Whoopie!

24 Aug

Today my friend Melanie came over and we headed straight to My Sweet Vegan to pick out a recipe to try. We finally decided upon Whoopie Pies, and ventured out to the nearest health food store to pick up some of the ingredients we didn’t have on hand.

I’m just going to go ahead and confess that the version we made was not entirely vegan. We couldn’t find vegan sour cream, and I tend to stray away from margarine because butter is healthier. However, other than that it was entirely vegan πŸ˜‰ I am really intrigued by veganism, but I don’t see myself becoming a vegan anytime soon for a variety of reasons.

Anyway, while we were at the store I found chia seeds! I have been dying to try these out and they will probably be making a debut in my oats in a jar tomorrow morning. I was also thrilled to see this store carried Alternative Baking Company cookies. My favorite coffee shop in Athens had them, but only two or three flavors at a time. I’m pretty sure this store had every flavor, including my favorite, “Phenomenal Pumpkin Spice”. Melanie and I each got one, and mine is tucked away in a special place for a later time because I had my heart set on these whoopie pies.

You want pictures now, right?

It was so incredibly difficult to wait for these to cool off before applying the creme filling. Needless to say, they were delicious and I totally recommend making these even if you’re like me and not a fan of the processed whoopie pies. I’m serious, these are how they should taste. I’d love to make these totally vegan sometime, I just have to make the 35 minute trek to either a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to get some vegan sour cream.

Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested!

Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch Process cocoa powder (we just used regular cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegan “sour cream”
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F and line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soymilk and vinegar and set aside, allowing the mixture time to curdle. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Over in your stand mixer (ha- I wish… HAND mixer for me), cream together the margarine and both sugars, beating to ensure that the contents of the bowl are creamy and fully combined. Add the sour cream and mix again until smooth.
  4. Returning to the now curdled soymilk, whisk in the vanilla. Beginning with these wet ingredients, alternately add them with the dry ingredients into your mixer. Scrape down the sides as necessary, and beat the mixture just enough to fully combine.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop or measuring cup to drop 3 to 4 tablespoons of dough at a time onto your prepared baking sheets. Leave a good amount of space between each cookie, about 2 inches, allowing them room to spread a bit. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until they crackle slightly on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheets where they should firm up a bit more.

Filling

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons plain soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Begin with the mixer on low and beat together the confectioner’s sugar and shortening. Add the soymilk, and finally the vanilla. Once the sugar has become incorporated, turn the mixer up to high and whip for a good 2 or 3 minutes; this will incorporate more air, making for a lighter, fluffier filling.
  2. Drop a healthy dollop of the creme mixture onto the flat side of one cooled cookie, and place a second cookie on top. Press down gently to bring the filling right out to the edge. Repeat this process with your remaining cookies and creme filling.

Makes 8 to 10 sandwich cookies

I just had another one (I split one with Melanie earlier) as a little reward for my inflexible body doing a backbend in yoga. Still just as tasty πŸ™‚

Five days until school starts. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous…

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As good as the movie

23 Aug

I don’t claim to be anywhere near a good cook, but seeing as how the majority of my dinners have turned out edible, I consider my culinary endeavors thus far to be fairly successful. Of course I owe part of this to my dad, but I am slowly learning.

Tonight I wanted to use some more of the vegetables we bought at the farmers’ market on Saturday, so I scoured my cookbooks for a suitable recipe, and after some searching, I found one in (where else?) the veg bible.

Ratatouille!

I’d actually never had ratatouille before, and hadn’t heard of it until the adorable movie came out a few years ago. I remember seeing it at the dining hall my freshman year in college, but my general rule at the dining hall (this was pre-veg) was to only stick to things I knew.

The recipe I used was actually called “Ratatouille Salad”, and I served it over rice pasta.

I think I might have gotten my blurry picture problem sort of solved. I was reading several people’s recaps of the blog photography session at the Healthy Living Summit, and one of the suggestions for point and shoot cameras was to put it on the ‘macro’ setting. I’ve been doing that lately when taking pictures of my food lately and I’ve found it helps. What a relief – I really thought there was something wrong with my camera.

This one is still kind of blurry, but I wanted a close up of the veggies.

Ratatouille Salad

This was in the description and I thought it might be helpful: “for a heartier salad, toss in cooked rice, white beans, or the past of your choice and drizzle with a little more olive oil. A grating of Parmesan or ricotta salata is a welcome addition.”

  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplants (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves for garnish
  1. Trim and peel the eggplant and cut it into 1-inch cubes. (If the eggplant is large, soft, or especially seedy, sprinkle the cubes with salt, put them in a colander, and let them sit for at least 30 minutes, preferably 60. Rinse, drain, and pat dry.)
  2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and add the zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook and stir for another minute or two, until soft. Add the tomato and thyme and cook for another minute, until the tomato just starts to wilt and release its juice. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the eggplant in a salad bowl and add the vegetables and dressing from the pan. Stir to combine. Cool to room temperature, taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish, and serve. (Or prepare the salad to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days; garnish just before serving either cold or at room temperature.)

In other news, the latest issue of VegNews arrived in my mailbox this afternoon. Their Twitter has been buzzing about this “Food” issue for awhile now, and I was so anxious to receive mine. Of course I’ve already read it through once and am currently on my second read-through to catch things I might have missed. Yes, I do this with almost every magazine. I was especially happy to find Ohio featured on page 24.

I know that’s impossible to read, so this is what it says:

“With a ballot initiative already in the signature-gathering stage of development, the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy For Animals, and Farm Sanctuary reached an agreement with Ohioans for Humane Farms, agriculture industry leaders, and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to enact standards of care for farm animals in the Buckeye State. The agreement, which has pre-empted the need for a ballot initiative, bans veal crates by 2017, outlaws new gestation crates and their use entirely after 15 years, and imposes a moratorium on new battery cage facilities. It also establishes humane slaughter standards and prohibits the transportation of downer cows for slaughter.”

Another reason to appreciate Ohio a little bit more. Although that’s not to say I don’t have my sights on other places to live once I’m on my own…

Tomorrow I’m seeing my oldest friend Melanie. She’s in town for a week in between an internship she had and going back to school, and we are going to do what we do best: bake. I’m hoping to try out another recipe from My Sweet Vegan, but whatever we decide to make, I’ll obviously be blogging about it!

A local Saturday

22 Aug

Hello!

Before I get started, several cool things have happened since my last post.

  1. My summer class is done, I did pretty well, and I have one week of zero obligations πŸ™‚
  2. I made my first recipe from the My Sweet Vegan book I got for my birthday: Coffee Break Shortbread.

    Not as photogenic as Hannah's, but hopefully just as tasty!

    I would post the recipe here, but this is already going to be kind of a long post. If you really want to know how to make these, get your hands on this book! I promise you won’t be disappointed. I actually made these cookies as a housewarming gift. A recently moved into a fantastic apartment, so I brought these over there earlier this week along with a bottle of wine. I chose these because A works at a coffee shop and is very fond of coffee, and she, her roommate and our friends seemed to like them, so I’d say these were a success!

  3. While stopped in traffic last night, I was able to witness a gorgeous Ohio sunset.

I have a love-hate relationship with Ohio. I absolutely hate it in the winter and early spring, but the rest of the year it's not half bad.

Anyway, onto the real post.

As a product of the Midwest (much to my Southern born-and-raised mother’s dismay), I have always been in the vicinity of at least one farmers’ market. For whatever reason, though, I didn’t go to my first farmers’ market until May of this year. There’s one in my hometown every weekend, but we’ve actually never been. Earlier this week, my mom sent me a link to a website with details about what is supposed to be the best market in the area. Of course I wanted to go, so this morning we got up early and headed out to the Countryside Farmers’ Market.

HOLY. FOOD. (And other stuff, like crafts and jewelry).

I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Athens Farmers’ Market because it was my first one and I got some great stuff there, but this one blew me away. It’s nestled in a semi-wooded area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and all the booths make a cozy kind of circle. We got so much stuff that I probably couldn’t even name it all. My favorite part was talking with almost every single person from whom we bought food. Everyone was so genuinely kind and knowledgeable. Seriously, if you ever feel like the people in this world just suck, go to a farmers’ market and your hope in humanity will be restored – I promise. Among the goods we carried home were four different kinds of cheese (lemon zest, sage, tomato basil, and some kind of chipotle), tomatoes, leeks, baby eggplant (white and purple), pattypan squash, fruit pie, fresh French bread, two different kinds of jam, the lightest and tastiest honey I’ve had in a long time…the list goes on and on. Unfortunately my camera battery died yesterday so I wasn’t able to take pictures, but next time I go, I definitely will. This place is straight up magical. I want to try to go there every weekend (it’s open year-round!) and eat as locally as I can on those days. It was really easy today with all of the food we got.

Afterwards we went to Giant Eagle (such a huge difference from the open-air market) to order Vic’s birthday cake because she turns the big 1-6 tomorrow…well, actually today since it’s past midnight. Can you believe 1994 was 16 years ago?

When we got home, we all gathered in the kitchen to sample the goods. I had a few hunks of baguette with the sage cheese and plum jam…seriously the best lunch I’ve had in awhile, although maybe not the most balanced. It felt good to know exactly where what I was eating was grown/made.

We got a lot of vegetables (more than I mentioned), so I whipped out my trusty Β veg bible to see if there was anything that incorporated some of what we got to eat for dinner. I found two recipes, and my dad improvised a third. We decided to slice up the baby purple and white eggplant we got and loosely followed a recipe in the book. I won’t put that on here because it only turned out okay – the recipe was meant for regular eggplant, we cut them the wrong way, and we probably should have peeled them. My dad sauteed some pattypan squash with some seasoning, and those turned out really well. I have to say the real star of the show was the simple tomato soup recipe I found, though. We were able to use some of the tomatoes we bought as well as a leek in place of an onion. We also used some fresh basil from my mom’s garden. We served it with some more of the French bread. Vic lent me her Nikon D40 to take pictures of the meal. I. Want. This. Camera.

you can see the pattypan peeking out!

I am a baguette fiend

As always, here’s the recipe. I know soup isn’t very summery, but you’ll want to make an exception for this, especially if you have some local, organic ingredients.

Tomato Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, sliced (we used a leek)
  • 1 carrot, diced (we used 3 medium carrots)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped tomato (canned are fine; include their juice) << we did half canned, half fresh so we wouldn’t use up all of the tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably warmed (we used 2)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional – we didn’t)
  • minced fresh parsley or basil leaves for garnish (optional)
  1. Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole over medium heat. When hot, add the tomato paste and let it cook for a minute, then add the onion and carrot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato and the herb and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato pieces break up, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the stock, stir, and taste. Adjust the seasoning; if the soup is flat tasting, stir in the sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more stock or water. Garnish and serve.

While this was a delicious dinner, it didn’t quite agree with my insides. You know how it goes with lots of vegetables sometimes :p I walked around the house for awhile (I would have rather gone outside but the skies decided to unleash a torrential downpour) because I find that usually helps. After I was feeling better, I sat down with my mom and Vic to watch 500 Days of Summer for the first time. It was alright – I’d already heard a lot about it so I kind of knew what was going to happen. My stomach was grumbling afterwards (in a good way), so I decided to make myself some tea (sweetened with the tiniest bit of local honey!) and 12-grain toast (with local plum jam!)

obviously my camera was back in commission by the time this photo was taken

I should probably get to bed soon. Rumor has it we’re going out to breakfast to kick off Vic’s 16th year of life.

It’s time…

15 Aug

for another recipe! But first a recap of the rest of my birthday festivities πŸ™‚

Friday morning I was supposed to go to the gym with my dad but our stomachs both felt a little off from the rich cupcakes and wine the night before, so we decided to forego that. I ended up doing some stuff with our weight machine in the basement after my stomach settled. Later in the afternoon I went to get a pedicure because I don’t think I’ve ever been in more desperate need of one, to be completely honest. I decided upon OPI “Overexposed in South Beach” . I don’t have a picture of it on my toes, but I really liked the way it turned out.

After I took a shower and got dressed (obnoxious 21st birthday accessories and all), Big picked me up and we drove to Stir Crazy to meet up with some of our friends for dinner. I didn’t take any pictures of my food, but I ordered Buddha’s Teriyaki Bowl, which was edamame, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli and red peppers tossed in teriyaki sauce. It was delicious, but unfortunately I think the teriyaki sauce had corn syrup in it because towards the end of the meal my stomach started acting up :/

Our waitress kindly took a picture of the group with Big’s camera, though, and I think it turned out really well!

After dinner, we headed to Bar Louie. Another one of my friends whom I hadn’t seen in about a year showed up, so it was great to see her. My stomach still wasn’t feeling right, but I wanted the experience of ordering a drink in a real bar (I’m weird, I know), so I decided on a Blue Moon.

(My pins say “21 & Terrific” -it lights up- and “Card me, I’m 21″…I told you the accessories were obnoxious – it’s totally not my style but I figured that was as good of a time as any to step out of my comfort zone :p )

Luckily one of my friends had Tums, so I took advantage of those and waited for my stomach to settle a little bit before diving into my monstrous beer. The Tums helped, but my stomach wasn’t really feeling the alcohol and I knew it would only get worse if I kept drinking, so I only had about 1/4 of that huge glass. We called it a night around 11, and Big drove me back home.

Even though the supposed corn syrup in the teriyaki didn’t make me feel well, I still had a fantastic time. I can’t wait to do something like that again – hopefully I’ll feel better, though!

Saturday was pretty low key. I slept in and spent the day relaxing for a bit and then starting on my 3-5 page psych paper that’s due Wednesday. Around 5:30, I headed to the kitchen to fix a dinner from my cheapie veg cookbook I’d been thinking about all week. It’s so eloquently called “Tofu & Vegetables”. Don’t let the name fool you, though – this packed some serious flavor.

That picture doesn’t really show a lot of the vegetables, but they’re in there, I promise.

Tofu & Vegetables

  • 4 oz rice noodles
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional – we went without!)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (I used all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon oil, extra
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 12 oz firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 8 oz snow peas, trimmed
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 13 1/2 oz canned straw mushrooms, drained (we just cut up 2 portabella mushrooms)
  1. Break the rice noodles into short lengths. Heat half the oil in a wok. Cook the noodles in batches in the wok over medium heat until crisp, adding more oil when necessary. Drain on paper towels. (We actually got the rice noodles that are already cooked, so if you do that you’ll save some time!)
  2. Combine the soy sauce, sherry, oyster sauce and stock in a small bowl. Blend the flour with the water in a small bowl.
  3. Heat the wok; add the extra oil and the garlic and ginger and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Add the tofu and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove the tofu from the wok. Add the carrots and snow peas to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the combined sauces and vegetable stock; cover and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are just cooked.
  4. Return the tofu to the wok. Add the onions, mushrooms and blended flour. Stir until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat. Serve with the crisp rice noodles.

As I said, this was a really simple and tasty dish, so I’d definitely recommend it. I enjoyed it with a glass of my “Bitch” wine πŸ˜‰

That’s all for now. Tomorrow I start my last week of my summer class, and then I have a week off before fall semester starts!

21

14 Aug

Hello!

Thank you for the blogiversary/birthday wishes!

Something kinda cool happened since my last post – I turned 21 on Thursday.

My birthday has always felt sort of “different” because it’s in the summer and, I’ve always been considered “young” for my class. Most of my friends have been 21 for awhile. Plus, I never really feel my age until about a month or two after my birthday, but I’ve heard other people say the same thing.

This year was no different – except I had to go to class. Since school always started a few weeks after my birthday, I’ve never actually been in an academic setting on my birthday. I contemplated skipping since we’re allowed two unexcused absences, but I would have felt pretty guilty – plus we went over something that I found a bit confusing and would have been even more so if I hadn’t shown up.

I woke up around 10:30 on my birthday, and when I walked out of my room I found a gift “from” my dogs waiting outside the door. My dogs have pretty good taste. One year they got me a camera. They really outdid themselves this year, though.

Along with a tomato-print apron and oven mitt, they gave me

a vegan dessert cookbook full of super tasty looking treats

a recipe book to write down all of my recipes

Then I had to get ready and go to class. We got out early, though, and I came back hungry (of course). I decided upon a simple frozen vegetable pizza with half of a Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat.

I don’t really remember what I did the rest of the afternoon (no, not because I was drunk…I may be a lightweight but half a beer doesn’t do anything). I probably watched some 30 Rock (I’m almost caught up!) and read blogs.

A little before 7, we left for dinner at The Vegiterranean. I’d eaten here once before and immediately declared it my “birthday” restaurant. This visit did not disappoint, either.

We started out with some bread.

Followed by Frito Misto: “Cauliflower Tempura battered served with lemon aioli and a sweet chili basil sauce”

and “asparagus fries with a local horseradish basil sauce”

Both were fantastic.

It took me awhile to decide what to order for my drink. I finally decided upon a Sauvignon Blanc – I forget the brand.

first legal drink in public!

I also had trouble deciding what I wanted for my entrΓ©e, but ended up choosing “heirloom tomato and cashew cheese caprese with red onion brulee, wild greens, balsamic gastrique, sea salt and fresh black pepper”. I also had a side of grilled tofu.

This was wonderful! This was my first time trying cashew cheese, and I really liked it. The addition of the grilled tofu was great as well.

With stuffed bellies, we headed home for cake.

CUPcakes, that is. Carrot cupcakes!

One of the presents my parents got me was “Bitch” wine. I thought this was hilarious, so I had to take a picture of me doing my best “bitch” impression.

Yeah, I don’t really practice that look very often. As you can see, it’s a red wine. I’m still more of a fan of white wines, but this was pretty good! I had some more with my dinner tonight.

I think I’m going to end there. I’ll post again tomorrow with the Friday festivities with my friends and the dinner I made tonight.

Blogiversary #1

11 Aug

It’s my one-year blogiversary!

Not much has changed since August 11, 2009…

  • I turned 20 the next day
  • I changed my major from magazine journalism to sociology
  • I made the decision to transfer to a school back home for various reasons
  • I discovered the wonderful world of food/healthy living blogs
  • Too many other things to name

Okay, well, a lot has changed. But I look pretty much the same, and that has to count for something, right?

August 2009 - Big took me out to Cheesecake Factory for my 20th birthday

Taken today on my iSight camera because there aren't really any recent photos of me

Ha – you also get another sneak peek of the new room – don’t you feel special?

I don’t think I started this blog the day before my birthday because it was the day before my birthday and I knew things in my life were going to change drastically. If I remember correctly, I think I was just bored or something. When I started out, the blog was actually called “My Life Be Like…” Β (no comment). If you want, you can go back and read my first entry. I talk about nothing related to food – even though I loved it, it never occurred to me to write about it. Oh, how the tables have turned. I still really like the dress Katherine Heigl is wearing, though.

If you had told me any of those things I listed that changed would happen this time last year, I would not have believed you. Well, except for turning 20. I was pretty sure that was going to happen.

Tomorrow I turn 21, and I feel like a completely different person now. If you know me in real life, you know that more has changed than I reveal online. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just know that I am a different person (in a good way, I think/hope) now and I am ready to make this next year of blogging so much better than the past year.

I don’t know exactly how I plan to do that, but it will happen.

Shall we raise our glasses (mine filled with ginger ale now, but if this were being written 2.5 hours later, it would definitely be champagne) to another (better) year?

Cheers.

10 Aug

Something very special is on the calendar this week…

No, not my psych test – although that is important.

I’m turning 21 on Thursday!

Before you start to think that I’m going to be too drunk to post after Thursday, let me assure you that is not the case in the slightest. I’m really not much of a drinker/party type person, anyway. Mostly I’m excited because I’m one of the last of my friends to turn 21 and once I do, I’ll be able to go out and have fun with them if the opportunity presents itself. I am very much a “have a glass of wine at dinner” type of girl rather than a “you’ll find me at the bars Thursday through Saturday” type, I promise. I’m excited to have my first “real bar” experience, but after that I’ll mostly just be using my newly issued horizontal ID to order some sauv blanc when I’m out to dinner once in awhile.

I have some fun stuff planned for my birthday, but more about that another time. I know the real reason you came to read this, so let’s get to it.

Tonight’s dinner was a huge success compared to my last dinner, and it didn’t even take as long, either. I grabbed it from that $5.99 vegetarian cookbook I picked up last week at Borders: Cheese Tortellini with Nutty Herb Sauce.

Okay, that might not sound like much and it might have had one star next to its name indicating that it was “perfect for beginners”, but believe me, it was probably in my top 3 of things I’ve made so far, the other two being the quiche and the pasta salad.

The recipe called for a pound of ricotta-filled fresh or dried tortellini or ravioli. Well, here’s the story on that. Yesterday my mom decided we were going to do our grocery shopping at a wonderful (no, really) organic market about 35 minutes away instead of the usual Giant Eagle. Since we go to this market even less than we go to the almost equally as far away Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, I don’t quite know my way around the store. Yes, I could have asked, but it’s much more fun to explore on my own. It wasn’t until the end of our trip that I finally came across anything remotely close to what the recipe asked for, so I grabbed the last two.

Luckily, this turned out to be a great choice. I did a bit of research, and it seems like you can find this company’s products at a variety of natural and organic markets. The website lets you type in your zipcode to find a place near you that carries it.

The finished product didn’t turn out quite as pretty as it looked in the picture, with walnut shells and fresh thyme surrounding the bowl, but does it ever? I’m sure it was just as good – maybe better. Instead of the 2 ounces (about half a stick) of butter the recipe called for, we used maybe two pats and subbed olive oil for the rest.

Ugh, once again I apologize for the blurry quality my pictures have taken on. I had my friend who knows a lot about photography look at some of my recent pictures and the only suggestion he had was to zoom into the food more. I’m wondering if it’s my camera rather than my skills, though, because it hasn’t always been like this. Hrmph. Disappointing 😦

Anyway, I wasn’t the only one who loved this. I have this thing where I can’t take a bite of anything I eat before someone else has tried it and told me how it is. My sister was the first to try it this time, and she said she really liked it. She can be a pretty picky eater, so I took that as a sign that I should dig right in. My parents said it was great, too, so I’d say tonight’s dinner was a definite win in the I&H household. Here’s the recipe if you want to try!

Cheese Tortellini with Nutty Herb Sauce

  • 1 lb ricotta-filled fresh or dried tortellini or ravioli
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream
  1. Add the pasta to a large pot of rapidly boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. Chop walnuts into small pieces. While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a heavy-based pan over medium heat until foaming. Add walnuts and pine nuts and stir for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add the parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Beat the ricotta with the cream. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to combine. Top with a dollop of ricotta cream. Serve immediately.

On a completely unrelated note, I mentioned that I would be hanging stuff up on my walls this weekend. Unfortunately some of the things I wanted to hang have not been agreeing with the sticky tack that seems to work just fine for everything else, so until that’s all ready, I will leave you with this. Again, sorry for the blur!