To Taste: Fresh Ricotta + Dandelion Ravioli

One of my favorite parts of summer cooking is collecting my farmshare from Greensgrow Farms. Every other weekend, I get a beautiful, diverse harvest of fruits & veggies along with a local cheese and my choice of protein. Alot are basics I’m used to working with (eggplant, tomatoes, onion, squash, salad greens) but sometimes I need to do some research on how/what to prepare with an item. Early in the summer, I got a fresh bunch of crisp dandelion greens. I know they work pretty well in a salad, yet I wanted to do something a bit more fun with them. I poked around the interwebs… but the real inspiration was right there in my memory.

I was blessed with a family who made a point to expose us to great food & restaurants and encourage us to expand our palettes. One of my most ingrained food experiences takes me back to an out-of-the-way, before-its-time spot off the Manatawny River in Pine Forge, PA – Gracie’s 21st Century Cafe. As a kid, I loved the experience of just being at Gracie’s – the zen gardens Kerry & I would play in while we waited for our table, the cooky toys & games on the bar, the jokes my dad made about “writing” his name in the shaved ice in the men’s urinals. It was always a treat when we were headed to Gracie’s.

But the true beauty of Gracie and her restaurant was the creativity she put into her menu – the unapologetic art to her food. I can close my eyes and recall the first time we ate there, the first time I felt true inspiration in a dish. That day’s special was a dandelion ravioli. Dandelion? Like the flowers Gramps is always trying to kill in his yard? Well, kind of, my dad explained… dandelion greens in this case. He happily ordered and shared them with our curious palettes. Love!

So that brings me to what I prepared with my dandelion greens – a light ravioli that I’m sure would make Gracie proud. They were simple, elegant, and beautifully flavored w. a toss in melted black truffle butter. I invite you to give them a try!

My fresh ricotta + dandelion ravioli recipe after the jump!

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@ Matt Mayhem’s (but, in my kitchen): Seared Duck Breast, Zucchini-Honeycomb Mushroom Egg Noodles, & Blood Orange-Mango-Dandelion Salad

Matt Mayhem is one of my all-time favorite people and my longest friend in my time living in Philly. Each year we get together to celebrate our friendiversary and this time it was a bit of reunion. Life gets away from us sometimes, but great friends never fade. There are very few people I truly trust to have my back, and, possibly even less that I trust in my kitchen. Matt’s a lucky guy to fall into both categories!

My Matt Mayhem

Matt scooped some ingredients from Reading Terminal Market and I scooped him on my way home from work. It was nice for once to focus on pics and eating, instead of always being the cook (not that I usually mind!). I was so pleased to sit down to a meal I wouldn’t usually think to prepare, either. Matt artfully seared Duck Breast, sauteed Zucchini-Honeycomb Mushroom Egg Noodles, & tossed a Blood Orange-Mango-Dandelion Salad with a Grapefruit-Shallot Vinaigrette for a truly fresh, delicious dinner. Thanks for the yummies & 6 years of friendship, Mayhem!

Seared Duck Breast w/ Zucchini-Honeycomb Mushroom Egg Noodles

Dandelion Salad w/ Mango, Blood Orange, Bean Sprouts, & a Grapefruit Vinaigrette