ravioli: an undertaking of socialist proportions

please, dear friends: do not attempt to make fresh pasta alone. it's far too large and daunting an undertaking (at least until you're a pro at rolling it out like this lady). the real way to do it is to call a few friends, ask them to pick up some vino and an extra pound of tofu. while they're on the way, get the flours, water and oil mixin in the food processor into dough (use this incredibly simple and foolproof recipe from vegan dad!) if there's more than 4 of you dining - double it. the masses always eat more than you think they will. especially when the food prep takes 2 hours.

yes, unless we did something terribly wrong, making fresh ravioli takes a few hours. put out some olives to nosh on and drink some cheap beers to fill your tums in the patience-testing interim. get the girls on pasta duty, assign a boy on dish duty, and get another flipping records while the pasta dough rests, dries, gets filled, then rests again. yes! employ your friends. from each according to their ability, and whatnot.

first shot of the new kitchen, a few of its dedicated workers buzzing about:

so, let's break it down: ravs takes a few extra steps than even regular fresh pasta. and let's put it out there now - yes, throwing some 99 cent dried pasta in boiling water til al dente will do for most every night of the week. this is for special times when you really want to get semolina flour all over your pants.

also, for these big projects, you might want to call in a non-human sous chef. meet our newest kitchen helper - eiffel!!

he may be an american bulldog but he barks with a french accent. we ask him for advice concerning haute cuisine.

pasta time: first, make the dough. click that link from vegan dad and don't overthink it. regular flour plus semolina flour, a little salt, olive oil and water all up in the food processor. don't be a naysayer, it will turn into dough! knead til smooth. we took the easy way out and used the standing mixer with a dough hook.

if it's kind of sticky (ours magically wasn't), knead in some extra flour. then cut the dough into a handful of equal sized pieces and roll it out - you can use a rolling pin, old-italian-lady style, or be all new fangled and break out the pasta machine. start on the widest setting, roll a piece of dough through a few times, then turn it a bit tighter, a little bit more each time. if you want the pieces of dough to be wide, fold the long skinny piece onto itself to make a double wide. keep going til the slabs of dough are nice and thin. not so thin you can read through it, but almost...

then let it sit for awhile. 20 minutes or so? it sucks, just eat some more olives.

next comes the fun part. scoop in some nice lumps of tofu ricotta (add spinach to be even more healthy). damn if tofu ricotta isn't so so super deliciously good, and rumored to be at least sort of close to the real thing. we know that's probably not true, but whatever! we'll eat it right off the spoon.

with intent, place little scoops of the tof ric in a neat grid pattern across one big slab of well rested dough. space 'em about 2 inches apart, like this:

then, draw lines between them with water - use a pastry brush or your finger! then, without waiting too long so the water doesn't dry out, carefully lay another piece of dough on top and press down. press firmly and create a good seal! if you don't, these babies will explode when dropped into the inevitable cauldron of boiling water. so once you've made a big flat of ravs (poke out any air holes), cut them up with a pizza cutter. then crimp the edges with a fork. you don't need a silly tool to make it pretty, just a plain old fork. looks so profesh!

here's the bad news: now these have to rest for another 20 minutes or so. the good news is that this is just about how long it takes a huge pot of water to boil. without fail, water. takes.forever. it's also about how long it takes for this dude to make a killer big salad:

while smiley is washing greens and chopping 'maters, drop the ravs in, poke them with a wooden spoon so they don't stick together, and give them between 5 and 8 minutes at a rolling boil. eat one to test it! you will undoubtedly be starving by now.

omg, you're done! dress with olive oil and garlic or a light sauce. we used a lovely jar of homemade fresh tomato sauce that our friends over at tastebuds made and generously gifted to us. you don't want to get too heavy on homemade pasta, or, what's the point. don't drown all your hard work with the soulless contents of a prego jar, k?

and sorry to all, but the best shot of the finished product has a bit of shredded parm on top. you'll all live right, i know ya will. don't get caught up in the details, dammit. eat...eat up!!

cheers for carbs!

emily & lauren


bad bloggers, bad! bad!

well, it's been a week plus since our last post. sure, we weren't cooking so much during the whole move, didn't have internet access for the first week in the house, etc. and yeah, some kitchen things still aren't unpacked and set up, and we haven't gotten it together to do a "big shop" at the grocery store. but a few lovely meals have been made, and photographed, the latent posts just waiting to be born.

but august man...august can be rough. it's hotter than hell. you're soaking wet after every bike ride, either from sweat or getting caught in a downpour. the energy level runs pretty low, and it's easier to eat an apple and some toast then to get caught up in a whole big to-do of food preparation.

but a good post - homemade vegan ravioli - is coming soon, promise!

in the meantime...have you ever heard of panda bread? my co-worker just told me about it and man, it's almost obnoxiously cute. scroll down on the link below to see failed panda bread experiments, with their funny-but-disturbing melted, sideways faces.

okay, more soon!!!!!!!!!!



centennial, of sorts

in honor of our one hundredth post, which is only ONE post away, i'd like to share with you a rad website that i recently came across. it's called "100 Abandoned Houses" and it's....yeah you get the idea --> www.100abandonedhouses.com

you probably have time to waste at work, right?
here are some of my favorites:

call this a teaser, because the next post is going to be pics of a house SO not abandoned.


foodie friends

lots of our friends love food. some of them take a more casual approach, and others are downright obsessive. my friends/co-workers nate and julia fall into the second camp, and recently started a blog to showcase their culinary chops to the world - TasteBuds. since they are real-life housemates and BFFs, the blog title is cute and pun-ified. hooray for puns! while not a vegetarian blog per se, they certainly love their veggies, and almost all of the recipes featured are light on the meats. julia's most recent post about homemade pasta reminds me that i haven't sufficiently broken in the pasta maker i got for my birthday. maybe next saturday, when hopefully the new VR kitchen is more set up (the new kitchen is so swoon-worthy; photos to come soon!), i'll bang out some fresh ravioli...



we're moving

our entire kitchen is packed into boxes. our tools, appliances, silverware, glassware, seriously EVERYthing, is wrapped in newspaper, stuffed into boxes, and labeled with sharpies. for the past few days, we've been eating cold sandwiches and drinking beer like there's no tomorrow.

oh, but there is a tomorrow. tomorrow is south philly, and the new house, and, most importantly, the new VR kitchen (stainless fridge, a breakfast bar and - omg - a dishwasher?!) and all that follows from there.

autumn is always a good time for change. and a seriously great time for food (oh! to turn the oven back on!). and so we shall proceed: with renewed energy, inspiration and resourcefulness, but from the other side of town. see ya in a few.

emily, lauren & ryan