With our first baby’s birth rapidly approaching, our lives are beginning to change in a million different ways! Reflecting on these crazy changes, I have decided to take a look at classic foods with their own crazy twists. The best part about the art of culinary experimentation is that no idea is too outlandish to attempt. If you have ever caught any food marathon you know that someone somewhere thought, “A cheeseburger topped with chocolate covered bacon on a grilled donut sounds good!” or “Waffles made of left over thanksgiving turkey and stuffing would make a perfect post holiday brunch item!” With a little bit of creativity, you can start with any ingredients from basic to exotic to last night’s leftovers and make your own masterpiece!
For Saint Patrick’s Day this year we skipped the traditional corned beef and cabbage for a more modern take on this once a year dish. At home the night before we had shamrock shaped green striped ravioli made from the local pasta shop Villarina’s in Newtown, CT. With a simple toss in olive oil and garlic and the addition of some cabbage and carrots for nutrition, these were a cute and festive way to celebrate at home! A perfect fun dinner for little ones too! Not only was it delicious but I felt good knowing it was also food for a cause. $1.00 of every box sold went to Luck2Tuck which supports pediatric cancer research.
But, my favorite part of this St. Paddy’s Day was going to eat at one of our favorite pizza joints, Colony Grill. Along with traditional Irish music, local bagpipers, and plenty of pints of Guinness, they were serving up corned beef and cabbage pizza! A sauce-less pie topped with shredded cabbage, slices of juicy corned beef, and the perfect amount a melted, bubbly cheese, it was a truly savory twist! Best $12 I’ve spent in a long time!
And yes, I finished every last bite!
With so many great local restaurants dishing out twists on classics, it’s not hard to be inspired by these delicious treats. Here’s a recipe that I love to make at home. A caesar salad with fried ravioli croutons (I figure the salad balances out the fried!) that Rachael Ray makes.
For the Ravioli~
1 small bag of cooked cheese ravioli, slightly cooled
Corn meal (about 1 cup)
Parmigiana Reggiano (about 1/2 cup)
Salt and Pepper
For the Caesar Dressing~
1/2 cup EVOO
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBS dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste (trust me, add it even if you can’t stand anchovies like me! It’s good for meat sauces as well!)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Romaine Lettuce (or your favorite salad mix, add arugula or spinach for extra nutrients)
Drizzle a pan with EVOO over medium heat. Combine the parmigiana cheese, corn meal, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss the ravioli in the mixture. Fry the ravioli in the oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
For the dressing whisk the EVOO, lemon juice and zest, garlic, mustard, anchovy paste, and Worcestershire together. Add salt, pepper, and a handful of parmigiana cheese to taste. Toss with the lettuce and top with the fried ravioli croutons. A delicious take on a classic dish!
No matter what the risk you decide to take with your food, make sure to enjoy yourself. Sometimes it’s not about the end result but the journey and who knows, you could create your own masterpiece! Here’s one time you can forget your mom’s rules and go on, play with your food!
Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian