maitake mushroom ravioli

dlb said to me this morning that he felt like we've been eating gourmet this weekend. and yes indeed, I feel that way too. it's so easy to feel gourmet with just a little time and the right recipes. and the freshest food of course. the Portland Farmers Market opened for the season yesterday and I can't begin to express how much I love being able to buy food that's locally grown and produced. we came home with a bundle of food ready to be whipped in to delightful meals.
ravioli always seemed like something that was too difficult to make and waaaaay too time comsuming. and it probably could be if I had my own pasta maker and really got in to making dough... which I hope to do one day. but for now all it took was a quick trip to the pasta market in town for some sheets of fresh pasta and we were set to make our own ravioli.

Maitake Mushroom Ravioli
makes 2 large servings

:: for filling ::
2 tbsp butter
1 small shallot, diced
1 lb of fresh maitake mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp vegetable stock
1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese

• heat butter on a large skillet over medium heat. add shallots and saute until almost translucent.
• add mushrooms and toss to coat. cook until juices have been released, about 8 minutes.
• add thyme and vegetable stock and cook for 1 more minute.
• transfer mushroom mixture to a food processor. mix in gruyere cheese and blend until a consistency of a thick hummus. set aside.

:: for ravioli ::
2 sheets of pasta, about 12" x 8" wide.
1 egg

• coat both sheets of pasta with egg.
• spoon mushroom mixture into little balls on sheets, making 16 evenly spaced ravioli.
• brush egg along "trim lines" before applying the second sheet to the top. once the second sheet has been put onto the top of the first sheet, run your fingers along the seams to seal the two and form ravioli. if you have a ravioli cutter, use this to trim the squares. if not, simply a knife will work too. {I used a pizza cutter} if seams have split open, use your fingers to seal them shut.

• heat water to boiling in a large pot.
• ravioli only take about a minute or so to cook, so when they begin to float to the top, they are probably done. remove from water with a slotted spoon.

:: for olive oil sauce ::
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp fresh ground green pepper
finishing salt like fleur de sel or truffel salt.

• heat oil in a small sauce pan with pepper flakes, oregano and pepper over medium low heat.
• after ravioli is cooked, toss to coat, adding finishing salt to taste.
• grate a small bit of gruyere cheese on top per taste.

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vanilla cardamom pear pie

would you be upset if I told you that this was the second time that I've baked this pie? and you knew that I'd been indulging in it's amazing goodness without sharing it with you? I know. I would be too. it's truly one of the most incredible pies that I've ever baked. the flavors blend so wonderfully together with the aromatic scent of cardamom and the sweetness of split vanilla bean. and the crust is so perfectly flaky and buttery, you'll want to make it over and over again. I'm sure of it. just make sure you have someone to share it with so you don't feel guilty when you end up eating the entire pie yourself because it's so darn good.

oh and did I mention it's sugar free? yea... incredible is the word you're looking for.

Vanilla Cardamom Pear Pie

:: for crust ::
3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 sticks chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

• blend flour and salt in processor.
• add butter; using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms.
• add 8 tablespoons ice water and cider vinegar; blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
• gather dough together. turn dough out onto work surface; divide dough in half. form each half into ball and flatten into disk. wrap disks separately in plastic; refrigerate at least 1 hour {I only did about 40 minutes and it seemed fine}.

:: for filling ::
about 5 or 6 medium sized organic d'anjou pears, sliced thinly
1/3 cup of agave nectar*
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

* if agave nectar isn't your thing or you don't have any in the house or simply forgot to buy it, you can use 1/4 cup of natural cane sugar.

• combine pears, agave nectar, vanilla extract, cardamom and flour in large bowl.
• scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean.
• toss to blend well. let stand until dry ingredients are moistened, about 30 minutes.

:: for pie ::
• preheat oven to 400°F.
• after dough has chilled, roll out 1 pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. trim overhang to 1 inch.
• line another baking sheet with parchment paper. roll out second pie crust disk on floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips.
• arrange 6 dough strips in 1 direction across top of pie, spacing apart. working with 1 strip at a time, arrange 6 more strips in opposite direction atop first, lifting strips and weaving over and under, forming lattice. gently press ends of strips to edge of baked bottom crust to adhere. trim overhang.
• bake pie 35 minutes. tent pie loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. continue to bake pie until filling bubbles thickly and lattice is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. cool pie on rack.

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