Happy Easter!

April 4th, 2010


Happy Easter! I had a lovely Easter dinner with two of my friends… We did it Italian-style with a pasta course followed by lamb. Delicious!

The first time I made lamb (and until today, the only time), I was living in Rome… after attending Easter mass at the Vatican… my friends and I trooped over to a friend’s apartment to cook all day… Earlier that week, I had purchased lamb at the butcher shop… the butcher brought out half a lamb and I was frighten… How was I going to cook that? I was so used to seeing meat already boned not bloody and still lamb-like. However, I pushed through, asked my mom for advice and with the help of my friends handing me olive oil, garlic, rosemary and wine (that last one was for me)… I dived in, coated the meat with the herbs and threw it in the oven… It turned out well…

This time I still had a number of questions for my mom but it was a little smoother preparation. I did overcook it a little bit. I think my meat thermometer needs to be replaced. But it was well received. I served it with mashed potatoes and some green beans… However, the real gem of the evening and the favorite of my guests was my Culinary Mad Libs dish… Asparagus-Prosciutto-Chervil Ravioli

If you remember, I started up Culinary Mad Libs in an effort to find some inspiration. Well it worked. For this round, my ingredients were prosciutto (Mom), asparagus (Mark) and chervil (Tammy)… so I thought of raviolis with a white-wine cream sauce.

I mixed ricotta, blanched asparagus cut in little pieces, minced chervil, diced prosciutto, sprinkle of parm, and some pepper together.  I did not use any salt because the prosciutto was plenty salty.  Then, I put about a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper, moistened the edges with water, placed another wonton wrapper over it and using my fingers closed it up.  I boiled them in water for a few minutes and removed them as soon as they rose to the top (if not they will fall apart).  Then topped them with the white-wine cream sauce.  I recommend making them as you are going to serve them because they easily stick together.  This dish was quite the hit! 

Culinary Mad Libs was a success.  Also, Laura had suggested lamb so I did that one too… stay tuned for one more culinary mad lib dish and a new request for suggestions… including a giveaway…

Also, I’ve finally succumbed to twitter so… if you are so inclined click up the button on the right side to follow @ginnygetsfloury…

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2010

This week I’ve been talking about Valentine’s Day with a number of my friends both coupled and single… the overarching theme was that no one really likes Valentine’s Day…  I think everyday you should tell the people you love how you feel and I’m not the only one. In my family, we almost always say I love you before hanging up the phone, going to bed or leaving for the day.  We are a very expressive family.

However, Valentine’s Day can be a lot of fun. In high school, I went all out- wearing my favorite hot pink boa and red sequined dress to school, eating lots of chocolate and doing fun things for my friends.  It was fun!

Now that my love lives miles and miles away- I used Valentine’s as an excuse to do something special for myself… I made a nice lunch, poured a glass of champagne and relaxed for a bit…   Some good bread with ricotta and roasted red peppers.  The red pepper recipe comes from good family friends that were our neighbors in Switzerland.  I haven’t seen them in so long but it is always nice to have memories when you make a certain dish.

It is important to keep things in perspective!

Roasted Red Peppers
(recipe from good friends)
Place a whole red pepper on a cookie sheet or broiler pan. Broil until they char, turning to char all sides of the peppers. Remove from the pan and place in a brown paper bag. Fold the bad top down to close and live for several hours until the peppers are cool. Then slip the skins off, open the peppers and remove the seeds and core material. Slice thee peppers in strips. In a frying pan, put some good olive oil and minced garlic. Add the peppers and saute. Add a pinch of sugar.

P.S. Stay tuned… My next post will introduce my lovely new blogging mentees!

Ginny and Juan’s Balsamic Showdown: Ginny’s Creation

July 13th, 2009


Juan (oh, yes, he has a name!) and I have a new blog feature… We are going to compete against each other in cooking showdowns… How will it work?  Juan and I will each post (oh, yes, he is guest posting!)… As soon as both posts are up, you have one week to cast your vote which dish you like better.  I’ll tally them up, post the results, and one of us will win bragging rights until our next showdown…

When Juan and I wondered around Chicago, we found Old Town Oil and bought the most delicious sweetest 18 year aged Balsamic Vinegar.  We drizzled it on bread and devoured it.  The balsamic is like nothing I have ever tasted before.  For our first showdown, we had to make a dish highlighting the vinegar.

As I tried to come up with something to make… I kept thinking of cheese… savory and sweet… I found this recipe from 101 Cookbooks for a savory cheesecake.  A few alterations and some sliced figs… I had made an amazing dinner.  My friends loved it… Served with fresh bread, a salad and a glass of white wine.  It was perfect for a summer day!

Stay tuned for Juan’s creation…

Fig- Balsamic Ricotta Cheesecake
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

3 3/4 cups ricotta cheese (2 tubs of 15 oz ricotta cheese)
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 basil leaves, minced
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
4 figs, sliced
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 325F degrees, racks the middle. Butter/oil a 7-inch springform pan.

Mix the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallots, garlic, and basil in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Add the salt and pepper. Fill the springform pan with the ricotta mixture and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Now sprinkle with the goat cheese and return to the oven for another 20 -30 minutes or until the goat cheese is melted and the cake barely jiggles in the center (it will set up more as it cools).

Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes, then release the cake from its pan. Cool completely and serve at room temperature. Before serving, place the sliced figs around the edge of the cheesecake and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.