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Fresh and Light

Sorry, folks, no pictures today.

I find refuge in cooking. Maybe you're the same way. It's a balm for when I've had a bad week at work, bad week at home, whatever. Unfortunately, it's very hard to cook when my kitchen is in shambles. The caulking is about a third of the way done, so everything is still either stacked up in my bedroom or slowly taking over my island. That's when I bring out my little helpers. No, not the puppies, small kitchen appliances!

The first little helper is my electric kettle. This wonderful gift from my friend Jennifer is probably the most commonly used item in my kitchen. I use it literally everyday, mostly to make tea. Big surprise. :-) Here's the recipe it helped me with.

Lavender Lemonade
2-1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
2-1/2 cup cold water
1 cup lemon juice
Ice cubes

In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat; add lavender. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Strain, discarding lavender. Stir in cold water and lemon juice. Serve over ice. Yield: 6 servings.

Editor's Note: Look for dried lavender flowers in spice shops. If using lavender from the garden, make sure it hasn’t been treated with chemicals.

I think you can see where I'm going with this. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out just how fast sugar dissolves in boiling water from an electric kettle. It was pretty much instantaneous, which meant that I could steep the lavender pretty much immediately as well.

I made this for my Tastefully Simple party that Heather came down for last week. It's very refreshing, perfect for summer, and smells like heaven. Then again, I'm very partial to lavender. By "very partial" I of course mean "would deck my entire house in it if Mike would let me". I fully recommend serving this as a refresher at your next pool party or other summer party.

What about some proper food, though? No worries. That's where my food processor comes in. Now, I didn't make the entire recipe below, just the sauce, sans the nuts. Mike requested no nuts.

Ricotta Ravioli With Spinach Pesto
2 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped, divided
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (12 oz) pkg wonton wrappers
1 egg white, lightly beaten
4 cup spinach, loosely packed
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Special equipment: Food processor

In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, 1/4 cup hazelnuts, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay several wonton wrappers on a work surface. Scoop a generous tablespoon of the ricotta filling into the center of each wrapper, and brush outside edges with egg white. Lay another wonton wrapper on top of each, and press firmly with fingertips to press out air and seal ravioli. Transfer ravioli to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers and filling, making 18 to 20 ravioli total. Cover baking sheet with a damp paper towel and transfer to refrigerator to set up, about 30 minutes.

To make the spinach pesto:

In a food processor, combine remaining 3/4 cup hazelnuts, lemon juice, spinach, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and puree until smooth.

Fill a large pot with water, salt liberally, and bring to a boil. Cook ravioli in three batches, until they are cooked and float to the top, about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and transfer to serving bowls with a dollop of spinach pesto.

I can't speak for the ravioli part of this recipe, as I made angel hair pasta instead. Two to three minutes in boiling water. You can see my logic, I'm sure. The pesto sauce, however, is lovely. It's very light and bright and healthy to boot. Plus, it's so green! No, really, my pasta was all green after being tossed in it. The one drawback: Lots of little bits of spinach stuck all over your teeth afterwards. Still, very yummy.

I haven't even touched on the slow cooker, blender, stand mixer, or microwave. Fear not, friends, for even when you kitchen is in shambles, dinner is just a small appliance away.

1 comment:

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