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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

“Pasta Specialties, Pt. XX: Ravioli alla Taormínese—the Best Ravioli Dish of All-Time” by Chef Murph MacDougal



SPIRIT’S fourteenth album entitled, “The Thirteenth Dream/Spirit of ‘84,” came out in 1984 (Mercury) and is exceptional! The band became an ongoing power trio featuring different bassists, which toured around the world until the death of Randy California.  Always among the greatest guitarists of all time, California and his stepfather, drummer Ed Cassidy toured nonstop.  We highly recommend the album—you can find it at Amazon.com by using the handy link so go there and BUY IT! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.



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Chef Murph MacDougal

END Commentary 07-11-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,822.



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by Chef Murph MacDougal

PASTA SPECIALTIES, PART XX

 Pasta Specialties, Pt. XX: Ravioli alla Taormínese—the Best Ravioli Dish of All-Time” by Chef Murph MacDougal


Bakersfield, CA, 07-11-2012 W: Today is the day before the infamous “Hump Day” and that is good because I am getting it out of the way by mentioning it now!  As always, I am excited about being here and today we continue on with our Pasta Series featuring a beautiful cheese ravioli available from Buitoni, a pasta company that specializes in fresh refrigerated pastas and also sauces, dips, and what not.   I love good raviolis and remember a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, California, called “Little Joe’s,” replete with the sawdust-strewn floors, red and white checkerboard tablecloths, and white napkins.  The food was amazing, the sauces, to die for, and the wines red and robust.  It was a restaurant that was uniquely Italian and was located in—of all places!—Los Angeles’ Chinatown District!  It began its life in 1908 as the Italian-American Grocery Company and ended life in 1998 when the owner’s closed the doors for good due to the fact that no one visited the downtrodden and disable Chinatown anymore.  Besides, Pasadena had its own revitalization and took all of the business away that might have gone to Chinatown. 

So, what does this have to do with what we’re talking about today?  Well, we are continuing on doing our pasta dishes and the one we are doing today is a classic, cheese ravioli in a delicious pan sauce that will knock your socks off.  I love raviolis and the only thing better than buying fresh pasta is making it.  Sadly, we are not going to involve ourselves in doing that lest our blog become a cookbook.  Let us begin with our dish:

(#1652) RAVÍOLÍ ALLA TAORMÍNESE



If you love raviolis, you will love this dish especially if you use the Buitoni-brand fresh Four Cheese Raviolis®.  Most everybody loves raviolis and when combined with cream, garlic, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and sweet basil, you have a dish that will destroy all others.  After the first time around, see if you can alter the dish to suit your needs and to personalize it—this is what professional chefs and cooks do!

Yield:  4 servings / Mis-en-place: 30-40 minutes:



Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1
20-oz. pkg.
Buitoni-brand Four Cheese Raviolis
Fresh
.125
Cup
Drawn butter

1
Cup
Sliced mushroom buttons
Peeled
1
Cup
Sundried tomatoes
Drained
.5
Cup
Gallo chardonnay

.5
Teaspoon
Minced fresh garlic

.125
Cup
Freshly minced sweet basil

Kosher Salt and Pepper (Recipe #1324)

2.5
Cups
Heavy cream

.5
Cup
Sauté Butter (Recipe #220)

.5
Cup
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese

.125
Cup
Freshly minced parsley flakes
Rinsed
Hungarian paprika




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! Here is the link to find the raviolis: http://www.buitoni.com/Product-Category/Ravioli.aspx#/ravioli.  Peel the mushrooms by removing the stems and then peeling the outer skins back from the underside and discarding.  By doing this, you will have a snow-white mushroom.  Wash and slice. First, make the Sauté Butter:

(#220) SAUTÉ BUTTER



Sauté butter is one of those indispensable items that smart cooks know and use while their less-educated and aware coworkers go on about their jobs preparing blasé foods.  You cannot imagine how much flavor and creaminess that the addition of this excellent and easily prepared product can deliver.  You would be wise to keep it on hand.

1. About 1# / Mis-en-place: 10 minutes. 



Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
14
Ounces
Unsalted butter

1
Tablespoon
Freshly minced parsley flakes

1.5
Tablespoon
Minced fresh garlic cloves

1
Pinch
White pepper

1
Tablespoon
Lemon juice

1.5
Tablespoon
Minced shallots

1
Teaspoon
Minced pimientos

1
Tablespoon
Lemon zest




Method:

2.      Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and airy using a whip or paddle attachment. 

3.      When it is, blend in the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Be sure to keep well refrigerated, bringing out only for use.  Never leave out, especially during hot weather.

Every kitchen needs this recipe with which to add multitudes of flavor to their sauté dishes. We use it as an enrichment and/or flavor enhancement. Next, prepare the Kosher Salt and Pepper (KSP):

(#1324) KOSHER SALT AND PEPPER SEASONING


Every chef has his or her favorite blends of spices and assorted seasonings and this is a simple salt and pepper-PLUS seasoning perfect for all your seasoning needs.  Keep plenty of it on-hand, as it will become indispensable in all your cooking endeavors!

1. Yield: One cup of seasoning:



Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1
Cup
Kosher salt

1.5
Tablespoon
Coarse black pepper

.5
Teaspoon
Hungarian paprika

.5
Teaspoon
Dry parsley flakes



Method:

4.      Combine and store in an airtight container.

You will find many uses for this good basic, salt-and-pepper seasoning so keep plenty of made up ahead of time. Finally, here is the preparation for FRESH pasta:


(#1607) FRESH PASTA COOKING PROCEDURES        



Cooking fresh pasta is very different from cooking dry pasta and in boiling water, it cooks in no more than 2-3 minutes and even less if, you have made it yourself.  Always pay close attention to it as it cooks as if you do not, you will waste both time and money.  Never waste either as if you do, you will not keep your employment very long.

Yield:  for 1.5-2 pounds / Mis-en-place: 20 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
3
Quarts
Boiling water

1
Tablespoon
Kosher salt

1.25
#
FRESH pasta

1
Tablespoon
Olive oil

For Seasoning Pasta AFTER Blanching:
.125
Cup
Olive oil

1
Teaspoon
Kosher salt

.5
Teaspoon
Black pepper

.5
Teaspoon
Granulated garlic



Method:

5.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work!

6.      Bring water to a boil and add salt and oil.

7.      Add the pasta and boil for 2-3 minutes or until it is JUST past the “crisp” stage; DO NOT overcook!

8.      Immediately drain well and place on a sheet tray in one layer to cool.  Do not rinse it!

9.      Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season with the spices.  Toss gently by hand, being careful to NOT tear or break the pasta, until coated with the olive oil. 

10. When thoroughly cooled, cover and store in a sanitized, airtight container in the refrigerator until called for.

This is a never-fail formula for creating perfect pasta from fresh.

Master Preparation:

11. Have everything at the ready.  Place a large Sautoir atop a medium flame.  Spray it with PAM or another such food release spray and add the drawn butter, heating it up.  When it is preparing to sizzle, add the mushrooms and quickly sauté, then add the sundried tomatoes and blend well. 

12. When the mushrooms are blanched, hit the pan with the wine, taking care to stand back to avoid the blast of upward-rising steam, and add the garlic, sweet basil, and KSP to taste.  When the liquid has reduced, add the heavy cream and allow it to heat up but keep a close eye on it as it will rise and overflow the sides of the pan faster than you think.  Should it do this, temporarily pull it off the fire allowing it to drop back down and then return it to lowered flame.

13. Allow the cream to thicken into a moderately thick pan sauce.   Add the blanched raviolis and incorporate them into the sauté.  Add the sauté butter, blending it in, to enrich and to flavor the sauce.  Then, divide the pasta between four pasta bowls or casserole boats taking care to divide the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, too.  Top the bowls/boats with parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, and paprika.  If you wish, push the containers underneath the overhead oven broiler or the salamander oven and quickly gratinee the pasta dishes. Then, they are ready to serve.

14. Serve with plenty of fresh bread and butter and remember to always cool leftovers to below 45°F as quickly as possible and to reheat them to 165°F or higher.  Never keep leftovers on hand for more than 2-3 days, always try to use them as quickly as possible for best results.

We can make this great dish even better with homemade raviolis if we have that capability.  If not, the Buitoni brand is perfect as is most other refrigerated fresh pastas found in your supermarket cold cases.

--------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this, as it is a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will become dedicated followers of the END.  Currently of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that we hear the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession —join us. We urge our readership to write to us, leave comments, and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously do not pay anything but give YOU full byline and that, my friends, is worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it will be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so Stinky says.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people do not care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It is sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

I hope you have had a lovely day making raviolis with me and that you enjoyed our historical talk on Little Joe’s Italian restaurant in Chinatown, Los Angeles.  To me, there is nothing better than Irish food followed by Italian cuisine and the fact that you are here with me on a Wednesday making pasta is testament to that fact.  It is important that everyone be on board when we continue tomorrow talking about Pasta Specialties!                                          

Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by SPIRIT/ Jo Jo Gunne/ Jay Ferguson and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  Allied with them, we are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you, my friends!

Murph MacDougal

Murph MacDougal

Certified Club Manager, ACF Member, Foodserver/Bartender and professional Chef and Baker

_______________________________________________________________________
This is a picture of me when I was a young chef in the kitchen back in 1975. I apprenticed underneath my father and spent six years working for him in his British-Irish Restaurant in Fresno, California. I later moved to Frazier Park, California, and spent quite a few years working in the area and that is where I met Stinkbug. Anyhow, I am now working at a country club over on the coast near San Luis Obispo.

Chef Murph MacDougal writes from San Luis Obispo.

---30---

The END Commentary for Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by Chef Murph MacDougal

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

The one-and-only Chef Murph MacDougal writes this original essay.



Recipe created by Chef Murph MacDougal on May 24, 1985 in Fresno, CA.

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This is #1186 a 24” x 36" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Desert Day." It is among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and known around the world for both the beauty and timelessness of her artworks. Hanging in private and public galleries and followed by many fans encircling the globe—her works instill awe because of her artistic brilliance and personal beauty. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It is possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!


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