The first dish chosen is from the appetizers section of Live to Cook. I had been eying it for months, and even considered making it for a dinner party, but it slipped my mind. Because it was paired with a pasta dish, I decided to turn it into a salad. There were few ingredients in this dish, but they all are packed with flavor and had something to add to the final product. I would definitely make this as an appetizer in the future, or use the combination of a spin off a warm bacon-dressed spinach salad, just chop the dates so the sweet punch of flavor is in each bite.
Please visit Tasha's blog for the recipe!
Roasted Dates with Pancetta, Almond and Chile
The second choice of Tasha's was Sheep's Milk Ravioli with Brown Butter and Almonds. I searched for Sheep's Milk Ricotta, but it wasn't available. Since the recipe called for really thick ricotta, and because I couldn't find sheep's milk, I decided to make my own ricotta. While the ricotta came out extremely thick and delicious tasting, it wasn't really a money saver as I had hoped. A half gallon of organic milk is around $4, and a tub of organic ricotta is around $4.50, so by the time I factor in my time to make it, the price is the same. However, it was fun to know I literally made this entire dish from scratch!
For the ravioli, the dough is made from only egg yolks and white flour, but I substituted a whole egg and a white, and used half whole wheat flour and half unbleached all purpose flour to make it healthier. For the sauce, I couldn't bring myself to use 12 tbsp. butter, so I used 1 tbsp., the juice of the orange, and some vegetable stock. The recipe called for parsley, but I don't like parsley, and love rosemary paired with orange, so opted for that combination. I also served the ravioli with steamed broccoli for a little extra veg in the meal.
While I varied a great deal from the original recipe, and I'm sure a pool of brown butter would be amazing, my substitutions made this dish quite tasty!
Sheep's Milk Ravioli with Brown Butter and Almonds
Making the ricotta:
Bring 1/2 gallon milk, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. citric acid to 195*, rest for 5 minutes
Strain in cheesecloth for 5 minutes
Tie up and hang to strain in the fridge for a few hours, very thick ricotta!
Tasha's dates look fantastic!
Joanne had the same idea and served hers over a salad, but used figs and added goat cheese and cranberries
Joanne also reduced her butter, and added some zucchini to her ravioli
Natashya added dill to her pasta, adding a nice punch of flavour!