Crab Ravioli with Roasted Red Bell-Pepper & Lemon Sauce

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My sister held up fresh ravioli and said, “This looks so good, but why doesn’t it come with sauce!” My sister asked for the million time as we shopped Costco. I looked at her and said, because you make it sheesh. She rolled her eyes and said, “You been married to a chef way too long” I tossed the ravioli in the cart, and replied just go get wine. She walked off and I thought what it is with my family and culinary questions. Back in my kitchen my sister poured us a glass of wine and watched me make sauce. Bon Apetit!

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  • 1 red bell pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Lemon peel
  • Half of a shallot
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Splash of wine
  • Pinch of Herb Farm seasoning

Place bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic in 350 degree oven until roasted. Combine roasted ingredients, shallot, and lemon peel in a food processor and give it a quick pulse. Place mixture in sauce pan on medium-low and simmer with ½ cup of wine and Herb Farm seasoning until wine has reduced, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the paprika, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add ravioli (cooked per packaging instructions). Remember less is more when it comes to saucing fresh pasta. You want to taste the pasta, after all.

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Struggling With a Resolution? Try Picking a Word

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Walking the loop with a good friend, she thanked me for getting up early with her, as it was her goal to get in shape (yes, I shared that post with her). She asked me what my resolution was. They simple are not my thing. It puts too much pressure on me. We’re more than 30 days deep into 2017 and I haven’t spoken a word about resolutions. My only continuing vow is to live my best life. I believe this is something I am doing daily. Reflecting back, my word last year and my word every day is “believe”. In 2016 I completed three debt free remodels (beautiful blessed nightmare), I purged 148 articles to date, and shared countless calendar pages. To me these numbers are astounding, but it also reaffirms whatever I can believe in God makes a reality. Looking at the word believe, I notice it also has all the letters to spell Live, so this year I pinned Rachel Snyder’s words to my bulletin board.

Live as long as you’re alive, why not live? Live life to the fullest. Live it up. Live in the moment. Live as though you only had twenty four hours to live. Live the life you always wanted. Live for your self – not for others, alive or dead. Live on the edge a bit; it’s the only place from which you can take a leap. Live the life that is yours alone. Live wherever you want, with whomever you want; but live. Don’t just get a life– create one, don’t just step into someone else life with what you see on TV or at the movies. Live free or die (even if you’re not from New Hampshire). Live so when you’re dead, people will remark less on what you did in life.”

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What the Hell is a Cactus Pear?

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I looked at the little ugly fruit. Not one to have food remorse, I tossed one in my basket. Unloading groceries with my spouse, he held it up and laughed “You bought one sad prickly pear?” I smiled, “Yes- culinary challenge.” He continued to put away groceries and retorted “Well, you want boil it, smash it, and then make simple syrup for cocktails. Want me to help?” This was my culinary challenge, so I declined his offer but informed him he could make dinner. Cheers!

Simple syrup

  • ½ cup cactus pear juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Cocktail

  • Prickly pear syrupy
  • 4 mint leaves
  • half one lime
  • 5 ounces vodka
  • Pineapple juice
  • ice cubes

Put the fruit in a pot and add enough water to cover.Place a lid on pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Mash the fruit with a potato masher, then push it through a fine-meshed strainer. Measure the strained juice and pour it into a pot. Add equal amounts of sugar and water and a few leaves of mint, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let it simmer for five minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes. Muddle together pineapple juice, lime, vodka and syrup in a shaker. Rim glasses with lime juice and place sugar on a plate. Press the rim of a chilled martini or rocks glass into the mixture to rim the edge. Strain cocktail into glass.

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The verdict. I am in love with the color- a beautiful magenta. I will warn you, during the straining process it is like slime and one pear gives you barely enough simple syrup for two cocktails. I was sorely reminded of my pomegranate cider, though I would purchase this fruit again. I love the fruity scent, the color, the taste, and the message- don’t judge something on appearance.

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Finding your joy and finding your purpose – Pages of a Career Journal

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“I’ve had my trials and tribulations,” he says. He’d always been in and out of kitchens: “It’s always been close to my heart.” But he struggled with addiction and ended up in jail. When he got out, his work experience wasn’t great, but a woman sitting next to him on the bus noticed the “shoddy little résumé in my hand.” She asked him if he was looking for a job; she was the head chef at the late Broadway Grill. “They took a chance on me,” Parr says. He ended up working there for five years, never missing a shift. “It was the first time I felt I could be a part of, not apart from,” he says. “Transformation is possible.” By the time he left, he was the kitchen manager.-Chef Will Parr

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Individuals I encounter often say to me “It is evident that you always knew you wanted to help people. How did you know?” In response, I often share a quote I love by Pastor T.D. Jakes, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” The anecdote above takes me back to my childhood. I am passionate about ending childhood hunger, as I lived through it and I don’t wish it upon anyone. This is evident as my question to anyone I meet is always “What did you eat today?” and my work as gardener and “home ec teacher”. I introduce new amazing vegetables to middle schoolers and teach them how to grow food. I work with young adults in transitional living facilities and those aging out of foster care by providing individual and group therapy. However, somehow the conversation always turns to food. I want them to understand everybody needs a helping hand. So, they should never be afraid or embarrassed to sign up for welfare as long as they realize it is a stepping stone. I love talking to them about how they can stretch their SNAP for real nourishment versus the empty calories that are often found in junk food.

My work echoes OSL principle that “Everybody has the right to nutrition — that good, healthful food is not a privilege. A corollary tenet: that right should come “Without hearing other people’s dogma,” is a principal and a philosophy I can get behind. Yes, I believe in a higher power, but I don’t believe it needs to be verbalized. My faith should shine through in my actions and my work as a clinical social worker. Have you found your purpose? What are you passionate about?

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Linguine with Chanterelle,Shrimp & artichoke hearts

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I know the rule- NEVER grocery shop when you’re hungry as it leads to buying more food… but we are all guilty of it on occasion. I recently found myself much in need of grocery shopping after the snow storm. I’ll spare you the play by play of ALL the extras I purchased. I will say I picked up artichokes at Trader Joe’s and fancy mushrooms at the farmers market ( I love mushrooms but I just learned I do NOT like chanterelle mushrooms yuck -if you love them use them! If you don’t, leave them out. ).

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package  Linguine pasta
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 pound large shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Chanterelle mushrooms

Preparation: strain artichoke marinade into a bowl. Place shrimp in a bowl with marinade. While pasta is cooking, sauté onion and garlic in oil for about three to five minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, wine, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, and pepper. Add mushrooms and shrimp (with marinade) to onions and garlic. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for four to five minutes. Toss with pasta and serve immediately.

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