Ok, any secrets for the Squash blossom tempura? Spinach, asiago and walnut raviolli in wild mushroom ragu; got a recipe or any tips? The wife and I will be trying the figs stuffed with marscapone and walnuts drizzled with honey and sprinkled with mint leaves soon; I think I can figure out the recipe for that one.
Squash blossoms. Use about 20% rice flour in the batter and sparkly water (or beer!). you can also stuff them with yummy things, cheese, cheese and (non-veg option, although I have done it with the field grain italian style) sausage. go wild.
Raviolli, 100 semolia egg pasta rolled to about a 5 on a pasta roller, don't know how thing that is but fairly thin, less than a millimeter. I often do tortolloni instead of raviolli cause they are quicker to fold up. so either roll out one sheet about 18 inches long but about 1 tablespoon every two-three inches (so you get 6-8 ravs per sheet, although the size is really up to you)
filling, I like baby spinach but big spinach works two. saute onions (or shallots) and garlic in olive oil until soft, add spinach (chopped if useing adult leaves) saute until most of the moisture is gone, I press the spinach with the spatula to get as much liquid out and evaporated as possible. Add chopped walnuts and let cool. I like to chop the cooked mixture up a bit as it makes it easier to work with. Add shredded asiago or similar cheese. herbs and spices to taste. I don't usually use more than salt and pepper in this but that is up to you.
ragu, get the best selection of interesting mushrooms you can find. When I did this first I got a chef sampler from fungi perfecti or similar so it was chantrelles, forest namenkos(sp?) king oysters and a few others. but just about anything will work. morells would be yummy. porcini's are perhaps the best mushroom in the world as far as I am concerned. Maitake is also amazing. get a BIG cast iron or similarly heat resistant time of pan blazing hot on the stove (heat it dry until the air shimmers above it, whatever burner you use for your wok is right on for this) when it's hot add clarified butter (I will also sometimes use ghee from the store if I don't feel like clarifying butter) and only enough mushrooms at a time to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. You want to brown the mushrooms not stew them. When all the mushrooms are almost done add some shallots, salt and pepper and maybe some fresh taragon. Some white wine (or beer again maybe) and maybe a little olive oil.
If you are doing this for two you can then just toss the paste (cooked in gently boiling water and drained) into the pan and toss to coat and serve with a little extra asiago on top. if you are doing it for a crowd, unless you have an enourmouse pan and forearms like popeye, you will have to do it in batchs, a little ragu a couple of rav toss, plate, repeat.
The rav also go amazing with a brown butter and sage sauce. just add butter to hot pan until it starts to brown, drop in some chopped sage leaves and a few whole ones, add rav and fry a little to crisp up the edges, yum.
on the figs, the only thing that I do that is not immediatly obvious is that I will split a vanilla bean and add the insides to the marscapone. any left over marscapone can also be mixed with cream and sugar and turned into an awesome ice cream.