while the vegetables finished cooking, I ladled up the concoction to myself and my trust critics (Luebe and I added sriracha and extra cilantro, like a boss).  My first thought was “good flavor, but the peanut butter is overpowering”.  As I pressed on, it began to really take on a thai flavor, somewhat like tom yum kha soup with the creaminess of the peanut butter being reminiscent of coconut milk.  My guests seemed to enjoy the soup, especially Nova, whose affinity for peanut butter rivals Jenna’s.  When asked to give it a grade, the group unanimously awarded it a solid B.  However, as an addendum to this rating, when I brought the soup for lunch the next day everything had jujshed (see definition below) together overnight and gotten more flavorful and spicy.  My co-worker, for whom I brought leftovers, said that the soup was “crackin'”.  I’m not fluent in ‘hood, but I assume this was a compliment.  For this reason, I now give the soup a B+ and will probably make it again.  Next time, I will use less peanut butter and more of the original spice mixture.

Overall, this dish was below our level of cooking expertise, but still pretty darn yummy.   Looking at these pictures as I post this (it’s now Saturday morning, as I was too tired to be confident that what I was typing was coherent), my stomach is growling and I wish I had a steaming bowl right now.  I believe that I’m the only person who’s made this so far, so best of luck to everyone.  And Justine, type up your god damn lettuce wraps review – don’t be the weak link on the team.

Peace, Love, and Peanuts,

Kelsey

Jujsh: (v) a Lewis family word that I don’t know how to spell, referring to when ingredients sit for an extended period of time and mingle with each other causing them to become more delicious.

Once You Go African…

After painstaking deliberation, I am proud to announce the recipe for the next installation of k1tchenb1tches (does anyone else have an extremely hard time typing that?)

Everyone get ready to try your hand at African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter and Black Beans (http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2011/06/african-sweet-potato-soup-with-peanut.html! )

African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter and Black Beans

 

My goal was to choose a dish from a strange and magical land, and this soup looked positively mouth watering.  The blogger whose site I got it from is slightly self righteous and annoying (try to steer clear of her “about me” section – it’s maddening), but I can’t wait to find out if this so-called “pretty serious soup” is as good as she says it is.  And also, let’s see how long we can stick with the cilantro theme.

How does next Tuesday (the 26th) work for everyone?  Looking forward to it!

-Kelsey

 

A Little Goes a Long Way

We are only two meals into this new cooking venture and I have already learned a very important lesson…never underestimate the importance of kitchen appliances! Although my guests (AKA Jenna and Callie) and myself thoroughly enjoyed the meal, I cannot help but think that if I had a zester, it would have been that much better. As Kelsey mentioned, when mincing the ginger it took on a very prevalent flavor in the meal opposed to what may have happened if it was grated. I have always considered myself a big fan of ginger. It’s one of the first things to disappear from my plate at a sushi restaurant, however my experience cooking with it is very limited. Now keeping this in mind, I naturally cut off a sliver of the root to taste while I was doing my prep work. I’m not quite sure how to describe the intensity of the flavor but it was incredibly overwhelming, and I’m ashamed to admit that I spit it out. Despite this less than appealing experience, once the ginger was mixed in with the rest of the dish it was strong yet enjoyable. I had a similar experience when it came to adding in the lemon zest.  My first mistake was that I used a Meyer Lemon which had far more juice in it than I expected. This mixed with large pieces of lemon zest left the meal with yet another dominant flavor. In the end, the meat mixture was still very refreshing and satisfying! It was perfect for a hot summer evening, however, I believe it could have used a bit more subtlety when it came to the ginger and lemon.

Now that I’ve reviewed the flaws of my dish, it’s time to give credit where credit is due! This dish was easily assembled and enjoyed by an often picky crowd. My main shout out is going to go to Jenna who dislikes both crunchy lettuce and anything with mushrooms. My lettuce wraps were loaded with mushrooms (I would say it was a 50-50 ratio, mushrooms to everything else) yet Jenna liked them enough to go back for seconds. She didn’t even notice that there were mushrooms in the dish (this is possibly due to the abundance of lemon and ginger but either way, I got her to eat mushrooms, whoohoo!!).

My overall rating of the dish would probably be a B, although I have no doubt that on a second attempt (which i plan to do) with the appropriate tools it would place in the A range.

On to some blogging etiquette….I must apologize to the members of K1tchen B1tches and our many many readers for first off, being 2 weeks late on my review and second not having any pictures to post. I’m planning to take advantage of a much needed cell phone upgrade before the next cooking challenge so I do not expect to encounter this problem again. In the meantime I’ve included my shopping list to brighten up my post 🙂

Shopping list: