Saturday, April 24, 2010

Food Boner

CPM and I used to travel to King of Prussia mall just to eat at Bertolini's, an italian restaurant that closed about a year ago. CPM loved the dish they called Fazzoletto. They even took it off the menu for a time, but he was so desperate, that he spoke to the manager, and was told to call ahead before we got there, and they would make it up for him as a special. That was some pretty good service for a semi-chain restaurant in a mall.

For some reason, I decided to attempt to recreate the dish today. I wanted to blog about it so I have a record of my recipe. CPM devoured his entire serving and half of mine, which is exactly what he would do at the restaurant, so I think I got it right! Fazzoletto as served at Bertolini's was sheets of pasta, topped with a spinach and ricotta mixture, with a mushroom gravy over top. I actually found an article from a Las Vegas paper online that sort of had the recipe, but mostly I had to wing it. Here is what I did...

11 oz fresh baby spinach
EVOO for saute of spinach
8 oz sliced baby portabellas
4 oz sliced mixed wild mushrooms
2 regular portabellas, chopped
8 oz mushroom broth
1 small container whole milk ricotta
2 cups whole milk, brought just to a boil
4 (2 for mushroom sauce, 2 for bechamel) tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
salt, pepper, nutmeg, thyme
pasta sheets, about 2 per person, 5 inches wide by 12 inches long (I got mine at Whole Foods in the fresh pasta section, it came in a 9 oz. container)

1. Saute the baby spinach in the EVOO until wilted.
2. Mix the spinach with the ricotta in a large bowl, adding some salt and pepper for flavor. Set aside.
3. Make a bechamel. I used this recipe, except I halved it: I melted 2 tbsp. of butter, then added 2 tbsp of flour, and whisked it until smooth. Once it turned the "toasty" color, I added the 2 cups of almost boiling milk, and whisked it constantly for 10 minutes. Once done, I put in 1 tsp. of salt and a dash of nutmeg.
4. Mix the ricotta/spinach into the bechamel. Set aside.
5. Turn on the pasta water at this point. The spinach/bechamel/ricotta mix can sit while you do the rest.
6. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan. Add all of the mushrooms. Stir around. Add some salt and pepper. I also threw in some thyme. Let this saute for a few minutes.
7. After a few minutes, add the mushroom broth to the mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
8. After 10 minutes, scoop about half the mushrooms out, and puree the remaining mixture using a stick blender (or use your regular blender). Add the mushrooms back. This is your mushroom sauce.
9. Put your pasta in the now boiling water and cook according the package directions.

To serve, I put one sheet of pasta in a dish, and folded it around several scoops of the cheese/bechamel sauce. Over top of this, I put a ladel of the mushroom gravy. Top with parmiggiano reggiano cheese.



Monday, April 19, 2010


On Friday night, I broke part of my car, my beautiful one year old car, by slamming the back gate down on a shopping cart in the Target parking lot. I cried when I saw what I did. I have to take it to the dealer to see if they can fix it without costing me a fortune. I have low expectations on this point. If I get out of there for less than 500 dollars, I'll count myself lucky. (I'm blaming all of the allergy medications that I've been taking for dulling my usual crack reflexes...Ha!)

On Saturday, I took my nephew to the zoo. We had a really good time! I'm surprised about this. I was nervous that there would be toddler drama of some sort. There was none. He walked the entire time, and except for a last minute change of heart when it came to riding a pony, was super excited to see all of the animals. Note to Philadelphia parents: the Zoo gives you your pony ride money back when the kid backs out. This is a great policy!

Love this:

He had no problem with the carousel:

Of course, I bought him some crap at the Zoo shop. One item in particular kept him occupied for the rest of the night at home, and the following morning...a giraffe "grabber" thing. Whatever. It was awesome and I broke it, as I was putting him into his car seat for the return trip to his house on Sunday morning. Yeah, I'm two for two on the breaking crap front this weekend. Except, I'm slightly obsessed with this cheap toy...I feel like I have to fix it or replace it, because the kid freaked out when he was home and realized that he didn't have his giraffe. It cost about two dollars and I can't get it out of my head. Yeah, I have issues.

At a certain point yesterday, I decided that I just can't do anything right. The sensation of being a total klutz was actually suffocating. After breaking two things in three days, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes to console myself. Then, I filled the cupcake tins too far, and the cupcakes exploded out of their holders, and stuck to the pans. This cupcake failure just continued my feelings of inadequacy. I had reached my breaking point. My loving spouse came into the kitchen and found me stabbing cupcakes in their tins. He quickly offered to take me out to dinner. This was a good idea. It gave me time to reflect on what to do with those failed cupcakes.

Thus, I made chocolate cake balls! And lo, they are deadly delicious. I used the chocolate cake and frosting recipes on the back of the Hershey's cocoa and followed instructions provided by the queen of cake pops, Bakerella for forming and coating the balls. (Yes, I am going out of my way to use "balls" as much as possible. Take that, Google.) One day, when I am less frantic, I will take my time, and try to make them attractive. For now, I just have to settle for them being adictively delicious.

Cake Balls! Chocolate Cake Balls!

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's been a while.

The last time I spent extended alone time with a toddler was many, many years ago. I was an ace aunt, I rocked the cool toys, I knew all the cool toddler shows (Blues Clues, with Steve, and Bear in the Big Blue House). Then those toddler nieces and nephews grew big. But lo, their mom, my sister, decided to produce a new kid and I'm spending the day with him tomorrow. It's an overnight visit. Just me and him. His uncle will be lurking about the homestead, of course, but Uncle CPM is pretty hands off when it comes to the kiddies.

The forecast calls for a little bit of rain, but I'm going to be brave and take him to the zoo anyway (yes, by myself). I just renewed my zoo membership and the kid loves him some monkeys. My goal is to wear him out. I have a feeling it will be me that is worn out before the day is done.


Monday, April 12, 2010


-Items sewn in recent weeks: none.
-Mood in recent weeks: extra cranky with a side of bitchy.
-Thing I have most want to say to people in recent weeks: Your kids are not as cute as you think they are. They make far too many shrieky noises and drop trash and toys on my lawn. Please, use birth control.
-Spouse's location in recent weeks: Baltimore, Maryland, i.e. not home. I'm not sure when he is going to come home for more than two days at a time.
-Diet in recent weeks: mostly unhealthy due to lack of responsible food shopping and meal planning. I may try to rectify that today. At the very least, I want to get myself some avocados and tomatoes for sandwiches that do not involve PB n J.
-My Philadelphian experience in recent weeks: hearing gunshots at home and driving through bad neighborhoods.