mini beef ravioli

Last weekend, Ben and I had the distinct pleasure of cooking with two up and coming foodies- brother and sister- Jack (10) & Lorelei (5). Jack had expressed an interest in learning how to cook to his parents. In turn, we were contacted to see if we’d be up for the task of cooking a gourmet meal with them, and our answer was an enthusiastic yes. We arrived at the home of Jack & Lo ready to discuss the menu, and Jack knew exactly what he wanted to create- mini beef ravioli. We bulked up the menu with two bruschettas- our take on caprese and another with prosciutto, and for dessert fresh fruit kabobs with romanoff sauce. Jack and Lo proved to be worthy sous chefs in the making kneading and rolling out pasta dough, stirring, tossing, seasoning, and tasting- quality control. The young duo gave Ben and me the best compliment that we’d ever received in the kitchen. Jack said that Ben and I would be “great lunch ladies”- just as good as a James Beard award. We had such a good time and the reviews for the mini beef ravioli received so many thumbs up that we just had to share. So, without further ado.the mini, the beefy, the ravioli.


Baby Back Ribs

Everyone has that one weekend that will live in their minds as a moment that he or she is proud to apart of  that is larger than themselves. Kim and I have been blessed in many ways, and we are starting to give back to organizations that we believe in.  This past October, Kim participated in the Nike Women’s Half  Marathon in San Francisco.  Kim trained with Team In Training and helped raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The race as a whole raised over $13 million to help research a cure for blood cancers. The weekend was full of emotional moments, and we were proud to contribute in a small way, and yes Kim survived the hills of this amazing city.

We have been to visit San Francisco before and were told to go to The Slanted Door.  It was an amazing dinning experience.  We decided to sneak away for a date night be fore the big event and revisited The Slanted Door again hoping to be impressed by their talented staff.  We were not disappointed. Our server , Moses, made our night one to remember.  He brought us samples and made us feel special on a very special weekend. So, if you make out to San Francisco, you must try Phan family’s twist on traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

We developed this recipe of a dry rub for baby back ribs.  It is quick, and has a few spices that you may not have in the pantry, but will be worth the purchase.

Pepper Seared Beef / Pepper Mill

Number 9 on the list of essential tools.  Everyone should have a pepper mill in their kitchen.  One main thing to consider is the mill should be adjustable and easy to clean.  As you start to cook often you will realize that it is the small details that will elevate your dishes, and often they are affordable as well.  Fresh cracked pepper has a fresher, more pure flavor than pre-ground pepper, and peppercorns don’t have an expiration date. Do a taste test if you’re skeptical.  Not only that, you have the option of the size of the pepper you add to your dish from a fine ground to a large, rough ground.  I’m sure that most of you have a pepper mill, but if not you should buy one for they are one of the most simplest pleasures of the kitchen.  We are doing a spin of a classic dish with beef seared with pepper.

The Savory Pie

I have to tell you that I will on occasion crave something that I have never tasted before- it’s strange, but it has happened two times (that I’m aware of). Generally this is a condition that I’ve heard of while having a having a bun in the oven- not the case here- just a random unsolicited food craving. The first craving was for shepherd’s pie- nothing too unusual about this. I like meat. I like potatoes, carrots, onions, and peas, so this wasn’t a too farfetched foodie desire. Ben on the other hand was a bit skeptical- nothing against the components of the dish, but as he put it, he’d had “a bad experience.” I imagine his experience was similar to the first time that I “experienced” vodka- not good- not good for three days, and understood his noncommittal interest in the suggestion for dinner. I take great satisfaction in turning one’s taste buds around, and that’s exactly what I did to Ben with this tasty, wholesome meat pie.

Fair Share Farm

Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  We are new to the CSA Movement and please take a look at the link to get a broader understanding of how your local farmers can affect your day to day way of food life.

We had the opportunity to visit a local CSA and was able to observe and participate in what it means to be a member. Fair Share Farm was established in 2002 and has been operating with organic methods that has provided heir loom and rare varieties of vegetables to the greater Kansas City, Missouri area.

It was interesting how diverse the members were but yet they shared one common love- the love of fresh organic produce that they had a hand in harvesting and supporting. The farm is as close to self sufficient as can be including solar panel generated irrigation systems, utilization of rain water to barrels that heat the green house, and to top it off a modified electric tractor. On any given day, you’ll find Rebecca, Tom, and Rocky tending to the next fantastic share. The gracious hosts that they are sent us home with some amazing produce which we created a meal with that we hope our efforts do them justice.