Thyme Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Brown Sugar Orange Lacquered Chicken for #citruslove

January 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Dinner, Fruit, Poultry, Vegetables | 73 Comments
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First I want to clarify (although I know 99.9% of you know this), the following Orange Lacquered Chicken does not contain real lacquer, or any stain or shellac.  Nor does it contain any substance you might find at Home Depot.  I wanted to roast a chicken with orange flavor, and after many bastings with orange goo, the skin tuned a beautiful burnished color, and I think lacquered is a great way to describe it.

I couldn’t find my big platter, so I stuffed everything onto this medium dish.  It really wasn’t served this way…a lot more carrots and potatoes behind where this photo was taken.

The first thought that came to mind, was a chicken dish by Rick Bayless, basted with his red mole and agave syrup, that looks similar after being roasted.  He calls it Lacquered Chicken because it looks well, lacquered – not unlike a door, floor, or piece of furniture you all probably have at least one of in your homes.

Great, I’m comparing chicken to lacquered wood.  I bet that’s really juicing up your appetite!

Thing is, there are people who actually do use not food safe lacquer, stains and all kinds of liquid substances that will probably poison you.  These people are professional food stylists.  Ever see those pictures of perfectly, deep golden brown turkeys on a beautiful platter with lots of fixings, smack in the middle of a Thanksgiving table, not a burnt spot or flaw to be found?  Ever wonder why that look is almost impossible to achieve ?  Because, although it’s a real turkey, you cannot eat it.

I usually truss before buttering or oiling, but I wanted to show the butter in every nook and cranny.  So, the wings got cut off in the buttering photo – and this was the only collage I liked.  Oh, well.  Just truss and reach in and underneath where the wings are folded and tied down, to distribute the butter.

I always found that to be a waste, especially with all the starving people in the world.  Take a perfectly edible turkey, roast it until it’s nice and brown, then slather it with wood stain and Minwax super gloss clear finishing lacquer to give it that lovely, burnished, flawless appearance.  YUM, pass the compound and sandpaper, please!

I guess they trash the poultry once they get the photo they need.  Change that ‘I guess’ to ‘I hope’.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, my chicken contains none of the above, and look at the lovely crispy, deep, golden skin.  No, it’s not perfect, and you won’t see it on one of Norman Rockwell’s holiday tables, but it’s completely edible and delicious!

For this month’s love bloghop, the theme is citrus.  I had sweets on the brain, orange sticky buns, individual lemon charlottes, orange chocolate chunk cookies of some sort, etc.  After picking up an organic chicken a few nights ago my plans changed.  I was craving roast chicken, so why not an orange roast chicken?  I still had sweets on the brain, so the cookies were made, and the finished brioche dough for sticky buns is resting in the fridge as I type this.  I will be posting both, but once this chicken came out of the oven, it got the job – I knew this was going to be my #citruslove.

To start, I made an orange compound butter to massage into the chicken, on top and underneath the skin…mostly the breast because thighs and legs don’t take kindly to their skin being pulled away and stuffed.  They tear in protest if you go too deep..no matter how gently, so I usually do the best I can.  This means the fat part of each drumstick ends up with a glob of butter, herbs or whatever, smack in the middle, which has to be massaged on the outside of the skin to cover as much of the meat as you can.

SCREEEECH! Hold on!…Time to segue.  As I type this, feeling no flow whatsoever, completely disjointed, discombobulated - I’m realizing how boring all of the above is.  Last week I received an email from a reader…

“Why aren’t you as funny anymore?  You used to crack me up.  Are you ok?”

There’s too many answers to that question, and that was part of my response to her.  The rest “I promise it’ll return, just not in a great place, or flowing at the moment”, with a huge smiley emoticon at the end –> :)

Maybe I should just post my food photos with poetry, or songs?  I’ve heard some of the best of both have come during ‘down times’.  How about a Haiku?

Oh lacquered chicken
How beautiful thy skin is
I want your drumstick

OK, maybe not.

It’s really tough to get a good photo when everyone is begging to eat.

Back to the boring writing chicken.  I wanted to infuse a good amount of orange flavor into it since I’ve had plenty of orange roast chicken where you could barely taste the orange, so I layered – I layered like I do my skin when I get out of the shower – the body oil of the scent I plan to wear, the powder of scent I plan to wear, then the actual cologe or perfume.  Orange compound butter inside out, oranges stuffed in the cavity, orange lacquer (I really love calling it that) – a few herbs, seasonings, and other stuff to contrast and enhance, and we’ve got popping orange flavor, but not in an overpowering way.  Not to mention, this chicken was juicier than Violet Beauregarde, pre – dejuicing room.  

Shit, I’ve got nothing today, so I’ll stop here before I continue to bore and embarrass myself.

As I mentioned above…January is #citruslove month!  Please join in on the #citruslove fun by linking up any citrus recipe from the month of January 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to stop by the #citruslove (the hashtag) event on Twitter!

A shout out and thank you to my co-hosts for #citruslove;

A Little Bit of Everything, Astig Vegan, Baker Street, BigFatBaker, CafeTerraBlog, Cake Duchess, Cakeballs Cookies and More, Easily Good Eats, Elephant Eats, Food Wanderings, Georgiecakes, Hobby and More, Mike’s Baking, Mis Pensamientos, No One Likes Crumbley Cookies, Oh Cake,, Peaches and Donuts, Savoring Every Bite, Simply Reem, Smart Food and Fit, Soni’s Food for Thought, Teaspoon of Spice, That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!, The Art of Cooking Real Food, The More Than Occasional Baker, The Spicy RD, The Wimpy Vegetarian, Vegan Yack Attack, Vegetarian Mamma, You Made That?

Please visit their blogs to see all the delicious #citruslove they created!  OH, and of course - the linky!  I’ve been rather involved with the linky’s lately, huh?  Well, it’s just one click below to citrus porn!

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Brown Sugar Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken

1 5 lb organic chicken
Orange Butter (recipe follows)
2 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
Cut up oranges (use the ones you squeezed for the juice, plenty of orange flavor left in them)
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Orange Lacquer (recipe follows)

Orange Butter
1 stick (4oz) unsalted, room temperature butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Orange Lacquer
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 6 to 8 navel or navel sized oranges.  Save the squeezed orange halves to stuff into cavity of chicken)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 scant tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 large clove garlic, chopped very finely – almost paste consistency
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil is fine)
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Grate all the zest you will need in this recipe from your oranges, then split them in half and keep squeezing until you get 1 cup of juice.  Set aside zest and juice.

2. In a medium bowl..stir together the butter and one tablespoon of orange zest until creamy and uniform. Set aside.

3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken, then rinse under cold water inside out.  Dry thoroughly.

4. Rub some of the orange butter all around the inside of the cavity, then salt and pepper it liberally. Stuff with all the herbs and as many orange halves as you can fit into the cavity.  Truss the chicken.  THIS is the method I use..quick and easy. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

5. Rub the rest of the orange compound butter all over the chicken, inside and out, lifting the skin where you can without tearing, and sliding some in – placing the skin back down and pushing it around on top of the skin until it covers most of the meat.  Throw any leftover compound butter into the cavity (the hole is still big enough to get it in even though it’s trussed). Salt and pepper the outside of the chicken, liberally.

6. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan.  Pour a little chicken stock or water on the bottom of the pan, if you like.  Easier clean up, and gravy, if desired, although this chicken doesn’t need it.

7.  Place roasting pan with chicken in the preheated oven.  Roast for 1 hour.  Check every 20 minutes to make sure it isn’t burning in spots.

8. While chicken is roasting, make orange lacquer.  Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, except the sesame oil.  Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is disssolved, then bring to a boil, stirring.  Let it reduce to almost half of what it was.  It won’t be super thick when done, more syrupy.  Stir in sesame oil.

9. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Paint the lacquer all over the chicken, getting into every nook and cranny with the brush.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Do this every 10-15 minutes for a total of 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F.  If desired, cook/boil down (reduce) remaining orange lacquer for a sauce, making a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken it, if need be.

9.  Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes (this is when you should take photos if you’re a food blogger lol ).  Carve and enjoy!  I served mine with glazed carrots and smoked paprika roasted potatoes.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey and Fixin’s Pop Tarts, PLUS, the Fairy Hobmother Wants to Grant a Wish to YOU!!

November 26, 2011 at 10:27 am | Posted in Breads, Dinner, Fruit, Holiday, Jams/Jellies, Lunch, Pastry, Pies/Tarts, Poultry, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 70 Comments
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Yes, you read that right – turkey dinner pop tarts. I bet the first thing that comes to mind is pieces of turkey in jam filled pastry with frosting on top, right?  No worries, these are savory pop tarts!  Any sweetness comes from what you usually mishmash together on your Thanksgiving plate, like sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, or fruit in your stuffing.  BUT, what you add to these flaky, tarts of Thanksgiving dinner, is entirely up to you, or what you have left over.

I came up with this idea last week, fully thinking I would have plenty of leftovers to attempt these.  I made SO much food, there was no way I wouldn’t.  Well, happily, there were barely any leftovers because everyone loved everything, but sadly, that left me with nothing to make these pop tarts come to fruition.

Parents to the rescue…they had a small container of one of the stuffings I made (which was amazing..created by Jessica of How Sweet It Is), a bit of cranberry sauce, and a couple of slices of breast meat from my turkey (which was also amazing, created by Amy of SheWears Many Hats).  This year I added some new to my old and always requested Thanksgiving standby’s, and now both of the above will most likely be part of every Thanksgiving repertoire from hereon in.


SO, instead of celebrating Black Friday with my wallet, patience, and sicko traffic jams, I made these.  I partook in a bit of online Black Friday fun, but the best is yet to come on Cyber Monday, and you don’t have to leave your house to get some great deals.  I’ll be there, butt firmly implanted in my computer chair, thank you.

Speaking of deals…did I ever tell you all about the marble pastry board I placed a bid on at ebay?  Welll…for days, I was the only bidder, which is usually what happens.  With 3 minutes left to go, someone started bidding on it…fighting me, until my original bid of $12.00 was up to $40.00!

When it hit $45.00, I gave up..that was just too ridiculous for a small marble pastry board.  I surfed different online stores for another marble board, and sure enough, found the same exact marble pastry board for $14.00!  I couldn’t resist..I sent the obsessed, opposing bidder a message with all the links to the $14.00 pastry board.  She replied with an ‘Eff You’.  That was probably the most gratifying ‘Eff You’ anyone has ever bestowed upon me.

I digress, Mom and Dad save the day.  I couldn’t make as many pop tarts as I wanted to (I made half the recipe and was able to cobble together a top for the 9th dough rectangle that was left without a partner –  for a total of 5 pop tarts), and I didn’t know if they were  going to work, but at least I had something to fill them with.  The urge to try these was so strong, I actually gasped for a second when I realized I might not be able to attempt them - but just one second – I swear.   I may be obsessed with ideas and experimenting, but not that obsessed.  OK, maybe a little more than ‘not that obsessed’.

I know what you may be thinking as I ramble on about my ‘idea’ and ‘experiment’.  Leftover turkey and sides wrapped in a dough and baked?  That’s been done a gazillion times – from homemade hot pockets to empanadas, to turkey pot pie, to savory hand pies.. ad infinitum.

Look at these Thanksgiving croissants from The Milk Bar!

What’s different about these is that they’re streamlined.  You cannot  fit a ton of filling into a pop tart.  You get just the right amount of turkey, cranberry and stuffing (or whatever leftover sides you want to add with the turkey) with each bite, without filling oozing all over the place (not that that’s a bad thing), and they’re definitely much more portable, like your basic boxed pop tart, albeit, much better because it’s all homemade – nothing artificial.

I over-baked these by about 6 minutes (33 minutes).  So, about 25-27 minutes, as you see in the first photo up top, is just about right.

How could I forget the best part?   You can heat these up in a pop-up toaster once they’ve baked and cooled.  Try that with a big, fat loaded hand or turkey pot pie!  You can also make tons of them (double the dough recipe) and freeze, unbaked, taking out how ever many you need, for 6 months – OR, you can bake them and freeze them – again, taking out what you need, but letting them thaw, then heating them up in the oven, toaster oven, or, my fave, the pop-up toaster!

Not exactly the best interior photos, but trust me, these look A LOT better away from my Lowel Ego Light.  Most importantly, they’re delicious – so flaky and loaded with Thanksgiving dinner flavor!

Obviously, I’m selling you on these because they did work.  They’re awesome.  I’m eating one as I type this.  I used an herb pie dough for these, but you can use any favorite pie dough recipe.  Also – for the fillings, use any combination of leftovers with the turkey – from turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, to turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever vegetable(s) you have left over  to just turkey, a little gravy and mashed potatoes.  How about a turkey – sweet potato or candied yam pop tart?

As you can see in the photo collage, I was lucky enough to have scrounged some candied sweet potatoes before they poofed until next year. Of course you can completely omit the turkey and make these vegetarian!

Is it just me, or is there far too many exclamation points in this entry?

I made one change to the recipe after biting into one.  Instead of the thin slices of turkey you see in the collage above, I changed it to two tablespoons chopped turkey per pop tart.  I did this because with some bites, I ended up pulling out the whole slice of turkey, having to bite down to break it in half so I wasn’t left with a pop tart without turkey.

Finally, how would you like a visit to your blog by the Fairy Hobmother to grant you a wish, one which you can then pass on to your readers?  Thanks to Jamie from Life’s a Feast, the Fairy Hobmother stopped by my blog and gifted me with an Amazon gift certificate!  Since I couldn’t decide what I wanted or needed, the Fairy Hobmother gave me a gift coupon to Amazon so I can choose what I want when I can figure it out. 

If you leave a comment, – make a wish, since the Fairy Hobmother will be watching over my comment section to choose someone to sprinkle fairy dust on – in other words, receive what you wish for!  Leave a comment and you might get lucky!

Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts
Yield:  9 Pop Tarts – maybe 10 with dough scraps

Herbed All-Butter Flaky Pie Dough
Inspired by my Grandmother’s recipe card
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and frozen
About 6 tablespoons ice water

DIRECTIONS:
1. Blend first 6 ingredients in processor until herbs are very finely chopped. Add frozen butter. Pulse processor until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Using a fork, mix enough ice water into flour mixture to form moist clumps.You want it to look raggedy with lumps of butter.  Gather dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently flatten into rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill 30 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.)

Pop Tart Filling
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped turkey breast meat
9 heaping tablespoons stuffing
9 tablespoons cranberry sauce
OR – any combination of leftover sides you prefer, a tablespoon or small amount of each
1 egg, beaten
Grated parmesan, Grana Padano or any hard, aged Italian cheese. (optional)

* You can make these completely vegetarian by omitting the turkey.  So many possibilities!

ROLL, CUT AND ASSEMBLE POP TARTS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Remove both pieces of dough from the refrigerator. Let sit until workable.

2. Place one piece of the chilled and workable dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. Trim off the edges so you have a perfect 9″ x 12″ rectangle.  Roll and trim second piece of dough the same way.  Wrap and refrigerate dough scraps, you may have enough for another pop tart.

3. Using a ruler, make notches every 3-inches across 9-inch side.  Make notches every 4-inches across 12-inch side.  Cut using a pizza wheel or pressing down with a very sharp knife, as straight as you can, so you have 9  3″ x 4″ rectangles of dough. Repeat all of the above with second sheet of dough.  You will now have 18 3″ x 4″ rectangles of dough.

4.  Brush 9 rectangles of dough lightly with beaten egg.  Let sit until egg is tacky instead of wet and slippery, about 5 minutes.

5.  Spread 1 tablespoon stuffing over each of the 9 rectangles, leaving about 1/4-inch or a bit more, clean along each edge around the rectangle, so you’ll be able to seal them.  Top stuffing with 2 tablespoons chopped turkey and a tablespoon of cranberry sauce.  Repeat with the rest of the dough rectangles.

6. Top each filled rectangle of dough with a rectangle from the second piece of dough. Press down each edge to seal it well, then press the tines of a fork all around the edges of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining pop tarts.

If you’re not going to bake them immediately – NOW is the time to freeze them.  Place tarts on baking sheet and freeze until frozen solid.  Place them in a freezer bag and freeze up to 6 months.  To bake frozen, add 5 to 10 minutes to original baking time in a 350 F preheated oven.

7.  Gently lift pop tarts and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, three per row.  Brush each pop tart with remaining beaten egg, and sprinkle with some parmesan or any hard Italian grating cheese you prefer (I used grated Grana Padano).  Poke holes to vent the pop tarts.  I poked three rows with a fork.

8.  Place baking sheet with pop tarts in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  No need to cover them since they’re brushed with egg wash.

9.  Remove baking sheet from refrigerator and put in preheated oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown.

If you want to freeze them already baked – let cool at room temperature, then freeze them on the baking sheet until frozen.  Put pop tarts in a freezer bag for up to 6 months, To serve and eat, let them thaw in the refrigerator, then heat in a 350 F oven or toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes  OR, just pop them in a pop-up toaster for a few minutes.

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Sweet Corn – Grana Padano Ravioli With Basil Brown Butter and Warm Cherry Tomato Compote PLUS ANOTHER GIVEAWAY and the Winner of the Coconut OIl and Cookbook Giveaway

July 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Daring Cooks, Dinner, Giveaway, Pasta, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 224 Comments
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Before I get to this yummy ravioli, a little introspective rambling is in order.  For all of those waiting for the announcement of the winner of my 4th of July giveaway, so sorry I’m a day late.  My proverbial plate has been really, really full.  You can scroll down to find out now, or you can read a bit of my incessant babbling to increase the suspense.  OR, you can just drool over this ravioli, because I think this is the most delicious non-traditional ravioli I have ever made and tasted in my life – IF you like corn, that is.

You may also  want to immediately scroll down to see my latest giveaway.  I’ll give you a hint to part of it, in case you actually want to read what I wrote first.  In the photo directly below, it’s on the your lower right.

A few months ago, I left a comment on a post about the BlogHer 2011 conference in Atlanta that dealt with blog cliques and the cutthroat race to get some form of recognition or fame via their blogs.  My comment was basically about blogging for myself and my readers (like most) and how I wouldn’t make friends with well-known and/or popular bloggers just to catapult my blog.  My friendships with people are based on who they are, not how many people like them or what they can offer me – not that I begrudge those who network to make a business out of their blog, nor would I ever succumb to what is considered ‘marketable’ in the world of food blogging if it’s not what I’m about or not something I like.  I just love playing with food, and this blog is my way of conveying it.

Sweet Corn - Grana Padano Ravioli With Basil Brown Butter and Warm Cherry Tomato Compote

However, I said one thing that came off the wrong way, and it’s been bothering me for a while now.

I said, to quote myself, “I don’t care if my photos suck or aren’t Bon Appetit worthy (although I do bitch about not having natural light)….”

I DO care if my photos suck, but from more of an an artistic stance. My blog is my cozy little nook in this world, my cozy little nook of escape, and I want pretty, mouth-watering photos in the same way I want pretty decor in my abode.  I love taking photos of my food, even though I don’t get the photos I desperately covet since I don’t have enough natural light to take them in.

Natural light is the number one key to beautiful food photography, and it’s FREE!  But, I think nature wants to charge me.

I also said…”I don’t care if my writing is all over the place” Translation: I write like I talk and everyone who knows me always points that out.  This is me, and I won’t change a thing, even if I don’t use enough ‘active verbs’, or adopt ‘How to Write to Draw Attention to your Blog 101′ as the word.  Regardless, you should really read this post by Linda at Salty Seattle.  It’s  eye-opening, extremely thought-provoking, and well, she bares all the little bones, and I like that.  Oh,  and she’s so damn creative. You must see the amazing delicacies she creates, thinking outside the box.  Molecular Gastronomy and then some!

Now that I got that out of the way, I think it’s time to deal with pasta.  Homemade pasta, everything from scratch, nothing boxed, nothing frozen, just beautiful, silky handmade pasta, kneaded, rolled and cut by you, not some factory in Okawosha, NY (Yes, a fictional city).

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with.

My first thought was spaetzle because I adore spaetzle, and it’s so simple – no rolling, no cutting, just a batter like dough that you press through a potato ricer into salted, boiling water, producing light little dumplings.  Yes, there are spaetzle makers, but I don’t believe in owning something that just has one use, unless you make it a lot..like once a week a lot.

I changed my mind at the last-minute.  1) Because when I make spaetzle, I think paprikash, and although I don’t abide by any rules that dictate what types of foods should be made and eaten each season, I felt it was a bit heavy of a dish at this time, and I am in no mood for a gut bomb after almost eating my weight in baklava last month, and 2) How could I not take advantage of the summer bounty of sweet corn, tomatoes and basil?  Not to mention, I was sent a huge hunka hunk of Grana Padano Riserva cheese, but that’s part of the giveaway, and I’ll get to that later.

I decided a corn filled ravioli would be an ideal way to use sweet summer corn, and when combined with the slightly salty, but mellow, Grana Padano, it was a winner.  Since the ravioli has so much flavor, all that was needed  to compliment it was a light brown butter sauce (beurre noisette).  For color, and a tart and juicy, sweet contrast in flavor, a beautiful red and yellow cherry tomato concoction of some sort was a thought.  The balsamic vinegar in the tomato ‘compote’ I finally decided on really ties everything together with each bite.  Sweet, buttery, salty, slightly acidic, creamy…pure summer bounty bliss.

Sweet Corn - Grana Padano Ravioli With Basil Brown Butter and Warm Cherry Tomato Compote

I gleaned ideas for the sweet corn filling from Chef de Cuisine Jacques Qualin, from his time at  Jean-George Vongerichten’s J&G Steakhouse. in which he which he simmers the corn in cream until almost reduced by half, then purees it, resulting in a sweet, thick, creamy filling for the ravioii, with the added texture of whole, cooked, corn kernels.  The warm tomato compote is part of a recipe from Epicurious that I’ve used for years, with my own additions and subtractions.

Oh, just a reminder, when you cut the kernels off the cob, don’t forget to milk the cob!!  Dull side of knife and scrape down.  Sweet corn milk should be a beverage staple.

If you get a chance, check out all the amazing pasta creations by my fellow Daring Cooks by clicking the links to their blogs HERE.  For some more pasta recipes (plus spaetzle..yum!) and sauces, click HERE!

Now, an all too familiar scenario the past month or so.  Another giveaway.  No, I’m not a giveaway freak or addict, and I’m not a freebie junkie, but I do love to give stuff away, it’s just my nature, and those who know me well can vouch for that. When Denise Finnegan contacted me about sampling some Grana Padano cheese, and perhaps offering up the same for one of my readers, how could I resist?  Well..sample was an understatement.

DiPalo Selects in Little Italy, NYC, sent me a 3 lb wedge of Grana Padano Riserva, the highest quality Grana Padano..aged 20 to 30 months.  Along with that I received two little wedgie knives, pictured above.  The photo of my cheese is on your lower right. It’s huge!  Using that little knife, I cannot stop wedging off shards because it’s so fantastic.  If you’ve never tried Grana Padano, it’s similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, but younger, much more mellow and not as expensive.  However, this 3 lb wedge (mine was actually 3.5 lbs)  of Grana Padano Riserva retails for about $50.00 and up, depending where you buy it!  Before I tell you how you can win this giant, wedge of deliciousness, (which will be sent to you by DiPalo Selects), there is a part two to this giveaway.

Sweet Corn - Grana Padano Ravioli With Basil Brown Butter and Warm Cherry Tomato Compote

Megan from buildasign.com has offered one of my readers the opportunity to make their own custom license plate, plus, either 10 custom bumper stickers or bumper magnets, OR 20 custom labels (2×4″ or 3×5″) for free..a $40.00 value! The winner will receive a coupon code to make their custom ‘whatever’ they choose.

Now, to enter this double giveaway, you can simply leave a comment telling me what you would do with your 3 lb hunk of Grana Padano Riserva outside of grating over pasta, OR, what you would put on your custom license plate and labels or bumper stuff at buildasign.com.  For extra entries, do any of the following and leave separate comments for each one you do.  A winner will be chosen July 27th, 2011 using random.org.

1. Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage

2. Like Grana Padano on Facebook.

3. Visit buildasign.com and take a look around, so when you win, you’ll be ready ;)

4.  Tweet: I entered to win a HUGE Grana Padano Riserva cheese package plus $40.00 worth of custom goodies from buildasign.com http://bit.ly/pzLS1p

5. Subscribe to Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives, either by email or RSS Feed.

Finally, the winner of the 15 oz jar of Kelapo Coconut Oil and How to Cook Everything, 10th anniversary revised edition is….

Congratulations to Lynda Clark!!  Sent you an email to get your info ASAP, so I can mail out the cookbook, then forward your info to Jen of Kelapo Coconut, so she can send you your coconut oil!

Sweet Corn Grana Padano Ravioli with Brown Butter Basil Sauce and Warm Cherry Tomato Compote
Makes about 24 ravioli..4 main dish servings

One full plus one half of David Leite’s Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe at Leite’s Culinaria.  Follow instructions for rolling and cutting ravioli after mixing and kneading.  A scant tablespoon of filling per ravioli.

Sweet Corn Grana Padano Filling
Adapted from Jacques Qualin, with my revisions

1 tablespoon butter plus 1 teaspoon
2 cups fresh corn kernels, divided (about 4 small ears of corn)
2 minced shallots
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme
1/3 cup grated Grana Padano
freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Saute 1 cup of corn in 1 teaspoon of butter until slightly golden, set aside.

2,  In same pan, melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and add shallots.  Saute until soft, but not brown.  Add remaining cup of corn, salt and sugar and cook until corn is bright yellow.  Add the cream and let it reduce, stirring, until barely any cream remains. Remove pan from heat and puree in food processor until creamy.  Scrape into a bowl and stir in thyme, grana padano cheese, reserved cup of cooked, whole corn and grind black pepper to taste.  Set aside to cool while making and rolling pasta dough.

Browm Butter Basil Sauce
2 sticks butter
1/3 cup shredded  basil (roll several basil leaves together and cut into thin strips)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In sauce pan, heat butter over medium high and cook until golden brown.  Toss in basil just to wilt.  Set aside until ravioli is cooked and plated.

Warm Cherry Tomato *Compote
Adapted from Epicurious.com, with my revisions

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons teaspoons minced garlic
1 shallot, minced
6 cups assorted vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, some halved
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup finely shredded fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon or so of sugar to balance acid & flavor, if you feel it’s needed upon tasting

DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine cherry tomatoes and basil in a medium bowl.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat vinegar, oil, and garlic over moderate heat until just simmering.

3. Pour hot dressing over cherry tomatoes and basil and toss gently to combine.  Let sit at room temperature for about one half hour to 45 minutes.

4.  You will have leftover tomato compote, enjoy over any pasta or over crostini or bruschetta, OR just eat as is.  Keep refrigerated and use within 2 or 3 days.

* Technically not completely a compote since I did not add the tomatoes to the hot dressing in the pan to cook down, instead choosing to pour the hot dressing over the tomatoes to cook them off the heat for just a bit..maintaining the shape and fresh flavor of each tomato.

ASSEMBLE PLATES OF RAVIOLI:
1.  Place 6 ravioli on each plate, and drizzle with brown butter basil sauce.  Top each plate with warm tomato compote and extra shaved or grated Grana Padano.


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