Thursday, January 30, 2014

You just can’t say no to baked ravioli

Baked ravioli is simply irresistible. How do I know?

The first time I made baked ravioli, I was fresh out of college and was just starting to experiment in the kitchen. One night, I got the bright idea to take a package of fresh ravioli, mix it in a baking dish with some marinara sauce, top it with plenty of grated cheese, and bake until melted and bubbly. Not too shabby for a first attempt, I thought, and put a mostly full casserole dish in the fridge after enjoying my dinner.

Imagine my shock when I opened the fridge a couple days later, ready to enjoy my leftovers, and instead discovered an empty, dirty baking dish. My roommate at the time apparently spotted the ravioli, decided to help himself to what would have been three or four meals for me. Instead of cleaning up after himself and apologizing, he thought it would be funny to put the dirty dish back in the fridge and wait for me to find it. Ridiculous.

Let this serve as a warning -- if you make the following recipe, be prepared to fight for your fair share!

Baked Ravioli 
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
25-ounce bag frozen ravioli (I used Safeway Select Portobello Ravioli)
2 cups grated mozzarella or other shredded cheese (I used cheddar because it was already in the fridge) 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for about a minute before adding mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for a couple minutes, until slightly soft. Add diced tomatoes, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes to pan. Let sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon one cup of the sauce mix into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Layer half the ravioli in the dish, cover with a half the sauce, top with one cup of cheese, then repeat. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese. Remove from heat and serve.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fresh cocktail fit for Fridays

Every day has the potential to be great, but you’ve got to admit -- Fridays are their own kind of wonderful.

2 mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
2 ounces grapefruit juice
2 ounces vodka
2 teaspoons agave syrup
Soda water

Muddle mint leaves in cocktail mixer. Add grapefruit juice, vodka and agave syrup to mixer. Cover and shake the mixer. Pour contents into glass filled with ice. Top off with some soda water, stir, garnish with mint leaf, and enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Broiled salmon packed with sweet, smoky flavors

This easy dinner has a lot of things going for it. First off, the key ingredient is delicious salmon. Salmon’s pretty good no matter what you do to it, but it tastes particularly great with this quick miso glaze. Served with some kale wilted with soy sauce and other goodies and you’ve got a wonderful meal that doesn’t take all night to prepare.

Miso Salmon with Kale 
1 pound salmon filet
¼ cup white miso paste
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
½ pound kale, cleaned, stems and center ribs removed

Whisk miso paste, ginger, vinegar, 3 teaspoons soy sauce, agave syrup and 1 tablespoon sesame oil together in bowl. Place salmon in glass baking dish and coat with marinade. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 45 minutes. Position oven rack about 6 inches from broiler and preheat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove salmon from glass dish and place, skin down, on baking sheet. Place salmon in oven, rotating baking sheet once, and broil for 15-20 minutes, until salmon is cooked through. Remove from oven. While salmon is in the oven, heat remaining sesame oil over medium heat in large frying pan. Add kale, soy and red pepper flakes, cooking until kale wilts. Remove from heat and serve with salmon.