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back in the game

all this pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum stuff left me in what *i* would consider a cooking slump. fortunately, last saturday i had a reason to get back in the game. some friends hosted an oktoberfest potluck and i took the opportunity to try my hand at making apple strudel. not to toot my own horn, but omg, it was yummy! some other amazing things in our feast were some traditional german brats, homemade sourkraut, german potato salad, pretzels, spetzel, and two micro-brews. woah. there were even a few folks in leiderhozen. so much fun!

anyhow, here's a few photos of strudel making that sparked my recent dive back into cooking.

some other recent kitchen endeavors have been homemade chicken pot pie (complete with pie crust from scratch),

beet and goat cheese ravioli (recipe below),

bbq chicken pizza on whole-wheat crust, arugula & watermelon salad, and an indian veggie curry with cilantro mint chutney. my mouth is wattering a little thinking about that chutney :) perhaps i'm meant to own a beachfront cafe someday......

Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter (adapted from epicurious)

2 large red or golden beets
1/2 cup chevre (aka goat cheese)
2 T. dried breadcrumbs
*lemon zest (optional)
*fresh thyme (optional)

premade won-ton wrappers (or if you have no kids and lots of time, make your own pasta)

1/2 c. butter
1 T. poppy seeds
freshly grated parmesean cheese

roast the beets at 375 for about an hour or until tender when pierced with a knife. allow to cool and then peel & finely grate into a medium bowl. add chevre and breadcrumbs (zest & thyme if using) & season with salt & pepper.

spoon heaping teaspoon onto the half of each pasta square, dampen the edge and fold dough over filling, pressing the edges together. transfer prepared ravioli to a floured surface while you assemble remaining ravioli.

melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat & stir in poppy seeds. keep warm. cook ravioli (about a dozen at a time) in a boiling, salted water for about 2 min (or until they float to the top). transfer cooked ravioli to skillet with butter & toss to coat. serve topped with parmesean.


blissful_e said…
Awesome! Let me know when you open your cafe and I am THERE! :)

Would love your recipe for whole-wheat pizza crust (especially if you have any tips!). Right now I'm blaming my pizza crust failures on Egyptian ingredients, but soon I won't have that excuse anymore...
karinms said…
This all sounds delicious! Was the apple strudel hard to make?
Anonymous said…
did the strudel turn out like the one aunt margaret always brought to stuff?
erinjohn said…
i modify the whole pizza crust from one of my favorite books by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:

I typically don't have refrigerated yeast on hand (the little granules), so i generally use one packet of instant yeast. I also knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes - either by hand or in a standing mixer before allowing it to rise. The key is that this crust gets crispy. Depending on the toppings, I often lower the heat after 15 min and continue to cook a little longer until the crust in the middle has gotten crispy too. Good luck!
erinjohn said…
The strudel was actually fairly easy. I had the recipe from Uncle Ed's mom that Aunt Margaret used to bring to things... BUT i didn't have the time for making the pastry from scratch. Cooks Illustrated has a Quick Apple Strudel recipe that uses Phyllo dough - so I made that one. However, the selection of apples is always pretty limited out here, so I used granny smiths (like Ed's mom)and just pre-cooked them in some apple cider. YUM! I'm planning to make it when we're home in Houston for the holidays :)
JohnJohn said…
I married Erin before I knew she is an amazing chef and a SuperMom. Talk about bonus!
Anonymous said…
YUMMM!! One more reason to get excited about Xmas in Houston.
blissful_e said…
Thanks, Erin, I'll give it a whirl.

BTW, you've been tagged!
mama mia said…
Wow! We will really have to exercise a lot, if both Dad and Erin are cooking in December!
I once made that ravioli dish with a lady.
Analyze A said…
Just vouching that the Cooks Illustrated Easy Apple Strudel recipe is delicious! Your filo dough work looks a lot neater than mine - lol. Actually, I've made it five times now! We were in Germany and tried apple strudel three times, but couldn't find one we liked, so I was surprised when my husband asked for it for his birthday. I was definitely not thinking that it would turn out good, but was grateful to at least have found this recipe at Turns out he loved it!!!!!!! It's a big hit in our house, and certainly the easiest filo recipe that I have tried. Just had it for breakfast this morning :)

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