Sunday, November 18, 2012

Decadent Dishes for Dreary Days


Oh my, has it really been eight months since my last post? Yikes! I don't know where the time went. Other things just sort of took over my life lo' these past few months. I've been trying to keep up with all the blogs, and I apologize if I haven't been as consistent at that as I would have liked.  To top it all off, my camera broke! So, I don't have any pics of recent eats to post. These were the last shots I took before my camera died, back in September.

These were taken on a particular weekend when we got our first rain in quite some time. As a good Pacific Northwest native, I was really looking forward to a cozy, rainy weekend after a long stretch of dry weather. It put me in the mood for staying in, lighting candles, drinking a bit of wine, and most of all...cooking! I decided to make some butternut squash ravioli. Sometimes, you just need ravioli. It's in the same class as lasagne: an imperative of nature that just has to be satisfied.

For the dough, I used my standby pasta recipe from Vegan Dad. It's a great recipe: easy to make, easy to roll out, no bother. I don't have a pasta machine, so I roll the dough out by hand. If you let the dough relax for about 30 - 40 minutes after you combine it, the dough becomes very workable. A granite pastry board or similar is very handy  too, in order to keep the dough from sticking when you roll it out. I also have one of these ravioli molds, which turns ravioli-making into a breeze. If you're inclined to make ravioli, I highly recommend getting one of these:



Here's how it works: 


For the filling, I roasted a butternut squash, peeled it, and then mashed it with sauteed shallot, a bit of vegan margarine, and salt and pepper. It was a simple mixture, but I wanted it that way to highlight the flavor of the roasted squash, which is simply delicious on its own.

What's your favorite winter squash? I'm torn between butternut and delicata, although I like each one for different things.

For the sauce, I sauteed  garlic and diced yellow pepper in olive oil and tossed in some roasted garlic. Then to serve, I topped it with pine nuts, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil. We also had wilted kale and big green salad...yummy food for a rainy September evening.


I'm not big on desserts, but on this particular weekend, I decided to go all out and bake a pie. I really like to bake; I spent many years working in bakeries while I was in college and afterwards, but these days, I very rarely bake anything. Making a batch of something just seems like too much for two people to eat.

This was a blueberry pie with coconut crumble topping. The dough is your basic 2:1 pastry; two parts flour (by weight) to one part vegan shortening, a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of cold water to bring it together. After sifting the flour, I like to rub the shortening in with my fingers. This however, warms up the shortening and is not strictly desirable. So, after I've rubbed the shortening into the flour, I put the mixture in the fridge for a while, so it can become nice and cool again before I add the cold water to combine...just my own quirky way of doing things.  Making sure the shortening is cold when you add the water helps produce a tender, flaky crust. Or, at least that's what I've always heard.

The filling was blueberries that I had frozen from the summer, about 1/4 cup sugar, and some corn starch. Then for the topping, I combined coconut spread, rolled oats, unsweetened shredded coconut, and some brown sugar. It had a mild coco-nutty taste from the coconut butter and the dessicated coconut...it was ok, but I wanted it to turn out crunchier somehow.

Before and after shots:


I thought it would take us a week to polish it off, but we were a bit greedy; it lasted two days. No magical, everlasting desserts around here, I'm afraid.


And finally, meet our newest family member, Gianni the Bunny:


He's from the animal shelter, and he's been with us for about three months. He's only about nine months old, he's neutered and he's quite a tidy bunny with good litter box habits. He free roams in the kitchen and living room when we're home, and lives in the kitchen at night and when we're not home.

He's very clever, and has learned to come when I call for him.  I got him used to it by giving him a bit of carrot, apple, or strawberry whenever he came into the kitchen. So now, all I have to do is call out "kitchen bunny" and he comes running.

He's really a little darling and sits with us on the futon at night when we're watching a video and soaks up pets and gives us bunny kisses. The kitties were afraid of him at first, but now, they've gotten used to him. They still get a little spooked if he comes hopping up to them too quickly, but I'm sure eventually, they'll all snuggle together.

Whenever I open the fridge or bring in the groceries, he runs over to raid the veggies.




Rabbits are the third most surrendered animal at shelters after cats and dogs. Our municipal shelter is full of rabbits right now.  If you're in the Seattle area, and think a rabbit might be a good new addition to your family, head down to the Seattle Animal Shelter and check it out!  And, if you're interested, there's lots of good info about living with house rabbits at the House Rabbit Society.

Sorry, this turned into sort of a long post!

I hope to start posting again soon, whenever I can get my camera situation sorted out, until then...

Ciao for now

41 comments:

  1. What a sweet bunny-- and your ravioli is gorgeous! Welcome back!

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  2. Congratulations on your new family member! He's so adorable. <3

    The ravioli and pie look fantastic. I have fond childhood memories of making ravioli with mom's side of the family.

    Glad to see you back!

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    1. Hey Molly,

      It's good to be back...I've got to catch up with where you're blogging these days!

      Talk to you soon,

      Rose

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  3. Homemade ravioli - what a treat! I've never tried making it but I would really love to.

    <3 Melissa
    wildflwrchild.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Hey Melissa,

      If you do the ravioli thing, definitely look in to one of those molds...they make it easy, and the ravioli seal and stay together well.

      Thanks for stopping by. ;)

      Delete
  4. I could not believe my eyes when I saw Dandelion at the top of my blog links! Gorgeous post just like the olden days too. And I learned something new: never knew there was such a thing as a 'Ravioli Mold'.

    Gianni is beautiful. We have three dogs & three cats in the house, so I don't think we can incorporate any Bunnies/Ferrets/Rats, as much as I'd love to.

    Lots of nice cameras on sale this Friday:
    http://blackfriday.com

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    Replies
    1. Hey Shen,

      You've got quite a full house over there! I think with three cats, a rabbit, two goldfish, and a couple of foster mice I'm at my threshold too. No more animals for now! (Famous last words. ) :D

      Thanks for the link!

      Delete
  5. Welcome back Rose!! I was so thrilled to see your blog pop up in my blog roll as recently updated! And what a great post!

    Those ravioli seriously look so delicious. The fact that they are homemade and perfect looking with a gorgeous sauce and pine nuts is seriously amazing. Great job! And that pie! I can see why it would only last two days! I love crumble on pies... yum!

    What a cutiepants!! Such a sweet bunny, love the pics of him raiding your groceries. So precious! I've always dreamed of adopting bunnies, cats and dogs. One day I'll have a big crew when I have the space for them :) Congrats on your addition!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah! I'm sure someday you'll have a menagerie all your own! :)

      Delete
  6. Whoa — what a comeback! The ravioli look wonderful with their squash filling and pepper and garlic sauce. And the pie was probably much better than all right if you finished it in two days.

    I never guessed your new family member was a bunny. He looks very sweet and sociable. It's funny to think of the cats being afraid of him but I can remember a rabbit I was caring for chasing my dog in circles, with the dog looking behind him in alarm. I had been worried for the rabbit's safety but it turned out that in was the dog who was in "danger." Have fun with your new companion.

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    Replies
    1. That's funny about the dog! I think so long as the rabbit doesn't show signs of fear, the cats and your dog just can't figure out what sort of a strange creature they're looking at. Years ago, we had a little dwarf rabbit, and he would chase the feral cats out of the yard! With dogs though, it really depends...if they have any prey drive or rambunctious side, they'd be bad news for a bunny.

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  7. It's so good to see you back here! That ravioli looks absolutely delicious and then to top it off you make a blueberry pie! Yum!
    What a sweet bunny you are so kind to adopt him.

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    Replies
    1. Hey thanks Jo-Lynn! I've got a lot of catching up to do on the blogs! I'll be round to yours soon.

      Rose :)

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  8. Beautiful photographs! The ravioli and pie look delicious, but the rabbit wins the prize. He's adorable! I am really interested in rabbits, but I have never owned one before. I'm glad that he is working out as your new family member.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Miss Rachel!

      Rabbits make wonderful companions, but they're high maintenance; you have to bunny proof rooms etc, but if you're interested, you should check out the House Rabbit Society pages.

      Delete
  9. Hi Rose! I must have missed this post in the pre-Thanksgiving rush but I am so glad it exists.
    The ravioli look perfect and delicious. It always looks like you put so much thought and care into every meal.
    Love the new family member! Rabbits are so interesting, and perfect for a vegan as a pet. Glad he gets along with the cats. I hope you'll be popping in and out still!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Maud! I agree that rabbits are perfect pets for vegans...veggies and hay all the way.

      I hope to be blogging more, just need to get a camera...

      Delete
  10. Your ravioli and pie look amazing! I love your little bunny, though! I used to have a bunny who was litter-box trained and knew his name when we called after him. He was so affectionate too- loved to be held or sleep in laps. They are amazing little creatures. If my dog would allow it, I would for sure rescue another one. Congrats on the wonderful new addition to your family! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Kristy! I know what you mean about dogs and rabbits...a much more tenuous situation, than cats and rabbits. : )

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  11. Hello! So pleased to see you back.

    That didn't stop me bookmarking your post and then forgetting to comment until now. Sorry. I blame the dark days of autumn, makes for forgetfulness.

    Sweet bunny too.

    Don't be a stranger.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Good to hear from you!

      I'm slowly getting back into blog mode! I'll definitely be around more often.

      Delete
  12. Rose -- thought you had gone on to other things besides blogging. Glad you are back, hope you get your camera problem sorted out. You have one terrific vegan blog so be sure and come back soon. -- barbara

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    1. Thanks Barbara,

      I'm trying to get back into the swing...as soon as I get a camera, I'll probably post a bit more often.

      I'm getting back into doing my blog rounds too...talk to you soon!

      Delete
  13. Welcome back!! And yes, it really has been eight loooonnnnngggg months since you last blogged, because some of us have been counting! :-) And then I go and miss this post entirely. But I found it earlier this week by happenstance (but when I didn't have time to read or comment on it), and was so glad to see it!

    All your food looks delicious and beautiful (nothing's changed there!) My mother's Italian family always made ravioli, but my mother hated to cook and never made any, so I never learned the art. I'm not sure I'm an ambitious enough cook to bother, but it looks like something BW might enjoy making in his retirement years! ;-)

    Your gorgeous pie may well have lasted twice as long at your house as it would have at ours, lol! Darn those unmagical, non-everlasting desserts anyway!

    I LOVE Gianni (who probably knows his way around vegan ravioli too!) ;-) He's so handsome! And he sounds totally charming. What a lucky boy to have you for his forever family! I adore those photos of him getting into your bag o'veggies! Too cute!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm sure you'd master the art of ravioli with the mold...it's super easy. I definitely recommend one if you think you or BW would use it...homemade ravioli are the best.

      I do think Gianni would like ravioli as well...he wants to eat anything Mr D. is eating and one night, devoured a good bit of apple pie while we weren't looking. I do give him a few rolled oats every so often in addition to his hay, pellets, and fresh veg, but too much refined flours and stuff wouldn't be good for his digestion, I think.

      Delete
  14. I knew I was forgetting something -- your camera! What a bummer it went kerplooey. I hope Santa brings you one (a really good one, because you've been such a good do-bee!) :-)

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  15. Yahoo, you're back! I never gave up on you! When I'd go down my list of blogs, I always checked you out. Yes, my heart dropped when I thought of you never returning, but I never gave up. Sniff.

    The ravioli looks like it would hit the spot, yum. My favorite squash is the humble zucchini. I love that pie! And the bunny, yes! After kitties, they are my next favorite pet. We had a family of them, and they were so, so precious. Welcome back! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hey BlessedMama!

      I really wanted to blog more, but just got caught up in other things...I'm hoping to get another camera and start blogging a bit more in the coming year!

      Zucchini is indeed a wonderful squash, and so versatile.

      Thanks for the welcome back! :)

      Delete
  16. Wow, I am glad to see you back! I fear I've abandoned my poor ol' blog for good. Just not feeling it anymore for some reason. Anyhow, your food looks gorgeous as always.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Stacy,

      Thanks...I'm sort on the same wavelength as you...just feeling the desire to blog. Once I get a new camera, I might have to come up with a simple theme or formula, so I can update the blog without much thought or work. Have a Merry Christmas/Holiday Season.

      Delete
  17. I don't know what looks better, the raviolis or pie. Both look so scrumptious! I made raviolis with Vegan Dad's pasta recipe too! Its the best.

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  18. Hi Sweety its Millie from nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com.
    I was cleaning out my blogs and I accidently deleted your blog from my blogroll. Can you please send me your blog address again so I can renstate it back in my blogroll. Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm missing you! Hope you'll be coming back to blogging soon.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Catofstripes,

      Thanks for stopping by...I know I have to get over this deplorable lack of blogging!

      Delete
  20. I hate when I miss posts. I would like to get one of those ravioli molds. I think my kids would really be into making these. They would also really be into having a rabbit, but...I have to stand strong! I find myself relenting a few inches on their desire for a new little animal, but I have to remember it's hard enough to get the 6 of us fed and bathed on a regular basis. :) Hope you are doing well. I'm going to keep this post up so my kids can read about your sweet bunny escapades.

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    1. Hi Jenny!

      I think the ravioli would be a great activity for the kids! They could each invent their own filling! Sounds like fun.

      I know it's hard not to give in to bringing home new animal friends...but definitely wait with the rabbit...they're pretty high maintenance. I have a hard enough time w/o 4 kids!

      Take care, and happy spring!

      Delete
  21. Your pasta looks really wonderful. I want to dip a fork into the screen and try some :)

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