Got to visit Boston for the first time this past week. I was there for a conference and didn’t get to see a lot of the city, but I did walk a fair bit around the Back Bay area where the conference was. It was beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. I also got to have my first modernist, molecular gastronoy-esque meal at L’Espalier. The dinner was incredible–you can check out my pics here. And it was definitely an experience.
However, after a whole week of eating out, I was really ready to come home and cook something. I also wanted something really simple. It’s just me this weekend–Josh is in Vegas for his own conference (I know, right?)–so I figured I’d make myself something low-key.
Normally, making ravioli is a little bit of a production, but for general ease, I like to use wonton wrappers. They don’t produce exactly the same texture, but they’re good and fun nonetheless–plus, one less series of steps to take. Here, I just wanted to showcase the basil fresh out of my garden with a little bit of creamy cheese and some olive oil. I also wanted to use up the rest of the frozen peas sitting in my freezer, so I made another batch of delicious green pea-mint sauce. That plus some diced, crispy ham made for a light, lovely repast.
Simple Basil Wonton Ravioli Non-Recipe
- 6 wonton raviolis
- 6 teaspoons mascarpone cheese
- 6 small basil leaves
- salt & pepper
- grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- 2 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl
- 2 tbsp water in small bowl
- 2 oz ham, chopped
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- Prepare a pot of gently simmering water.
- Lay out a wonton wrapper. Brush it with some of the olive oil. Place about a teaspoon of mascarpone cheese in the center and top it with a small basil leaf. Sprinkle on a little bit of salt and pepper and grated parmesan.
- Dip your brush into the water and brush around the edges of the wrapper. Then fold the bottom corner up to the opposite corner, creating a triangle, carefully smoothing the edges of the wrapper together into a tight seal.
- Repeat for each additional wonton wrapper.
- Gently lower the ravioli into the pot of simmering (not boiling!) water and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Remove and let dry on a paper towel.
- Heat up the canola oil and butter in a medium-sized frying pan. Add in the diced ham and fry until crispy, then add in the ravioli and (gently again) fry until crisp and browned on each side.
- Serve the ham and wonton ravioli with a healthy drizzle of green pea-mint sauce, or even just a bit of olive oil or browned butter.
© Have Fork, Will Eat
We have a new fence! It’s very exciting. It looks beautiful and it’s intact. It’s also four feet tall at the shortest level, so Maggie (our Mastiff) has to stand up on her hind legs in order to peer over it, which she can’t do for very long. She ends up looking like a prairie dog, searching the horizon for predators, before popping her head back into the confines of the yard. It’s hilarious.
it also has nothing to do with green pea mint sauce. Well, at best, they are only tangentially related. But this sauce is as delicious and easy as Maggie is hilarious. It’s a particularly great recipe if you’re just cooking for yourself or for the two of you. It’s quick, has few ingredients and requires little effort, but it can jazz up some leftover chicken breasts or a rotisserie bird with a great, fresh burst of flavor.
It was actually my dinner tonight, along with a side of rosemary potatoes (see below) and this week’s Champagne Wednesday watermelon cocktail. And it was delicious. Cooking for one often ends up being quick and simple but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yo’self. And sure, the heavy cream in this recipe might negate some of the healthier aspects of the peas but the verdent green color will at least make you feel really good :).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3-4 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 oz herbed goat cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and the peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are thawed and heated through.
- Add half the peas to the blender, along with the mint and and heavy cream. Purée until smooth. If you need a slightly thinner consistency, add some chicken or veggie stock, one teaspoon at a time until the desired results are achieved.
- Add the pea puree back into the sauce pan, along with the herbed goat cheese. Cook until the goat cheese has melted into the peas, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve over...well, anything, but I found grilled chicken to be particularly good.
© Have Fork, Will Eat
Here’s a “no recipe” recipe for rosemary potatoes: quarter some new potatoes. Put them in a saucepan and cover them with at least a spare inch of water. Boil until fork-tender. Drain the water and add in a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil, as well as some chopped rosemary and a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked pepper. Cook over medium high heat until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally.
You remember how Champagne Wednesday works: each week, we try a different champagne cocktail to liven up the most boring day of the week. I post the recipe we’re going to try at the beginning of the week, you make it (or your version of it) Wednesday (or as soon as you’re able) and then we all live happily ever after. Oh, and I’ll update the version I use by Thursday afternoon.
This week, we’re going to take one of my favorite things and pair it with another of my favorite things: watermelon and booze. We’ll use this recipe from Fabulous Fête, which includes some gorgeous pictures, if I do say so myself. All you need are : fresh watermelon, fresh mint, lemonade and your favorite champagne or sparkling wine.
Watermelon Champagne Cocktail recipe from Fabulous Fête
I made this tonight and it was pretty fabulous, although I did my own twist on the recipe. It’d be a great brunch drink too, I think, if you start to tire of mimosas.
Watermelon Champagne Cocktail
- 2 cups fresh, chopped watermelon
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2-4 large mint leaves
- 1 187-ml bottle of sparkling wine
- sugar for the rim
- Put the watermelon, lime juice and mint in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Put a few tablespoons of sugar on a plate. Wet the rim of two wine glasses with water and then press the rims down into the sugar until it sticks. Carefully add a few cubes of ice to the glass.
- Fill each glass halfway with the watermelon puree. Then fill the rest with sparkling wine.
© Have Fork, Will Eat
Somewhat surprisingly, my backyard is not overrun with mint. Sure, it’s overrun with dogs, various weeds and oregano (so much oregano!) but not mint. I do have a healthy mint plant, though, and usually I use it for mojitos, or as I like to call them, “Other Water.”
But anyway, I rarely use mint for savory dishes, generally just drinks and garnishes for ice cream. Today I was on my own for dinner, since Josh had to do some freelance work, and all I had in the fridge (that wasn’t calabrese, anyway) was ground beef. One of my go-to meals for myself is meatballs. I like meatballs. I mean, my twitter handle is chickenmeatball, after all. This time I thought I’d use some traditional flavors from Greek cuisine—like mint and feta.
I also thought that instead of a traditional tomato sauce, or a heavy bell pepper sauce, I would use up a bag of peas I had in the freezer, thaw them and make a mint-green pea sauce to pour over my meatballs. So I set about making the meatballs (recipe below) and it was all well and good until the meatballs were almost done and I went to make the sauce…..and realized I’d already used those peas up last week. Oy.
Always check to make sure you have ingredients before you begin cooking. Yeah, yeah I know. One of those days.
But I recovered nicely, I think. I just went all-in with the mint. I made a flavored oil with fresh mint, garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil, and drizzled it over the meatballs, which I ate alongside some prepared fattoush salad I had leftover from Hiller’s market. Not a bad finish.
Mint Feta Meatballs with Fresh Mint Sauce
For the meatballs
- 1 pound hamburger
- 1/4 cup whole fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
- 1 cup feta
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp black pepper
- plus a little olive oil for drizzling
For the sauce
- 1 cup fresh mint
- juice of one 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Make the meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover a lipped cookie sheet with tinfoil.
- Put the mint and almonds in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add in the ground beef, garlic salt, egg, black pepper and feta. Process until thoroughly combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the beef mixture into round balls and place a couple inches apart on the cookie sheet. Drizzle them with just a little bit of olive oil.
- Bake the meatballs for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Make the sauce
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until the mint is well chopped and the mixture is well blended. Pour over the meatballs.
- Serve along side fattoush or a light lettuce salad.
Serving sizes will depend on your ice cream scoop, but I got 6 large meatballs out of mine. You could serve 3 people two meatballs each.
© Have Fork, Will Eat