Eggplant Ravioli OMG!

eggplant ravioli

GDMF cooking group winner 6 Dec 2013
Eggplant ravioli OMG!

Filling: roasted eggplant, taleggio, lemon thyme
Topping: sun-dried tomatoes, capers, black olives, garlic, olive oil, pecorino nero

Semolina egg pasta

Cut eggplant into pieces, drizzle with olive oil and roast. You want it cut into pieces in order to get rid of moisture. Remove the skin after it’s roasted.
Smush the taleggio into the eggplant with a fork until it’s in small pieces. It will melt.

Rehydrate dried sun-dried tomatoes and cut into small pieces. Add capers. Finely chop (or use a plain black olive tapenade) the olives. Press garlic and fry until brown and add the garlic and oil to the chopped ingredients. Top the ravioli, and then add grated pecorino on top.

Paste e ceci

19oz. can of Chick-peas
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped sage
3/4 cup canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes- drained
3 cups of broth
1/4 pound Dittalini pasta
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
lemon to sour

Peel the chickpeas

Put the olive oil and the chopped onions into a large saucepan and turn on the heat to medium. When the onion turns pale gold, add the garlic, rosemary, and sage. Stir once or twice. When the garlic turns very pale gold, add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Add the chick-peas drained of their liquid, stir, and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.

Puree everything and then add the broth and turn on the heat to medium-high.

When the liquid comes to a boil, add the pasta, cover the pot,and turn down the heat to medium. Cook until the pasta is al-dente- tender, but firm to the bite. Taste and correct for salt and add a few grindings of pepper. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley, lemon, and serve with freshly grated cheese on the side.

bbq mushroom steamed buns

Korean BBQ Mushroom Steamed Buns (10-12 buns)
Make the pickle and put in the fridge
Chop up the garnish
Make the bbq sauce
Make the mushrooms
Steam the buns

Quick Asian Pickle

1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
can add bell pepper, onion, hot pepper
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cane sugar

Place the cucumber slices into a canning jar. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Pour pickling liquid over the cucumbers, close lid, and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a week.

Chop peanuts, chopped green onion, and cilantro, maybe some bean sprouts

Roasted Red Pepper Korean BBQ Sauce

2 medium roasted red peppers (stemmed, seeded)
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sambal
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
one clove of garlic, equal amount of ginger, chopped
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
pepper to taste

Whirrrrrrrrrr in the food processor, blender. Can keep up to a week.

500 g mushrooms
Brown the mushrooms in a tablespoon of oil (2 tsp veg, 1 tsp toasted sesame) on one side and then toss and let heat through. Add in the bbq sauce and coat, then remove from heat.

Italian Turnip and Rice Soup with Parmesan Cheese

Thanks to this post, Italian Turnip and Rice Soup with Parmesan Cheese, but I’m saving it here so I have it myself (serves 6)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound of turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 pints (48 ounces) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2-cup arborio rice
  • salt & pepper
  • parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • parsley (optional)


  • Melt the butter and oil in a large sauce pan and bring to a froth
  • Toss in the turnips and saute until brown, about 5 minutes
  • Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook covered for about 10 minutes
  • Stir in the rice and cook, covered over medium heat, for about 15 minutes
  • When ready to serve, add salt & pepper to taste, then parsley, then grated cheese

Whole Lentils with Garlic and Onion

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

8 oz/75g onions, peeled and chopped

7 oz/200g whole lentils, washed and drained

1 1/4 pints / 750 ml water

1 tsp salt

1/8 – 1/4 tsp chili powder


Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over a medium flame.  When it is hot, put in the cumin seeds.  A few seconds later, put in the garlic.  Stir and fry until the garlic pieces turn a medium brown colour.  Now put in the onion.  Stir and fry until the onion pieces begin to turn brown at the edges.  Put in the lentils and the water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour or until the lentils are tender.  Add the salt and the chili powder.  Stir to mix and simmer gently for another 5 minutes.


Warning, I always use metric – and no variation of 1 1/4 pints = 750 ml!

Serve over rice.  Mango chutney is nice.



Reims 2011

gargoyle on front of cathedral at reimsSo this is what my French is like.  I am standing on the sidewalk by the cheapo apartment hotel where we spent the night with all the normal vacation stuff plus bags of half-eaten groceries because we cooked our dinner last night, while Pat fetches the car from where it was parked for free down the block.  A man approaches.  I know he is going to say something.  He does.  “Blah bla blah blahbla bla bla”.  It seems agreeable.  I agree.  “Oui”.  He walks on.  My brain starts working and a minute later I piece together that he’s said, “So, you’re at the end of your vacation”.

We hop in the car because why walk for twenty minutes when you can use Tom (the TomTom GPS [yes, we are that literal]) to navigate your way to the center of an old city and park right by the door.  So we spend the same twenty minutes driving around and around, missing turns and finding weird roadblocks, approaching the cathedral from all directions but not actually getting there.  And then bingo, we are on the right track, the cathedral is smack dab in front of us, and we have parked as close as we can.  For EUR 2, because that’s the coin Pat has.

The cathedral is big, but not huge.  I have seen enough of them that I am not particularly impressed.  It is nice.  I take pictures.  We are done.  We get back to the car, and the meter maids are checking.  Good thing we paid.  I comment that I like France in August because everyone is gone.  To the beach, I surmise.  In any event, they are not here, and we were not overrun by busloads of anyone.

The whole reason we went to Reims is that the toll road is nice, but boring, so let’s add a night to the trip and drive home through the Ardennes.  Good idea.

song of the day

I’m a little slow. This just made it on my radar. Even though it was already on my mp3 player.

lcd soundsystem – all my friends

Happy Birthday to Me.

I just finished celebrating the first anniversary of my 40th birthday. I’m not freaking out about being over 40, I just didn’t like the way 41 sounded. Whatever.

I threw myself a birthday party, which I haven’t done in years and years. Dinner with husband? Yes. Dinner with friends? Yes. But not a come-over-to-my-house-and-I-will-provide-you-food-and-drink party. I chickened out a little and made everyone bring something to eat, and just for fun, they had to give me the recipe.

Here is a picture of the best, most unexpected dish. The recipe is as follows, and is of unknown origin:

1 box vanilla wafers
sesame seeds
1 box Keebler Grasshopper cookies
3/4 c. coconut
white, yellow and red frosting with decorator tips to dispense
1/4 c. Karo syrup

Place coconut and a few drops of green food coloring in a plastic bag to mix. Set aside.

Place vanilla wafers on wax paper, top side up. Brush with Karo and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set aside.

Place 40 more wafers flat side up on cookie sheet. Add a dab of white frosting on each, then place a grasshopper cookie on each. Brush cookie with Karo. Sprinkle coconut and swirl red and yellow frosting on each. Take the tops you made earlier and add those to the top. Viola!

me and my burger


Oh, and I also got myself a Sally Hanson give-yourself-a-french-manicure, polish-in-a-pen kit at Walgreens, and I think for $12 it looks pretty decent (and there’s plenty more for next time). And it wasn’t much more difficult than painting your fingernails with whiteout used to be. But prettier.

For Artyom

I don’t know the real story behind what happened in Tennessee and I honestly don’t expect to. I listened to an adoptive mother on the radio today who said that she could understand the emotions that led to the woman putting her son on that plane to Russia and I was conflicted. I have described the experience of adopting/becoming a mother as “setting your family on fire”, so yeah, it’s hard. I get it too. But what she did with her emotions, and the choices she made from that point are unfathomable to me, and unforgivable.

Approximately 1% of all adoptions are disrupted. That is to say, ended, annulled, undone. For whatever reason, the parent(s) decided they could not continue to parent the child.

Let me be clear. Children do not disrupt adoptions. Their behavior, disability, habits, previous trauma – or anything else they say or do – does not make them unparentable or unlovable. The parents could not continue to parent. Whatever the circumstance, it is an avoidable tragedy. A child, who through no fault of their own and who has already lost ties to one family, is again set adrift.

And let me be clear on this.As the adult in the parent/child relationship, it is our duty to provide this. It’s what we sign up for, in whatever way we become parents.

That being said, nobody can fully prepare for what happens when you bring a child into your world, whether by birth or adoption. Every mom I know did her best to prepare. From “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” to “Toddler Adoption

Every child deserves a loving home and a caring family surrounding him or her. Period.

: A Weaver’s Craft”, from Lamaze to pre-adoption counseling, we sought out information to help us transition.

The reality of parenting is that you are, in the simplest relationship scenario, an adult and a child coming together with two temperaments, personalities, preferences and experiences. This is as true with a newborn as it is for a child of any age. This is why second children/second adoptions seem only incrementally easier. Nothing is different but our expectations.

Human relationships are complex and fluid, and all relationships take work and take time. That is the message we need to be sure that all first time parents get. That and the reminder that the parent is the adult in the relationship and the burden of making the relationship work is on you.

That is what I would like to say to the woman who pretended to be Artyom’s mother. That, and SHAME ON YOU. YOU WERE THE ONE WHO HAD OPTIONS, INFORMATION AND CHOICES.

My Road to Parenthood. A Love Story.

The truth of the matter is that I never imagined myself the mother of a child with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, and on my road to parenthood I imagined – and let go of – quite a few alternate futures.

The first future that never came to be was the one with the growing belly and the glowing face, the swollen ankles and the saltine crackers. After two years of ‘trying’ I found that I could not, would not become pregnant without medical intervention. After surprisingly little discussion, my husband and I decided to build our family through adoption rather than by birth.

The second future that came and went involved a birth-mom and a hospital, a newborn baby with tiny, beautiful features and a delicate beating heart. There were booties and midnight feedings and very little sleep in this vision. And after meeting with the local adoption professionals, my husband and I quickly said good-bye to this version of our future because it also included a 1-800 line, ads in college newspapers and a great deal of uncertainty.

There were more options, of course, but soon enough China, with its burdensome little girls, came to our attention. And when the agency director said to me, in her imperfect English, “What you want with newborn baby? Like loaf of bread!” a new future opened up to me. And I had tons of help imagining it, because the ’net was full of moms-to-be (and a few dads) imagining a future that looked a lot like mine. Yet, in all the months of waiting and imagining, I never came close to imagining who my daughter really would be – not even after I had her photo in my hands.

The child I met screamed when she was placed in my arms. My daughter was inconsolable, and she did not want a thing to do with the other ten babies she had spent her first months with. “She’s mourning the loss of her nanny,” my husband and I told each other. “It’s a good thing. It’s so obvious that she bonded with a caregiver at the orphanage, so she’ll bond with us so much easier.”

Not as easy to explain was why she would only relax while being held over a shoulder and rocked from side to side. But still, we congratulated ourselves on being such good parents and figuring out what our new daughter needed.

To soon, baby became toddler and I no longer had time to imagine the future. As anyone who has spent time with a two-year-old can attest, the future is NOW and you’d better be in it. And I was, and I was happy. And I was confused, resentful and sad. My baby was whip smart, fast on her feet and seemed to be thriving, but she couldn’t handle the separation of two hours at pre-school, once per week. She could not manage the singing and dancing required in Chinese class. Waking unexpectedly from a sound sleep often involved two hours of holding and calming. Fourth of July was a nightmare. Playgroups were overwhelming for her. And her favorite activity was jumping off the ottoman onto a beanbag chair, over and over and over again.

But thank goodness for the mom’s I knew, who threw me an amazing baby shower, met us at the airport with signs, and held my hands and cried with me while I tried to figure it all out. And thanks so very much to my friends on the ‘net, a core group of 15 or 20 of us, all with children of a similar age and similar background, and most of us parents for roughly the same amount of time. Once we had all returned from our trips to China, we had each other to hang on to. “Does your baby do this? Have you ever seen that? What do you do when X happens or when Y doesn’t?”

When I posted with news of her diagnosis (almost two years into parenting her), I got lots of love and understanding in return. Those friends, from California to Colorado to Arizona to Michigan to Finland of all places, were with me all the way, and they helped me to imagine a new future with the daughter I had.

So while I could have spent time imagining myself as a mother of a child with a very big problem, I chose not to. From that moment forward, I imagined myself as the mother of my child, who would reveal herself to me in each moment of every day.

And like every other child on the planet, she has.