Brew n’ Chew at The Diamond

persimmon

Back in action! My apologies for those of you following along—the past month has been quite busy. I do have some cool news though…

For the past year and a half, I’ve been brewing beer with two lovely gentlemen. Both have been brewing beer with friends and family for quite sometime but when we all found ourselves in the same city (and same apartment, as it turned out) we decided to combine forces and begin a mini brew operation in our kitchen. Since September of 2011, Green Groove Brewers has made over 20 different batches of beer and just last weekend competed in (and won!) our very first home brew competition. The Brew n’ Chew consisted of two teams and was held at The Diamond in Greenpoint. All ticket proceeds were donated to the Greenpoint Reformed Church Food Pantry—over $500 was raised! If you haven’t been to The Diamond, go check it out! It’s a great little bar on Franklin that boasts good beer, a killer backyard and table top shuffle board.

Green Groove Brewers

So, what was the winning beer and snack pairing? The snack was a slow cooked, dry-rubbed pulled pork with a persimmon, apple and red cabbage slaw all piled up on a roasted potato chip. Our beer, Spring Tides, was a steam finished off with Adirondack Wildflower Summer Honey from Mohawk Valley Trading Company.

Spring Tides

A steam beer, now known as a California Common, is the first truly American beer style—it originated in the 19th century in San Francisco. Ever hear of Anchor Steam? Well, the Anchor Brewing Company trademarked the term ‘steam beer’ because they were the first to brew it. Basically, a steam beer uses a lager yeast (typically fermented at a low temperature) and is given a warmer fermentation. We brewed a pretty traditional steam but towards the end of our boil, we added a pound of the wildflower honey. The result was a clear, crisp, golden-tinted beer that tasted sweet and floral like a honeysuckle.

bottles

We thought the honey in the beer would play well with the persimmon and apple slaw. From there, we built onto the dish adding a smoky pulled pork and the roasted, salty potato as a base.

potatoes

A special thank you to all of our friends who came out! We had an awesome time and couldn’t have done it without you all.

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Homemade Pumpkin Ravioli, Caramelized Onions and Brown Butter Sauce

finishedI started making pasta years ago to satiate my carb cravings. No boxed pasta could ever mimic the taste and texture of a homemade dough so I set out to make my own. After rolling out a dozen or so pasta doughs by hand, I was given a beautiful pasta maker as a birthday gift from a dear friend. My pasta was instantly transformed. No more thick, gummy strands—I could roll the pasta dough out so thin that it would melt in your mouth.

egg&dough

After many batches of linguine and spaghetti, I tried ravioli. Making your own ravioli is so satisfying—you can make them with anything you have lying around the house and the result is usually heavenly. I tried them with cheese, vegetables, meats and even fruit.

rollin

When I set out to do my pantry inventory as described in a previous post, I found a can of pumpkin puree left over from Thanksgiving. I mixed the pumpkin with leftover ricotta from pizza making and whipped up this delicious ravioli. I finished it with balsamic glazed caramelized onions and a thyme brown butter sauce. Decadent and delicious!

brown butter

I used the ‘Poor Man’s Two Egg Pasta Dough’ from Lidia’s Family Table. It’s one the easiest and most delicious dough recipes I’ve come across.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Caramelized Onions and Brown Butter Sauce

Ravioli

1 lb. Lidia’s ‘Poor Man’s’ pasta dough, rolled for ravioli

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp. fresh thyme
Caramelized onions
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
splash of balsamic vinegar
Brown butter sauce
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. fresh thyme
toasted pine nuts (optional)
grated Parm (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Ravioli instructions
Mix together pumpkin, ricotta and fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Dollop one heaping tablespoon of filling as per Lidia’s instructions. I used a 2″ biscuit cutter for my ravioli because I don’t have a pastry cutting wheel. In the past, I’ve just cut them in squares with a sharp knife. The shape doesn’t matter so much, just make sure you’re consistent and you’re leaving enough dough around the filling to egg wash and seal. I dusted with flour and stuck them in the fridge on a baking sheet until I was ready to eat. You can freeze them as well and just pop them in a pot of water for an easy weeknight meal.
Caramelized onions instructions
In a medium frying pan, combine the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir frequently until browned and soft, about 20 minutes. Add a quick splash of balsamic vinegar and stir until almost all liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
When you’re read to eat, put on a big pot of boiling, salted water. Drop the little pasta pillows in and let cook for about 3 minutes or until they start to float to the top of the water. The time depends on how soft you like your pasta and how big you made your ravioli. I would start with 3 minutes and take one out to test if you’re not sure.
Brown butter sauce instructions
While your ravioli cooks, start your brown butter sauce. In a lightly colored, small pan over medium heat, melt your butter. The butter will start to foam up but will quickly subside. This is where it gets tricky—the butter will go from a yellow to a light brown to a toasty, caramel color. Swirl the pan around once or twice to make sure the butter is being heated evenly. Once the butter hits that toasty darker brown, immediately remove it from the heat and transfer to a bowl leaving as much of the dark solids in the bottom of the pan as possible.  The solids won’t hurt but they can give an odd flavor to your butter.  The butter can go from perfect to burnt in seconds so it’s important to keep a careful eye on it. Once the butter is transfered to a bowl, I stirred in my fresh thyme. If you’re not sure what color it should be, check out these great photos on Bon Appetit’s website.
Top your cooked ravioli with caramelized onions and brown butter. I sprinkled mine with toasted pine nuts and grated Parm. Enjoy!